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Thursday, October 02, 2008

AN OPEN LETTER TO FELLOW GUIDANCE COUNSELORS

Colleagues in the Guidance and Counseling Profession,

Peace!

I am writing you because of the situation of the Guidance and Counseling profession which we have all been working in and have dedicated our lives to. As IPCAP Interim Secretary, I feel obliged to communicate with you fellow Guidance Counselors, and you may pass this to others so that something must be done in the light of the conditions we're all in. I believe we cannot stand idle and just look at our fellow Counselors with an indifferent spirit. Let this email then be a Counseling case to attend to. And I appeal for your Boards to do something lest it be too late. Remember, the last date for the Lolo's Clause is March 26, 2009.

The case of Guidance Counselors who cannot attend organizational events, thereby lacking the requirement of certificates of active membership and good moral character.

This concerns an emailer (a nun) whom I blogged (counpsychphil.blogspot.com) about. Right now, as shown in the Program for the 3rd batch of oathtakers under the Grandfather's Clause, the PGCA did not carry with it the title Accredited Professional Organization by the Professional Regulation Commission, something which PGCA has in its invitation letters since March 2007; I have asked them to clarify this matter: have they paid the PRC fees for the APO accreditation certificate? What is its APO number? How long is its effectivity? In the absence of an answer, what has PGCA done? They uploaded PRC Resolution # No. 292 Series of 2005, something which may have been "repealed, superseded or amended by the RR of R.A. No. 9258 (Rule V, Sec. 35 of the RR of RA9258). Rule I, Sec. 3(f) identified PGCA as INTERIM APO or IAPO. But even that title PGCA did not use in the Program. Does this mean that PGCA doesn't even qualify to be such? This then shows the prerogative the PRBGC may have used in a spirit of favoritism since both are PGCA Lifetime Members. Yes, thanks to PGCA, we have a law. But its implementation seems to have been done without broader consideration of the many conditions we may all be in.

1st, why require organizational membership in PGCA? This is the essence of the requirement owing to the fact that even if PGCA is not the APO (remember the PRC requirement papers puts the APO in parenthesis: (APO), it was given the task of certifying us so. Remember that the law is not a "PGCA Law" but an R.A. for all Guidance Counselors! Yet all of us who've taken our oaths, 1st down to the latest batch have complied without complaint. But we haven't even talked about this matter and yet we are forced to get those two documents (Good Moral Character, and Active Membership) from PGCA. How about those who cannot afford the events PGCA has sponsored? Or even join other organizations?

Active organizational membership was never a requirement in the Grandfather's Clause of R.A. No. 9258 (Art. II Sec. 14). What the Grandfather's Clause intends was mentioned clearly, and yet in view of PRC's requirement of certification of Good Moral Character (for board examinees only), the provision in the Rules and Regulations particularly relevant in this case becomes now an obstacle to licensure under the generosity of the Grandfather's Clause. (It sounds like the Grandmothers did not agree!)

In fact, active organizational membership was never a requirement for those who are to take the Board exams. These young people had qualifications which were lowered than the ones we were all told to get: Masters! They were not even required to get a certificate of Good Moral Character (contrary to PRC Resolution No. 132 Series of 2003 uploadable from the PRC website). What PRC Resolution No. 132 required was one which licensed professionals in the field for board exams can provide. But the PRBGC did not do this. Isn't the PRBGC supposed to be under the control and supervision of the PRC?

My suggestion is that since PGCA is not the APO yet, instead of a PGCA-released certificate of Good Moral Character, anyone among the RGC's can provide such a certificate pursuant to the PRC Resolution 132 Series of 2005. Or the school head or employment agency personnel be the one to guarantee the good moral standing of the individual. Anyway, there are other supports to that like the NBI certificate, the Ombudsman certificate, the barangay captain, and the parish priest/pastor certifying. If the individual has participation or membership in any other Guidance & Counseling-related organizations, they too should be able to provide such certificate of good moral character. Organizational membership is not the active practice which the Grandfather's Clause intends to be generous to. Organizational membership shall only become requisite for renewal of licenses since the provision of the APO is a constant element all throughout the law.

There may be Guidance Counselors who never bother to join organizations but did a lot of Counseling like we all have been doing prior to the law, and may qualify for the Grandfather's Clause. I believe that they too must be licensed if the law has to have any meaning at all. The PRBGC will only be wasting its time in the future running after those who never sought to get their PRC licenses simply because they have never known that the (APO) is PGCA, and simply because PGCA is not the APO. I know of some who are willing to DARE the PRBGC to implement the law!

Allow me to quote a portion of the PGCA Letter to Dr. Leticia Ho which the latter never replied to:

July 26, 2007

Dear Dr. Ho,
This is to request for your written explanation on the issues raised in Board Resolution No. 05 (2007-08) dated July 12, 2007. Hereunder are the issues:

1. ...
2. The PGCA Application for accreditation as professional organization at the Professional Regulation Commission is pending due to the submission of the Constitution of 1969 which is not the one in force, as it has already been amended;
3...
4...
5...
Please submit your reply within seventy two hours upon receipt of this letter.

Very truly yours,

Sgd. Ms. Maria Lourdes L. Chavez
Secretary

Noted

Sgd. Dr. Rosa Maria I. Llanes
President

This particular document is evidence that as of last year, PGCA had already known that it is not the APO, and yet went ahead to certify us in the 1st to the 3rd batches. We did not complain because we never talked about this matter openly in public. Thanks a lot to PGCA for this service nevertheless. It was indeed necessary. Didn't the Easter Vigil Exultet say "O necessary fault..."

But as of this time, with this truth as bare as the noonday sun, may I hereby submit the recommendation that PGCA step aside in all humility and avoid doing what it should not do because it is not the APO. Let not PGCA be an obstacle to the generosity of the law in its Grandfather's Clause. Let the PRBGC keep away from favoring one organization; but in the spirit of bonding among us Guidance Counselors seek the help of organizations and institutions to certify truthfully those who may be qualified for the Grandfather's Clause.

I am blogging this letter so that even those who're not in the email list here above may be able to think about this matter and help. We are all new in this stage of professionalizing Guidance and Counseling. It is important that we do what can yet be done including keeping licensed those who are qualified and worthy instead of simply ruling out faking papers. Yes, I am right now trying to gather data regarding an incident of faking papers/documents in order to get the PRC GC ID as RGC. I understand PGCA may not do anything about the matter because it might be self-incriminating in its inability to keep the fraud from happening.

If you agree with the points above, particularly on the generosity of the law (R.A. No. 9258) stipulated in the Grandfather's Clause, let us write a letter to the PRC to look into this matter, and to assure us that the future of Guidance and Counseling won't be as chaotic as it seems it will be. The profession we're into promises a lot for us and our population. We would be better off improving in this field rather than pursuing those who cannot be stopped doing Counseling simply due to the absence of a PRC ID, the reason for which was this problematic requirement that has led many to simply DARE the law! When I shall have had finalized my thoughts and the draft I will forward that letter to the PRC Commissioners and primarily the PRC Chair Nicolas P. Lapeña Jr. You will see it here. And of course, I will pray that our authorities reconsider living in the truth that will set us all free. God bless