Gordon pushes for physicians’ board exams in NCR for November
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 for 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 added.
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 of 5,261.
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 senator explained.
“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?” he added.
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.