by Jason de Asis on Thursday, October 21, 2010 at 9:03pm

SENATE OFFICE, Manila, October 21, 2010-Senator Antonio Trillanes IV presided a Senate committee hearing inside Camp Crame to look into a joint memorandum circular issued by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) which effectively bars graduates of the state universities and colleges from taking board examinations administered by the government licensing body.


As the Chairman of the Committee on Civil Service and Government Reorganization, Sen. Trillanes also expressed fear that the memorandum would infringe on the autonomy of state universities and colleges as guaranteed under existing laws and their charters.


“Memorandum Circular No. 01, which was issued last May 14 by former CHED Chair Emmanuel Angeles and PRC Chair Nicolas Lapena Jr., in effect prevents graduates from taking the licensure exams if the state university or college they attended failed to submit itself to the same procedure that private higher educational institutions follow when they open a course,” Sen. Trillanes explained. 


This was followed by the May 27 memorandum of the regulation commission, which Sen. Trillanes said “effectively denies the admission of applicants for licensure examination from state universities and colleges that will not comply” with the CHED-PRC memorandum starting January 2011.


Trillanes also cited a notice to public by CHED which was published in a national daily on June 28, warning students “not to enroll in board and non-board programs in higher education institutions that have not been granted the necessary permit/authority from the Commission.”


The notice further stated that “graduates of a particular board program without the authority of CHED shall not be issued Special Order, which is a requirement by the PRC to allow graduates to take the board examinations.”


Trillanes, however, said that a number of state universities and colleges, as well as experts in education law, have complained that the circulars were issued without consulting them.    


“Many state universities and colleges are in fact questioning the legality and propriety of the twin memorandum circulars,” Trillanes said, since most, if not all existing state universities and colleges, have programs different from that of private higher education institutions.


The implementation of the CHED and PRC issuances threatens to nullify the autonomy granted to state universities and colleges by the laws and their respective charters, he added.


According to Trillanes, Congress should step in to protect the board exam applicants “who are obviously bound to end up as unintended victims, collateral damage… if not ‘hostages’ in this looming turf war between agencies of government which are supposed to be … protecting their interests.” (Jason de Asis)