“The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity; the optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty.”
– Lawrence Pearsall Jacks, English Educator, Philosopher
By Ernesto C. Perez II
I mentioned before that most of the provisions of RESA are now operational. However, absent the promulgation of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) some of the provisions of RESA cannot be fully implemented.
The IRR, like the Republic Act itself, needs to be published before it can take effect. Its publication can be made in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation as well. Thereafter, a copy of the IRR will be deposited with the University of the Philippine Law Center as the repository of all rules and regulations adopted/issued by the different government agencies. This is pursuant to the Administrative Code of 1987 (Executive Order No. 292, Series of 1987). For further information on this matter you can click on this link: http://law.upd.edu.ph/new/index.php/other-offices/onar
According to Section 42 of RESA, the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC), the Professional Regulatory Board of Real Estate Service (Board), the accredited and integrated professional organization of real estate practitioners, the Department of Finance (DOF), and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) shall prepare the necessary rules and regulations, including the Code of Ethics and Responsibilities (Code) of real estate service practitioners, needed to implement the provisions of RA 9646.
Major legislation such as the RESA needs a careful drafting of the IRR. Most likely, there will be an Inter-Agency Technical Committee that will be created to draft the IRR of RESA. This has been my experience when I was working as a Senior Staff to several Senators of the Republic way back in 1998 to 2001 and in 2004 to 2007.
And based on the same provision of law, the Inter-Agency Technical Committee that will be establish for this purpose should finalize and promulgate the IRR and the Code on or before January 30, 2010. Six (6) months may seem to be a whole lot of time to draft and promulgate the IRR and the Code, but this is no guarantee. PAREB can do a lot to see to it that a well crafted IRR is made to fulfil the State Policy of developing and nurturing “through proper and effective regulation and supervision a corps of technically competent, responsible and respected professional real estate service practitioners whose standards of practice and service shall be globally competitive and will promote the growth of the real estate industry.” (Section 2, RA 9646)
There is still a long way to go before RESA is fully implemented. I think one of the tricky matters that will be discussed in the drafting of the IRR concerns the “accredited and integrated professional organization of real estate practitioners”. Section 34 of RESA mandates that “all real estate service association shall be integrated into one (1) national organization, which shall be recognized by the Board,” subject to the approval of the PRC.
As far as I know, there are only two (2) main real estate service association recognized by the DTI prior to the effectivity of RESA. On one hand, PAREB has the largest number of members who are licensed real estate brokers. PAREB’s affiliates are the Institute of Real Estate Appraisers (IPREA) and Institute of Real Estate Consultants (IPREC). On the other, the Real Estate Brokers Association of the Philippines, Inc. (REBAP) has more than 500 regular and associate members spread over 21 chapters in Metro Manila and the provinces. Both organizations have adopted their own Code of Ethics and all its members share the passion, commitment and fulfilment as real estate service practitioners.
One may think that it will be a challenge to integrate two strong and vibrant organizations into one national organization that shall be recognized by the Professional Regulatory Board of Real Estate Service (Board) as the only accredited and integrated professional organization of real estate service practitioners. A single organization will be born where all licensed real estate brokers, appraisers and consultant shall belong to represent their vision, interests and aspirations.
Accreditation and integration of one national organization is extremely important in the full implementation of RESA. Why? First of all, the Accredited and Integrated Professional Organization (AIPO) shall help in the crafting of the IRR. The organization is a vital cog in the preparation, debate and overall drafting of the IRR.
Second, the AIPO is the entity mandated to submit to the PRC (pursuant to Section 4) the names of the nominees for the position of Chairman and the four (4) members of the Board. Without the AIPO the positions on the Board cannot be filled up. Third, the AIPO will be the entity issuing (pursuant to Section 38) the APO numbers which shall be indicated on the document the real estate practitioners “sign, uses or issues in connection with the practice of [their] profession.” And finally, the AIPO shall be the consultant of the Board when it develops, prescribe and promulgate guidelines on the Continuing Professional Education (CPE) program as provided in Section 36. Moreover, in the same provision of law, a member of the AIPO shall be a member of the CPE Council that will be created by the Board.
Now, when there is one national organization already in place, “a real estate service practitioner duly registered with the Board shall automatically become a member of the accredited and integrated professional organization of real estate service practitioners, and shall receive the benefits and privileges appurtenant thereto.” Similar to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), Section 34 provides for the mandatory integration of all real estate service practitioners.
However, “membership in the accredited and integrated professional organization of real estate service practitioners shall not be a bar to membership in other associations of real estate service practitioners.” Again, using the IBP as my analogy, membership in the IBP does not prevent me from joining the Philippine Bar Association, which is the oldest voluntary national organization of lawyers throughout the country, or the Las Piñas Bar Association for that matter. The law does not curtail the freedom of association of real estate service practitioners.
Now, when I said that the integration into one (1) national organization is TRICKY, what I really meant was the intense jockeying and the politicking that will ensue in determining who gets to head the integrated national organization. It is safe to assume that such is a position of great influence in the real estate industry. My experience working for Senators will validate these statements of mine. The end all and be all of the discussion is: Who gets to lead the accredited and integrated professional organization that will be recognized by the Board?
Let’s leave the brewing political storm and ask more mundane questions. For example, what are the relevant bachelor’s degree is being referred to in Section 14 (b) in the meantime that a Bachelor’s Degree in Real Estate Service is still in the drawing board of CHED?
Most will agree with me that there is no single college degree that encompasses the various topics mentioned in Section 13 (c), except a Bachelor’s Degree in Real Estate Service. Without sounding too biased, the closest degree I can think of is the Bachelor of Laws degree. But there are others that can be considered.
A degree in Legal Management, Business Management or even Accountancy may be what is being referred to in Section 13 (c). I am sure that you have thought of what degree may be considered relevant in the absence of a Degree in Real Estate Service. Whatever it is, the PRC will announce which relevant bachelor’s degree is appropriate as a qualification to be admitted to the licensure examination.
One final note as I end my discussion, it must be remembered that the Chairman and the four (4) members of the Board are themselves licensed real estate service practitioners. Aside from having good moral character, they must be persons of proven probity, integrity and beyond reproach. Why? Because these are the people who will supervise and regulate our practice as real estate service professionals. We will look up to them for guidance and inspiration.
In conclusion, I asked in Part I if RESA will really be the instrument that will professionalize the ranks of real estate service practitioners? Will it discipline rogue practitioners? I do not know the answer to these questions because much of it depends on the practitioners’ behaviours, morals and their strict adherence to the Code of Ethics.
Every time a licensed real estate broker transacts with a unlicensed or pseudo real estate broker then he or she weakens the resolve of others. “If-he-can-get-away-with-it-so-can-I” attitude becomes prevalent. Every time a licensed real estate broker transgresses the Code of Ethics, he or she creates a ruckus and infuriates a lot of people casting a dark shadow over the entire profession.
The fine and imprisonment provided by RA 9646 are not deterrents to those who will act malevolently and besmirch the reputation of honest and straightforward real estate service practitioners. But, as I have said, it does matter when the Chairperson and Members of the Board are persons who are respected by everyone in the industry. We can rely on them to enforce the law even if, after conviction, the accused will apply for probation and will not spend a single day behind bars.
So what am I saying here? The future of the real estate industry does not rest in the passage of the law now matter how important one thinks of it. For what is the law but simply the rules to govern the conduct of men. It takes individual effort to become technically competent, responsible and respected.
And, it also takes intense individual effort to police yourself, to follow the rules on ethics and shun the monetary rewards in exchange for principled way of conducting your business as licensed real estate service professionals. So how do we professionalize our ranks? One person at a time.
I exhort you to join the discussion in the preparation of the IRR and National Code of Ethics and Responsibility. We must provide meaningful inputs for the members of the body that will be tasked with such an important and daunting task.
 Based on the REBAP website: http://www.rebap.com.ph/about-us.html