Re-evaluate the CPD requirements for PRC license renewal
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As professionals in the Philippines, we strive hard to make a living for our families. That small plastic card we earned through our board exams, which took us 4-8 years in college to learn, is an assuring edge for our tenureship. However, Mr. Antonio Trillanes IV recently sponsored the law to make CPD Units a requirement for the renewal or our licenses - with the senate nodding their heads in agreement. It is a good and constructive approach to encouraging Filipino professionals to continuously learn and broaden their knowledge, but providing the means to do so is the problem. Majority, if not all, of the providers of seminars and trainings are private institutions which charge a hefty sum of money for a seminar that doesn't even come near the required units. For us, this means having to take a leave from our jobs just to attend a lot of seminars to reach the required units. The leaves would be unpaid for some employees, but will still be a burden for those with paid leaves since they could have used it for family bonding or other significant things. I mean, leaves are supposed to be employee's benefits, but now we are forced to allocate these to earning units. So not only did you fail to make a living for a day, but you also spend on these seminars. Not to mention the effect on the company which will lose a number of manpower for a day. Take it as wala ka nang sinweldo ng isang araw, gumastos ka pa (Ang sweldo mo, lalaki ba?). This SHOULD be a free service of the government. I mean, have you ever asked what the renewal fee was for? Where does it go? What benefits do you get? Good governance not only dictates what to do but also provides means on how to do it.
I have a friend who is a nurse and she works 16 hours a day for 6 days, and 8 hours a day on the 7th day. The first 8 hours of the 16 is her job and the second 8 hours is for training. She barely gets enough sleep as she does her own household chores including the laundry for her uniform the following day. And here in the Philippines, since professional licenses are not valued, she receives minimum pay (or below) for her work. Now, my point is, imagine the frustration of having to dedicate the little time you have for seminars and trainings with nothing left for yourself. Or the salary barely enough to make ends meet, spent on a 2-day seminar for 15 units. And what happens if you don't achieve the required number of units upon your renewal date? Of course. Monetary penalty. Which keeps on increasing as time passes by without you renewing your license.
Below is an open letter I found on x.rappler.com written by a user named Elisha which she posted last July 4, 2017. Take time to read it.
"Like many professionals in the Philippines, I value my Professional license as my passport to a career both in the Philippines and if given a chance ( after a long bureaucratic process, thousands of pesos, and long agonizing years of waiting) even abroad. We have earned our license to practice: after years of education (mostly paid out of our parents' pockets or the hard-earned money of working students due to lack of universal tertiary education in the Philippines), required clinical practice, and passing the country's board examination. These are the original requirements to gain access to state-regulated professions.
Now, residing abroad and working as an OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker) doing whatever job is available for migrant workers and not being able to practice my profession yet because of the long process of documentation (sad to say, usually the delays are being caused by documentations coming from the Philippines, not to mention the overlapping authentication and charges, etc), I was very shocked and disappointed as I opened PRC's website, a notice popped up (posted June 30th, 2017) informing that PRC, starting July 1st, 2017, is requiring CPD (Continuing Professional Development) units for all professions, except for teachers and nurses (in the meantime), for the renewal of license.
First of all, can you please explain to us the system of CPD scoring? What do you mean by 35 CPD units, for example, that is required for my profession in Nutrition and Dietetics? How do you suggest professionals reach this score? Are there free trainings and education workshops or seminars that professionals could attend? For those who are abroad, are there free online educational series that would enable them to attain the certified scores? How about those who are not practicing their profession due to lack of opportunities or any other reasons but would like to if given the chance?
We admit that professionals, in any case, all individuals, has the responsibility to develop and harness their knowledge and skills. But you must also consider that the opportunity for development in our country is not available to everyone.
Not all in our profession could practice because of the lack of job opportunities. Not all who are practicing could attend expensive seminars and study a post-graduate course. There are also some who went to different fields of work or abroad because those are the only opportunities available for them. But everyone, without penal liabilities or suspension due to misconduct, has gained the right to access their respective professions. And that right requires the commission to issue them their professional license.
Unless the commission stands by its mandate to "Nurture Filipino professionals towards technical proficiency and civic responsibility in the service of the Filipino nation" by making sure every professional, local and abroad, has access to continuing professional development ( free trainings, seminars, courses) and job opportunities, could it require such restrictions for the renewal of license.
I humbly ask the commission to review this regulation and to make development opportunities available to all professionals first . I also ask the different professional associations to support and speak out on behalf of your colleagues who were not as fortunate as you are in terms of their career path and development. Make continuing professional development accessible to all before requiring it from us."
Let's sign this petition. Stop making living in the Philippines extremely difficult. Stop milking Licensed Professionals their hard-earned money. Let's change this system before it gets passed down to the next generation of professionals. May the Lord Jesus Christ bless us all in our endeavors.
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