Thursday, September 18, 2014

Senate Passes Bills To Upgrade Forestry & Metallurgical Engineering Laws

Senate Passes Bills To Upgrade Forestry 
& Metallurgical Engineering Laws

The Senate last week approved two bills on third and final reading seeking to upgrade the Forestry Profession Law and the Metallurgical Engineering Law to international standards.

Sen. Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV, author and sponsor of Senate Bill No. 2055 or the Forestry Profession Act 2014, said the measure repeals Republic Act No. 6239 and enacts a more comprehensive law that will regulate the practice of forestry in the Philippines. Sen. Cynthia Villar co-authored the bill.

“The pressing concern of climate change has been aggravated by human-induced environmental destruction as well as by natural calamities. This necessitates a major reorientation of the Forestry profession which has remained unchanged since it was signed into law by former President Ferdinand Marcos in 1971,” Trillanes pointed out.

“The bill seeks to remove a provision in the previous law that allows the registration of forestry practitioners even “without examination” and to define the scope of work of the forestry profession,” said Trillanes.

“The measure will enhance the standards of the forestry profession and create a professional regulatory board. It also provides for a foreign reciprocity clause, continuing professional education and designation of an accredited integrated professional organization,” he said.

Trillanes noted the shortage of foresters in the Philippines, which has 30 million hectares of land. While the ideal ratio is one forester to 5,000 hectares, the Philippines  has only 8,000 foresters. He said the passage of the measure into law would encourage students to enroll in the forestry and make it their career.

“Forestry is already a dwindling profession and hardly a child would manifest the desire to become a forester someday. One of the objectives of the bill is to set the standards so that more courses in forestry would be offered in different universities across the country,” Trillanes said.

Also approved on third and final reading is Senate Bill No. 2103 or the Metallurgical Engineering Act of 2014.

Trillanes said the measure seeks to replace the existing Metallurgical Engineering Law created under Presidential Decree No. 1536 to make it more attuned to the recent developments in the technological advancements.

Like the Forestry profession, Trillanes said, SBN 2103 seeks to create a professional regulatory board which will supervise the practice of metallurgical engineering, including the conduct of examination for the prospective metallurgical engineers.

The bill also seeks to redefine the scope of practice of metallurgical engineering, providing for a clear delineation of functions against its allied professions such as mining engineering and geology.

“To mainstream metallurgical engineering practice in the country, there is a need to provide a stable and updated framework which will ensure for the country a capable and competitive stream of metallurgical engineer professionals. The country’s professionals must keep pace with the changing environment and this bill will help them do that,” Trillanes said.  (Pilar S. Macrohon) /MP

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