Cases too high: COVID threat cancels medical board exam in NCR


Posted at Sep 13 2021 12:00 PM

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MANILA – The conduct of the 2021 Physician Licensure Exam in Metro Manila was canceled because the regional Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on COVID-19 did not approve it, the Professional Regulation Commission said Monday.

“For NCR (National Capital Region) as we all know, the quarantine status was declared in September 8, so as soon as the MECQ (modified enhanced community quarantine) was declared, the Professional Regulation Commission requested permission from the regional IATF to allow us. Unfortunately, maybe they felt that the cases are too high, maybe you know, making decisions is not very easy for our colleagues in the government,” said PRC Board of Medicine chairperson Dr. Eleanor Almoro. 

“They have to contend with health scare, they have to contend with economic growth, they have to contend with a lot of things. So we have to value their decision-making capacity. And they did not allow us to proceed,” she added.

The PRC announced on September 9 the cancellation of the PLE in Metro Manila following widespread calls from student groups to postpone the test.

Exams in Baguio, Cagayan de Oro, Davao, Iloilo, and Lucena pushed through, however, after their respective regional IATFs approved the conduct of the exams.

Almoro said exams were also canceled in Tuguegarao due to the threat of typhoon Kiko in the area.

Almoro said it would be difficult for the PRC to decide on a new date for the PLE in NCR.

“The Professional Regulation (Commission) conducts examinations to 44 professions. The calendar of the Professional Regulation Commission is actually full,” she said.

She also noted that the COVID-19 pandemic may also still hinder the conduct of the exams.

“The situation that caused the cancellation or the postponement or the non-approval or the non-granting of the permission is still here. So we cannot predict whether it will be different next week or it will be different next month,” she said.

Almoro said they are trying their best to fulfill the wishes of the examinees to take the test as soon as possible.

“I would like to assure the parents and the examinees that we are trying our best to grant the wishes of our examinees. But please understand, this is not just saying yes or no or just looking for a date. We are constrained by this pandemic.”

--ANC, 13 September 2021