Pinoys dismayed over suspension from taking US licensure exams for physical therapists

Filipinos all over the world are dismayed and distressed over physical therapists being the suspended from taking the United States licensure exams, reports ABS-CBNNews.com. Due to alleged cheating, the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) suspended on July 11 the National Physical Therapist Examinations (NPTE) testing for graduates from the Philippines, Egypt, India, and Pakistan.

Pinoy physical therapist Lemuel Tagaan, who is currently in New York, already spent more than US $1,000 for review school fees and other requirements. The NPTE is the last exam he has to take in order to pursue his dream of working in a rehabilitation center in New York. "’Wag naman sana i-ban," he told Bandila.

The FSBPT is developing "as quickly as possible" a separate exam called NPTE-YRLY for graduates from the four countries. However, they project that the exam will not be available until the latter part of 2011, according to the FSBPT website. They have not determined test locations yet.

Labor attache Luzviminda Padilla told ABS-CBNNews.com at the Philippine Embassy in Washington D.C., "We’re seeking an audience with the FSBPT so that we can be more clarified on this development and ask about their specific plans. We also want to relay the actions we’re taking on our side to address the issues they have raised... Hopefully if they see that we are taking strong actions, they may be convinced to reconsider their decision."

Eileen Decesare--president of the Virginia-based Professional Healthcare Resources--told ABS-CBNNews.com, "You can’t stop yourself from thinking they are discriminating against the four countries. Everybody is taking the same test, so why don’t they look at everybody? They are punishing only these four countries; you begin to wonder what the underlying reason is."

According to ABS-CBNNews.com, a huge number of physical therapists in the US come from the Philippines, China, and India.

An online petition has surfaced, asking the U.S. government to urge FSBPT to reverse its decision to exclude the Philippines, India, Egypt and Pakistan from taking the NPTE. Created by Florida-based immigration lawyer Shayne Epstein, the petition has a total of 3,289 signatories.

The FSBPT came to their decision due to a "breach of security." According to their official website, they gathered "compelling evidence reflecting systematic and methodical sharing and distribution of recalled questions." They pointed out the St. Louis Review Center in Manila where they found a "widespread sharing of hundreds of live test items" through a police raid in 2007. The FSBPT is pursuing criminal copyright prosecution against the review center and its owners.

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