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A closure to the leakage controversy


A closure to the leakage controversy

THE 17,000 nursing graduates who passed the licensure examinations last June should be looking forward to being employed as full-fledged medical workers by now. Instead their plans have been entangled in a web of ambiguity woven by the Professional Regulation Commission.

Last Friday the Court of Appeals restrained the PRC from proceeding with the oath-taking of the new nurses. They would have been sworn in on August 22 but the PRC was directed to call off the ceremonies while the Court hears arguments on the validity of the exams. Just a day earlier the commission had announced the oath-taking would go on as scheduled, after it invalidated two portions of the tests where a leakage had been discovered. The Court also ordered the PRC to freeze the invalidation.

The restraining order came too late to stop the advanced oath-taking rites that were held earlier Friday in the cities of Cebu and Iloilo. Here was where confusion set in.

PRC Chairman Leonor Tripon-Rosero said she had not received a copy of the court order, so it was too late to recall the commission’s green light for the oath-taking.

She staunchly defended the decision to allow the oath- taking, explaining that with the invalidation of the two leak-tainted portions, the integrity of the licensure tests had been preserved.

Besides, the chairman said, a majority of deans of nursing colleges nationwide supported the decision. “The sentiments of the deans are no retake and to proceed with the oath-taking,” she said on television.

But PRC Commissioner Avelina de la Rea was not on the same wavelength as Rosero. The commissioner said the PRC was stopping all oath-taking ceremonies in compliance with the court order.

The conflicting statements reflect the befuddled state of the PRC as it grapples with the leakage controversy. Since it broke last month, the issue has frazzled nerves in the commission, and its responses, especially to the proposal to hold the exams all over again, were knee-jerk at best. And it took a long time before meting out administrative punishment to two nursing board employees to whom the leak was traced.

We find merit in the argument of Dean Marco Antonio Sto. Tomas, vice-president of the Association of Deans of Philippine Colleges of Nursing, that Tests 3 and 5 of the exams must be retaken.

Sto. Tomas also questions the haste with which the PRC decided to allow the oath-taking. We believe that had the Court of Appeals not intervened, the leakage issue would have been conveniently forgotten in a few months or so.

The dean is also proposing that members of the Board of Nursing be barred from engaging “in review activities or serving as deans or faculty in any college of nursing” to prevent conflict of interest.

Only when there is a closure to the leakage controversy can the 17,000 nurses find deliverance from the limbo they now find themselves in.


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