Senator Edgardo J. Angara called for increased support for Filipino nurses going to Japan during the Bilateral Meeting of the Philippine-Japan Parliamentarians Association (PJPA) and the Japan-Philippines Parliamentarians Friendship League (JPPF-L) at the Manila Hotel.
"We have thousands of very talented nurses and caregivers, and it is alarming that very few pass the Japanese licensure exams," said Angara. "In fact in two years, 2010 and 2011, only two nurses passed."
"It is very saddening that very few institutions here are helping teach the Filipino nurses who go to Japan. In fact, its incredible that more Indonesians are accepted in Japan compared to the Philippines," he continued.
According to Angara, "We must act urgently to address this issue by expanding the number of language training centers in the country, and even tapping the help of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in this matter."
"Let us support our Philippine nurses and caregivers," he said. "The first step will be to increase Basic Japanese Language Proficiency programs offered, to allow them to take this opportunity not only for livelihood, but for technology transfer between our nations."
A study by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) cites the high demand of nurses and caregivers in Japan due to its aging population. However Filipino nurses are unable to take said jobs due to poor exam performance. The current arrangement between Japan and the Philippines requires nurses and caregivers to pass Japanese examination requirements and to take a mandatory six-month training in Japan.
The Japanese delegation expressed agreement with the issues raised by Angara, and noted the urgency in finding common ground towards the resolution of said issue. The Philippine delegation on the other hand noted said issue for the upcoming review of the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA).
Fifteen parliamentarians from the National Diet of Japan are in the country for an Official Visit from May 3 to 6. The delegation is headed by Senator Hajime Ishii and Honorable Kenji Kosaka.
Angara is Founding President of the Philippine-Japan Parliamentarians Association (PJPA), and currently serves as its Secretary.