1,500 medical graduates eyed to help combat coronavirus menace
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Francis Tolentino wants to waive the licensure examination of over 1,500 medical school graduates scheduled in March 2020 to enable them to boost the government’s initiatives against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Tolentino made the proposal after the Department of Health (DOH) issued a call for volunteer doctors and nurses to help combat the COVID-19 crisis in the country.
“It is urged that these graduates from all the medical schools in the Philippines be authorized to practice medicine and to be registered as doctors, without having to take the Physician Licensure Examination, upon waiver of the same by the Professional Regulation Commission, so that they can immediately be deployed to support the government and local government unit (LGU) hospitals,” Tolentino said Monday in a letter to DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III.
Tolentino was referring to the Physician Licensure Examination (PLE) administered by the PRC. It was scheduled on March 8, 9, 15 and 16, 2020.
Over 1,500 medicine graduates took the exam on the first two dates, but the two latter dates were postponed by the PRC due to the COVID-19 situation in the country.
Citing the Medical Act of 1959, Tolentino noted medical students who have completed the first four years of the medical course, graduates of medicine and registered nurses “are allowed to render medical services upon authorization by the Secretary of Health without the need of a certificate of registration.”
“In a national health crisis, such as a pandemic, we are also at war, with the lives of our countrymen at stake, and our health workers are on the frontlines, but they need reinforcements now. In such extraordinary times, we need to adopt all measures to save the lives of the Filipino people,” Tolentino further told Duque.
Tolentino said this was already done in Italy where over 10,000 medical graduates were fast-tracked into early service to boost its health system amid COVID-19.
“Sa Italy, ginawa na nila ito. Hindi na nila pinakuha ng licensure examination ang 10,000 nilang medical graduates at pinayagan na silang maging ganap na mga doktor para agad silang makatulong sa COVID-19 health crisis nila duon,” he said in a statement.
(In Italy, they already did this. About 10,000 of their graduates weren’t asked to take the licensure examination and were allowed to become a doctor so that they could help in their country’s COVID-19 health crisis.)
To date, there are at least 59,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Italy with a death toll of around 5,400.
In the Philippines, confirmed cases of COVID-19 climbed to 380, with a death toll of 25, while 15 patients have fully recovered.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.