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Thirteen Filipino nurses have passed this year's Kangoshi, Japan's grueling national licensure examination for nurses, the Department of Labor and Employment said Wednesday. DOLE Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz congratulated the 13, who she said showed the world with their feat that they are professionally competent. “I warmly congratulate the 13 Filipino nurses who passed the very difficult Japanese nursing examinations. This shows that Filipino nurses can compete with anyone around the world because they are professionally competent and skilled,” Baldoz said. Labor Attache to Tokyo Clifford Paragua and Overseas Employment Administrator (POEA) chief Hans Leo Cacdac had said the Japan Ministry of Health and Welfare released last Monday the list of successful candidates of the National Examination for Nurses that took place last February 19. “With their passing the examination, they will now get their Japanese licenses and practice their profession as nurses to Japan,” Baldoz said. The 13 nurses who passed the exam had been deployed to Japan in two batches in 2009 and 2010, under the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA). Nine were from the first batch while four were from the second batch. Baldoz said this brought to 15 the total number of passers in the Japanese nursing licensure examination since the Philippines deployed nurses to Japan under the JPEPA in 2009. Only one had passed the examination in 2010 and another one passed in 2011. "A total of 160 Filipino candidate-nurses took the national examination, 61 of them from the first batch, 40 from the second batch and 54 from the third batch who came to Japan in 2011 and took the examination for the first time," the DOLE said. Lucky 13 Baldoz congratulated the "lucky 13:"
- Angelica de Guzman Tabora - Fatima Carla Libunao Santiago - Debbie San Pedro Sarausa - Excelsis John Cadungo Borbon - Christine Montalba Guevarra - Necy Abiera Suerto - Jenilou Espares Cabalatungan - Jeneth Geronimo de Guzman - Elvira Bucled Sibayan - Faith Marie Maniago Munar - Erwin Huizo Ramrez - Mildred Echalas dela Cerna - Ana Katrina Bantigue CatolicoThe DOLE had honored the first Filipina nurse passer, Ever Gammed Lim, as the Woman OFW Achiever in 2011. Meanwhile, the DOLE said 102 health workers, including 28 nurses and 75 caregivers, will compose the fourth batch of candidates who will be trained by Japanese hospitals and care facilities under the JPEPA. “This development means more Filipino nurses and caregivers will be given the opportunity to become licensed nurses and care workers in Japan and to possibly practice their profession in that country,” Baldoz said. The POEA said the 102 candidates are presently undergoing the three-month preparatory Japanese Language Training at the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). In 2009, the Philippines and Japan entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the training and employment of candidate Filipino nurses and caregivers in Japanese health care facilities under the JPEPA. Under the agreement, fully qualified nurses and certified caregivers, after passing the Japanese national licensure examination, shall have the option to stay for an unlimited period in Japan to practice their profession based on new and upgraded employment contracts with Japanese employers. For those who will not pass the licensure examination, Japan will allow 80 percent of them to stay for another year and retake the examination, provided they obtain a score of at least 100, or 50 percent of the passing score of 203. Their host institutions should also be willing to allow them to extend their stay for another year. Under the JPEPA, candidates are given a maximum of three opportunities to take the national nursing examination to be able to qualify as nurses in Japan. Meanwhile, Cacdac reported that 63 of 93 candidates composing the first batch of JPEPA trainees who arrived in Japan in 2009 have already taken the Japanese national examination for nurses last February 19. The remaining 28 already went home for various reasons. “I have asked the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Tokyo to provide us an update on the results of the examination and to identify the nurses who are about to go home so we can plan for possible assistance we can give them,” Cacdac said. Japan MOFA' support In a separate news release, the DOLE said the Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) will extend its support to the unsuccessful candidates who will return to the Philippines by organizing the job matching of the candidate with Japanese companies. Cacdac said Japan is still in the process of evaluating the request of the Philippine government to reduce from three years to two years the minimum qualification of Filipino nurses under the agreement. He also said Japan will request for an improved recruitment process for candidate caregivers and nurses by applying a merit-based approach rather than on the “first-come-first-served” basis. He said these are among the issues to be discussed in the forthcoming review of the JPEPA. — LBG, GMA News