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Nothing settled

POLICY PEEK
By Ernesto F. Herrera

Nothing settled

THE Court of Appeals ruled that only 1,687 nursing board examinees last June need to retake Tests 3 and 5, while the 1,186 examinees who were earlier removed from the Professional Regulation Commission’s list of board passers after the leakage was exposed can now take their oath and get their licenses.

Press Secretary and Presidential Spokesman Ignacio Bunye said the Palace accepts the court decision, perhaps a Solominic one, as far as the executive is concerned. “Those who are guilty will be punished and those who are innocent will be spared,” Bunye said. But granting that justice has indeed been served—and I truly doubt that it has—what has the CA decision really settled?

In the end, what we all want, what the country needs, is to restore the integrity of the nursing board exams, and the confidence of future employers in the qualifications and competence of the last batch of nursing examinees. I don’t think that has been accomplished. Not by a long shot.

The courts can punish the review centers and board examiners who leaked the questions and supplied the answers. The PRC commissioners can make all the assurances that they were not accomplices in the leakage and that there is nothing inherently wrong with how they run things. But these efforts would still not erase the doubts employers have about the last batch of nursing examinees. Even the innocent, those who didn’t cheat, would still be tainted.

Dante Ang, chairman of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas, is like a prophet whose painful advice nobody wants to heed. Well, the truth always hurts, and Ang was telling the truth. As much as we sympathize with the parents and nursing students who agonized and spent a lot in preparing for and taking the tests, only a retake would fully restore confidence in the capability of the June 2006 nursing examinees. The innocent must swallow this bitter pill, especially since it’s difficult to truly determine who are innocent to begin with. (In spite of the investigation conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation, there is really no way to know for sure who benefited from the leakage and who didn’t, and whether the leakage was confined only to certain areas.)

“We are talking about people’s lives here,” Ang said in a radio interview. “Nurses hold people’s lives in their hands, which is why not just anybody can be a nurse.” Hence, he said, it is better for all examinees to retake the board because the consequence of just one incompetent and unqualified examinee eventually practicing and working with patients in a hospital is unacceptable.

The country is already reaping the repercussions of the leakage scandal. The Philippines’ bid for accreditation as a testing center of the US National Council on Licensure Examination for registered nurses is in danger of being rejected. Ang, who is head of the presidential task force working on the NCLEX-RN accreditation, is trying hard to convince the US National Council of State Boards to reconsider our country’s request for the establishment of a NCLEX office in Manila on the assurance that the integrity of our own board exams would be restored beyond question.

Ang also said that the June 2006 nursing examinees would be given a hard time by US hospitals. The state of Arkansas, he mentioned, already declared that it will not hire nurses who took the last board.

That’s just the US. What about the other countries which are hiring our nurses like Japan and those in the Middle East and Europe? What about our own hospitals, would they just ignore the stigma of the leakage scandal?

So you see, it is no longer an issue of what’s fair and what’s not, or whether the punishment of a retake for all is too draconian. The issue is how to reverse the consequences of the leakage scandal which we are already paying for.

Of course, another issue is how to make sure cheating in state-administered exams doesn’t happen again.

I’m sorry, but without holding the PRC ultimately accountable for the leakage, the integrity of the nursing board and other state-administered exams would always be questionable.

Remember, the NBI in its investigation found a pattern indicating that cheating in these exams had been going on for years. As I said in my last column, the buck stops with the PRC whose mandate is “to ensure and safeguard the integrity of all licensure examinations.”

It is the failure of the PRC commissioners as regulators that led to this crisis of confidence in the nursing industry, so how can you not hold them responsible? Yet, no PRC official has resigned, has been charged, or replaced.

Bunye said the government will continue to undertake all measures to make sure that cheating in state-administered exams will not be repeated. Surely, revamping the PRC should be included in those measures.

"But granting that justice has indeed been served—and I truly doubt that it has—what has the CA decision really settled?"The respected senator seems to be afflicted with AD/HD for asking this question.Fist he declare that the CA serve justice but he wantsa something else to be settled. Later, he says this is to restore integrity by recommending full retake. Is the arithmetic correct. The CA says no retake and Senator Herrera says this is JUST but he still wants a retake to restore integrity. Let us give him the benefit of consistency because he later says The innocent must swallow this bitter pill, especially since it’s difficult to truly determine who are innocent to begin with. (In spite of the investigation conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation, there is really no way to know for sure who benefited from the leakage and who didn’t, and whether the leakage was confined only to certain areas.)
You know a lot of respected and respectable people are trapped by this argument of "you are innocent but sorry na lang".How come"Despite CA ruling this trap has to be confronted because this is a big lie tend to mislead a lot of people. Thankfully the CA never give credence to this.Now that the CA rebuff Mr. ANG, tameme na sya, yong iba naman na kagaya ni Mr. Herrera.Now they are telling the nurse passers not only by swallowing the bitter pill but to disobey the CA ruling. As sunstar editorial says, the two legs(widespread cheating locally and widespread rejection internationnally) no longer stands. Hwag na imislead ang mga tao!Balik na lang sa CA.

Dante Ang, Rene Tadle, the writer of this column & all PRO-RETAKERS should be the ones to have a RETAKE.

A RETAKE of IQ examinations because they seem to fall below the line.

A RETAKE of their psychiatric stability, because there is an imbalanced ego wherein their ID is dominant.

A RETAKE of subjects in logic, philiosophy & law wherein their display of reasoning skills are far below average. A well educated elementary student can clearly understand & practice basic simple analysis far better than they are.

A RETAKE of their spiritual impurities, as shown by their selfish, malicious & unprofessional intentions.

You are all despicable!!

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