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FILIPINO PROFESSIONALS SIGN PETITION QUESTIONING REQUIREMENTS FOR LICENSE RENEWAL

This petition had 657 supporters


43,000 Filipino Professionals have signed the On-line Petition that aims to revisit the requirements for renewing their licenses under the Continuing Professional Development [CPD] Act that took effect early in 2017.

Junven Lavapie, a 23-year-old Civil Engineer, first created the petition in Change.Org because he found the Operational Guidelines of the CPD Act [Republic Act No.10912] “seemingly unfair” for professionals. He said these professionals will now be burdened by costly and time-consuming seminars and trainings.

“As professionals in the Philippines, we strive hard to make a living for our families,” Lavapie said. “That small plastic card we earned through our board exams, which took us four to eight years in college to learn, is supposedly an assuring edge for our tenureship in our jobs. Honestly, a lot of us now feel that having our licenses is more of a burden than a privilege.

He said the law would have been acceptable if there had been Government Subsidized Programs for CPD Units prepared before the law was implemented.

The CPD Act, authored by Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, requires professionals to earn CPD units before they can renew their Professional Regulation Commission [PRC] licenses.

The PRC has issued New Guidelines regarding the implementation of the law, including a resolution that outlines the required number of units for each profession under the different regulatory boards. Under the matrix of required CPD units, Accountants need to earn 120 units, while other professionals, such as Engineers, Architects, and those involved in Medical Practice, have a requirement of only 45 units.

Counterproductive

Lavapie said Continuing Education Program might be beneficial, but earning the CPD Units appears too much of a burden for those underpaid professionals.

“A lot of people think that our bank accounts are overflowing just because we’re engineers,” he said. But that’s not the case. I, for one, was a victim of contractualization. Upon resignation, higher paying jobs were scarce and difficult even after gaining work experiences.

He said the law was counterproductive as paid CPD Seminars and Trainings rarely cater to specializations, leaving us, professionals, with no choice but to take the CPD trainings for the sake of earning points.

“In Civil Engineering alone, we have multiple disciplines,” he said. “A few worth mentioning are Structural Engineering, Water Resources, Transportation, Construction Management, among others. Even if a person is currently focusing on Structural Engineering. But needed CPD points, he would take whatever seminar there is for Civil Engineers. So, he spends P 5,000.00 to P 8,000.00 for a seminar that he wouldn’t benefit from, and would forget about in less than a year.”

Costly seminars

Jmar Atienza, a 24-year-old architect who signed the petition, said earning the CPD units would cost professionals a considerable amount of money since most CPD Providers approved by the PRC would not offer their services for free. “We need to pay for the seminars that would cost thousands of pesos on top of our Annual Professional Tax and Membership Dues, considering that a lot of us are in the labor force and find it difficult to find the time to earn units,” Atienza said.

Consequently, he said the CPD had turned into business forcing professionals to pay as much as P 3,000.00 per seminar just to earn CPD units, because prices of the seminars were not regulated.

“Employers should organize CPD Seminars & Trainings for their employees,” Atienza said. “But applying with the PRC for accreditation as a free CPD provider for government is also a tedious process.” There are a lot of requirements particularly private CPD providers.

For Private CPD providers, PRC charges an Accreditation Fee of P 5,000.00 for three years. After gaining the accreditation, they have to prepare programs for another accreditations. For Program Accreditation, PRC charges another  P1,000.00 each program. The CPD Provider Accreditation and the Program Accreditation are two different things. And for the preparations to run the Accredited CPD Program and invitations of speakers and prospective participants alone already require a lot of expenses, hence, it is not FREE especially if our speakers are big-time and the venues are expensive too. These are just few of PRC Requirements. In the case of the National Committee on Urban Pest Control [NCUPC], it is okay for us to make a break even despite tedious work just to make available a program.

According to Karlo Tablizo, co-founder of iCPA, the completion of 120 CPD units that accountants are required to achieve in a period of three years is challenging because of time and cost. “CPAs are very busy with their regular work so it is hard to spare time away from work to attend CPD trainings. Regular CPD are expensive relative to the salary levels of many CPAs,” Tablizo said.

In response to this, his organization has filed an application with the PRC as a free CPD provider. He said their group would solicit for a trust fund that could provide high-quality free trainings for accountants.

According to Lavapie, a copy of the petition was delivered to the Office of the President and PRC Chairman Teofilo S. Pilando Jr.

For our petition, this will be delivered to the Philippine Congress, both the Senate and the House of Representatives that crafted this law to take a second look at the Republic Act No. 10912, and how our Honorable Lawmakers lessen our burdens.



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