Issue of April 7, 2019
Mt. Province

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School officials explain policy on mandatory pregnancy test
by Jane B. Cadalig

Pine City Colleges, which earlier earned public criticism for its mandatory pregnancy test for students, said it is revisiting its policy to “tone down” the manner by which the policy is written.

Dr. Abigail Bersamin, PCC vice president for academic affairs, said the school is modifying the manner the policy is written, as advised by the Commission on Human Rights, among its other recommendations.

“We are reviewing the policy and we will re-word the language because it appears that it violates the Magna Carta for Women,” she said.

Bersamin, who appeared before the city council on April 1, along with officials from other universities, reiterated that the pregnancy test that the school requires from its students is meant to protect them and their babies from harm.

She said the school made pregnancy test mandatory because students lack the initiative to subject themselves to the test.

Bersamin said that students who are found pregnant are not expelled, but are advised to drop their subjects that have laboratory subjects and are risky and those who are bound for internship.

She said PCC has come up with such policy because there have been cases of miscarriage for students who can’t cope with the long-hour demands of a laboratory subject.

“We also have cases when students vomit when they smell the chemicals. Aside from the risks of the chemicals, the students are exposed to X-rays and other laboratory fumes. Some are prone to tardiness because of morning sickness. And when a student incurred the maximum hours of being late, they will be dropped just the same,” she said.

Bersamin said contrary to public impression that PCC’s policy is harsh, she said the school does not leave the students on their own when they are found to be pregnant.

“We do not dismiss them. They undergo counselling. Those who ask for a leave of absence are granted a leave to preserve their academic status and are re-admitted,” she said.

PCC made the pregnancy test for all its subjects because they are all medical-related, except for Hotel and Restaurant Management.

Bersamin appeared before the council along with officials of the University of the Cordilleras, University of Baguio, and Saint Louis University.

They were invited to update the body if they also have policies similar to that of PCC.

For UB, Vice President for Administration Rommel Ayson said the school imposes the mandatory pregnancy test for students enrolled in Nursing, Dentistry, Medical Technology, and HRM.

He said UB imposes the policy because it is also the requirement of its partner institutions where the students are sent for their on-the-job training.

Dr. John Domantay, dean of SLU School of Medicine, said mandatory pregnancy test is required for Radiologic Technology and Medical Technology.

He said those enrolled in RadTech who are pregnant cannot be allowed to go for internship while those enrolled in MedTech are deployed in laboratories with a less toxic environment.

UC College of Nursing Dean Judith Magwilan said pregnancy test is required for those who will undergo their internship so that the school would know where to deploy the students.

The city council invited the school officials to clarify issues about their policies on pregnancy test after PCC’s mandatory pregnancy test was posted on social media and earned negative reactions.

The university officials said they will continue implementing their mandatory pregnancy test policies, but said they would strengthen their orientation so that the students would appreciate it.

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