Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III has called on the country’s new doctors to serve the people by accepting posts in public hospitals and other government positions.

“Along with congratulating our new crop of doctors for their laudable accomplishment in passing the medical boards, I also encourage them to apply their talents to government service. There is no better way to fulfill our oath as doctors than to serve our marginalized and underprivileged countrymen through public institutions,” said Duque in a statement Friday.

Duque’s comment came as the Professional Regulation Commission announced that 4,006 exam takers have passed the September 2019 Physician Licensure Exam (PLE).

Duque, whom himself has served the government in various capacities for almost two decades, highlighted the unmet demand for licensed physicians throughout the countryside as a hurdle that needs to be overcome in the Duterte administration’s push to provide universal access to quality healthcare.

Duque also undertook six months of community practice in Lingayen, Pangasinan in 1983 after passing the PLE.

“We need to channel the youthful zeal and altruism of our young doctors for the greater good by encouraging them to enter public service. Our excellent crop of newly minted doctors is a valuable asset in making Universal Health Care a reality for all Filipinos across the country,” Duque said.