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Monday, September 29, 2008

When There Is No APO for the Guidance & Counseling Profession

The Program in yesterday's Oath Taking Ceremonies (Sept. 28, 2008, see picture on left) showed PGCA having no title of Accredited Professional Organization by the Professional Regulation Commission which we regularly saw in their invitations since March 2007. I would have loved to see the title included there with the word INTERIM written. But without this word INTERIM there, this shows that there is NO APO now for the Guidance and Counseling Profession? Does this mean that PGCA did not qualify to be either? What is happening now? I hope PGCA gives explanations that can calm our fears. What does this mean now?

Let me share with you some questions and thoughts on the implications when there is no APO identified. Here are some preliminary ideas:

1. Without an APO, or even an interim one, does this mean that the requirements for those applying for the 4th batch of Oath Takers as Guidance Counselors under the Grandfather's Clause of R.A. No. 9258, particularly the Certificates of Good Moral Character, and Active Membership may no longer need to be provided by PGCA?

I have always been of the idea, since the matter on APO-hood was discussed at the IPCAP prior to its certification of incorporation by the SEC as indorsed by the PRC, that only the duly SEC-registered guidance and counseling-related organizations should be the ones responsible to provide both certificates. It is the professional organizations who know best their participants and members. Hence, active membership is theirs to certify. Besides, while the PRB required the fulfillment of the PRC Resolution No. 132 Series of 2003, "Requiring Applicants in Licensure Examinations to Submit Certification/Testimonial of Good Moral Character" (I hope they knew about this then!), it did not require it from those who took the 1st Board Exams. Does this mean that the fourth batch of oath takers will also not be required these documents? If the PRB were to be what it is, "under the administrative control and supervision of the PRC" (Rule II, Section 4 of the Rules and Regulations of R.A. No. 9258), it should have made this a requirement in the light of what has been stipulated in the PRC Resolution No. 132, "Wherefore, the Commission RESOLVED as it hereby RESOLVES to require all applicants in the various licensure examinations to submit a Certification/Testimonial of Good Moral Character to be executed by a registered professional in the same profession starting January 2004.

"Let copies of this Resolution be furnished all the Professional Regulatory Boards, officials and employees in the Central and Regional Offices for their information and guidance, and to all heads of schools, colleges and universities for dissemination to their students who are enrolled in courses requiring the passing of licensure examinations."

This PRC Resolution was signed by Anieta Fortuna-Ibe (Chairperson), Commissioners Avelina De La Rea-Tan, and Leonor T. Rosero. I downloaded it from the PRC website mismo!

I called up Atty. Almelor about this, and all he told me was that it's alright if the regulatory law or the regulatory board doesn't require it. But, again, this shows some concern about the supervisory nature of PRC over our PRBGC. But Resolution No. 132 reads: "WHEREAS, all the regulatory board laws require an applicant for licensure examination to establish to the satisfaction of the board that he possesses the requisite good reputation, or good moral character or he has not been convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude." (Paragraph 3 of PRC Resolution No. 132 Series of 2003) R.A. No. 9258 Article III, Sec. 13 Qualifications for Examination. paragraph (b) states "has not been convicted of an offense involving moral turpitude by a competent court;" The Rules and Regulations of R.A. No. 9258 Rule III Section 13 (b) likewise states the same matter. The spirit of this provision reveals the rationality of the PRC Resolution which seemed waived in the case of the 1st licensure examinees.

With this information, does this imply now that any among us RGC's can provide the required certificate of Good Moral Character? And if anyone is granted by the PRB permission to take the licensure exams but with good moral character problems, anybody who has evidence may just have to go by what the RR of R.A. No. 9258 requires, i.e., write a letter of complaint for them to investigate as mentioned in the law (Rule II, Section 5 (j). But the trouble is we have no information as of now how to go about filing a complaint. PGCA has no word about it, nor the PRB. I have gotten word that there have been some cases (about 2?) that have been duly reported to PGCA to have gotten their PRC licenses as RGC fraudulently (1st batch ata ng Grandfather's Clause?). We have no news from PGCA about it because the person who has reported the matter has not been asked to substantiate the claim. Or has that person done so but has no reply from PGCA! Whooh! What is happening? PGCA may not entertain the matter because it is actually to the PRB that such a matter should have been raised. Remember, it was PGCA who granted us the required certificates. So this may mean that if the PRB investigates the matter, PGCA will inevitably be involved because it may not have had done a more thorough investigation as to the authenticity of certain documents. If this were the case, then what has PGCA become? A stamping pad? Or a collection agency? No offense intended, but simply a statement of possibility if the logic runs so.

2. These nonverbals have a lot inside, as we all know the saying "Actions speak louder than words." Don't we do that in Counseling? We listen a lot to the unspoken. The trouble is that we as members are kept from any "inside information." If this were the case, what are we as members in the organization all about? What are our benefits as registered Guidance Counselors and have taken the oath in PGCA? Is there a way for PGCA to communicate with us about our present status? We are professionals now! If there is something hidden, it will only keep the matter even more pressurized. Remember that septic tanks have lots of methane gas that can be explosive under too much pressure (remember the Glorietta explosion?). I would like to move that we as members be given more than we used to get when Guidance and Counseling wasn't regulated yet. PGCA has taken upon itself as APO, by virtue of PRC Resolution No. 292 Series of 2005 which the PGCA has uploaded in its website. But with the Rules and Regulations of R.A. No. 9258 published and implemented, that said Resolution No. 292 may have already been superseded, amended or repealed (Rule V Section 35 of the RR of RA 9258; Article V, Section 35 of R.A. 9258). In the light of the condo issue (I think this is not a secret anymore although we may have been kept out of the details on this matter for fear of its serious implications), and the court cases that may be necessary, the non-turnover by its previous Treasurers to the current Treasurer, what are we licensed and registered Guidance Counselors to expect from this organization to whom we took an oath? I myself asked the question WHY ARE WE MAKING THIS OATH? I got a text message from a fellow oath taker yesterday using this same line. The oath itself was good, but why before I have been educated about the organization? Didn't I feel obliged? forced? cajoled? coerced? What is the reasonable legal regulatory basis for this? When I took my religious vows, I was taught about my congregation, and I went through a period of discernment so that I was free to make the choice, including the consequences. In this case, while there seems to be no solid basis about PGCA being APO, we were already to make an oath! Think about the cart before the horse! Are we to be saddled by these organizational matters? Or are they Officers' Matters only? We members cannot say anything until we have been informed or educated. But the time is now to keep the members informed or else the future officers may not learn their lessons. Again, we are professionals! So let's conduct ourselves as professionals. I'd like to give the current PGCA Board the chance to prove itself so, rather than connive to keep certain matters out of the members' purview. If they don't, who will not think that they are party to blame with what's happening? I believe they're not. But their silence seems disturbing. Is there a type of friendship that's at stake? Or is this plain and simple neglect? PGCA has nonetheless been given a charge, and all we must do is to deliver. I say WE because I took my oath of membership and have a membership certificate. Did I pay for that? Was that included in the P1,500 we paid for the Oath Taking? That was really expensive huh, and yes, without a receipt. I hope that will be audited. Our organizations have Official Receipts for its activities, get audited and submit Financial Reports to their members, and get penalized by the SEC and BIR if not done. What about this case? Who was supposed to be in charge?

3. By all means I am now an RGC, and a registered PGCA member, having gotten my certificate of membership. I want this organization to serve its purpose well. If there is anything I can do to help make it survive and learn from all these problems, believe you me, I'll give it generous time. I love the people in it. And how I pray that wrongs be righted; that we be transparent. Yun lang. Amen.

God bless