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No need to retake exam, says Palace

No need to retake exam, says Palace

Last updated 09:30pm (Mla time) 08/23/2006

MALACAÑANG does not see any need for the latest batch of registered nurses to again take the licensure examinations unless there is clear proof that cheating occurred in their testing centers.

“We should identify where the leakage was made and those who benefited from the leakage and let them retake the exams. The sin of Pedro should not be the sin of Juan nor the sin of Maria,” said Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita.

Ermita said that while it was worth considering to order a retake of the nursing board exams, “it would be unfair to have it imposed on all examinees, especially those in the Visayas and Mindanao.”

But Ermita stressed that Malacañang would wait for the National Bureau of Investigation to submit the results of its investigation at the end of the month before deciding what to do amid calls for a wholesale re-examination to salvage the country’s reputation.

The cheating scandal in the June nursing exams has tarnished not only the 17,000 examinees but has also cast doubt on the reputation of Filipino nurses deployed overseas.

The Palace has downplayed as an “isolated case” the adverse impact of the scandal even as reports emerged that hospitals have been reluctant to take in the latest batch of registered nurses.

“This is an isolated case and the culprits will be charged and tried and those found guilty punished to the full extent of the law,” said Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye.

“This should not be cause for any stigma on our nurses or other professionals who remain to be among the best in the world. Honesty and professional integrity are eminent traits of the Filipino worker and this is known the world over,” Bunye said in a statement.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Wednesday asked government hospitals not to discriminate against the latest batch of licensed nurses.

Duque said he would issue a memorandum instructing all 73 hospitals under the Department of Health not to turn away applicants who were in the June batch of examinees.

“We will communicate with hospitals not to prejudge June passers as unqualified,” he told reporters.

Duque said an applicant’s performance in the licensure exam should not be singled out as the sole criterion for job admission.

He suggested that state hospitals come up with a set of criteria that would also put a premium on matters like an applicant’s general weighted average, his or her school’s performance in the board exams, and his or her attitude and personality.

To help put the cheating controversy to rest, Duque said examinees should retake Tests 3 and 5, medical/surgical nursing and psychiatric nursing, the areas of the five-part exams directly affected by the leak.

“There should be a cleansing process to recoup whatever credibility was lost in the nursing profession,” he said.

An alliance of nurses and nursing students Wednesday called for the immediate resignation of all Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) officials and Board of Nursing (BON) members.

Cora Añonuevo, spokesperson of the Alliance of Nurses and Nursing Students Working for Relevant Nursing Education and Practice, said the PRC and BON aggravated the leakage problem by releasing the board exams results pending investigation.

“They said that the oath taking would be suspended, but they ate their own words the next day by starting the administering of oath to individual nurses,” said Añonuevo, a professor at the UP College of Nursing.

Añonuevo however clarified that they were leaving the resolution of the matter to the courts.

“We have to push for calls that will unite our sector because the PRC officials are capitalizing on the retake issue and are just happy to see us divided,” she said.

A task force investigating the alleged leak in the June nursing board exams on Wednesday asked the Court of Appeals to invalidate the oaths taken by successful June examinees. Reports from Gil C. Cabacungan, Christian V. Esguerra, Alcuin Papa and Margaux C. Ortiz


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