New professions seek PRC regulation to prepare for Asean integration

Philippine professionals are in a mad rush to prepare themselves for the 2015 ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) integration with several professions already seeking regulation with the Philippine Regulation Commission (PRC) for competitiveness.

“There are pending applications from new professions that want to be regulated by the PRC now,” PRC chairperson Atty. Teresita R. Manzala said during the Mindanao Pre-Summit Conference held at the Grand Regal Hotel last week. The Pre-Summit was a venue for the different professions to present the regional and national development that will impact on the competitiveness of the Filipino professionals.

Among the professions seeking PRC regulation are Microbiology, Instrumentation, Food Technology and Human Resources.

Ms. Manzala said the best time to prepare for the Asean integration is now. It is time to prepare and develop the different roadmaps for each profession now if Filipino professionals are to compete in Asean by 2015, she added.

She said the Philippines has to develop the Asean Qualifications Reference Framework (AQRF) by 2014, in preparation for 2015. “It is time to start putting in place our ABCs or Action, Branding and Communication,” she said.
The AQRF is the common reference framework which will function as a translation device to enable comparisons of qualifications across participating ASEAN countries.

The ASEAN is made up of 10 member-states, she said, and each one has different levels of development and education. There is a need to harmonize all these qualifications through the AQRF, she added.

AQRF is based on the 1995 ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services (AFAS) agreed upon by the ASEAN economic ministers in order to substantially eliminate restrictions to trades in services.

Leandro a. Conti of the Board of Mechanical Engineering said the major professional services initiated the Mutual Recognition Arrangements (MRAs) to enable to qualifications of professional service suppliers to be mutually recognized by signatory member states. The Registry for Engineering started in 2005, ahead of the other professions like Nursing which started in 2006, Architecture in 2007, Dentistry in 2008 and Accountancy in 2009.

When the Asean integration happens, Ms. Manzala said, it will pave the way for the mobility of professionals within ASEAN as well as the exchange of information and enhance the cooperation in mutual recognition of practitioners.

Ms. Manzala said it is easier to assess the standards of professions with PRC regulation. “For unregulated professional they will have a hard time doing that,” she added.

By 2015, she said, there will be integration, transmigration and cross border connectivity among professionals. We have to plan our offensive and defensive strategies now as well as out safeguards if our professionals are to remain competitive in Asean by that time, she added.

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