Binay seeks enhanced training for Filipina nurses, caregivers

By Madel R. Sabater –
Vice President Jejomar Binay Monday appealed to the Japanese government to help further enhance the training of Filipino nurses and caregivers mulling to work in Japan under the Japan–Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA).

Japanese Ambassador Makato Katsura also Monday paid a courtesy visit on the Office of the Vice President, which lasted for about 30 minutes.

The Ambassador was accompanied by Japanese Political Minister Hitoshi Ozawa and Hirotaka Ono, First Secretary of the Japanese Embassy’s political section.

Binay said Filipinos mulling to work in Japan need to have further training, particularly in the Japanese language proficiency, noting that only one Filipina, Ever Gammed Lalin, had passed the 99th National Nursing Exam in Japan.

“Kung maaari, magbigay pa konti pang pagbabago para dumami pa ‘yung mga makapasa, sobrang hirap nung exam na ‘yun eh (I requested if they could give more time for training so there would be more nurses and caregivers who can qualify. They have a very tough licensure exam in Japan),” Binay said. “Kailangan siguro dagdagan ang oras para maging familiar (I think they need to be given more time to be familiar with the language).”

Aside from assistance on nurses and caregivers under JPEPA, Binay disclosed that during the courtesy visit of the Japanese ambassador, they were able to briefly discuss on the bilateral relations between Philippines and Japan, and Japan’s assistance to the country, including the peace and development in Mindanao.

“Sinamantala kong magpasalamat at sabi ko eh pinapaabot ng administrasyon ni President Noynoy ang vibrancy ng ating relasyon sa Japan (I took the chance to thank the government of Japan, in behalf of the Aquino administration, for its vibrant relations with the country),” Binay said.

He also expressed his hope that the Japanese government will assist local governments, particularly in terms of funding.

Japan has close bilateral ties with ASEAN countries. It is the Philippines’ second largest trading partner as well as the second largest foreign investor in the Philippines.

It also remains the largest donor of official development assistance (ODA) for the Philippines.

The Philippines is the only Southeast Asian country with an existing Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with Japan, the other being Indonesia.

Under the JPEPA, candidates are given a maximum of three opportunities to take the national nursing (Kangoshi) examinations, for which purpose the Japanese government may grant extensions of their temporary stay.

Under the agreement, Filipino nurses and caregivers have to take a two- to four-year school course in Japan.

They must also pass the licensure examination to be certified careworkers in Japan.

Aside from hospital training, the Filipino health workers are required to undergo Japanese language training courses for six months.

Entered into force on December 11, 2008, the JPEPA aims to remove barriers in the flow of goods, services, human resources, and capital between the Philippines and Japan. It also facilitates the entry of at least 400 Filipino nurses and 600 caregivers for Japan’s aging society.

Japan also participates in the peace talks as a member of the International Contact Group (ICG) and the International Monitoring Team (IMT), in which the Japanese government had sent two experts to Mindanao as part of its commitment as a member of the IMT, which is headquartered in Cotabato City.

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