By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — The country’s professional licensure system should remain, despite the
struggles of the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) to hold
this certification tests the past year due to the pandemic because
such assessments boost the credibility of Filipino professionals here
and around the world, Senator Joel Villanueva said.
“Despite our disappointment with how the PRC has been failing our
graduates with the way they’ve postponed and pushed back scheduled
board exams since last year, it is very clear to us that the
professional certification exams such as the various board exams must
remain,” said Villanueva, chair of the Senate labor committee. “Hindi
po makakapagpractice ang ating mga professionals dahil hindi sila
“It is the final ‘quality control’ check before we allow graduates to
practice a profession which depends on the lives of the people—like
physicians—or safety of buildings, like engineers. If tech-voc
graduates, like mechanics who fix cars, require TESDA certification,
how much more for doctors who will repair hearts?”
Villanueva said he filed Senate Resolution No. 661 to help PRC
identify alternative ways of conducting board exams amid the pandemic
and the new normal, and not to abolish the commission. The lawmaker
pointed out that under the PRC Modernization law of 2000, the
commission was mandated to shift to full computerization of all
licensure examinations by 2003.
“Computerization will also help disaster-proof our professional
licensure system, as typhoons and floods, often wreak havoc on testing
schedules and sites,” he said.
Villanueva said the failed implementation of computerized board exams
is now haunting the Graduating Class of 2020, after the pandemic
forced the government to implement restrictions on movement, thus
affecting the conduct of licensure exams.
“We think there is a lot of room for improvement for the PRC, and to
address the problems, we need to evaluate suggestions. If our
professional regulatory laws need amending, we’re ready to buckle down
to work,” Villanueva said.
The labor committee chair commented on the statement of Labor
Secretary Silvestre Bello III earlier called to scrap licensure
exams for professionals such as nurses. Bello later clarified that he
only called to study the proposal.
“We understand the sentiment of Secretary Bello that urgent reforms
are needed to make licensure exams more accessible to takers. But we
cannot totally remove the certifying process because it will be unfair
to our people, and is a betrayal of their trust, as they expect their
government to test the knowledge of these professionals if they are
indeed qualified to practice,” Villanueva said.
“The repercussions of this proposal, if adopted, will also harm the
OFW brand, as many of them, were able to land jobs abroad because of a
good reputation of having been properly certified,” he continued.
But licensure examination is but one wheel in the big cog of
Philippine Qualifications Framework, explained Villanueva who is the
principal author of the PQF law or Republic Act No. 10968. The
framework sets multiple criteria that measures quality assurance
principles and standards of the Filipino professional, technician and
“This is the assessment system that gives a full picture of the
competencies of our professionals, a portable certification of talents
accepted in many countries,” Villanueva said. (ai/mtvn)