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Gov't to subsidize nursing exam retake

Friday, September 29, 2006
Gov't to subsidize nursing exam retake

MANILA -- Malacañang will subsidize the fees of nursing graduates who have to retake tests three and five of the 2006 nursing board exams, but will insist on the new round of tests despite the students' objections.

"It's the best decision for now," President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo assured a small group of examinees she met with Thursday.

"There is no way to determine who did not participate in the leakage...That's why to make the burden lighter, government will subsidize the next regular exams," she added.

The students were in St. Jude Church to attend the Thursday mass of the church's patron saint, known as the patron saint of impossible causes. A typhoon forced church officials to cancel the regular mass, though.

Saying the President's order is unfair, a Cebu City councilor and lawyer said the retake of the nursing licensure exams should be confined to the places where the alleged cheating happened.

At least 17,821 students passed the June 2006 board exams, out of 42,000 examinees.

Lawyer Edgardo Labella, legal counsel for the 3,305 nursing students who took the exam in Cebu City, said Cebu was never mentioned as one of the areas where examinees got hold of the leaked items in two of the five tests.

"I think it's really unfair that they will be made to retake. Why should they be required to retake when there are no allegations against those who took the exams in Cebu? The retake should be limited to the areas where the alleged cheating happened," he told City Hall reporters Thursday.

Representatives of the Tapo-Tapok sa Nagkahiusang Nurses Batok sa Retake (Tanan), the group formed by examinees from Cebu City, met with Labella to discuss the actions they will take, after Malacañang announced the President's orders.

The group is also drafting a letter addressed to Arroyo, asking her to reconsider her decision on the retake.

The nursing graduates who took the licensure exam last June 11 and 12 will also hold a rally today to protest against the President's order for a retake.

In an interview, Labella said that Malacañang should have waited for the Court of Appeals (CA) to rule on the petition for prohibition filed by nursing graduates and teachers, before the executive department decided on the retake.

The University of Sto. Tomas Nursing Faculty Association, League of Concerned Nurses and a group of student nurses in Manila filed a petition to prevent the Board of Nursing and the Professional Regulations Commission from administering the oaths of the board passers and from issuing licenses to the nurses.

Through the comment-in-intervention Labella filed before the CA, Tanan asked that the petition be dismissed and the prayer for the issuance of a preliminary injunction be denied.

In Manila, however, Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said the retake is President Arroyo's "final decision" for the sake of "national interest" and that concerned sectors should give the government their full cooperation.

"Even as justice takes its course in the relentless probe of the leakage, we appeal to all parties to put their recriminations aside and focus on a credible and untainted retake of the exams," Bunye said.

Senator Richard Gordon lauded President Arroyo's order for the nursing board exam retake.

"I have long maintained that the only way to put closure to this matter is, at the very least, requiring a retake of tests three and five of the board exams for everyone shown to have received the leaked exam questions," Gordon said.

Those responsible for the leaks ought to be unmasked, he added. (Sun.Star Cebu/Sunnex)

September 29, 2006 issue)


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