Trainings cost half or even double the salary of a low-wage professional.
By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
MANILA — Health workers and professionals are up in arms against the implementation of the Continuing Professional Development Act of 2016, a law mandating all professionals to gain Continuing Professional Development ( CPD) units as requirement for their license renewal every three years.
Under the implementing rules and regulation, licensed professionals should gain a total of 45 credit units in three years. Credit units are referred to as trainings given by a CPD provider accredited by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC).
Clad in their white uniforms, nurses and other health professionals under the Alliance of Health Workers (AHW) stormed the PRC office on July 17 to remind the agency of the unities during their dialogue in April, most important of which was that all health professionals will be given free CPD programs.
The AHW argued that the CPD Law is “basically a commercialization and bastardization of the essence of continuing professional development”.
The group said the PRC had not acted on their proposals, such as mandating accredited professional organizations to provide free CPD trainings for unemployed professionals assigned to far-flung communities.
Sean Herbert Velchez, AHW spokesperson and a nurse at the Philippine Orthopedic Center, said because of the law, the government is forcing professionals in the health and other sectors to “cough up thousands of pesos for seminars and trainings.” He added that many health professionals are jobless, contractual or working in precarious conditions.
The AHW fights for a CPD program that is free, relevant and accessible to all professionals. If there will be no positive response from the government, the group said, several professional groups are already exploring the possibility of a nationwide strike and an OFW-led zero remittance day events.
“How can a nurse or a medical technologist earning P5,000 ($98) a month afford to attend seminars and trainings costing P3,000 to P7,000 ($59 to $138) each? How can a midwife serving in a far-flung community in Biliran attend seminars being offered by private training providers, almost all of which can only be found in city centers?” said Velchez.
He added that there is no clear guideline on how OFWs can acquire point units. He said unemployed professionals may not be able to afford such paid trainings in order maintain their licenses.
Velchez said government has not addressed such issues about the CPD law. He stressed that low-wage and contractual professionals are most likely to have difficulty complying with the CPD law, especially if they have to shell out their own money for trainings and seminars.
In April, public school teachers protested against the CPD law, decrying that they were bypassed by the PRC during the consultation with stakeholders. Government teachers aired the same demand as the health professionals — that the CPD program should be free.
The health group hoped that President Duterte will listen to the cries of Filipino professionals, many of whom voted and heavily campaigned for him.