Mandatory membership a PRC ‘gimmick’
I write in behalf of a son-in-law of mine, a seaman (desk officer), who has just renewed his professional license with the Professional Regulations Commission (PRC), and of many others like him who may probably be having the same problem he had in renewing theirs.
I am specifically referring to the PRC’s mandatory requirement, on top of the usual basic ones, to require proof of membership in an association of marine desk officers. My son-in-law had to shell out P1,500 to get proof of membership in that association in order to renew his license and, thus, to not unduly delay his next sea trip or assignment. Apparently, this rather unorthodox requirement is pursuant to a so-called “Board of Marine Desk Officers’ resolution” submitted to the PRC by that association sometime in 2010.
There is certainly nothing wrong in joining an association of professionals, at the very least to promote the spirit of camaraderie among the members, provided one is not virtually forced to do so, such as in this case. Otherwise, a person’s constitutional right to choose between joining or not joining an association would be unduly violated!
Indeed, there can be no gainsaying the plain truth that all associations do have noble and wholesome objectives, in the pursuit of which members are expected to participate as much as possible throughout the year. But one readily wonders how this continuing participation can be possible among seamen who are generally out of the country practically year-round, and have thus only barely one to two months of quality time to spend with their respective families.
I initially refused to believe that the PRC indeed requires membership in a professional association for one to renew his license; my own daughter, a dentist, and another daughter, an optometrist, are not being so required. And so, having consulted the PRC website on the Internet, I was surprised to find out that while members of the medical professions are not so required—I really do not know why—most other professionals very surprisingly are. The difference may owe to the presence or absence of a related resolution, such as in the particular case of the seamen. Still—I stand corrected if I am wrong—the requirement is a glaring constitutional violation. That said, one recalls that some years back the PRC did require (now no more) a professional to complete a certain number of points or credits of attendance in a seminar related to his profession before he could renew his license.
I hate to say this but I must: Is the new requirement for membership in an association just one of the PRC’s many “wonderful gimmicks?”
—RUDY L. CORONEL
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