Frontliners of the Professional Regulation Commission – which shall include proctors and watchers for the upcoming professional board exams – must be among the essential sectores to be considered part of the A4 priority group of the COVID-19 vaccination.
This was the appeal may by Senator Christopher “Bong” Go.
“Maituturing dapat na essential workers ang mga miyembro ng PRC na nagsasagawa ng mga professional board exams. Kung protektado sila dahil sa bakuna, mas makakapagtrabaho sila ng maayos para hindi maantala ang mga kailangan ng ating mga kababayan para sa kanilang mga propesyon,” Go pointed out.
As Chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, Go said that he recently discussed with Vaccine Czar Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr. and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III the concerns of PRC regarding the conduct of upcoming professional board exams amid the varying community quarantine restrictions imposed in different parts of the country.
“Limitado po ang galaw natin ngayon upang mapigilan ang lalong pagkalat ng COVID-19. Ngunit kailangan rin natin ikonsidera ang mga pangangailangan sa propesyon ng ating mga kababayan na maaaring mawalan ng kabuhayan kung patuloy na maaantala ang mga operasyon ng PRC,” Go said.
“Palagi po nating binabalanse lahat. Habang pinoprotektahan natin ang buhay ng bawat Pilipino, pinoproteksyunan rin natin ang kanilang kapakanan at kabuhayan,” he added.
In March, a total of 52 COVID-19 cases were confirmed in the PRC central and regional offices. One member of the Board of Medical Technology recently succumbed to the disease. This is one of the reasons of PRC for postponing the nursing licensure examinations from May 30 to 31 of this year to November 21 to 22 instead.
Due to the growing calls from nursing graduates for the earlier conduct of the exams, the PRC COVID-19 Task Force has recommended for the vaccination of the agency’s frontliners, personnel and members of Professional Regulatory Boards, volunteer proctors and watchers to be provided protection from the COVID-19 infection.
Go has expressed support for their appeal, noting the important role of the PRC in processing and evaluating professionals, particularly nursing graduates, in order to address the need of the country for more medical frontliners.
“Kung mapoproteksyunan ng bakuna ang PRC examiners, proctors at iba pang personnel, maisasagawa natin agad ang board exams sa ligtas na paraan at mas madadagdagan natin ang mga healthcare professionals sa lalong madaling panahon,” he said.
Since the start of 2021, the PRC has already conducted licensure examinations for medical technologists, sanitary engineers, veterinarians, social workers, geologists, physicians, respiratory therapists, and optometrists.
Meanwhile, Go also asked authorities to consider in the vaccination priority list the soon-to-be health professionals or pre-board nursing graduates who are scheduled to take their licensure exams this year — without prejudice to already identified priority sectors and depending on the scheduled availability of additional vaccine doses. He cited the need to take immediate steps to address the shortage of healthcare professionals in the country amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“Hirap na hirap na po ang ating mga doktor, nars, at iba pang health workers. Kailangan na talagang madagdagan sila. Marami po diyan na nagsitapos na ng pag-aaral at kinakailangan na lang pumasa ng board exam para maging ganap na health professional. Gawin na natin ang kailangan para matulungan sila at matulungan rin ang kapwa nilang health workers sa paglaban sa COVID-19,” he said.
Moreover, Go also reminded LGUs and authorities in charge of administering vaccines to follow the order of priority imposed by the government and ensure that no one will be allowed to ‘jump the line’ if they are not part of the priority sectors identified.
“Unahin natin ang mga dapat talagang mabakunahan. Walang pa-VIP dapat. May rason kung bakit natin inuuna ang health workers, frontliners, senior citizens, at ‘yung mga may comorbidities. Darating rin tayo sa essential sectors at uunahin rin natin ang mga mahihirap na kailangan lumabas ng bahay para mabuhay,” he explained.
“Sumunod tayo sa patakaran para mas mabilis tayo makabalik sa normal na pamumuhay. Huwag natin unahan ang mga dapat talagang mabakunahan muna,” he appealed.