Friday, April 5, 2013


The Commission for Filipinos Overseas (CFO) has shared – through Fil-Am veterans advocate and community leader Eric Lachica – the results of their investigation following a blog article we posted earlier this week “Fil-Am medical missioners question PRC fees for absent licenses”.

Evelyn Duriman, CFO medical mission coordinator, wrote this report for Eric, which we are posting “in toto”. 

“I wish to inform you that upon checking with Ms. Sarah Ducat of the International Affairs Division (IAD) of the Professional Regulation Commission, Dr. Simeon Sevandal and three other members of the Philippine Medical Association in Chicago (PMA in Chicago), applied for renewal of their Philippine licenses under Category F or Foreign Professionals under Presidential Decree No. 541 ‘Allowing Former Filipino Professionals to Practice their Respective Profession in the Philippines’.

“Under Category F, applicants are required to submit to the Registration and Licensing Division of the PRC the following documents along with the required renewal fees and other charges:

“Passport showing name, picture, citizenship and date of entry in the Philippines which must be within six (6) months before the filing of the application for renewal;

“Original and photocopy of the previously issued Professional Identification Card;

“Duly authenticated original and photocopy of the License/Certificate of Registration/Permit in the adopted country; and

“Four (4) Passport size ID pictures.

“I was also informed by Ms. Ducat  that while Dr. Sevandal and other members of the PMA in Chicago have been issued Special Temporary Permits (STP)  for them to be able to conduct their scheduled medical mission to Surigao City, their licenses were not renewed due to the non-submission of some required documents, i.e. passports and the proof of the date of entry in the Philippines.

“In order for the PRC to process and eventually release their licenses, kindly advise them to submit said documents.

“For further clarifications on the PRC licenses and STP, they may also directly communicate with the International Affairs Division of the PRC (copied to us) with the following contact details:

 “Atty. Teresita Manzala, Chairperson, Professional Regulation Commission, P. Paredes St., Sampaloc, Manila. Attention: International Affairs Division. Tel. No. (02)310-0019. E-mail:

“Best regards, Evelyn Duriman, Project Management Division, Commission on Filipinos Overseas”

We thank Eric and CFO’s Mely Nicolas for looking into the Fil-Am medical missioners’ complaint.

In his report to Health Department Asst. Sec. Madeleine Valera, Dr. Sevandal had alluded to the apparent confusion from new rules being enforced by the PRC on volunteer Fil-Am doctors rendering free clinics for indigent Filipinos back home.

“I applied for license renewal in 2011 for the Vigan (Ilocos Sur) mission and applied again for this mission, costing me $160 yet I did not get my license due to the requirement just promulgated by the PRC that I should be a citizen,” Dr. Sevandal said.

“They did not refund me the amount I paid,” he added and revealed that three other doctors who accompanied him in a medical mission in Surigao City last January reported the same experience.

Ms. Duriman’s account did not explain why the PRC failed to refund the license fees paid by Dr. Sevandal for 2011 and 2012 or why this was never fully explained to him.  

One Fil-Am engineer said he wanted to renew his civil engineering license (as required by the new PRC rules) so he can volunteer his skills building school buildings in the Philippines but discovered the test isn’t offered online. That meant he had to take it when he visits the country, with no guarantee when he can work out his license renewal.

The Fil-Am professionals we’ve talked to say they understand (but not necessarily agree with) the rationale behind the PRC rules, that they’re meant to deter malpractice. But they lament that the government appeared woefully unprepared to carry out the mandate it’s imposed on itself.

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