Quisumbing Torres partner Eliseo Zuñiga, Jr. recently made a presentation on the legal status of foreign professionals working in the country. The presentation was made last 26 April at the monthly Legislative Committee Meeting of the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (AmCham).
The meeting was led by the organization's director, John Forbes. It was also attended by several members of AmCham as well as guests from various sectors of the business community.
Atty. Zuñiga focused on laws, regulations and Supreme Court decisions on the practice of professions. He also discussed relevant considerations for possible policy-formulation.
"The general rule is that the practice of profession is reserved to Filipinos. Nevertheless, in instances provided by law, foreigners can also practice certain professions," shared Atty. Zuñiga. "For instance, the Professional Regulatory Commission (PRC) Modernization Act of 2000 empowers the PRC to give licenses or certificates of registration to foreigners on the basis of reciprocity," he added.
Atty. Zuñiga explained that under the reciprocity provision, a foreign professional may work in the Philippines if his country of origin also allows Filipino citizens to practice their profession under similar terms and conditions. Atty. Zuñiga added that certain professions, such as architecture, engineering, medicine, and nursing are governed by specific laws with reciprocity provisions.
In his presentation, Atty. Zuñiga also touched on the ASEAN integration and its impact on professions in the country. He emphasized the importance of the integration in terms of its potential for elevating the country's economy through its labor force.
Atty. Zuñiga also opined that both foreign and local professionals, as well as the Philippine government, should adapt to the changes of the times and the challenges posed by the ASEAN integration, globalization and digital revolution. "Change is inevitable, so we should learn to adapt and consider change as an opportunity for further growth," said Atty. Zuñiga.