April 17, 2024

The Lipunan ng mga Rehistradong Arkitekto ng Pilipinas (LRA) asserted Republic Act 9266 or the Architecture Act of 2004 is in full effect and should be implemented by national and local officials.
“We, the Lipunan ng mga Rehistradong Arkitekto ng Pilipinas, one of the architectural organizations of architects in our country, join the Baguio architects’ issue resonated by 50,000 registered architects, with this representation participating at the alleged deliberation held last Sept. 12,” LRA President Arch. Maria Lea Cusi wrote in the letter Vice Mayor Faustino Olowan and members of the city council.
Cusi’s letter came following the session of the city council last Sept. 12 regarding the petition made by the Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers, Inc. (PICE)-Baguio against a proposed ordinance mandating the full implementation of RA 9266. 
She requested the city council to review the proposed ordinance.
“We believe that much of the mayor’s program to mitigate urban decay, sustain a creative city, global stature, and the vibrant support of the arts purposefully includes the architects in all these pursuits. Daniel Burnham, an architect, gave birth to this city we all love lest we forget, allow us to continue to take care of Baguio with your leaderships and commitments,” she said.
Section 20.5 of RA 9266 stipulates only architects are authorized to prepare, sign, and seal all architectural plans, designs, specifications, drawings, and architectural documents relative to the construction of a building.
In their petition, PICE-Baguio Chapter alleged the proposed local law would “adversely affect and curtail” the practice of civil engineering which, according to them, is mandated by Republic Act 544 otherwise known as the Civil Engineering Law. 
They cited the ruling of the Court of Appeals in 2012, which states, “Civil engineers are hereby declared to have the right to prepare, sign and seal plans and specification enumerated in Section 302.4 of the Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations of the National Building Code for submission of Building Officials as provided for under Republic Act 544 and Presidential Decree 1096.”
They also stressed the issue is now pending before the Supreme Court (SC) and claimed the proposed ordinance may “interfere with the SC’s judicial authority, prejudice the judicial proceedings, and/or cause the possibility of being held in contempt.”
Countering the claims of PICE-Baguio, Cusi, in her letter, quoted the statement of former Professional Regulation Commissions 2006-2013 de facto Chair Arch. Armando Alli who argued there is no overlap between the state-regulated professional practices of architecture and civil engineering as can be gleaned from Section 24 of RA 1582 that repealed and replaced Section 24 of RA 545 or the Civil Engineering Law.
Section 24 of RA 1582 states that “…nobody shall be a member or partner of such firm, partnership or association unless he is a duly licensed civil engineer or architect, and the members who are civil engineers shall only render work and services proper for a civil engineer, as defined in this Act, and the members who are architects shall also only render work and services proper for an architect, as defined in the law regulating the practice of architecture; individual members of such firms, partnership or association shall be responsible for their own respective acts.”
Alli said RA 9266, which repealed the old architecture laws, was crafted with the “full participation” of the Philippine Civil Engineers from 2002-2004.
He said the civil case pending before the SC filed by the civil engineers is not about any provision of RA 9266 but instead about Sections 302.3 and 302.4 of the Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations of the National Building Code (PD 1096), further asserting that the entirety of RA 9266 is “valid and subsisting, being in full effect since April 2004.”
He added there was no temporary restraining order, no injunction, no any adverse court order of any kind, nor any jurisprudence on the enforcement of RA 9266 which was the sworn duty of all national and local government officials including local building officials and the Department of Public Works and Highways itself.
“Again, RA 9266 is the law on architectural practice on Philippine soil and since it is in full effect, it behooves all national and local officials to implement and enforce the law with neither fear nor favor,” he was quoted as saying.
In an interview, she added the invitation by the city council to join in the deliberation on the proposed ordinance was “a very welcome opportunity.”
“We have to resort to whatever legal means it takes to be able to put teeth to our law,” she said.
During the Sept. 12 council forum, the United Architects of the Philippines- Baguio, through its president Arch. Jonard Don Jardenil expressed support for the proposed ordinance, saying it will strengthen the implementation of RA 9266 at the local level. – Jordan G. Habbiling