WE RECEIVED an advance copy of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Real Estate Service Act (RESA) - Republic Act No. 9646, which is due to be published soon. As you know, the new real estate law had been in effect for almost a year now, July 30, 2009 to be exact.

The IRR reiterates the provisions of RESA, which signaled the elevation of the real estate service practice that is real estate brokerage, appraisal and consultancy to the category of a professional service practice supervised by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) and the Professional Regulatory Board of Real Estate Service (PRB-RES). Allow me to quote from the explanatory note in the bill which explains the rationale and justification for the urgency of crafting a law covering the real estate industry and its attendant rules governing real estate transactions.

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There is no gainsaying the vital role of the real estate industry in the economic development of the country. A real estate transaction has a multiplier effect on the country's economy.

It is a sad commentary on the degree of attention and importance that government has accorded the real estate industry and its tremendous impact on the economy that to date, it continues to be governed by hodgepodge administrative issuances of government agencies and just a sprinkling of legislative enactments. No effort has been exerted thus far to enact a comprehensive legislation to govern real estate transactions and the practice attendant thereto.

As a consequence, the public has fallen victim to unwholesome, if not altogether anomalous, practices in real estate transaction. Unscrupulous parties involved in these practices have gone unpunished mainly because of the death of effective legislation.

To safeguard public interest there is a need to enact a comprehensive piece of legislation calculated to accord the real estate industry the due recognition that it deserves as a vital component in national development and at the same time upgrade and professionalize the real estate service practice in the country.

One of the highlights of RESA and fully supported and reiterated by the IRR is the creation of a Professional Regulatory Board of Real Estate Service (PRB-RES) composed of a chairperson and four (4) members which is under the supervision and administrative control of the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC). PRB-RES shall supervise the affairs and activities of the real estate service practice and the real estate business. The board is presently headed by Hon. Eduardo G. Ong, past national president of PAREB, as chairperson.

One of the difficult task assigned to PRB-RES pertains to the regulation of the practices of unauthorized or unlicensed (colorum) individuals engaged in real estate service practice. To quote, PRB-RES is tasked to; "Safeguard and protect legitimate and licensed real estate service practitioners and, in coordination with the accredited and integrated professional organization of real estate service practitioners, monitor all forms of advertisements, announcements, sign boards, billboards, pamphlets, brochures and others of similar nature concerning real estate and where necessary, exercise its quasi-Judicial and administrative powers to finally and completely eradicate the pernicious practices of unauthorized or unlicensed individuals. * (IRR Rule IIt Sec. 5, No. 8)

One of the most ticklish issue under RESA being debated upon by the industry and the practitioners is, what happens now to the thousands of real estate practitioners who had been registered and licensed under DTI by virtue of Ministry Order No. 39, as amended? Section 20, Rule II of the IRR provides the answer: Registration Without Examination. This means that practitioners who had been previously registered and licensed under DTI can be registered and licensed as practitioners by PRC/PRB-RES and need not take a licensure examination to practice their profession in real estate. However, RESA and the IRR imposes an additional requirement, that is, practitioners qualified under this provision, have to undergo relevant Continuing Professional Education (CPE).

Prior to the issuance of their licenses by PRC/PRB-RES, the real estate service practitioner - real estate brokers, appraisers and consultants, are required to complete the necessary CPE units as follows:

1. Twenty-four (24) CPE credit units for those who failed to renew their licenses with DTI as of July 29, 2009.

2. Fifteen (15) CPE credit units for active licensees, meaning practitioners whose license with DTI had expired on December 31, 2009 and those whose licenses will expire on December 31, 2010 and 2011.

3. Fifteen (15) CPE credit units for those who have passed the May 2008 licensure examination given by DTI but failed to obtain their license as of July 30, 2009.

4. Twelve (12) CPE credit units for those who have passed the May 2009 licensure examination given by DTI but failed to obtain their license as of July 30, 2009.

Now here is the final notice to real estate service practitioners on the CPE requirements: "Provided finally, that real estate practitioners falling under the above-described categories (Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 4 above) who failed to comply with the necessary CPE requirements within two 12) years offer the effectivity of the Act, on or before 31 July 201L shall be required to take the licensure examination.19 (Section 20, Rule III, IRR -underscoring supplied)

In this regard, we are inviting practitioners and others who are interested. The Baguio Realtors Board, Inc. and Score Exponent Training Center is sponsoring the First Special Seminar on the Updated Real Estate Laws which started last July 24, 2010 and will continue on July 31 and August 7, 2010. For particulars visit us at Unit 303 3/F Otek Square, Otek St, Baguio City or call/text the following numbers: 427-1971 or 426-7582, Mobile Phone Nos, 09197229888/ 09285300285/ 09109302753.

Let us all extend our share in ensuring the success and full implementation of RESA and the attendant rules and regulations. The law is intended for the benefit of the consuming public and its contribution to the country's economy.

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(The writer is a Certified Public Accountant and the president of the Baguio Realtors Board. Apart from being a Real Estate Practitioner as a Real Estate Broker and Educator, Lecturer and Resource Person; he is likewise a Business Management/NGO/Cooperative Consultant, Project Development Consultant and Financial Advisor/Loan Broker. For comments and more information of Real Estate Updates and Studies, you may get in touch with him at Unit 303 3/F Otek Square, Otek Street, Baguio City, Tel Nos. 427-1971 or 426-7582, Mobile Phone No. 0910-930-2753 or email: bert mpili(3$jahoo.com or bertcapiti65(3faotmailcom