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Why should I pay the price?
CTALK By Cito Beltran
The Philippine Star 09/01/2006

This is a true story of sacrifice and injustice.

It was a big sacrifice for Noli and his family.

For two years, Noli set out to do what two generations before him couldn’t afford or failed to achieve. A simple dream, a human right. It did not require much travel, nor was it about scaling Mt. Everest.

However, it meant somehow being indebted even if there was no expectation from his sponsor who committed to support his expenses for two years.

It meant not being able to help in the day to day chores of a family where an extra man and extra hands greatly eased his parents' burden.

Noli was not immune to the envy of his younger brother and sisters who wonder if they will be lucky enough to pursue their dream. Nor could he spare himself the guilt that his brothers and sisters have to pick up the chores he should be doing.

And if that wasn’t hard enough he also had to give up on any gimmicks, outings, fiestas that his friends were going to. Given his disadvantage in life, he needed to focus on the goal.

Everyone in the small barangay knew about his good fortune in finding a sponsor, now everybody was watching if he would pass or fail. If he had what it took to reach the goal, to fulfill the dream.

For two years he trained, morning till night, daily he showed up resting only on Sunday to keep a promise to attend Sunday service. Soon enough the dream was more real. He actually had an on the job training.

For that he needed more money. He had to live in Manila for two months, work day and night and adjust to a culture so different from the life he knew in the province.

Inspired by actual work experience, Noli returned to the province to undergo in-house review. That meant asking for another P8,000 from his sponsor. But it would all be worth it once he graduated and that he did.

He wasn’t top of the class but it didn’t matter. Not to him, not to his sponsor, not to the whole barangay. He had a bigger hurdle ahead of him and everyone wanted to encourage him.

He had to take the state exams. For this he would have to move back to Manila and ask his sponsor for another P25,000 for what they call critical review program. A month later would be the intensive interview training which would cost his parents and grandma P20,000.

It didn’t matter that his grandma was just a cook earning P3,000 or that his father was just a carpenter feeding 5 kids and a grandchild. Even his sponsor ignored the dent on his limited finances. Everyone was taking part in building the dream of the next generation.

Once the dream comes true, the next generation can now believe it can be done. That they can graduate from any course they set their hearts and minds to, that with the help of God and family they can now become licensed professionals.

Noli took the State tests. He passed. He passed the board exams for nursing of 2006.

Two years and more than two hundred thousand pesos later the state now denies him his dream. The state denies the dreams of his parents, his family, his sponsor, even his barangay.

It is claimed that there was a leakage in the exams, that there was cheating in the exams. Claims, claims, claims.

No one had yet been arrested, charged, found guilty. But the reckless, irresponsible, self-appointed guardians of society such as politicians, professionals, government officials, judges even media practitioners simply shoveled out their opinion.

Their hypocrisy and manure in the form of qualified opinion, totally disregarded the rights of the examinees. Suddenly they were all suspect, suddenly they were all probably unfit, suddenly they are now potential risks, questionable employee material.

Would the self righteous be as judgmental and irresponsible if their children were one of the examinees, would they be so quick to deny those who passed their right to take their oath if it were their life savings invested?

They still don’t know where the actual leakage took place. Was it at the PRC, at some review center, at the photo copy shop next to the exam centers, or was it at the exam center itself.

What crime really took place? Leaking, falsification of public document, cheating, murder adultery or just plain bull shit?

Who are the criminals. The leaker or the leakee? The examinees or the PRC, the review centers or the schools.

Who has more to lose and who should the justices be protecting: the rights of those whose future are at stake, whose reputations have been besmirched, whose family savings are depleted or the hypocrites merely protecting their professional status and interest in the guise of public health safety?

Because of SELFISH not SELFLESS interests, because of PARANOIA not PROFESSIONALISM, hundreds if not thousands of Nursing graduates, can’t take their oath, can’t get their license, can't get jobs, have no way of paying back the support they got for two years and a half.

What I see here is a class action suit against the PRC, the group of people who got a restraining order that prevents those who passed from getting their license, a defamation suit against senators, congressmen, even media for recklessly tarnishing their reputation.

The usual complaints would state . . . sleepless nights, anxiety, loss of income, not just wounded pride but DISHONOR from those who would call themselves HONORABLE.

I throw a challenge at all of you so-called honorable men and women . . . how dare you cite the words "Better to let ten guilty men go free than to condemn an innocent man" as you take away the death penalty and then judge innocent hard working students and condemn the labors of their parents and their families because "SOME, NOT ALL, CHEATED."

How dare you add insult to injury by demanding that everyone retake the exam!

Yes, adding insult because it would be easier and simpler to stage a retake than to follow the rules of Law, the very same laws you as Jurists and legislators base your accusations and presumptions upon. That sirs is what I call SIMPLETON LAZINESS!!!

You as public officials should be under judgment for pre-empting and not immediately conducting the established rules of investigation. Let the police, the NBI, the PRC, specially the Department of Justice earn its keep as keeper of the law and not as speaker for the cause.

Perhaps even those who claim to be wise men of the law should reflect not only on the provisions of law but intent tempered with just equity for all concerned and not who comes first to their salas.

As for me, I choose to keep faith with the youth, their dreams, and honor their sacrifice. I will continue to be a sponsor, I will continue to fight the good fight.

I shall also leak out a list of all government officials, professionals, and media who DISHORED the truly honorable. Maybe a few thousand votes less, a few thousand readers and viewers, a few hundred thousand pesos of losses will somehow make you realize the need to apologize to our children.


Yes, that’s right. The sad part is, it is just one of thousands of other 2006 passers unable to pursue their dream, thereby preventing them from lightening the burden of their parents and siblings, who deprived themselves of many things in the past just to have someone in the family escape their wretched and miserable lives.

Why is it so? How can that be?

It is simply because some people in high places think like CLERKS who cannot properly adapt to changes. They cannot innovate, they cannot escape from tradition, they cannot deviate from what they are accustomed to see or do. They cannot think like SUN TZU WARRIORS who knew that changing situations need changing strategies.

For example, Mr. Dante Ang and complaining nursing deans from UP, UE, UST, etc., insist on the traditional 500-question exam through retake of Tests 3 and 5. They think that passing the remaining 390 leaked-cleansed questions, which 25,000 other examinees failed to pass, is not enough to deem the 17,000 passers as competent.

Even if we agree with Mr. Ang and the complaining deans, who are we against the administrators of NCLEX, the most authoritative exam abroad that tests the competence of all foreign nurses—Filipinos, Indonesians, Malaysians, Thais, etc.—-before they are allowed to practice permanently in the US. The PRC exam is nothing compared to it because even if one has PRC license, if she does not pass NCLEX, she cannot be allowed to practice permanently in the US. And how many test questions does NCLEX has? Only 265, passing 60 of the first 75 of which automatically declares one a PASSER, and the computer will not even look at the answers to the rest of the exam. The computer will do so only to give another chance to those who failed in the first 75 questions—-and it will do so up to 265 questions only, not 390, let alone 500!

What more proof that insisting on completing 500 test questions is a product of the whims and caprices of those who subjectively look down upon 17,000 innocent passers, those who cannot see the big picture that if PRC will remain steadfast in its decision to PUNISH THE GUILTY and SPARE THE INNOCENT, it can face any inquisitorial body and it will survive.

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