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Dean Vyva Aguirre on CPE and Board Exam Issues

I know that I just said that I'm "too busy to blog," but this is too important not to blog. The letter below is self-explanatory. Its author is Atty. Vyva Aguirre, Dean, School of Library and Information Studies, University of the Philippines.

Dear Von,

This is in response to the many queries that I personally get concerning two issues which have been the subject of your own postings in filipinolibrarian.blogspot: (1) the CPE, and (2) who are qualified to take the licensure examinations for librarians. I thought that I might as well give my two-cents worth.

RE the CPE

There is much confusion regarding its nature as an obligation. My opinion is that it is only a "moral obligation" but not yet a "legal obligation". The mandatory character of the CPE was deleted by Congress from the new PRC law. It was not merely forgotten but was subjected to discussions on the floor. The fact that it no longer appears in the PRC law is an indication of legislative intent. The PRC as an agency of the Executive Branch cannot substitute its own judgment by a Resolution that effectively amends the law. That is why, the PRC resolution emphasized that CPE is (only) a "moral obligation".

What, then, is the value of PRC's having constituted CPE Councils that accredit CPE providers and assign credit units to seminars, congresses and fora? There could be two benefits: The first is merely prospective – in the event that the PRC law is amended (which may or may not happen, sooner or later), the units earned could be considered "banked". For how long will these be considered "banked", we don't know. The second reason (which is only my opinion), is that it serves as BFL's way of monitoring the CPE activities of the professional associations, in compliance with our Code of Ethics.

Personally, I am disheartened by the attitude of some librarians who run after "credit points" instead of considering the value of topics offered by the seminars and workshops that they want to attend. This, to me, is an unprofessional attitude, and my main objection to mandatory CPE.

RE Issue of Who May Take the Licensure Examination for Librarians

Section 15 of RA 9246 states quite clearly:

SECTION 15. Qualifications of Applicants. - Applicants for licensure examination must meet the following qualifications at the time of filing of applications:
a) Citizen of the Philippines or a foreign citizen whose country has reciprocity with the Philippines as regards the practice of librarianship;

b) Good health and good moral character, and

c) Graduate of Bachelor's degree in Library Science and Information Science: Provided, That a holder of a master's degree in Library and Information Science Shall be allowed to qualify for application to the licensure examinations: Provided, further, That within five (5) years from the effectivity of this Act, holders of the following degrees shall also be allowed to qualify for application to the licensure examination:
1) Bachelor of Science in Education or Elementary Education; or Bachelor of Arts with a major or specialization in Library Science;

2) Master of Arts in Library Science or Library and Information Science; or

3) Any masteral degree with concentration in Library Science.
From the abovequoted provision, it is beyond question that graduates of BLIS and MLIS are qualified to take the Board Exams. As for the enumerations under Sec.15 (c), holders of these degrees may be allowed to qualify "within five (5) years from the effectivity of this Act". The "five years" ended in February of 2009. The PRC Legal Department has issued an opinion saying that this 5-year period can no longer be extended to allow holders of degrees enumerated in said Sec.15 (c) to take the exam in November of this year. Henceforth, based on my reading of the law, backed by the opinion of the PRC's Legal Department, only the following may take the licensure examinations: BLIS graduates, MLIS graduates, and repeaters or those who fall under the enumeration of the proviso (BSE LS, MALS, MALIS, etc) who had taken the examinations within the five-year period but did not pass.

Thank you, Von, for your interest in issues that affect librarians and the profession.

Vyva Aguirre

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