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60,000 grads may have no board exams in December

PRC chief rejects P14M retake budget
By Veronica Uy
Last updated 03:11pm (Mla time) 09/06/2006

AN estimated 60,000 nursing graduates may not have any licensure examinations to take this December because the Board of Nursing remained vacant as of Wednesday, four months before the scheduled tests.

At the same time, Profession Regulation Commission (PRC) chairperson Leonor Tripon-Rosero rejected the 14-million peso appropriation intended for a retake of the scandal-ridden June 2006 board exams, insisting on her earlier stand against a retake.

“We do not intend to give the re-examination, but if you would give us the money, we can use it for something else,” Rosero told the Senate hearing on the 46.42-billion peso supplemental budget.

If the money is given to the PRC, Rosero said they would use it to pay the proctors for exams administered to Filipinos abroad.

After the hearing, Rosero told reporters that the preparation of the 500 test questions for the five subjects covered by the nursing board usually takes six months.

“Hindi madali. Walang board na gagawa. (It’s not easy. There is no board),” she said.

The members of the BON all resigned after allegations that test questions for the June board exams were leaked.

Although the PRC has invited several candidates to fill the vacancies, Rosero admitted “there are no takers” because the positions are full-time but do not pay well.

“The 21,000- to 23,000-peso [monthly pay] is not comparable to that of a (college) dean,” she said.

Asked by Senator Juan Flavier about the prospects for replacing the resigned BON members, Rosero said: “We will wait until September 14 for the prospects (who accepted the invitations) to come up with the requirements.”

But Dean Marco Sto. Tomas, one of those invited to join the BON, said: “No one wants to accept because no one wants to clean up a mess that is not of their doing. Plus, nobody wants to be a member of BON under PRC anymore. That is the immediate legislation needed: Take the BON from under PRC.”

Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya said the 14-million peso retake allocation was a last-minute amendment by Makati Representative Agapito Aquino to allow the 44,000 or so examinees in the June test another chance to prove themselves in the wake of the leakage scandal.

But Rosero said the Court of Appeals has yet to rule on the petition of several nursing groups to nullify the June tests and for everyone who took that exam, including the 17,000 who passed, to retake it.

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