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Lawmaker: Exempt Vis-Min from new nursing exam

Lawmaker: Exempt Vis-Min from new nursing exam

MANILA -- Nursing graduates opposing a plan for them to take the board exams again have found an ally in Senator Ralph Recto, who wants those who took and passed the tests in the Visayas and Mindanao exempted.

"Why punish them when they were far from the scene of the crime, so to speak? Proximity, or the lack of it, rules them out as participants in the cheating," said Recto.

He also batted for the exemption of those who took the tests in three Luzon cities: Legazpi, Tuguegarao and Lucena.

"If there's a robbery in Manila, would you take the fingerprints of people in faraway Zamboanga? I don't think the leaked questions were transmitted through mental telepathy," Recto said.

The June 11 and 12 tests were given in the cities of Cebu, Iloilo and Tacloban in the Visayas; and in Cagayan de Oro, Davao and Zamboanga in Mindanao. Some 17,000 students passed, out of over 40,000 examinees.

Closer to home, a Cebu City legislator will ask colleagues this Wednesday to join those calling for President Arroyo to conduct a thorough investigation on the alleged June 2006 nursing board exams leakage and jail those involved.

The City Council, which often takes a stand on important issues, has yet to voice its opinion on the controversy.

Successful examinees in Cebu have held rallies and protest actions to dramatize their objection to a retake, which Malacañang has put off to await a decision by the Court of Appeals on a related case.

Vice Mayor Michael Rama agreed that those responsible for the fiasco, no matter what their position in government is, should be held accountable.

Those who perpetrated the leakage and those who failed to do their duty to safeguard the test questions should be punished, and not the students who took the test, including those who might have taken advantage of the opportunity.

"It is better to acquit the guilty person than to convict an innocent one," he said.

Rama, though, appealed for sobriety, saying the government should be given the opportunity to look into the matter.

In a separate interview, Councilor Edgardo Labella said he will request his fellow councilors to take a unified stand and ask the President to have various investigating agencies launch an exhaustive probe.

Labella, a lawyer, is representing over 1,700 board passers in Cebu.

In a proposed resolution, he said that although the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Senate have initiated separate investigations, "there are no recommendations yet as to who should be indicted or administratively charged."

President Arroyo last Tuesday ordered during a Cabinet meeting an across-the-board retake of the nursing board exams, provoking opposition from passers and their parents here.

Later, Malacañang announced it is deferring action until the Court of Appeals decides on the case filed over the oath taking of those who passed the exam.

Rama said that, like Mayor Tomas Osmeña, he agrees that if the nursing graduates will have no other choice except retaking the exams, the City will give P5,000 as subsidy to each examinee who is a Cebu City resident, or whose parents are registered voters in the city.

For his part, Recto pointed out that the NBI's inquiry concluded that the incident was confined only to Manila and Baguio City.

"Should there be a court-sanctioned re-test, then it should only be in these cities, and only on subjects that have been put under a cloud of doubt," the senator said.

Recto said Visayas, Mindanao, Southern Tagalog, Bicol and Cagayan Valley takers of the 500-question board exam passed it "fair and square."

"There is not an iota of evidence to suggest that tests held in the south were attended with anomalies, so there's no reason to torture these honest nurses with another round of testing," he said.

Recto also said the planned retake of the nursing exams should be given free of charge.

"Maraming kalabaw ang mabebenta kung pagbabayarin uli ang mga mga kukuha ng test (A lot of carabaos would have to be sold if the parents are asked the pay the test fees again)," he said.

He also stressed the need for the government to wait until the Court of Appeals (CA) decides on the issue with finality.

Earlier, Senators Richard Gordon and Rodolfo Biazon said it is very important that Malacañang wait for the decision of the CA.

Recto said the justice department is an equal body and should President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo decide without waiting for the CA's decision, "this will only complicate the issue and will create more confusion."

Gordon supported the suggestion of Recto that a possible retake be required only for the clients of review centers in Baguio City and Metro Manila. He described the move as "unfair" if the government would require all candidates to retake the examinations especially if they were not part of those who benefited from the leak.

Earlier Labor Secretary Arturo Brion convinced the President that only through a possible retake of the nursing examination, specifically the option of a retake of Tests III and V involving medical-surgical and psychiatric nursing subject, can help restore the image of the Philippines in the nursing community abroad.

Meanwhile, congressmen supporting the partial retake of the nursing examination said Malacañang should come up with a final and categorical decision whether it will order or not the retake of the test.

Representatives Francis Escudero of Sorsogon and Rufino Biazon of Muntinlupa said the Palace's flip-flopping over the retake of the nursing licensure examination in the past few days would only "aggravate the present anxieties of the examinees and their families."

"Government should try to make it as painless as possible if indeed that is their decision (to hold a retake of the licensure examination)," Escudero said.

Sun Star Network Online

NO financial amount would ever commensurate our anxieties before and much more after the june nursing board examinations!

NO amount would ever measure our pains before and much more after the june nursing board examinations!

NO amount would equal the psychological trauma our sons/ daughters & us, the parents are experiencing more after the june nursing board examinations!

NO integrity will be regained as long as the corrupt, greedy criminals who are the root causes of this mess are scot-free!

NO clean board examinations will ever take place as long as greed in power & money, corruption, vested interest & runs in our system of government!

NO definite measure would ensure of a leakage-free board examinations!

from a mother of june nursing exam board passer in dagupan city


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