The United Architects of the Philippines (UAP) Summer Capital Chapter has urged the City Government of Baguio to comply with the provisions of Republic Act No. 9266 otherwise known as the Architecture Act of 2004. The UAP Summer Capital Chapter, on October 19, submitted its position paper to the Baguio City Council in response to the forum held in the city council last September 12 regarding the petition made by the Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers, Inc. (PICE)- Baguio Chapter against a proposed ordinance mandating the full implementation of RA 9266.

According to the proposed ordinance, the practice of architecture shall be the exclusive domain of a licensed architect and that all architectural plans, documents, and appurtenant papers which serve as ancillary requirements for the approval of a local building permit shall be prepared and signed only by
licensed architects in compliance with RA 9266.

Section 20.5 of RA 9266 stipulates that 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. The PICE-Baguio Chapter, during the forum, stressed that the issue as to whether or not the design plans and/or other pertinent documents should only be prepared, signed, and
sealed by architects to the exclusion of civil engineers is a legal case and is now pending before the Supreme Court (SC).

The PICE-Baguio Chapter members reminded the city council that the case which is pending before the SC is bound by the sub-judice rule. The UAP-Baguio refuted this claim in their position paper, stating that the sub-judice rule cannot be applied to the implementation of RA 9266 since it is an approved national law and that the subjects of the civil case pending before the SC are Sections 302.3 and 302.4 of the Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations of PD 1096 or the National Building Code of the Philippines.

“Furthermore, there is no injunction of Temporary Restraining Order from the court enjoining the full implementation of RA 9266, nor is there any lawful order preventing the local government units from
implementing the provisions of RA 9266,” the position paper read. During the September 12 forum, Engr. Stephen Capuyan and Arch. Homer Soriano, representatives of the City Buildings and Architecture Office (CBAO), said they have been implementing the executive order from the National Building Code Development Office (NBCDO) of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) which ordered all
building officials to stop using the new forms under the revised IRR including NBC Form No. A- 01 and NBC Form No. A-02 which are signed and sealed exclusively by an architect; and to use instead the old application forms, design plans, and other forms under the original IRR of the which are signed and sealed
either by an architect or an engineer.

The UAP Summer Capital Chapter, in their position paper, asserted that the definition and identification as to who can prepare, sign, and seal architectural and structural plans is the mandate of the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) and not the DPWH as further reinforced by the evaluation and
recommendation letter of the PRC dated April 13, 2015 signed by then PRC Chairman Florentino Doble.

They stated that a “mere” executive issuance by a line agency is only a directive which, for all intents and
purposes, cannot replace nor govern over RA 9266 which is a duly approved national law.” The said issuance, according to the position paper, has been repealed by the DILG-DPWHDICT- DTI Joint Memorandum Circular No. 2018-02 dated January 4, 2018.

During the forum, PICEBaguio Chapter also asserted that it would “adversely affect and curtail” the practice of civil engineering which is mandated by Republic Act 544 otherwise known as the Civil Engineering Law. UAP Summer Capital Chapter described this claim as “misleading” because, according to them, the signing and sealing of structural plans, structural specifications, and computations remains
exclusively with the civil engineers.

“Hence, every building plan submitted for approval by the CBAO will still require the services of a civil engineer,” they said. They further pointed out that it is unfair and disadvantageous on the part of
architects to allow civil engineers to likewise practice architecture which is a recognized state-regulated
profession. According to them, it is the sworn duty of all national government agencies such as the Department of the Interior and Local Government including the LGUs to implement national laws in their

Lastly, they claimed that limiting the practice of architecture to academically trained and properly registered
architects will enhance and complement the city’s tourism programs and will help maintain the city’s Creative City status with the UNESCO since Baguio City is known not only for its indigenous culture but also for its local architecture that is distinct and in conformity with the city’s cultural heritage. Copies of the position paper have been forwarded to the members of the Baguio City Council for their information and
possible legislative action.

Sangguniang Panlungsod/Jordan
G. Habbiling

Amianan Balita Ngayon