House pushes granting of free licensure exam for indigents

By Filane Mikee Cervantes

February 20, 2024, 7:50 pm

<p>Session hall of the House of Representatives <em>(file photo) </em></p>

Session hall of the House of Representatives (file photo) 

MANILA – The House of Representatives on Tuesday approved on second reading a measure seeking to provide free professional licensure and civil service eligibility examinations to qualified indigents.

During the plenary session, the chamber passed via voice vote House Bill 9875, otherwise known as the proposed Free Professional Examinations Act.

The bill seeks to exempt qualified indigent examinees as certified by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) from the payment of professional examination fees.

House Committee on Civil Service and Professional Regulation chair Kristine Alexie Tutor said board exam fees serve as a "financial barrier" for several indigent college graduates.

Tutor noted that the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) licensure exam costs PHP900 while the Civil Service Commission (CSC) civil service eligibility exam costs PHP500.

"We give the Professional Regulation Commission and the Department of Social Work and Development the way to work together to remove the financial barrier—the licensure examination fee—that might make a poor college graduate think twice or hesitate to take the board exam after graduating from college," Tutor said.

Tutor said a certificate of indigency from the DSWD would suffice for availing of the free board exam privilege.

"HB 9859 may benefit tens of thousands of indigents, especially those who are graduates of state universities and colleges, beneficiaries of the CHED (Commission on Higher Education) Tertiary Education Subsidy and of the DSWD 4Ps (Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program)," she said.

Personal Finance Education Program

The chamber also approved on second reading House Bill 9876, which seeks to mandate employers to provide a personal finance education program for its workers.

The bill aims to equip employees with the knowledge to help them plan and gain control over their finances.

According to the bill, the financial education program should cover topics on behavioral finance, savings, fund development, debt management, investment, insurance, and retirement planning.

Bukidnon Rep. Jose Manuel Alba, in sponsoring the measure, said financial literacy leads to increased satisfaction, enhanced productivity, and a workforce that "looks forward to a secure retirement."

"Let us acknowledge the undeniable truth: our labor force is the backbone of our economy. Their financial and economic well-being is pivotal not just for their personal prosperity but for the nation's progress. Enlightened, financially secure workers and employees contribute more effectively, fostering a more robust and stable economy," Alba said. (PNA)