Filipino nursing students want JPEPA junked

Ronito Calunsod/DMS

MANILA — Nursing students from a Quezon City-based college staged on Sunday a rally against the ratification of the proposed Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) for fear that Filipino nurses will only end up as nursing aides or attendants in Japan.

At least 21 students of the Colegio de San Lorenzo held the protest for 30 minutes in front of the Philippine Heart Center along East Avenue in Quezon City.

“Junk JPEPA! Junk! Junk! Junk!” the third-year nursing students, who were in their uniform, repeatedly shouted, demanding that Filipino nurses must be treated under the JPEPA as “professionals and not as commodities for sale.”

Noemelyn Pe, one of the protesters, said she will not consider working in Japan after graduation unless there is an assurance in the JPEPA that Filipino nurses will be treated fairly with Japanese nurses.

She said that as far as she knows, Filipino nurses who wish to work in Japan must undergo and complete a six-month training in the Japanese language, and will receive a much lower salary compared with Japanese nurses. “Isn’t that unfair?” she asked.

Her classmate, Tudor Miguel Enriquez, said he would rather work in European countries than waste time and effort in Japan.

“It’s really a waste of time because you already know what to do yet you have to re-think in Japanese to apply all your knowledge before you can get the regular benefits of a registered nurse there,” Enriquez said.

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