Congressmen file bill for free licensure exams for indigents

(Photo courtesy of EBSU)
(Photo courtesy of EBSU)

DURING the second regular session of the Congress, Davao City First District Representative Paolo “Pulong” Duterte together with Benguet Representative Eric Yap filed House Bill (HB) 4927 in an aim to free the qualified indigents from the burden of paying for licensure examinations.

Under HB 4927 or “An Act providing for Free Professional Examinations to Qualified Indigents”, “qualified indigents” refer to “persons with no visible means of income or support, or whose income may not be sufficient for the subsistence or basic needs of his family, as may be determined by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).”

The goal of the bill is to provide equal access to everyone to licensure examinations regardless of their social status. This will help financially incapable students to take licensure examinations of their choosing.

Both representatives encouraged all their fellow congressmen to immediately work on the bill so that indigents could benefit sooner once the bill is approved by both Houses and is signed by the president.

If the bill will be approved, all the licensure examinations administered by the Civil Service Commission (CSC), Bar Examinations conducted by the Supreme Court (SC), and the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) will be free of charge to indigents.

At present, PRC requires at least P450 to P1,050 for takers in various licensure examinations in the fields of technology, health, engineering, business, social sciences, and education. While the CSC charges P500 for the Career Service Examination for Professional and Sub-Professional Levels.

Meanwhile, the Bar Application Fee that is non-refundable is P12,800 for this year.

Representative Duterte stated that the cost of taking these exams presents a huge financial burden to students that still need to pay for their review centers.

In order to qualify, the applicant should have a certification from DSWD that guarantees that they are indigent so they could take the examination without paying the fees. Qualified indigents would only have one access to a free licensure exam every year.

An annual report will be submitted by the PRC, CRC, SC, and DSWD to the Congress and Senate detailing the number of beneficiaries of the program in order to assess its efficacy and social impact.

“Since the sole purpose of licensure examinations is to determine whether one has enough knowledge and experience to perform his or her chosen profession, being unable to pay the licensure exam fees should not be a barrier for any exam taker,” Duterte and Yap said.


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