Bello on board, Bar exams: ‘Tanggalin na ‘yang exam-exam na ‘yan’

Aika Rey

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Bello on board, Bar exams: ‘Tanggalin na ‘yang exam-exam na ‘yan’

SCRAP LICENSURE EXAMS. Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III speaks to the media on July 7, 2021.

Department of Labor and Employment

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III says students have gone through several tests already

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III questioned the need for licensure exams for certain professions, arguing that students have already gone through several tests before graduating.

In a media briefing on Wednesday, July 7, Bello was asked about the remaining number of nurses from the additional 1,500 allowed to be deployed overseas.

As Bello answered that the cap hasn’t been reached yet, the labor chief reminded that another batch of nursing graduates will undergo the licensure exam in July. Then, he went on to question the need for board exams.

“In my meeting with the Philippine Nurses Association and the [Philippine] Board of Nursing, I said, ‘Why don’t you recommend that we do away with examinations? Why do we need to have examinations?” Bello said on Wednesday in a mix of English and Filipino.

“Sabi ko, Pag-aralan ‘nyo ‘yan and then we can recommend to Congress na tanggalin na ‘yang exam-exam na ‘yan.’ Gastos sa ating nurses na nakuha na ang pag-aaral na kailangan nila, eh puwede na mag-practice. Pero depende pa rin ‘yan, dahil under law ay dadaan dapat,” Bello continued.

(I said, ‘Study that proposal and then we can recommend to Congress to remove licensure exams.’ That is just an additional expense for our nurses who have already learned what they need to know to be able to practice the profession. But of course, it still depends because under the law, they still have to take the test.)

Bello, who is a lawyer, also felt the same way for law students, saying that students who have topped the Bar may not necessarily be the best when practicing law.

“Why don’t we do away with Bar [exams]? Students have to take a four-year pre-law, four years of law education. They undergo rigorous scrutiny before they graduate, then still have to take the Bar? Some of those who top the Bar weren’t necessarily good when practicing law,” Bello said.

The labor chief also said board exams for the engineering and dentistry practices should be scrapped.

Later during the briefing, Bello said that he will consider recommending it as a bill to Congress.

Then he added, hinting at his possible plans after this administration: “If I will be part of the legislative mill, that would be my pet bill. Kung saka-sakali lang, pero hindi pa natin alam kung pupunta ako diyan. (If ever, but I don’t know yet if I will run for office.)” –

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Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at