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Palace affirms recommendation for retake of nursing examination

Palace affirms recommendation for retake of nursing examination


Malacañang yesterday affirmed its recommendation for a retake of the nursing licensure examinations last June which were marred by the controversy of cheating, even amid legal constraints brought upon definitive actions to resolve the issue by pending cases in the Court of Appeals (CA).

Press Secretary and Presidential Spokesman Ignacio Bunye said Malacañang stands by its recommendation that the proposed retake is "the only way" to restore the integrity and reputation of Filipino nurses before the international community and the entire medical profession.

"The President has expressed her desire for a retake as the only way we can redeem the integrity of the nursing licensure exam, as well as the overall reputation of our professional health care workers," Bunye said in a statement.

Mrs. Arroyo earlier recommended that all examinees in the nursing licensure examinations last June should retake Tests 3 and 5 of the nursing board exams to remove all doubts cast upon board passers by the controversy of cheating.

Tests 3 and 5 are believed to be the only portions of the nursing licensure examinations that were leaked to some nursing review centers and their students.

Mrs. Arroyo said the retake will be shouldered by the government and should be held before the regular nursing licensure examinations scheduled in December.

Bunye said Mrs. Arroyo stands by this recommendation, even amid pending cases before the CA seeking to resolve the issue.

"While we are firm on this stand, we are constrained from immediate action by the pending cases before the court. But we will not abandon our resolve to settle this issue once and for all, under the rule of law and the public interest," Bunye said.

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita clarified that Mrs. Arroyo’s recommendation is not an encroachment upon the court’s jurisdiction over the controversy of cheating in the nursing licensure examinations.

Ermita added that Mrs. Arroyo’s recommendation would not have a bearing on the coming decision of the CA on the issue, as he reaffirmed the administration’s respect for the independence of the judiciary.

Meanwhile, administration congressmen have declared their support to President Arroyo’s directive for a partial retake of the nursing board examinations, describing the move as a "Solomonic decision" on the part of the Chief Executive.

Reps. Generoso Tulagan (Kampi, Pangasinan), Lorna Silverio (Lakas, Bulacan), and Eduardo Veloso (NPC, Leyte) issued separate press statements commending the President for her decision.

"It was a Solomonic decision on the part of the President. We hope this would address the concerns on the controversy that have been aired by various quarters, particularly the leaders of the nursing profession," said Tulagan, chairman of the House Committee on Public Works and Highways.

The Pangasinan lawmaker stressed that the presidential decision was carefully made after a comprehensive assessment of the situation.

"There is no doubt the bigger majority of those affected will welcome the decision. It maintains the dignity of the nursing profession while at the same time upheld fairness and justice," Tulagan added.

Silverio and Veloso urged the Department of Labor and Employment and the Professional Regulation Commission to ensure that this will be properly and efficiently implemented.

The two lawmakers said it will be unfair to nursing graduates in other areas and their families to retake the exam in full, spend money for another review, and experience the same pressure all over again.

They agreed that the nursing exam retake should not only be for maintaining the country’s image abroad but more so to ensure the quality of its nurses and to bring back the credibility of the board exam.

The thrust and focus should not always be for labor export purposes, they said.

On Thursday, the President said only Tests 3 and 5 of the 2006 Nursing Licensure Examination will be covered in the mandatory retake of nursing board examinees. She said the retake is the only way to restore the integrity of the nursing exam which was marred by leakage.

The President made the assurance of a partial exam retake during a talk with nursing students from Lyceum of the Philippines University who approached her while supervising the cleanup of debris near St. Jude Church in Malacañang.

Silverio said a total retake of the nursing exam will be an injustice to those who have not benefited from the leakage. "There is no doubt that those who honestly made it earlier will perform well and pass Tests 3 and 5 like they did before," the lady solon explained.

She noted that a retake of the test will ease all doubts about the credibility of the new nurses and integrity of the nurses board exam.

"We support the President’s position that the retake of the nursing board will restore and protect the integrity of the nursing profession and the conduct of licensure examinations in the country," Silverio added.

Veloso, a member of the Commission on Appointments, said while he agrees that the country needs to maintain the integrity of the nursing profession, the government needs to implement measures that will be for the best interest of everyone.

"The exam retake will enhance the credibility and integrity of our nursing graduates and the nursing exam. It will boost our graduates’ chances for employment here and abroad," said Veloso.

The challenge now is for DoLE and PRC to implement adequate anti-leakage measures, according to Veloso.

"These measures should be drawn up now so our nursing graduates can retake Tests 3 and 5 in the soonest possible time," he stated. (with reports from Ben R. Rosario)


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