The United Architects of the Philippines (UAP), the Integrated and Accredited Professional Organization of Architects has urged lawmakers to pass the measure seeking to strengthen the architectural profession in the country and at the same time, comply with the provisions of the ASEAN Mutual Recognition Agreement.
House Bill 5127, authored by Reps. Susan A. Yap (2nd District, Tarlac) and Gary C. Alejano (Party List, MAGDALO) and Senate Bill 2623, authored by Sen. Antonio "Sonny" Fuentes Trillanes IV seeks to amend Republic Act 9266, otherwise known as the Architecture Act of 2004, in a bid to further delineate the practice of architecture from other professions.
RA 9266 explicitly provides that only Registered Licensed Architects shall practice architecture and as such shall exclusively prepare, sign and seal architectural plans and documents. Moreover, the Registered and Licensed Architect is the prime professional for the planning and design of buildings as internationally practiced. The said law was envisioned to raise the level of Philippine architecture in order to develop a built environment that is resilient, sustainable and well planned, conducive for the advancement of the Philippine culture to help promote the country as a center for business, culture and tourist destination in Asia.
According to UAP National President, Arch. Ma. Benita Ochoa-Regala, “UAP maintains that architectural plans and documents of buildings and structures are the domain of the architect based on law, academic training, professional competencies and government licenses issued to enable one to practice. We counter argue the statement of our allied professional that one cannot be disenfranchised if one is not vested with the right and interest to practice architecture such as the civil engineers. We respect the professional competency of the Civil Engineers with regard to the civil/structural design of buildings and structures, and as such we encourage them to do the same for our profession. Irrespective of the number of civil engineers in the country, we humbly submit that the architectural practice should be limited to architects”.
With the passage of these bills, according to UAP National President Regala, it will be an opportune time to establish professional accountabilities based on each of the disciplines involved in the construction and building industry, in the interest of public safety and welfare. This is also in line with the upcoming Asean integration by the end of this year, wherein our foreign counterparts may now practice in our country. It is incumbent now upon government to clarify any ambiguity in any of our professional laws.