The Philippine Medical Students Association (PMSA) on Wednesday called for the postponement of the September 2021 Physician Licensure Examinations amid the surge of COVID-19 cases in the country due to the Delta coronavirus variant.
In a statement, the PMSA said pushing through with the exam will threaten the safety of the examinees, proctors, and administrators, and will put at risk their families, relatives, and the general public as well.
“More than 1,000 individuals, 35 organizations, several doctors and personalities gave all-out support to the unified call of medical and health allied students, councils and organizations to postpone the September 2021 Physician Licensure Exam amid the skyrocketing cases of COVID-19,” said the PMSA in a statement posted on Facebook.
“Yesterday, the Philippine Medical StudentsÊ» Association led a Twitter rally which trended in the Philippines, seeking signatories to support the call. Overwhelming support poured from physicians and individuals with many citing the health and safety of PLE takers must be prioritized amid the highly unfavorable circumstances for the exam,” it added.
“The worsening health crisis also puts a heavy burden on the emotional and mental well-being of the examinees on top of the taxing physical and academic demands of reviewing, which may cause them not to be in proper shape and health to take the exams,” they said.
Group spokesperson Simon Sarmiento said the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) should also consider the cost of taking the medical boards amid a pandemic.
“For example, PRC requires you to have an RT-PCR test or a 14-day quarantine. Of course, if you’re from a faraway place then you have to book lodging, you’re gonna have to book transportation,” he said.
“There are other economic considerations. They can’t just drop policies like that two days before exams or what,” he stressed.
Sarmiento noted that the Social Workers Licensure Exam in Metro Manila was cancelled two days before its scheduled date, hurting examinees who may have already spent thousands for it.
He also called on the government to ensure the safe reopening of face-to-face classes for medical students in all parts of the country.
“In the past, I had the opportunity to use laboratories, I had the opportunity to actually perform physical procedures such as taking blood pressure, but now we can’t even do that especially when you don’t have someone with you at home.”
“For this reason, many medical students have actually filed for leave of absence or dropped altogether simply because they don’t see the value in this online medical education setup,” he added.