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WHY IGNORE GROUNDS FOR NO-RETAKE-- AND WHY RETAKE TEST 3 AT THE EXPENSE OF PASSERS?

For: OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT and OTHERS CONCERNED

WHY IGNORE GROUNDS FOR NO-RETAKE--
AND WHY RETAKE TEST 3 AT THE EXPENSE OF PASSERS?

In announcing its decision to have a retake of the June 2006 nursing exams, the Office of the President--or the government--cited the reasons for retake. However, it was silent on the grounds for no-retake, which is simply unfair to adversely affected parties because they would not even know if these issues were presented to the President but found wanting, or concealed from her and not considered at all. In fairness to the 17,000 passers, their parents, relatives, friends, and sympathizers, the government should, at the very least, give them the courtesy and consolation of knowing why it brushed aside the justifications for no-retake and subordinated these to the case for retake.
Let me cite a concrete example of what the government ought to explain to the aggrieved nursing-exam passers and the public--the unwarranted inclusion of test 3 in its decision to retake. The licensure exam is in substance a contract between the government and the examinees. For as long as the latter comply with rules and meet requirements, for as long as it is not conclusively proven that they are guilty of cheating, they earned vested rights on the subjects passed. They become entitled to their professional licenses if they passed all subjects. While test 3 was tainted with 20 leaked questions, it has 80 remaining valid questions. Some 17,000 examinees passed this test after purging it of the leaked questions. Now, together with test 5 with 90 leaked questions, the government has decided to similarly invalidate test 3 and have it retaken. This means that the 17,000 passers will be deprived of their right to be considered as passed in this subject. Therefore, the government's authority to revoke test 3 is disputable because it infringes on the rights of passers. In which case, under our democratic system, the government has to justify its decision by passing at least two criteria. First, from the technical standpoint, do the 80 remaining valid questions still serve the purpose of the exam for test 3? If they do, then it is not right to deprive the passers of their right. Second, how did the government handled past incidents of cheating, such as in the 1996 physical therapist exam scandal and the 2003 bar exam scandal? It is not right to simply ignore past PRECEDENTS that did not involve retake without stating and proving the justifications for doing so. Unjustified brushing aside of PRECEDENTS is out-and-out discrimination against the passers. It violates the Bill of Rights.
As part of the government's decision, test 5 will be retaken. Consequently, it will be made clean . Therefore, this aspect of the decision, requiring retake of test 5, will result in tests 1, 2, and 4 being originally clean and test 5 made clean by way of retake. In other words, if test 3 is excluded from retake, we will have a situation where all subjects, except test 3, are clean at the normal 100 questions each. In that case, the only bone of contention will be test 3, with its 80 remaining valid questions, after purging 20 leaked questions. Under the circumstances, why does the government include test 3 in the retake coverage when that is not absolutely necessary because there are enough valid questions left to uphold it. Why have the tail wag the dog in test 3? Why have 20 leaked questions destroy its efficacy, instead of having the more numerous 80 valid questions sustain its validity?

Including test 3 in the retake order is quite unfair and prejudicial to thousands of innocent passers, for the following reasons:
1) Why ignore PRECEDENTS, which should be respected for a fair and consistent application of laws? In the precedent-setting 2003 bar exam scandal, the Supreme Court totally excluded the leakage-tainted subject, Mercantile Law, and recomputed the grades without invalidating the entire exam and without ordering retake. In the nursing scandal, under the premise that test 5 will be retaken and made clean, the 80 remaining valid questions for test 3 should be able to save the validity of this subject without the need for retaking it and without the need for invalidating the entire exam--considering that the no-retake decision in the 2003 bar exam scandal was much harder to defend: there was not enough clearly clean questions in Mercantile Law so it was discarded, yet it was not retaken and the entire exam remained valid.
It cannot be said that the practice of law needs lesser competence because incompetent legal practice can make the client lose not only his fortune but also his freedom. To the statement that a lawyer's work has a second chance by way of appeal, any deficient and erroneous presentation of case and evidence in the trial courts cannot be cured in the appellate courts.
Passers have also cited the 1996 physical therapist exam scandal that was resolved without retake and without complaint from UST.

2) Is the sauce for the goose not sauce for the gander? In case of doubts, why ignore the persuasive effect on PRC licensure exams of the much lesser number of questions in NCLEX, the board exam for foreign nurses who cater to the United States, an affluent, powerful, and more populous country--the same market to which PRC exam passers wanting to work abroad generally cater to? Under the same premise that test 5 will be retaken, resulting in all subjects being clean except test 3 with remaining 80 valid questions, these array of remaining questions should be enough to serve the purpose of the exam for this subject. This is the common-sense and logical extension of what the administrators of the nursing licensure exams in the United States are doing--the US National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), which administers the US National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). This is the board exam for foreign nurses (Filipinos, South Koreans, Canadians, etc.) intending to work in the United States, a country with population more than three times that of the Philippines. It is the same exam that determines the competence of all foreign nurses who will serve almost 300 million American and foreign patients—including the rich and famous in the world, as well as Filipinos who can afford to seek medical treatment in the US. It has 265 test-questions only. Exclusive of the 15 non-graded questions in its first 75 questions, the total NCLEX questions is just half of the 500 questions in the Philippine nursing licensure exams!
What's more, an examinee who passes the 60 graded questions out of the first 75 NCLEX questions is automatically declared as PASSED in ALL SUBJECTS or in the entire exam. Yet, with its much lesser number of questions, it has served as the "final step in the nurse licensure process." After passing it, Filipino and other foreign nurses can work permanently in the US, become immigrants, and eventually qualify for US citizenship without the need to take any further nursing exams. So, why can't our government officials consider as sufficient the remaining 80 valid questions just for ONE SUBJECT, test 3, in the PRC exams--when 60 questions for ALL SUBJECTS in NCLEX are enough to pass the bar of competence for the nursing profession that will serve a much larger, powerful, and affluent clientele? Do our government officials concerned have a hopeless case of COLONIAL MENTALITY that they consider PRC's remaining 80 valid questions in test 3 for ONE SUBJECT as NO MATCH to the first 60 graded questions in NCLEX for ALL SUBJECTS?

3) Why totally ignore the rights of some possible passers? Requiring retake of test 3 is conclusively not right for examinees who correctly answered 75 questions out of the remaining 80 valid questions, because that still meets the required minimum passing grade of 75% of the original 100 questions for this test. Invalidating test 3 is definitely illegal as far as this kind of passer is concerned.

4) Why ignore legal presumption and imperatives at the expense of innocent passers? One is presumed innocent until proven guilty, give the accused the benefit of the doubt, better the guilty escape than the innocent punished, punish the guilty but spare the innocent, apply laws fairly and consistently through respecting legal precedents and standards of fairness, and do justice to every one. Whatever happened to these legal and democratic tenets and philosophies that are supposed to govern our daily lives? Proof beyond reasonable doubt rather than mere preponderance of evidence for heinous crimes is required, while death penalty was abolished, pursuant to these principles—even at the great risk of letting loose or emboldening killers, kidnappers, and other criminals in our midst. Society is taking chances in deference to the possible innocent among the accused. That is how much our law regards the rights of one single individual, but here in the nursing scandal we are talking of more than 17,000 passers--plus their families whose fortunes depend upon them--whose rights are trampled upon by those who subjectively, presumptuously, and without concrete proof illogically ascribe dishonor and incompetence to them. Why are the innocent passers treated differently and deprived of their rights just to erase their supposed stigma, which, in the first place, is quite subjective and cannot be conclusively proven in law? Yes, what proof have retake advocates shown that cannot be refuted by anybody--their own letters to foreign recruiters and hospitals maligning the 2006 passers? And since when has subjective stigma created by their own government officials and elders in the profession been a valid ground for depriving innocent licensure exam passers of their rights?
The 2006 nursing scandal should not be taken in isolation. It has to be related to what was done in the past, in the 2003 bar exam scandal, in the 1996 physical theraphy exam scandal, in the kid-glove treatment of suspected plunderers of the nation, and of murderers and kidnappers whose death penalty has been abolished, and so on. Being so easy on them and so hard on the 2006 passers is unfair and unjust to the latter.
Considering that the government is violating all the legal principles that protect innocent and presumed-innocent passers, why can't our government officials, at the very least, give them the consolation of minimized underserved punishment by excluding test 3 in the retake? This single gesture of commiseration with innocent passers will mean a lot to all of them. If test 3 is excluded from retake, it will reduce to half the worry and needed review, and the review can be concentrated on just test 5. Equally important, in case the examinee fails in the repeat of test 5, he can become CONDITIONED, not FLUNKER, in which case he is given another chance of repeating test 5 only instead of tests 1 to 5 for the whole exam! So, including test 3 in the retake and in effect nullifying the passing of successful examinees in this subjcet is not a simple matter. It infringes on the vested right of passers in test 3 to become CONDITIONED instead of FLUNKER in case they fail the retake of test 5. In such event, there is certainly a world of difference to examinees who have to repeat just one subject, test 5 again, if they are CONDITIONED, instead of the whole 5-subject exam if they are FLUNKERS.

5) This time, WHY NOT IGNORE the supposed bad image of the 2006 passers, which image is subjective and speculative and is not supported by airtight documentary evidence? The main justification for retake is to restore the good image of the local nursing profession before the international community, help in convincing NCLEX administrators to hold exams here, and preserve the Filipino nurses' chances of working abroad. Retake then is an illogical solution to the problem and will not necessarily help in attaining the given objectives.
To begin with, it appears that the bad image was formed by what retake believers said against the passers, then harped on by some members of media. Had they said otherwise, it would have been different. The government could not be pinned down for human rights violations involving hundreds of killings. It defended itself before the international community. The case of the 17,000 passers is much easier to defend. What ought to be said is that "they passed fair and square some 390 remaining valid questions, and that number is much more than the first 60 graded NCLEX questions, which, if passed, automatically makes the examinee a PASSER." This statement should be followed by practical advice to foreign recruiters and hospitals: "Why don't you try them, just follow your usual testing procedure and you will find that they will qualify. If they don't, then don't hire them--as you have already been doing ever since." In other words, the government and the elders of the nursing profession should have influenced the thinking of the international community towards what is right and commonsensical. But no, Filipinos themselves are the ones putting down or downgrading the 2006 passers, and if Filipinos themselves are the ones saying it, foreigners will of course believe because they assume that Filipinos know more about themselves than them foreigners!
As gathered from the website of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO), NCLEX was initially administered solely in US territories. Then, NCLEX administrators approved additional testing centers in Hong Kong, London, and Seoul in June 2004. The Philippines was left out despite its being the top origin of internationally educated nurses taking NCLEX examination, as shown by the following numbers of examinees that originated from each country in 2004: Philippines, 10, 350; Canada, 2,135; India, 2,053; South Korea, 2053; and China, 433. In March 2005, CFO joined the efforts and lobbying by the Philippine Nursing Association (PNA) and the Philippine Nursing Association of America (PNAA) for the inclusion of the Philippines among NCLEX testing centers. More than one year after CFO joined the lobbying, or when the nursing scandal erupted in June 2006--up to which time our nurses have enjoyed favorable reputation--NCLEX approval was nowhere in sight. Now, retake is being bruited about as the soothing balm that will convince NCLEX to hold exams here.
From a reading of events, as well as of the first two NCLEX criteria for approval--national security (including economic climate) and examination security--it is quite clear that the key factor is not the refurbishing of the supposed tainted image of the June 2006 passers but the security and other concerns of NCLEX administrators. (Though not said in so many words, it is possible that they are afraid of the fallout of international terrorism in the Philippines, with them Americans as prime targets.) I have faith in the intelligence and decision-making prowess of these people. Even if PRC holds a retake, if the government cannot comply with the six NCLEX criteria enumerated in the CFO website, and unless what is really needed in the nursing scandal is actually done--that is, demonstrate in concrete terms that future cheating will be prevented because crucial reforms are instituted in the PRC board exams--I doubt if NCLEX administrators will oblige. On the other hand, even if PRC does not hold retake, or even if it holds retake of test 5 alone, if we can show that the examination system is sufficiently reformed, NCLEX administrators may yet relent. In any case, if the purpose of retake is merely to address the bad image of the 2006 passers, that can be done through retake of test 5 only, or even without retake at all--because the image problem is exaggerated and will die down once we put the scandal to rest, with or without retake! Reason? Whether locally or abroad, who are out of their minds who hire nurses on the basis solely of their PRC licenses?

*****
According to CFO Chairman Dr. Dante Ang in a TV newscast, an examinee who takes a tainted exam comes out tainted himself, or something to that effect. Well, that maybe true, but simply because the government does not do its job of protecting faceless innocent examinees. It is because it failed to properly educate the public and the international community. It is because it does not say that, "look, these passers hurdled fair and square the remaining 390 valid questions after the exam is purged of leakage--and that total is more than SIX TIMES the first 60 graded NCLEX questions that can already determine a passing examinee!" It is because our government officials concerned and supposed pillars of the nursing profession seem to have an acute case of COLONIAL MENTALITY that they cannot see the thing going for the PRC exams, that the remaining 390 valid PRC exam-questions are enough to match the equivalent 60 questions in NCLEX.
Now, if the government and other retake prime movers will say that the NCLEX exam system cannot be invoked because NCLEX and PRC exams are NOT COMPARABLE, that the PRC exam-questions are INFERIOR to those of NCLEX, they should think twice before making that utterly damaging and masochistic admission to the public, which will certainly reach the international community. That kind of admission emanating from the government no less, or from complaining nursing deans and teachers, will definitely dishonor and put down not just the 2006 PRC nursing-exam passers but also the passers in past, present and future years, including complaining nursing deans and teachers themselves! On the contrary, the very few questions in NCLEX cannot hold a candle to the 500-question PRC exam, which has enough buffer questions that if some of these are purged in case of leakage, the exam can still stand.
However, in this paper, I do not even argue for no-retake. The 17,000 passers and their lawyers can very well take care of that, or the government can do it on its own if it will see the light. I am also not asking the government to exclude test 3 from retake, that is up to the passers to decide. All I am asking is the GOVERNMENT'S REASON FOR CONCLUDING THAT THE GROUNDS FOR EXCLUDING TEST 3 ARE NOT ENOUGH TO OVERTURN THE REASONS FOR INCLUDING IT IN RETAKE, because this is sorely lacking in the explanation of its decision--yet this is very important to many adversely affected Filipinos. This will show to them whether the decision to retake is fair or not, and whether all issues which should have been considered in decision-making were in fact considered.
May I, therefore, request for the needed explanation to the public by the Office of the President, in the form of point-by-point response to the foregoing grounds for no-retake of test 3?

Thank you.


MARCELO L. TECSON

San Miguel, Bulacan
October 5, 2006


An email from : Marcelo Tecson (martecson@gmail.com)

oh well, i hope the people in CA share the same thoughts with this author who i think is an attorney, lawyer or whatever. And hopefully passed the right decision mid October which is NO RETAKE!!

On Dr. Dante Ang’s statement on TV today, 10-5-06, that two days ago CGFNS officials called on him and thank him for the President’s retake decision--which made their job easier--may I comment that he should not be too solicitous about the work of these CGFNS people. They are not exactly doing us a favor, they are simply trying to solve their own impending problem of shortage in nurses, the very reason why the US government gave additional visa allocations to nurses. We should not lighten their screening burden at the expense of the 2006 passers. Let
the CGFNS people work hard, let them earn their keep for the sake of their country. All they have to do is follow their usual screening and testing procedure, that's all. As for NCLEX administrators, they do
not even require PRC licenses, so the leakage-tainted exam is not an
earthshaking event to them.

All health care people whom Dr. Dante Ang will talk to will find the 2006 passers wanting--because he himself is so passionate about their supposed stigma that the health care people cannot help agreeing with him—some out of courtesy I suppose!

Proof that foreign recruiters and hospitals CANNOT BE SO CHOOSY right
now about nurses and will hire those who will PASS THEIR OWN TESTING AND SCREENING SYSTEM: a very close relative of mine, a female nurse, moved from the
US West Coast to the East Coast to join a family member who lives
there. In the late afternoon of her second day in her new home in the East Coast, the nurse, in "puruntong" shorts, went out to fill in her car tank with gasoline, and to see the new community. When she returned,
she told her homemates that she applied in two hospitals. Both
accepted her and both want her to start right away, but no, she will
still choose which hospital to join and she will still take a vacation.

Still another proof: In his article in the Manila Times on September 5, 2006, Dr. Dante Ang himself revealed that for each nurse recruited, hospitals pay as much as $7,000 to $10,000 to recruiters! Will they pay this much if the need for nurses is not real?

In another article or communication that I read just recently, a Filipino director in a US hospital is wondering why the flow of Filipino nurse applicants seemed to have stopped. Well, they are still held hostage by the government that cannot fathom the beauty of the limited-question NCLEX exam system.

In the meantime, we can be sure that nurses from other countries are filling in the slack or void left by our hostaged 2006 passers!!!

Everyone!

Let us not forget that all this recent development in the 2006 NLE were escalated out of proportion by the MEDIA, first of all due to the filing of TRO by UST... the delaying tactic gave opportunity for the politicians to meddle in the issue which WAS ALREADY RESOLVED BY THE PRC IN THE FIRST PLACE! BY THE EXCLUSION OF TEST 5 AND PART OF TEST 3...

DON'T LET YOUR MIND BE CLOUDED BY THE PLOT OF EGOTISTICAL GOV'T OFFICIAL IN THE PERSON OF DANTE ANG, OR DEAN TUAZON, WHO INSTEAD PROTECTING OUR IMAGE IN THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY HAD DONE OTHERWISE...

OR LET US NOT FORGET WHY UST FILED THAT CONTROVERSIAL TRO... SO THAT JUNE 2006 BOARD PASSERS WON'T BE ABLE TO TAKE THEIR OATH & GET THEIR LICENSES...IT'S FOR THE SOLE SELFISH OBJECTIVE - UST SCHOOL RANKING IN THE BOARDS!!!

DON'T BE DECEIVED!!!

The leakage did not affect the demand for filipino nurses in the US, and other parts of the world because those who have long been deployed have continued to prove themselves equal to their tasks and more.

An open letter to UST and to ALL

To Mr. Tadle of UST & Angelo Brant:

Please stop using/exploiting PCHS BSN graduates for your own selfish agenda – that is SCHOOL RANKING! We have evidences to prove our claim – one of them were the numerous text messages exchanges from Angelo Brant to PCHS BSN graduates who failed the June 2006 NLE.

A lot of innocent, respectable, & hard working students are/being affected by your irresponsible & total disregard of other people's welfare... Not to mention the rest of June 2006 Board Passers and their families with your filing of TRO to CA.

That is truly unbecoming of UST as a respected CATHOLIC institution... We DENOUNCE YOUR ACTION!


Mr. Cordero is separate entity from us - students!

If you think he has done something wrong, then we DON'T CONDONE IT... We don't want to be willing party of any form of dishonesty... But let the proper authority decide his fate… Let the court of LAW decide... NOT UST or MEDIA...

Let the rule of LAW prevail - DUE PROCESS... NOT TRIAL BY PUBLICITY!

For everyone’s information, it's NO luck that we have 1 topten in the recent NLE. We had our own pool of 2nd courser testtakers prepared to top the boards.

Large number of PCHS enrollees are 2nd coursers…We have professional dentists, allied sciences practitioners, physicians, etc. We have quite a number from UST (who unfortunately were also saddened by Mr. Tadle’s conduct of recruiting Dennis Bautista to be interviewed by the media), UP & other respectable schools...

And a LOT OF US did NOT review in INRESS.

fr: PCHS 2nd coursers, BSN 2006

I STRONGLY AGREE WITH THAT! EVEN WITH THOSE WHO REVIEWED FROM GAPUZ AND INRESS... AND STUDENTS FROM PCHS SHOULD NOT BE PREJUDICED BY THE LAW... KNOWING THAT ALL STUDENTS HERE ARE JUST VICTIMS!!! PARUSAHAN NILA YUNG MGA DIRECTLY INVOLVED SA ISSUE!

CRA NAMAN ULO NYANG DANTE ANG! NEGOSYO INIINTINDI NYAN KYA GUSTO RETAKE!

BAKET BA PILIT NYONG PINASASALO SA AMENG MGA PUMASA YUNG FAILURES NYO??? THAT IS SOOOOOO SOOOOO SELFISH!

Here's a brief way of looking at the nursing scandal:

Did the 17,000 passers pass the exam because of leakage?

The myth of the stigma peddled by Dr. Dante Ang says yes--otherwise, there should be no stigma.

Of course, Dr. Ang is wrong, for two reasons:

First, PRC computed the grades in such a way that the effect of leakage is removed, such as by purging the leaked 20 questions from test 3.

Second, and more importantly, the passers passed because THEY HURDLED THE REMAINING UNTAINTED SUBJECTS OF THE EXAM. If they failed in these subjects, even if they got honest or dishonest passing grades in tests 3 and 5, they would fail, as is the case cited by Mr. Cordero of Inress Review Center whose son (or daughter?)failed in the exam!

The point then is, the 17,000 passers hurdled the exam not because of leakage but because of their own competence, THEIR PASSING THE CLEAN QUESTIONS OF THE CLEAN SUBJECTS of the exam!

The question then will be: Are the subjects passed enough to show the passers' competence?

My gosh, we are talking of an array of 390 remaining valid questions in the exam! All that is needed is the common-sense and logical extension of the rationale behind the NCLEX exam system--that the first 60 graded questions out of the 265 total questions are enough to show competence--because what is measured is the ability to pass a given number of questions. The total number of questions can change, but the percentage of correct answers--75%--the overriding criterion, remains unchanged. This situation is a FACT that cannot be ignored in the nursing scandal without vehement objections from thousands of innocent passers.

So, if the 17,000 passers passed not because of leakage but because of their competence in passing clean questions of clean subjects in the exam, there should be no stigma. What Dr. Dante Ang should have done then is to defend the competence of innocent passers--a much easier job than that of defending the Arroyo administration against charges of human rights violations that include numerous killings and disappearances.

LEADERSHIP entails working towards the formation of an enlightened public opinion. It requires guiding the public and the international community towards what is just and right in the nursing scandal. This means educating them to the fact that the passers are competent--their competence cannot be taken away from them by the wrongdoing of third parties--this is basic. They are competent in much the same way that the 2003 bar exam passers with excluded Mercantile Law are competent. In this case, even if the passers did not pass Mercantile Law precisely because it was totally discarded, nobody had the gall to directly or indirectly influence corporations and other potential clients not to hire them.

Instead, Dr. Dante Ang seems to have created a mob of anti-passers, then used the mob as his justification for retake. If we really look at it, this seems to be the root of the looming GRAVE INJUSTICE to innocent passers once they are forced to retake!!!

MLT
10-6-06

I THINK DANTE ANG SHOULD BE SUED BY ALL THE 17,821 NURSING BOARD PASSERS FOR MORAL DAMAGES. SANA MAGSAMA SAMA TAU, NAG-IISA LANG SIYA, KAYANG KAYA NAMAN NATIN SIYANG PABAGSAKIN, LET'S ALL UNITE!

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