DAVAO CITY – Filipino professionals are preparing for the 2015 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) economic integration (AEC) with several new fields already seeking coverage under the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC).
“There are pending applications from new professions that want to be regulated by the PRC now,” PRC Chairwoman Teresita R. Manzala said Thursday, during a Mindanao pre-summit conference on the AEC’s impact on local professions, held at the Grand Regal Hotel.
Among the professionals seeking PRC regulation are those in microbiology, instrumentation, food technology and human resources, Ms. Manzala said.
She pointed out that the Philippines has to develop its version of the ASEAN Qualifications Reference Framework by 2014, in preparation for the 2015 integration. The AQRF is the common reference framework that will function as a translation device, to enable comparisons of qualifications across participating ASEAN countries.
The framework 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 trade in services.
Leandro A. Conti, PRC Board of Mechanical Engineering officer-in-charge, said the major professional services initiated the mutual recognition arrangements to enable 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.
The AEC, Ms. Manzala said, will pave the way for the mobility of professionals within the ASEAN region, promote exchange of information and enhance the cooperation in mutual recognition of practitioners.
She said that it is easier to assess the standards of professions through PRC regulation.
“For unregulated professionals, they will have a hard time doing that,” she added.
By 2015, Ms. Manzala 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 put safeguards if our professionals are to remain competitive in ASEAN by that time,” she added. —