It’s official! Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) has amended the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Law and it will take effect starting March 1, 2019. PRC issued on February 7 the Resolution No. 2019-1146 which revises relevant provisions of the IRR of the Republic Act 10912 or the CPD Law of 2016. The amendments were presented to the consultative meeting at Senate Committee on Civil Service, Government Reorganization and Professional Regulation on February 4. It was published February 13 at the Philippine Star and will take effect 15 days after. It can be recalled that in the sixth Senate committee hearing on CPD law last November 28, 2018, committee chair Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV and fellow senators Ralph Recto and Miguel Zubiri urged PRC Commissioners and CPD Council members to look into the implementation of the law after numerous complaints received by their offices regarding the measure. The law mandates that professionals must earn required CPD units by attending seminars, trainings, and other programs as pre-requisite to renewal of their license card or the professional identification cards (PIC). Most professionals lament that the law is unnecessary and burdensome, primarily due to expensive costs of seminars and training one has to undergo to earn CPD units. Senators pushed for making CPD requirement voluntary, but PRC sticks to its mandatory nature in its official amendments to IRR. Here are some of the relevant revisions in the new IRR: PRC provides a “transition period” for the professional to comply with the unit requirements. During this transition period, the following shall be observed: a) Professionals working overseas shall not be covered by the CPD requirement.b) Newly licensed professionals shall not be covered by CPD requirement for the first renewal cycle after obtaining their license.c) The various CPD Councils shall reduce the required CPD credit units to a minimum, which shall not be more than 15, as provided for under applicable laws. Professionals who already renewed by executing an Undertaking shall only comply with the required number of units as amended pursuant to this Resolution equivalent to not more than 15 credit units. Transitory requirements PRC Commissioner Yolanda David Reyes noted the completion of the transition period will differ for the 43 professions they regulate depending on their compliance to the “deliverables” in stipulated in their amended Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) for the CPD Act. “We will be implementing it per profession,” Reyes said. Under the new resolution, Professional Regulation Boards (PRB) and CPD councils will be tasked to update their operational guidelines for the CPD Act. They will also required to link the CPD units with the career progression track in their respective professions and come out with modules for CPD programs. “I would like to remind everybody here that with this IRR [after its implementation], we will have one month for the professional boards and councils to meet their stakeholders to operationalize [the IRR],” Reyes said. The operational guidelines are expected to be enforced by the respective Accredited Integrated Professional Organization (AIPO) and Accredited Professional Organizations (APO). Fair equivalent units PRC Commissioner Jose Yabes Cueto Jr. stressed the importance of making CPD units to be “outcomes-based” or dependent on the academic or skills achievements of professionals so it will be fair. He pointed out the current CPD units for each activity or requirements still relies on the discretion of each PRB and CPD. The PRC official cited the case of wherein the 15 CPD units for a three-day unit is higher compared to the 10 CPD unit for every year of post-graduate training. As part of the transition process, he said they would also provide capacity building for CPD councils and professional organizations on how to assess learning outcomes. Based from their preliminary survey, Cueto said 29 of the 43 PRBs regulated by PRC have career progression and specialization programs. Addressed concerns PRC issued the new CPD Act IRR amid growing complaints from its stakeholders regarding the alleged cumbersome and costly implementation of the said law. CPDs units could be mainly gained by attending seminars related to their profession. Additional training or education, as well as other related activities related to the professions, also contribute certain CPD units. Despite efforts from PRC to make the CPD programs accessible by accrediting over 2,000 CPD providers as of Feb., many professionals still claim they are unable to easily gain CPD units. PRC said it is targeting to address all of these concern during the transitory period. The new IRR is expected to benefit the over 4.5 million professionals registered by PRC as of Sept. 30, 2018. Out of these professionals, 2.8 million have active Professional Identification Cards.