Professionals sign petition questioning requirements for license renewal
At least 43,000 Filipino professionals have signed an online petition that aims to revisit the requirements for renewing their licenses under Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Act, which took effect last March.
Junven Lavapie, a 23-year-old civil engineer, told the Inquirer that he created the petition on 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 an assuring edge for our tenureship. 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 its own regulatory board.
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 45 units.
Lavapie said continuing education might be beneficial, but earning the CPD units appears too much of a burden for underpaid professionals.
“A lot of people think that our bank accounts are overflowing just because we’re engineera,” 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 experience.”
He said the law was counterproductive as paid CPD seminars rarely cater to specializations, leaving professionals with no choice but to take the CPD trainings for the sake of 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 P5,000 to P8,000 for a seminar that he wouldn’t benefit from, and would forget about in less than a year.”
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 P3,000 per seminar just to earn a single CPD unit, because prices of the seminars were not regulated.
“Employers should organize CPD trainings for their employees,” Atienza said. “But applying with the PRC for accreditation as a free CPD provider is also a tedious process.”
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 will be delivered to the Office of the President and PRC Chairman Teofilo S. Pilando Jr. /atm
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