MANILA - The Philippine Nurses Association disagrees with Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello's proposal to study the scrapping of licensure exams for certain professions, its president said Thursday.
Bello had said four years of studying and receiving a diploma from an accredited educational institution should be enough to allow professionals to practice in their chosen fields.
The removal of board exams might lead to lower quality of health professionals who might face more requirements abroad, said PNA president Melbert Reyes.
"Meron po tayong tinatawag na Asian Qualification Framework... Bababa ang quality ng level ng graduates natin. Baka mas marami pang hingin sa kanila kung wala po tayong board exam," he told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.
(We have what we call the Asian Qualification Framework... The quality of our graduates will decrease, and there might be more requirements for them if we had no board exam.)
Bello said the idea had come to him during a webinar with the Philippine Board of Nursing and the PNA.
"We respect his opinion. But we disagreed immediately kasi sa health professional po, kailangan natin i-ensure ang public na (we need to ensure the public that) our graduates are competent enough to do their duties and responsibilities," Reyes said.
"Hindi po siguro dapat tanggalin itong board exam lalo na dito sa mga health professional, kasi buhay po ang hinahawakan natin."
(We shouldn't remove the board exams, especially for health professionals because we have people's lives in our hands.)
Bello said he made the proposal for nursing graduates who come from middle-income families and who cannot afford to take again the board exams should they fail.
He added that he came up with the idea after the nursing licensure examination held last Friday and Saturday in Metro Manila and all regional offices.
Results are expected to be released "in 10 to 20 working days or longer, after the last day of board exams," according to the Professional Regulation Commission.
Government last month raised to 6,500 from an initial 5,000 its deployment cap on health workers following their appeal.