House panel creates TWG to consolidate measures to amend continuing education law

Published July 8, 2020, 8:09 PM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

A joint panel of the House of Representatives decided on Wednesday, July 8 to create a technical working group (TWG) that would consolidate measures seeking to amend the 2016 law which mandates the supposed “burdensome” continuing education for professionals.

The Committee on Higher and Technical Education, chaired by Baguio lone district Rep. Mark Go and the Committee on Civil Service and Professional Regulation, chaired by Iligan City lone District Rep. Frederick Siao, formed a TWG to consolidate the proposed amendments to the Republic Act No. 10912, otherwise known as the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Act of 2016, and come out with a substitute measure. 

The decision was arrived at after more than four hours of virtual deliberations on the seven measures seeking to amend and repeal the CPD Law.

It was MARINO partylist Rep. Macnell Lusotan who moved for the creation of the TWG that would thresh out the issues raised by various stakeholders on the bills, and draft the consolidated measure. 

Amid calls to repeal the RA 10912, Go insisted the need for the Lower Chamber to amend the law to fully address the concerns that the cost, affordability and accessibility of acquiring CPD units became additional burden to the country’s professionals. 

“If we simply repeal it, we are not addressing the varied issues. The main issue here is the reason why this law was promulgated is because they would like to improve the competency, continuing education of these people, through this CPD. But, in doing this, we encountered problems like the hours that they have to complete, the cost of getting this training, the cost of renewing their licenses, and the requirement of attending this program every three years before they get their license. These are the issues that we have to address,” the House leader said. 

“I believe instead of repealing the law, we need to amend the law so that we can incorporate all these concerns that we just discussed, especially the economic side of this particular law,” he added. 

RA 10912 mandates professionals to obtain the necessary CPD units, as prescribed by their respective Professional Regulatory Boards (PRBs), to renew their Professional Identification Cards (PICs).

Go said among the “necessary” amendments being considered are “the possible extension of the period of compliance, offering the seminars for free or with very minimal fees, training costs to be shouldered by the employers or cost-sharing, exemption of OFWs and other professionals, especially the unemployed and low-wage earners from said requirement, or probably consider suspending or waiving the requirements in times of national emergencies like this pandemic and other calamities or even during economic crisis.”

Among the bills that will be consolidated are House Bill No. 84, filed by AKO Bicol partylist Rep.  Alfredo Garbin Jr.; HB 3795, filed by Cagayan de Oro City 2nd District Rep. Rufus Rodriguez; and HB 4137, filed by Deputy Speaker Michael Romero.

Garbin’s HB 84 seeks to exempt overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from the coverage of the CPD Law and provide for mandatory paid leave and cost sharing of expenses in complying with the CPD Law.

Rodriguez’s HB 3795 seeks to enhance the CPD of Filipino workers and professionals.

Romero’s HB 4137 seeks to set a qualification portfolio assessment standard for every profession and address administrative, institutional and funding support for the effective implementation of the CPD.

Kabayan partylist Rep. Ron Salo, and Bulacan 3rd District Rep. Lorna Silverio, who filed bills seeking to repeal RA 10912, said they are amenable to amending the CPD Act, instead of repealing it.

However,  ACT Teachers partylist Rep. France Castro insisted that the “unnecessary” CPD Law should be repealed. 

“Since its enactment, RA 10912 has imposed mutiple financial,  logistical, and psychological burden to professionals,” she said. 

The Makabayan lawmaker said prior to its enactment, laws and regulations, including the various professional charters, codes of conduct, and complementary administrative issuances governing all the 53 existing professions were sufficient to regulate the practice of their professions.