AS I ended my two-year term as United Architects of the Philippines (UAP) national president, I would like to congratulate the whole UAP organization and its members for a dynamic and splendid fiscal year (FY) 2019-2020 of being united, abled and proactive.
Last year, UAP was awarded the PRC (Professional Regulations Commission) Most Outstanding Accredited Professional Organization (APO) for the eighth time, and the only APO to win the award thrice in a row. Also, our #GetAnArchitect advocacy campaign was honored here by the Philippine Council of Associations and Association Executives’ Ang Susi (The Key) Awards 2019 under the Catalyst Change category, and our architectural profession was recognized abroad through the European Business Assembly 2019 that has uplifted the profession and its members.
Several projects have been implemented in support of this advocacy program such as the architectural branding mascot named “Arkee,” various Bayanihan Arkitektura activities, coordination with local government units (LGUs) on Republic Act (RA) 9266 or the “Architecture Act of 2004” that is our law; media partnerships, national newspaper publications, TV and radio talkshow appearances; huge billboards on EDSA, provincial and city roads; out-of-the-box ideas among others; and implementation of the architectural permits in various LGUs all over the country that many benefited many architects.
This leadership then had a five-point agenda to continue our efforts in sustaining the priority programs and projects for our members.
1. Educate the UAP members on the Architecture Act of 2004. I had this desire to educate our UAP members, let them understand and at the same time encourage them to be concerned on our law. Educating them that the licensed architect is the sole arbiter of the architectural practice is a watershed moment, thereby empowering them.
To have a bigger audience, we launched the UAP Media Kapihan Forum on Feb. 18, 2020, dubbed as Kapihan ng Arkitekto, with various brand partners and media practitioners representing print, broadcast and digital media covering the build and design industry.
2. Go and educate the mayors and Sanggunian members on RA 9266. I am happy that our UAP chapters and districts are now proactive and steadfast to educate their respective LGUs on our law and the role of the architects in nation building. In the last fiscal year, we have made several courtesy visits to our lawmakers and legislators to bring to the table the concerns of our profession especially on the Philippine Building Act, Architectural Code and our law for its full implementation.
For the first time in congressional history, more lawmakers have championed bills during my fiscal year to strengthen the full implementation of RA 9266. I hope that very soon, all our efforts, time and resources placed in our long overdue campaign for the implementation of our law and related ones affecting our profession will be fully realized.
3. Do corporate social responsibilities for society. The UAP encourages members and chapters to regularly reach out to the underprivileged. Community service relations (CSR) is the heart of our organization. To create positive impact on social, economic and environmental aspects, it is important that we keep a good heart. I sincerely appreciated the efforts of our Bayanihan Arkitektura Committee for their time and free services rendered in the school complex rehabilitation and construction of Bito Elementary School in Marawi City together with ABS-CBN’s Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation Inc.
Also, the UAP National was fortunate that our Emergency Architects Committee had also done their fair share in coming up with alternative temporary shelters for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) patients, and collaborating with GMA Kapuso Foundation for the rehabilitation of Datu Saber Elementary School in Marawi.
I am proud also that all of our UAP chapters here and abroad, including the UAP National, have been helping out our kababayans (countrymen) affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, and natural or man-made calamities not only through provision of goods and free services, but also by giving them homes and helping put that smile on their faces. Thus, CSR is what really matters.
4. Promote and advertise the profession. Let architecture be known to the public. The best way for our profession to advance is through education and awareness. Every UAP event, every project is an opportunity to spread the transformative power of architecture.
5. Partner with the business sectors in uplifting the profession and the members’ and society’s welfare. Your UAP values the connections and collaborations with private and commercial entities in furthering our goals. It makes society realize that architects do not only draw beautifully, but demonstrate that architects are also excellent project managers, hands-on social and community development personnel, analytical and complex organizers and also member-centric.
On our continued efforts to let architecture be known to the public, my heartfelt gratitude to our industry partners such as Davies Paints, Wilcon Depot, Rain or Shine, SkyBiz, Crowne Pipes, HCG Sanitary Wares, Citihardware Inc., Liveable Cities Philippines among others, in uplifting our profession, and become our industry channel to promote the role of architects in the society.
With the UAP members’ unrelenting support to my administration:
We successfully conducted national events such as the Asian Architects in the Academe Assembly 2019, World Architecture Day, National Architecture Week, and the return of our UAP National Conference of Architects. We are now on our road to the 50th Golden Jubilee of UAP. To our architects in the academe, we thank you for attending the Architects in the Academe Virtual Assembly Year 5 but it was quite unfortunate that our 45th National Convention did not push through because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
We had partnered with Liveable Cities Philippines to provide advice and assist cities competing in the “Liveable Cities Challenge” as mentors from the professional industry. The challenge’s vision is an accelerated trend towards designing, building, and developing competitive, sustainable and resilient Philippine cities. Through this, mayors and key local ofﬁcials are encouraged and motivated to develop comprehensive, replicable and implementable solutions to improve the living conditions of their cities while strengthening local communities in the process.
We continuously partnered with The Manila Times as our media collaborator for the publication of the weekly column of the UAP’s Architect’s Perspective.
We expressed our full support to the PRC, Board of Architecture and CPSP-Arch Council regarding the formation and organization of specialty societies. We have also entered into the memorandum of agreement with various institutions such as Nippon Paint, Sky Cable Corp. (Skybiz), Anthology Festival, Metrobank Foundation and Art Made Public, which also served as free seminars for UAP members.
We represented the UAP in various fora such as the Asian Congress of Architects, Asean Architect Council Meeting and Arcasia Committee Meetings and Roundtable discussions.
We attended several committee meetings of the Committee on Public Works and Highways at the House of Representatives and drafted comprehensive position papers submitted to the Senate and House of Representatives during my fiscal years concerning filed bills.
We pursued the UAP regionalization policy for a property investment in Mindanao to reach out and be of service to the regional architects especially in the south.
We chartered 15 new UAP chapters during FY 2019-2020, bringing to 179 the total chapters of UAP.
As architects and stakeholders in the economic development of our country, we need to position and brand ourselves in the light of collaboration and mobility of professionals, and identify our roles and actions in order to prioritize the best interest of the society and the environment.
I encourage every Filipino architect to deliberate on the proper role and position of architects in the built environment; advocate the quality of your professional services and products; encourage architects to embrace the spirit and letter of our laws; formulate guidelines with clear objectives, criteria and methods for sustainable architecture and built environments; raise awareness and practical knowledge among key stakeholders; develop diverse initiatives to promote architect’s social responsibility; and promote design solutions especially now that the Covid-19 pandemic is upon us.
This I want all of you to know…inspire peace, (peace among all of us so that we can move forward as one, there will be unity). Inspire kindness (so that everyone will see the goodness in each of all of us, and hopefully your kindness will radiate to others and they in return will radiate that goodness to more people), and inspire gratitude (give thanks with a grateful heart no matter how big or small the blessing is, know where it came from, know also where we are coming from, know best what position we wield that can influence others positively). Together, let us continue to promote the #GetAnArchitect campaign advocacy.
Again, my salutations to all UAP members and the many volunteers for their valuable time, effort and commitment in making FY 2019-2020 a remarkable year for all of us.
Mabuhay kayong lahat! Mabuhay ang UAP! Mabuhay ang Arkitektong Pilipino!
The writer is the immediate past national president of the United Architects of the Philippines (fiscal year 2020-2021) and the first from Mindanao. He has been in private practice for more than 34 years and is a fellow of the UAP. He is also the first Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Conference) architect from Davao City. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Mindanao, and is a doctor fellow of the Royal Institute of Architects Singapore and a recipient of the European Business Assembly.