JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia – A total of 1,205 Filipino workers in the Middle East have taken part in the first special licensure examinations given by the Philippine government on a bigger scale for engineers, architects, accountants and master electricians.
Two teams of examiners from the Philippine Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) administered the exams simultaneously in Jeddah and Alkhobar in Saudi Arabia last Nov. 27 to 29, said Romulo Bani, chairman of the Western Region chapter of the Philippine Professional
Of 135 examinees in Jeddah, 22 took the test for mechanical engineers, 33 for civil engineers, 20 for electrical engineers, 32 for architects, 15 for accountants, and 13 for master electricians, Bani said.
He said 270 OFWs participated in the Alkhobar exams, but no details were available.
From Saudi Arabia, the examiners proceeded to Doha in Qatar and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, where a total of 800 Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) took the test scheduled on Dec. 2 to 4.
Bani said around 350 OFWs in Qatar and 450 more in the UAE took the test.
Exams have been held intermittenly for overseas Filipinos, starting in 1995 when then President Fidel V. Ramos directed the PRC to gave licensure exams for hundreds of teachers working as maids in Hong Kong.
This year, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo ordered the PRC to make it a regular program in countries with big OFW populations.
Of an estimated 6.5 million Filipinos contractual workers abroad, thousands are degree holders who have not had the chance to take the licensure examinations in the Philippines in their rush to seek employment overseas.
During the registration period at the Sofitel Hotel on Palestine Road in Jeddah last week, PRC officials explained that the special examinations would be given yearly provided that the minimum number of examinees would be met.
The examiners were headed by PRC lawyer Diosdado Anselmo Q. Lalusis. Its members include Apollo S. Enriquez from the Board of Examiners for Civil Engineers; Angeline Chua Chiaco from the Board of Examiners for Architects; and PRC special collecting and disbursing officer Mirriam S. Dela Cruz.
Anselmo said the PPO chapter in the Western Region is planning to include teachers and unlicensed nursing in future exams.
Bani’s group comprises the Western Region chapters of the Philippine Society of Mechanical Engineers (PSME) headed by Julius Caringal, the Institute of Overseas Filipino Architects (IOFA) headed by Jose Genonangan Jr., the Institute of Integrated Electrical Engineers (IIEE) headed by Elizer Repollo, the Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA) headed by Joey Villanueva, and the Association of Filipino Civil Engineers (AFCE -KSA).
Genongan said President Arroyo’s order was crucial because the PRC’s expenses for the exams are now included in its yearly budget. In the past, the professional organizations have to solicit financial assistance from the Philippine Congress to cover the expenses.
The exams are conducted in cooperation with the Philippine embassies and consulates. – KBK, GMANews.TV
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