June 21, 2024

Labor Secretary Silvestre “Bebot” Bello’s proposal to scrap all forms of qualifying examinations for professionals is as sound as it is insane.
Perhaps, for some fields of the medical profession like nursing and midwifery or physical therapy, it is feasible since students who take up these disciplines are exposed to their patients even before they complete their courses. During their years of study, they acquire actual experience in dealing with what they are supposed to do after they graduate. Their line of work is more about practice than theory.
But not for others, like the legal profession which requires a different level of mental acumen. Those who need to become lawyers must master a slew of doctrines and jurisprudence, not to mention proficiency in the English language so that they can articulate before the proper forum the plight of the innocent and the abuse committed by the guilty. Sad to say, not everyone is gifted to be so inclined.
Maybe I am biased against the idea of scrapping the Bar examination because like the thousand of lawyers in the country, I too, had my share in reviewing and squeezing myself into the roster. That is beside the point, though. There are impersonal yet compelling reasons why the qualifying examination for lawyers and other highly skilled professionals, like the board examination for doctors, must remain.
It does not seem fair to allow a non-Bar passer to argue his case in court in the same way that an unlicensed surgeon is allowed to incise a patient. It is dangerous to imagine such a scenario. I, for one, will surely not entrust my life, liberty or property to someone who has not proven himself mentally capable of handling a problem, which, in most cases, is complex and compelling.
And, there is the factor of regulation. To remove the qualifying examinations necessarily carries with it the abolition of the agencies tasked with regulating these professions. Who will penalize those who abuse their position? Who will impose discipline on those who do care about the well-being of their clients and patients? Everything about the legal or medical profession will become a money-making venture where people will be treated as commodities instead of human beings.
To allow all graduates of the legal and medical course to obtain a license and be allowed to bear the title “attorney” or “doctor” will open a gate that will flood the market with too many of them. Too many will foster unfair competition where the services will be delivered by the lowest bidders. This is not an encouraging thought. It is not one I relish.
A cutthroat competition brings out the worst in everything. Professionals will exert their best to be hypocritical. Anything about law and medicine will be a farce. Law and medical schools will become diploma mills where even the least qualified or unqualified may graduate and become a lawyer or a physician.
Bello argues that the present system of qualifying professionals is not working since some of those who passed are not fit anyway. This may be true. However, there is no other way to go. There must be some sort of judgment to know who are worthy and who are unworthy. Why, even heaven has a system of separating the “sheep” from the “goats,” so why not for professionals whose lofty positions carry with it a great mission for the betterment of the country? Why deprive the incoming lawyers and doctors the satisfaction of savoring their victory knowing that not everyone can be like them?
Yeah, it is a selfish thought but it is the only way to separate the “men from the boys,” in a manner of speaking. It is the only way to make professionals out of students.