RA 9649: The Real Estate Service Act of 2009 ensues professionalism


When real estate tycoon Rodolfo Valencia, or RGV won his first try at politics in 1987 as the representative of the first district of Oriental Mindoro, the first bill he filed was HB 3185 , or an Act Regulating the Real Estate Practice in the Philippines.

RGV needed to serve the people of Oriental Mindoro. Still, his deep concern to develop real estate service practitioners was foremost in his mind.

HB 3185 failed to be enacted in the 8th Congress.

On his last full term in the 14th Congress (July 23, 2007 - June 4, 2010), RGV re-filed the bill and ensued its passage with the support of 15 colleagues in the House of Representatives.

On May 5, 2009, the Congress bicameral committee reconciled Senate Bill 2963 with the re-numbered House Bill 3614 entitled "An Act Regulating the Practice of Real Estate Service, Creating for the Purpose a Professional Regulatory Board of Real Estate Service, Appropriating Funds Therefor, and for other Purposes," otherwise known as "Real Estate Service Act," or the RESA Law.

The final version was signed into law as Republic Act 9646 by then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on June 29, 2009. The RESA Law creates the Professional Regulatory Board of Real Estate Service (PRBRES) under the supervision and administrative control of the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC).

On July 21, 2010, the law took effect. RA 9646 is a landmark measure. It puts real estate professionals on the category of lawyers who by law must be members of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines . 

Impact on the real estate service profession

"In the face of so much opportunity and success in the Philippine property market, the developers have to be assured of reliable and credible support from the players in real estate marketing and sales. Negotiations, purchases, and transfers of real estate must be facilitated by genuine and trustworthy professionals. These are the consultants, appraisers and brokers, and the salespersons that operate under the supervision of the brokers," Valencia explains.

RESA aims to professionalize industry players. It makes licensing by the PRC a requirement for anyone to practice as a real estate service practitioner. RA 9646 also mandates membership in an accredited integrated professional organization (AIPO) for all licensed real estate professionals. It ensures continuing professional education and compliance with a national code of ethics and responsibilities for all such professionals.

The PhilRES

Chosen by the PRBRES to be the AIPO for the real estate service sector after a PRC-approved process of selection from among the national and regional real estate associations in the country is the Philippine Institute of Real Estate Service Practitioners (PhilRES) Inc. PhilRES now has the largest number of licensed professionals in the country - almost 10,000 members distributed among more than 50 chapters in the major cities and towns of the archipelago.

PhilRES has a continuing professional development program (CPD) that ensures continuing education seminars and learning sessions for its members. It has formulated a National Code of Ethics and Responsibilities that now awaits adoption by the PRBRES and the PRC for proper compliance. PhilRES screens all applicants for the renewal of their PRC license or identification card by issuing a pre-requisite certificate of membership in good standing before issuance of the license or ID. It operates a national office and its national board of trustees monitors developments in the industry and maintains liaison with all the members nationwide.

Perils and promise of ASEAN integration

The RESA Law and its IRR and the subsequent designation of the PhilRES as the AIPO for the real estate service sector are timely. ASEAN member nations agreed in 2005 to the full integration of the ASEAN Economic Community by the end of 2015. Trade and business among the member countries would be borderless and all forms of barriers to the free flow of goods and services were to be removed.

ASEAN integration impacts on the real estate and property market. Real estate industry players in the Philippines could tap many opportunities offered by the integration. But first, the practitioners must be trained. The licensure requirements, the Continuing Professional Development and Professional Responsibilities constitute an indispensable framework for such training and preparation. And these are all mandated by the RESA Law.

Facing globalized competition, Filipino professionals must embrace modern technology and global standards, learn teamwork, act with disciplined response to opportunities, and sustain focused business development in accordance with global best practices.

Says RGV, "With the advent of ASEAN integration and the ASEAN Economic Community, we must be ready to work with our foreign counterparts, competitively and productively."