Senator Leila M. de Lima has proposed an across-the-board credit units of 36 to at least 41 professionals as a requisite for license renewal under the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) program of the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC).
De Lima filed Senate Bill (SB) No. 1853 which seeks to amend Republic Act (R.A.) No. 10912, also known as the “Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Act of 2016,” due to the “costly bureaucratic nightmare” to some licensed and registered professionals.
“What was originally a well-meaning legislation has turned out to be a costly bureaucratic nightmare for both the Professional Regulatory Commission (PRC) and the licensed professionals,” she said.
Under the present RA 10912, De Lima noted that the professionals are required to take as many as 45 to 120 units for every three years of compliance period just to renew their license and practice their profession. Accountancy, for one, requires 120 credit units.
More so, the cost of CPD programs can range from PhP2,500 for a 15-unit module for real estate brokers to as costly as PhP20,384 for a 100-unit program for certified public accountants.
“The costs can be even higher for highly-specialized professions with few training providers,” she said.
Although the PRC provided alternative modes of getting credit units, De Lima pointed out that some professionals would still have to spend time away from work due to training, gathering up the needed documents, and applying with the PRC to have their units credited.
“That translates to added costs for professionals who will lose income opportunities just to navigate through the bureaucratic processes required by the present law,” she said, noting that several professionals earn only just above the minimum salary.
“To impose too heavy a burden on the CPD credit units upon them [professionals] is tantamount to a significant deprivation of their income,” De Lima added.
As such, De Lima proposed under SB No. 1853 that the PRC can only require a maximum of 36 credit units each for 41 professions, such as Agriculture and Engineering, for every three-year compliance period, to alleviate the burden carried by professionals.
“This bill provides a cap for the CPD credit units which may be required by the PRC in order to moderate the burden upon the professionals who are already serving our country by practicing their professions for the benefit of our countrymen,” she said.
The Senator from Bicol noted that the proposed reduction to 36 credit units in renewal of professional licenses would also benefit the government who also suffers from the same dilemma as the professionals with their costs adding up from providing staff who are to process the accreditation and verification of the submitted documents.
“On the part of the government, implementing this program represent a high cost in terms of providing the personnel who will process the accreditation and verification of required documentation. By simplifying the process we can minimize the cost for our taxpayers,” she said. “The PRC should take into consideration these costs when determining the required units and balance the same to the public interest in maintaining the standards for our professionals,” she said.
De Lima, a lawyer by profession, cited the 36 credit units of the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE), a four-day training program once every three years for all lawyers where the program’s provider handles the bureaucratic requirements. The government may use the MCLE as some sort of guide, or it can look into pairing with private professional organizations or a service provider to augment the state-required trainings, she said.