By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — As the country continues to cope with an unprecedented
public health crisis, Senator Richard J. Gordon today urged the
Philippine Regulatory Commission (PRC) to reschedule the postponed
Physician’s Licensure Exam (PLE) in Metro Manila to November this year
as the country is in dire need of additional health workers.
Gordon opined that the PRC should make a final determination soon with
the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious
Diseases (IATF), the Board of Medicine (BOM), and medical stakeholders
to map out definite plans for the 2021 PLE for the NCR.
“It is crucial to ensure that the health sector, both in resources and
minds, are provided with all support that this country and its people
could muster,” he said during his privilege speech.
“Kung wala na po tayong panibagong mga doktor o kaya po meron naman po
subalit kulang, tuloy-tuloy pong maghihikahos ang ating bayan,” he
Gordon cited a DOH report revealing that the Philippines lacks 92,000
physicians and 44,000 nurses because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He also mentioned that only 1,546 examinees took the licensure exam,
of whom 1,084 passed. In March 2021, about 1,927 took the PLE, thus,
only 3,473 were able to take the exam of the annual average examinees
From 2015 to 2019, he further added that from the 26,307 PLE
examinees, only 20,619 or 78.38 percent became doctors.
“Mababa pa po iyan at kulang na kulang pa po ang mga doktor. Ito po ay
nakadidismaya sapagkat 110 milyon na po ang ating populasyon sa
Pilipinas at ayon po sa latest available statistics, subalit ang kaya
lamang po ng ating health care system na doctor-to-patient ratio ay
ten (10) doctors for every 10,000 patients sa NCR at 2.5 to 2.8
doctors for every 10,000 patients sa probinsya. Hindi po iyan mabuti
dati, at lalo na po ngayon sa panahon ng plunder at pandemya,” the
“Sa madaling salita po, before the end of the year 2021, meron pa pong
mga medical graduates of at least 1,700 who could become doctors. Ibig
sabihin po, halos dalawang libo pa pong panibago, idealistic,
energetic, at matatalinong doktor pa ang puwedeng sumama sa laban ng
bayan kontra COVID-19. Hindi po ba iyon ay ikabubuti ng ating bayan?”
As the Christmas season approaches, Gordon pointed out that it is
reasonable to expect more human travel, which means there would be
higher probability of super spreader events that could lead to another
surge of infections.
He also took into consideration that hospital residency training
application programs in several hospitals opens in January of every
year, thus, more doctors can catch up with the residency programs of
their choice if the exam pushes through.
“Our common aim now, all of us Filipinos and with our Bayanihan
Spirit, is to beat COVID-19. The inhumanity against healthcare is a
malingering issue in the Philippines that we can address with justice.
If we work smart enough, fast enough, and hard enough, I am certain
that we can do it,” he said. (ai/mtvn)