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Nurses slam new law on license renewal.

A group of nurses has added its voice to Filipino professionals opposing the new requirements for renewing their licenses under the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Act.

'Given that the laws like RA (Republic Act No.) 9173 - or the Nursing Law of 2002 - and the Magna Carta for Public Health Workers, which uphold the best interests of nurses, are little implemented and generally disregarded and violated, now comes another law that will further burden the already weighed down nurses,' the Filipino Nurses United (FNU) said in a statement.

The CPD Act, authored by Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, makes it mandatory for nurses and other professionals to earn 45 CPD units before they can renew their Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) licenses.

'This would mean a hefty expense for the already underpaid nurses while squeezing the CPD in her already tight schedule,' the FNU said.

The PRC has issued new guidelines on the law's implementation, including a resolution that outlines the required number of units for each profession under its own regulatory board.

'Unnecessary burden'

'This mandatory CPD is also an unnecessary burden for nurses who are unemployed or in nonnursing jobs or stationed in far-flung areas. [They] should not be barred from renewing his/her professional ID that has already been rightfully earned,' the FNU said.

While the aim of the CPD Act of 2016 was to ensure nurses' competence in the performance of their professional practice, the group said it was more meant to comply with the requisites of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) integration.

'[That is] to create a pool of highly skilled but cheap manpower that our country is noted to provide for the global market,' it said.

As part of Asean integration, citizens of other Asean member countries may practice their profession in the Philippines. But Filipinos cannot practice their profession when they go to other Asean countries, according to Junven Lavapie, a 23-year-old civil engineer.

'We'd have to take exams or study for another few years again in their country to do so. The CPD law allows us to 'fix' this issue,' Lavapie said.

Review implementation

Like the FNU, the Optometric Association of the Philippines (OAP) is calling for a review of the CPD Act's implementation.

The OAP earlier raised objections to the operational guidelines drafted by the Board of Optometry that required practitioners to earn educational units to renew their licenses.

The association said the board was allowing the retroactive application of points earned before the law's full implementation.

The group also wondered why CPD units had been issued to practitioners in the last three years when renewal of licenses had been allowed without such conditions before the enactment of the CPD Act last year.

Apart from the nurses and optometrists' groups, close to 62,000 Filipino professionals have signed an online petition that aims to reevaluate the requirements for renewing their licenses under the CPD Act.

Among the concerns raised by those who signed the petition on include the inaccessibility and affordability of PRC-accredited CPD providers especially among contractual professionals and those in remote areas, and those who are unemployed, underemployed or receiving low wages.

Exorbitant fees

Other professionals have also complained about the lack of accredited CPD providers, which has limited their options to current providers that are mostly private institutions supposedly offering training and seminars with exorbitant fees.

Michael Formoso, an engineer who signed the petition, said 'there are a lot channels for learning where 70 percent come from experience and on-the-job training and 20 percent from direct coaching and technical and management websites and media.'

Formoso said only 10 percent came from training.

'Leadership and management training should also be considered valid for CPD for engineers like me. I see this as means of money milking for accredited professional organization. There should be more accredited training institutions that we can choose from,' he added.

Genesis Tampus, another supporter of the online petition, said that while CPD would help upgrade skills as part of Asean integration, its implementation should be made reasonable.

Self-paced manner

'Perhaps making it available online on a self-paced manner, thus allowing us to accumulate points through seminars and making it affordable also so everybody can avail of it,' Tampus said.

Lavapie, who created the petition on, told the Inquirer in a previous interview that he found the operational guidelines of the CPD Act 'seemingly unfair' for professionals.

He said these professionals would be burdened by costly and time-consuming seminars and training.

He said the law would have been acceptable had there been government-subsidized programs for CPD units.

In an article he wrote on on Aug. 10, a day after the Senate inquiry into the complaints against the CPD Act, Lavapie said the intention of the CPD Act was good, 'but we need to refine its implementation.'
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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Nov 13, 2017
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