THE Real Estate Brokers of the Philippines (Rebap)-Metro Bacolod chapter celebrated its 35th anniversary at the Ayala Malls Capitol Central, Gatuslao Street, Bacolod City, on July 21-24.

Rebap national president Michael Agot and some of his fellow officers graced the opening ceremony following a motorcade around the city.

Certified Real Estate Broker (CRB) Rouel Abuana said 10 people established the group in Bacolod City back in 1987 and now it has a total 134 members who are all Professional Regulatory Commission (PRC) licensed real estate brokers.

“Thirty-five years is a testament to our association's commitment to long-term practice and pursuit of relevance in our industry -- real estate,” Abuana said.

He said the celebration will bring together Real Estate service practitioners, government institutions, and the allied industries of the real estate sector.

Abuana added that the initiative covers quite an expansive range of disciplines from urban planning and zoning, environmental planning and protection, future-proofing, design and construction, sales and marketing, financing, servicing, and so much more.

Rebap’s past president Marivic Bautista recalled that their first president Juliet Hinolan Villanueva showed the association its sincere desire to grow the organization.

The few members immediately began preparing for the First Comprehensive Real Estate Seminar and Review (CRESR) after successfully getting the nod of the Department of Trade and Industry’s Bureau of Trade Regulation and Consumer Protection (DTI-BTRCP) for the conduct of licensure exam in Bacolod in 1990.

From then on, every two to three years, the association would request DTI-BTRCP to hold the exam in Bacolod City so that a CRESR could be conducted, Bautista said.

With every batch of new brokers, membership steadily grew and what little was earned from this activity was judiciously kept in the bank, she said.

During her incumbency, Villanueva would pay for the lunch during board meetings just so Rebap’s fund would not be depleted.

Contrary to the Negrense reputation of being spendthrifts, Rebap was careful with the use of its funds, to the extent that every incumbent president did not attend meetings in Manila, and the members shied away from most national conventions.

Rebap organized in 1999 the first real estate fair in Negros, held at Robinson's Place and within that year, hosted a national convention.

Another major thrust of the organization was the professional growth of its members through the Continuing Education Program.

Through the years, the members were hopeful that one day Congress would pass the bill authored by Rep. Rodolfo Valencia to regulate the real estate profession.

The Real Estate Service Act or Republic Act9646 was signed into law in 2009.

Seasoned real estate service practitioners painstakingly crafted the law with concerned government agencies like the Department of Finance, the BIR, and the PRC.

With the PRC Regional Office in Iloilo still not prepared to handle the processing of applications of brokers covered by the "Grandfather's Clause," a group of 17 members headed by President Jose Luis "Popop" Sanagustin ventured to apply at PRC Central Office Manila in October 2010. They also joined the Intramuros Walking and Calesa-Riding Tour of Carlos Celdran.

Their oath-taking as licensed brokers under the PRC was the first held in Bacolod City.