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No way I’d take exams again, says ‘Gringo’

No way I’d take exams again, says ‘Gringo’

By Yolanda Sotelo-Fuertes, Leila Salaverria
Last updated 03:52am (Mla time) 08/17/2006

Published on Page A7 of the August 17, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

THE TOPNOTCHER of this year’s nursing licensure examinations said he would not volunteer to retake the exams.

Gringo San Diego, a nursing graduate of the University of Pangasinan, yesterday said he topped the exams because of honest work.

“I won’t let anyone take this honor from me just for his or her personal gain,” San Diego told the Inquirer.

The Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) yesterday decided that retaking the nursing board exams for those who passed the tainted June exams would be optional because it would be unfair to require all of them to postpone the practice of their chosen profession.

“We decided to allow the retake but only for those who are willing to retake (the exams). So those who are not willing to retake do not have to, meaning their June passing will be honored by the PRC,” PRC Commissioner Avelina de la Rea said.

The June 2006 passers who do not want to take another set of exams can go ahead and take their oath to become registered nurses.

The oath-taking for the June passers was originally scheduled for Aug. 22, but may be moved to a new date because the PRC would have to look for a venue, De la Rea said.

Some 17,000 of the 42,000 examinees passed the June 2006 nursing licensure examinations.

De la Rea said the PRC Board and the Board of Nursing (BON) members, save for two who were not part of the meeting because they were being charged administratively in connection with the leakage of test questions and answers, all agreed to the decision.

The PRC will issue the guidelines regarding the decision in a week’s time.

Execute waiver

De la Rea said those agreeable to take the exams anew must execute a waiver before the next nursing licensure exams in December stating that the results of their June exams would be invalidated so that the results of their next exams would be honored.

Those who failed in the June exams need not execute a waiver if they are going to retake the tests in December.

“No, I don’t want to retake the exams,” San Diego told the Inquirer. “It is tiring and time-consuming. [The feat of topping the exams] was really unexpected although I really gave my best,” he said.

If the results of the licensure exams were nullified, he said he would do his best to top the exams again.


San Diego said it was unfair for those who passed the exams to retake them again because the part of the exams that was allegedly leaked had already been taken out of the computations for the test scores.

The results of the June exams were questioned after the leakage of questions concerning Test III and Test V was exposed. To resolve the issue, the PRC invalidated 20 leaked questions in Test III and reduced the weight of Test V because 90 of its 100 questions were leaked.

But students and officials from nursing colleges questioned the PRC decision, saying it casts doubt on the integrity of the exams and may reflect negatively on the image of Philippine nurses. They called for the postponement of the oath-taking and the holding of a new set of exams.


San Diego’s mother, Teresita, said the family had talked about the issue and its decision was not to let her son retake the exams.

“Hindi na. Magastos (Not anymore. It’s expensive),” Teresita said.

She said what was important was that her son had a “clear conscience” and did not cheat to earn the first place among the more than 17,000 who passed this year’s licensure exams.

“You did your best and the results would be invalidated. It’s unfair,” she said.

She was confident that her son could make it again to the top if he would retake the exams “because he is intelligent and he diligently studies his lessons.”

De la Rea said the PRC had to consider the plight of the other examinees who were not part of the group that asked the PRC to order the retake.

“Since the population that will bear the cost of their demand was not present, it was not going to be fair for us to grant that for all of the 42,000,” she said.

Ticket out of poverty

De la Rea said it would be too much to ask all of the June passers to take the exams again.

She said many of them might come from poor families and their passing of the board exams could be their ticket out of poverty.

“We believe we should not stop them from enjoying the fruits of their labor just because there is this technical question on the validity of Test V,” she said.

The PRC commissioner also said ordering the retake of the exams just to improve the image of Philippine nurses was not a good idea.

“I think, and we in the commission think, it’s an extremely big sacrifice to ask 17,000 passers to retake just because they say they want to improve the image of Philippine nursing abroad. I think there are more steps needed to improve that image,” she said.

She said the profession and the PRC must cleanse itself and examine its priorities and commitment.

In Baguio City, Fe Marilyn Lorenzo, a former Commission on Higher Education official, and University of the Philippines professor Cora Añonuevo, said some local hospitals and overseas employers had decided not to hire nurses who obtained their license by passing the tainted June board examinations.

What about culprits?

Ruth Thelma Tingda, governor of the Philippine Nurses Association, described the PRC decision, allowing examinees to retake the board exams in December for free should they wish to, as a “generic pronouncement that does not address the conviction of any culprits.”

Tingda said the PRC decided to conduct new tests on a voluntary basis because the country’s nursing school deans had failed to come to a consensus on a nursing industry appeal for the June examinees to repeat the tests. With a report from Vincent Cabreza, Inquirer Northern Luzon


Gringo is right. No way we innocent examinees will retake the board exam. We are proud that we are part of the chosen few 42%(one of the lowest ever)who passed the june PNLE despite the leakage which I never saw upto now.

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