Solon wants poor exempted from paying for professional licensure, eligibility exams

By on February 3, 2015


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MANILA  — A House leader is seeking to exempt indigent persons from the payment of fees for professional licensure, civil service eligibility and police eligibility examinations.

Rep. Catalina G. Leonen-Pizarro (Party-list, ABS) said her proposal provides another avenue to help the poor, especially those in the youth sector, realize their dream to become leaders in their chosen field and become the government’s partner in nation-building.

“The proposal intends to breathe life into the State’s policy to provide opportunities of development for all by allowing select, qualified individuals to take professional examinations for free, without any fee, in order to help them attain their dreams and maximize their opportunity to help them stand on their own. It will encourage those aspiring for professional status to try out without the distraction of any monetary obstacle to success,” said Leonen-Pizarro.

The lawmaker said in college, the State has already provided for avenues to help poor but deserving students attain their diploma through scholarships and free tertiary education in many State Colleges and Universities (SUCs).

“The same should be done after college by helping deserving ones attain professional status by allowing them to take free examinations to make them become specialist in a particular field or a professional,” said Leonen-Pizarro, chairperson of the House Committee on East Asian Growth Area.

House Bill 5346 or the proposed “Free Professional Licensure, Civil Service Eligibility and Police Eligibility Examinations Fees Act of 2015” provides the enactment of measures that protect and enhance the right of all people to human dignity and reduce social, political and economic inequalities shall be given the highest priority. In this regard, efforts should be initiated so that the poor will be afforded access to mechanisms that may expand opportunities for better employment.

The bill, now pending at the Committee on Civil Service and Professional Regulation, provides that benefits of the Act may personally be availed of by a qualified indigent only once for every year.

To avail of professional or eligibility examinations free of charge, an examinee shall secure a certification from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) stating his or her being a qualified indigent. The certification shall be presented to the Professional Regulations Commission (PRC), the Civil Service Commission (CSC), the National Police Commission (Napolcom), the Supreme Court (SC) as the case maybe, or any other government regulatory office handling profession, in lieu of the payment of examination fees.

No other fee shall be charged against the qualified indigent for purposes of the professional examination, the bill provides.

The measure further provides that the DSWD, CSC, Napolcom and SC, in cooperation with the Philippine Information Agency (PIA), shall be mandated to conduct an annual Information, Education and Communication (IEC) campaign to inform the people of the procedures and guidelines in availing of the benefits under the Act.

Moreover, the bill provides that to determine the effectiveness and social impact of the Act, the DSWD, CSC, Napolcom and SC shall submit an annual report to both the House and the Senate indicating therein the number of parties who benefited from the Act. The report shall state in detail, among others, the geographic location, demographic characteristics and socio-economic profile of the beneficiaries of the Act.