The Philippine government is to appeal a move by the US to ban some 17,000 nurses who passed last year's nursing examination amid allegations of mass cheating.
The US Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) issued the temporary ban this week insisting that Filipino nurses retake sections of the examination where mass cheating took place.
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on Friday ordered Labor Secretary Arturo Brion to appeal the decision.
The order comes after a nursing review center disclosed it had leaked answers to some students who took the examinations.
The scandal has rocked the country's medical profession and cast a shadow over the quality of its nurses, who are in high demand overseas, especially in the US, Europe and the Middle East.
Some 42,000 students sat the nursing examination but only 17,000 passed.
Arroyo in a statement yesterday said she had ordered the appeal to "uphold the prestige of the country's nursing profession and continue the deployment of Filipino nurses abroad."
The president said all officials of the Professional Regulations Commission (PRC), which overseas the examinations, found involved in scandal will be dismissed and criminally charged.
"All officials involved in the nursing exam leakage should be dismissed without benefits and criminally charged," she stressed.
The CGFNS said on Thursday: "Philippine nurses who were sworn in as licensed nurses in the Philippines following their passing the compromised licensure exam of June 2006 are not eligible for a VisaScreen Certificate."
CGFNS said that it sent a fact-finding mission to the Philippines last September to investigate the reports of irregularities in the exam. The CGFNS investigation concluded that "those who received their license as a result of passing the compromised June 2006 licensure examination raises significant questions about the accurate assessment of the competencies of many of those individuals."
All foreign nurses must have a VisaScreen Certificate before being allowed to work in the US.
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