Philippine Fisheries Profession Act

Good Law

REPUBLIC ACT NO. 11398

AN ACT REGULATING THE PRACTICE OF THE FISHERIES PROFESSION IN THE PHILIPPINES, CREATING FOR THE PURPOSE A PROFESSIONAL REGULATORY BOARD OF FISHERIES, AND APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR

ARTICLE I

Title, Declaration of Policy, Objectives and Definition of Terms

SECTION 1. Short Title. — This Act shall be known as the "Philippine Fisheries Profession Act."

SECTION 2. Declaration of Policy. — It is hereby declared the police of the State to provide priority attention and support to professionalize the practice of the fisheries profession in the Philippines, which will be beneficial to sustain the food security and economic development of the country, and to upgrade the standards of fisheries education. These policies are provided for in Republic Act No. 8550, otherwise known as the "Fisheries Code of 1998" and Republic Act No. 8435, otherwise known as the "Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act of 1997."

Pursuant to this national policy, the government shall: (1) provide a program to set up an appropriate and healthy environment for the practice of the fisheries profession; and (2) establish quality standards for fisheries professionals that will guide fisheries schools/fisheries colleges, through the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), for the development of curricular programs that will attain the high standards of the profession.

SECTION 3. Definition of Terms. — As used in this Act:

(a) Aquaculture refers to fishery operations involving all forms of farming fish and other aquatic plants and animals in fresh, brackish, and marine waters;

(b) Aquatic resources refer to fish and other living resources of the aquatic environment that have or will have commercial value when utilized;

(c) Fisheries refers to all activities relating to the science and act or business of fishing, culturing, preserving, processing, marketing, developing, conserving, and managing of aquatic resources and environment;

(d) Fisheries sector refers to the sector engaged in the production, growing, harvesting, processing, marketing, developing, conserving, and managing of aquatic resources and environment;

(e) Fisheries profession refers to the practice of the science and technical knowledge and skills of all areas of fisheries (catching, farming, processing, marketing, management, and conservation of aquatic resources and environment);

(f) Fisheries professional refers to a person who is technically qualified and competent to practice the fisheries profession and who has been issued a Certificate of Registration and Professional Identification Card as fisheries professional by the Board and the Commission;

(g) Accredited and Integrated Professional Organization (AIPO) refers to an integrated national organization, association, or society that is granted accreditation by the Board and the Commission as the Accredited Integrated Professional Organization of Fisheries Professionals; and

(h) Scope of examination refers to the range of topics or objects provided by the Board in the syllabi of the four (4) areas of scope of examination for fisheries professionals in Sections 8 (m) and 14 of this Act.

SECTION 4. Scope and Practice of the Fisheries Profession. — The scope and practice of the fisheries profession is the application of the fundamental and known principles of fisheries to the peculiar conditions and requirements of fisheries as an industry and as a field of science and shall include the following:

(a) Consultation, evaluation, investigation, and management services in fisheries;

(b) Preparation of fisheries design on inland, coastal, and offshore hatcheries and production systems; its plans, specifications, and project feasibility studies and estimates. Provide supervision, and management services to ensure the incorporation of prescribed plans, and specifications in creating the biological, and environmental requirements for normal growth of fish species and aquatic is organisms during construction, installation, operation, and maintenance of farm, outdoor and indoor facilities; on the operations and maintenance of post-harvest facilities, and equipment, including proper handling of fish catch in fishing vessel; and other fisheries facilities, systems and technologies, in collaboration/consultation with other disciplines;

(c) Conduct of research and development, training, and extension work in fisheries, aquatic resources, aquaculture, and post-harvest technologies;

(d) Management of fisheries resources, and manufacture of fishery products, marketing of fish and fishery products, or both;

(e) Teaching fisheries courses in higher institutions of learning in the Philippines recognized by the government;

(f) Study and treatment of fish diseases and parasites that affect fishing, post-harvest and aquaculture activities and projects;

(g) Employment in the government and private sectors where the positions require the knowledge and expertise of a fisheries professional except in small-scale fisheries operations of municipal fisherfolk such as fishing, aquaculture, and fish processing where licensed fisheries professionals are not required;

(h) Administration, and conduct of licensure examination, and registration and licensing of fisheries professionals;

(i) Supervision, and regulation of the practice of the fisheries profession in the Philippines; and

(j) Upgrading of the fisheries profession and the professionalization of fisheries professionals.

Scientists and professionals in closely related fields to fisheries and in support of multidisciplinary fisheries activities such as economies, social science, engineering, marine biology, oceanography/limnology and others who may immerse themselves in fisheries activities that do not require technical knowledge in fisheries, are exempted from the licensure requirements for fisheries professionals.

ARTICLE II

Professional Regulatory Board of Fisheries

SECTION 5. Creation and Composition of the Professional Regulatory Board of Fisheries. — Within ninety (90) days after the effectivity of this Act, there shall be created the Professional Regulatory Board of Fisheries, hereinafter referred to as the Board, under the administrative supervision and control of the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC), hereinafter referred to as the Commission. The Board shall be composed of a Chairperson and four (4) members. Preferably, each member shall represent one of the four (4) fields of specialization listed in Section 14, Article III, hereof, to be appointed by the President of the Philippines from a list of three (3) recommendees of the Commission chosen from a list of four (4) nominees for each position submitted by the Accredited Integrated Professional Organization of Fisheries Professionals: Provided, That a member representing a field of specialization has at least a bachelor's degree in that particular field of specialization.

The Chairperson and the four (4) members of the Board must be registered professionals and issued with certificates of registration and professional identification cards at the time of their appointment.

SECTION 6. Qualifications of the Members of the Board. — The Chairperson and members of the Board shall, at the time of their appointment, possess the following qualifications:

(a) Must be a natural born citizen and resident of the Philippines;

(b) Must be at least forty (40) years of age;

(c) Must be of proven integrity and of high moral and ethical values in one's personal as well as professional conduct;

(d) Must not have been convicted by a court in a final judgment in a crime involving moral turpitude;

(e) Must be a holder of a Bachelor's degree in the field of fisheries, or a holder of a Master or Doctorate degree in the field of fisheries from a school, college, or university recognized by the Government or abroad, and has been engaged in the practice of fisheries profession for at least ten (10) years before appointment;

(f) Must not be connected with any school, college, or university granting a degree that qualifies graduates of such degree for admission to the licensure examination for fisheries professionals; and

(g) Must not be an incumbent officer or trustee of the accredited professional organization for fisheries professionals.

SECTION 7. Term of Office. — The Chairperson and Members of the Board shall hold office for a term of three (3) years or until their successors shall have been qualified and appointed. They may, however, be appointed for a second term. Any vacancy in the Board shall be filled for the unexpired portion of the term only. Each member shall take an oath of office prior to the assumption of duties.

The incumbent Chairperson and members shall continue to serve until their replacements shall have been appointed and qualified.

SECTION 8. Powers and Functions of the Board. — The Board shall have the authority to:

(a) Promulgate, adopt, and issue rules and regulations to carry out the provisions of this Act;

(b) Administer and supervise the licensure examination for admission to the practice of the fisheries profession;

(c) Supervise and regulate the licensure, registration and practice of the fisheries profession;

(d) Administer the oath of a professional to the successful examinees in the licensure examination for fisheries professionals in appropriate mass oath-taking ceremonies to be held for the purpose;

(e) Register and issue certificates of registration to successful examinees in licensure examinations for fisheries professionals and to persons qualified to register as fisheries professionals without examination;

(f) Suspend, or revoke the certificate of registration and professional identification card of a fisheries professional for causes provided herein;

(g) Adopt an official seal of the Board as well as the seal of fisheries professionals;

(h) Adopt and promulgate a Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice for Fisheries Professionals;

(i) Look into the conditions affecting the practice of the fisheries profession and whenever necessary, adopt measures as may be deemed appropriate for the enhancement or maintenance of high professional and ethical standards of the practice of the fisheries profession;

(j) Ensure, in coordination with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), that all educational institutions offering courses in fisheries education comply with the policies, standards and requirements of the course prescribed by the CHED in the areas of curriculum, faculty, library, and facilities, as well as to conform itself with the Philippine Qualifications Framework (PQF) necessary for education and training provisions in the conformance towards learning outcomes;

(k) Hear, try, and decide administrative cases involving violations of the provisions of this Act and its implementing rules and regulations (IRR) including the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice for Fisheries Professionals and, for this purpose, issue subpoena and subpoena duces tecum to secure the appearance of witnesses and the production of documents and to testify in connection herewith;

(l) Enforce compliance with Republic Act No. 10912, otherwise known as "Continuing Professional Development Act of 2016." The Continuing Professional Development (CPD) law shall be mandatory for all fisheries professionals in coordination with the accredited national association of fisheries professionals;

(m) Prepare, adopt and issue, in consultation with the academe, the syllabi or tables of specification of the subjects for the licensure examinations and to amend the same; and

(n) To discharge and perform such other duties and functions as may be necessary to carry out the objectives and purposes of this Act.

Except on matters which are ministerial in nature, all policies and functions of the Board embodied in resolutions as well as rules and regulations issued by the Board shall be subject to the review and approval of the Commission.

SECTION 9. Compensation and Allowance of the Chairperson and Members of the Board. — The Chairperson and members of the Board shall receive compensation and allowances comparable to the compensation and allowances received by the Chairperson and members of other Professional Regulatory Boards.

SECTION 10. Removal and Suspension of the Chairperson and Members of the Board. — The President may, upon recommendation of the Commission, remove any member of the Board for any of the following causes:

(a) Negligence;

(b) Incompetence;

(c) Immoral, dishonorable or unprofessional conduct;

(d) Violation of, or abetting the violation of, the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice for Fisheries Professionals; and

(e) Conviction in a final judgment of a crime involving moral turpitude.

The right of the respondent to due process and be assisted by counsel in an investigation shall be respected and upheld. The President may, also upon recommendation of the Commission, preventively suspend a member under administrative investigation.

SECTION 11. Supervision of the Board, Custody of Its Records, Secretariat and Support Services. — The Board shall be under the general supervision and administrative control of the Commission. All records of the Board including applications for examination, examination papers and results, minutes of deliberation, administrative cases and other investigations involving examinees and fisheries technologists shall be kept and subject to the disposition of the Commission.

The Commission shall provide secretariat and support services to the Board for the efficient and effective implementation of the provisions of this Act.

SECTION 12. Annual Report. — The Board shall, at the close of each calendar year, submit an annual report to the Commission, of its proceedings and accomplishments during the year and make recommendations for the adoption of measures that will upgrade the conditions affecting the practice of the fisheries profession in the Philippines.

ARTICLE III

Examination and Registration

SECTION 13. Licensure Examination. — All applicants for registration for the practice of the fisheries profession shall be required to undergo and pass a written examination as provided in this Act except those who qualify for registration under Section 25 of this Act. The licensure examination for fisheries professionals shall be given by the Board at least once a year in such places and dates the Commission may designate in accordance with the provisions of Republic Act No. 8981.

SECTION 14. Scope of Examination. — The examination for fisheries professionals shall basically cover the following fields:

(a) Aquatic Resources and Ecology;

(b) Aquaculture;

(c) Capture Fisheries; and

(d) Post-Harvest Fisheries.

The Board may also re-cluster, rearrange, modify, add, or exclude any of the foregoing subjects as the need arises and may recommend to the CHED changes in said subjects to conform to modern and advanced technologies in the fisheries profession.

SECTION 15. Qualifications of Applicants for Examination. — In order to be admitted in the licensure examination, it must be established to the satisfaction of the Board that at the time of filing of application, the applicant is:

(a) A citizen of the Philippines or of a foreign state/country which observes reciprocity with the Philippines for the practice of fisheries profession;

(b) Of good moral character;

(c) Has not been convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude; and

(d) A graduate of at least a Bachelor's degree in the field of fisheries from a school, college, or university established and recognized by the Government, or a recognized university abroad.

SECTION 16. Fraudulent Application. — The Board may suspend or revoke a certificate of registration and professional identification card already issued, if a registrant has been proven or found to have made misrepresentations in one's application for examination.

SECTION 17. Rating in the Board Examination. — To pass the licensure examination for fisheries professionals, a candidate must obtain a weighted general average rating of at least seventy-five percent (75%) and with no grade lower than sixty percent (60%) in any given subject. However, if an examinee obtained a general weighted average rating of seventy-five percent (75%) or higher but obtained a rating below sixty percent (60%) in any given subject, the examinee shall be allowed to take the examination in the subject where a grade below sixty percent (60%) was obtained.

SECTION 18. Report of Ratings. — The Board shall submit to the Commission the rating obtained by each examinee in the licensure examination within a period of ten (10) calendar days after the examination in the last subject unless extended by the Commission for just and valid cause.

SECTION 19. Report on the Performance of Examinees in Licensure Examination. — The Board, through the Commission, may recommend to the CHED the following:

(a) The schools, colleges, or universities whose successful examinees in three (3) consecutive licensure examination for fisheries professionals is less than eight percent (8%) of the total number of its candidates who took the licensure examinations, shall be recommended for close monitoring of their fisheries program; and

(b) The names of schools, colleges, or universities whose successful examinees in five (5) successive licensure examination for fisheries professionals is less than eight percent (8%) of the total number of its examinees in each of the licensure examination taken, and their fisheries course/program shall be recommended for closure.

SECTION 20. Issuance of Certificate of Registration and Professional Identification Card. — A certificate of registration shall be issued to examinees who passed the licensure examination for fisheries professionals, as well as to a person that qualified to register as a fisheries professional without examination, subject to the payment of fees prescribed by the Commission. The certificate of registration, which indicates that the person named therein is entitled to practice as a fisheries professional with all the benefits and privileges pertaining thereto, shall bear the signature of the Chairperson of the Commission and the Chairperson and members of the Board, and the seal of the Commission and the Board: Provided, That one shall be allowed to practice the profession without the need of securing another license from any government agency. The certificate of registration shall remain in full force and effect until revoked or suspended in accordance with this Act. A professional identification card, bearing the registration numbers and date of issuance, shall be renewed every three (3) years and upon compliance with the requirements of the Board and the provisions of Republic Act No. 10912, otherwise known as "Continuing Professional Development Act of 2016."

SECTION 21. Non-issuance of Certificate of Registration and Professional Identification Card. — The Board shall not register and issue a certificate of registration to any successful examinee that has been convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction of any criminal offense involving moral turpitude, or has been found guilty of immoral or dishonorable conduct after investigation by the Board, or has been declared to be of unsound mind. The reason for the refusal shall be set forth in writing.

SECTION 22. Revocation or Suspension of the Certificate of Registration, Professional Identification Card or Cancellation of Special Temporary Permit. — The Board may, after giving proper notice of hearing to the party concerned, revoke the certificate of registration and professional identification card of a fisheries professional or suspend a person from the practice of the profession or cancel the special temporary permit of a foreign national for unprofessional or unethical conduct, malpractice, negligence, incompetence, or violation of any of the provisions of this Act, its IRR, Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice for Fisheries Professionals, and Code of Good Governance.

SECTION 23. Reinstatement, Re-issuance, or Replacement of Certificate of Registration and Professional Identification Card. — The Board may, after two (2) years from the date of revocation of certificate of registration, reinstate any revoked certificate of registration and reissue a Professional Identification Card: Provided, That the cause of disqualification or revocation has already ceased to exist.

A suspended certificate of registration and professional identification card may be reinstated: Provided, That the suspended fisheries professional has established fitness to practice anew. The Board shall issue a resolution to effect such reinstatement.

SECTION 24. Continuing Professional Development. — All fisheries professionals shall abide by the requirements, rules, and regulations as provided in Republic Act No. 10912 to be promulgated by the PRC Regulatory Board, subject to the approval of the Commission, in coordination with the AIPO for the fisheries profession and the representative of duly accredited educational institutions. For this purpose, the Board may create a CPD Council to implement the CPD program subject to the guidelines as may be issued by the Board.

SECTION 25. Registration of Fisheries Professionals without Examination. — Upon approval of the application and payment of the prescribed fees, certificate of registration and professional identification card shall be issued to the applicant for registration without examination who can prove to the satisfaction of the Board that items a, b, or c below has been met:

(a) The applicant has at least a Bachelor's degree in any field of fisheries such as marine biology, oceanography/limnology, food science/technology/engineering, fish taxonomy, biotechnology as applied in fisheries, aquatic biology, fishing boat design/engineering, aquatic resource management, fish health, fish nutrition, or fish chemistry from a school, college, or university established or recognized by the Government: Provided, That the applicant has passed any of the civil service examination in fisheries, or has been granted equivalent to second level eligibility by the Civil Service Commission by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 907, or passed the Career Service Professional examination administered by the Civil Service Commission: Provided, further, That the applicant has served the fisheries industry in public or private sector for at least five (5) years before the effectivity of Republic Act No. 8550;

(b) The applicant has a Master's or Doctorate degree in fisheries or closely related fields such as marine biology, oceanography/limnology, food science/technology/engineering, fish taxonomy, biotechnology as applied in fisheries, aquatic biology, fishing boat design/engineering, aquatic resource management, fish health, fish nutrition, or fish chemistry from a school, college, or university, established or recognized by the Government: Provided, That the applicant has served the fisheries industry in public or private capacity for at least five (5) years: Provided, further, That the applicant has published at least one (1) research and technical paper in reputable journals, books and proceedings within the five (5)-year service in fisheries;

(c) The applicant is a graduate of at least a Bachelor's degree in fisheries from a school, college, or university, established or recognized by the Government: Provided, That the applicant has served the fisheries industry in the private sector for a total of five (5) years: Provided, further, That an applicant can show proof of achievements, awards, commendations, or promotions of deserving performance and has published at least one (1) technical paper in fisheries.

The applicants are given one (1) year after the approval and publication of the IRR of this Act to register as fisheries professionals without examination.

SECTION 26. Roster of Fisheries Professionals. — The Board, in coordination with the AIPO, shall prepare, update, and maintain a Roster of Fisheries Professionals. The roster shall contain the names of fisheries professionals, their residence and office addresses, dates of registration or issuance of certificate, and other data which the Board may deem relevant.

The roster shall be open to the public, copies of which small be made available to any party subject to the guidelines which may be prescribed by the Commission.

SECTION 27. Issuance of Special Temporary Permit. — Upon application and payment of the required fees and subject to the approval of the Commission, the Board may issue special temporary permits to fisheries professionals from foreign countries whose services are urgently needed in the absence or inadequacy of local fisheries professionals for the purpose of promoting or enhancing the practice of the fisheries profession in the Philippines.

SECTION 28. Foreign Reciprocity. — No foreign fisheries professional shall be given a certificate of registration and professional identification card, or be entitled to any of the privileges under this Act unless the country of which the foreign fisheries professional is a subject or citizen specifically permits Filipino fisheries professionals to practice within its territorial limits on the same basis as the subjects or citizens of the foreign country or state.

SECTION 29. Seal and Use of Seal. — Every fisheries professional shall obtain a seal of such design as the Board shall adopt and approve, which shall be impressed upon all documents, records, papers, and instruments prepared by or under the direct supervision of or issued by a registered fisheries professional only during the period of the validity of one's professional identification card.

SECTION 30. Indication of Number, Certificate of Registration, Professional Tax Receipt, and AIPO Membership Official Receipt. — Every registered fisheries professional shall be required to indicate the number of one's certificate of registration, professional identification card, the date of issuance and expiration of said cards including the number of professional tax receipt, its date and place of issue, and AIPO Membership Official Receipt Number on any and all documents that the fisheries professional signs, uses or issues in connection with the practice of the fisheries profession.

ARTICLE IV

Practice of the Fisheries Profession

SECTION 31. Oath of Profession of Fisheries Professionals. — All successful examines and those qualified for registration without examination shall be required to take an oath of profession before any member of the Board or any officer of the Commission authorized by it, or any person authorized by law to administer oaths prior to entering into the practice of the fisheries profession.

SECTION 32. Acts Constituting the Practice of the Fisheries Profession. — Any single act or transaction embraced within the provision of Section 4 hereof shall constitute an act of engaging in the practice of the fisheries profession.

SECTION 33. Prohibition against the Unauthorized Practice of the Fisheries Profession. — No person shall practice the fisheries profession in the Philippines or offer oneself as fisheries professional, or use the title, word, letter, figure or any sign tending to convey the impression that one is a fisheries professional, or advertise or indicate in any manner whatsoever that one is qualified to practice the profession, unless the person has satisfactorily passed the Board licensure examination for fisheries professionals, or registered as a fisheries professional without examination, except as otherwise provided in this Act, and is a holder of a valid Certificate of Registration and a Professional Identification Card or a valid special temporary permit duly issued by the Board and the Commission.

SECTION 34. Prohibition against Corporate Practice. — The practice of fisheries professionals is a professional service, admission to which shall be determined upon basis of individual and personal qualification. No firm, company, or association may be registered or licensed as such for the practice of the fisheries profession.

SECTION 35. Prohibition against Hiring Unlicensed Fisheries Professionals. — Government agencies, educational institutions, private corporations or companies, and entrepreneurs in fisheries are prohibited from hiring unlicensed fisheries professionals whose work is defined in Section 4 of this Act.

SECTION 36. Integration of All Fisheries Professionals. — The fisheries profession shall be integrated into one (1) national professional organization of fisheries professionals which shall be duly registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The Board, subject to approval by the Commission, shall accredit the said organization as the one and only AIPO of registered fisheries professionals. All fisheries professionals whose names appear in the Registry Book of Fisheries Professionals shall ipso facto or automatically become members thereof and shall receive all the benefits and privileges appurtenant thereto upon payment of AIPO membership fees and dues.

Membership in the AIPO shall not be a bar to membership in other organizations of the fisheries profession.

SECTION 37. Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice for Fisheries Professionals. — The Board shall prescribe, adopt, and promulgate the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice for Fisheries Professionals which shall be issued by the AIPO of fisheries professionals.

SECTION 38. Vested Rights: Automatic Registration of Fisheries Professionals. — All fisheries technologists who are registered and licensed under Resolution 01, series of 2002 of the Board of Fisheries, PRC, entitled "Rules and Regulations Implementing PRC Resolution No. 2000-664, As Amended," Creation of the Board of Fisheries as mandated by Section 115 of Republic Act No. 8550, otherwise known as the Fisheries Code of 1998 at the time this Act takes effect shall automatically be registered as fisheries professionals.

ARTICLE V

Penal and Final Provisions

SECTION 39. Penal Provisions. — Any violation of this Act, including the violations of its IRR, shall be meted the penalty of a fine of not less than Fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00) nor more than Five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00), or imprisonment of not less than six (6) months, or both, upon the discretion of the court.

SECTION 40. Appropriations. — The Chairperson of the Commission shall immediately include in the Commission's programs the implementation of this Act, the funding of which shall be included in the annual General Appropriations Act.

SECTION 41. Transitory Provision. — The existing Professional Board of Fisheries shall continue to function in the interim without another appointment until such time that the new Board shall have been constituted pursuant to this Act.

SECTION 42. Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR). — Within sixty (60) days from effectivity of this Act, the Board shall, subject to the approval of the Commission, adopt, promulgate and issue the IRR, in coordination with the AIPO and other fisheries institutions, to implement or carry out its provisions.

SECTION 43. Separability Clause. — If any clause, sentence, paragraph, or part of this Act shall be declared unconstitutional or invalid, such judgment shall not affect, invalidate or impair any other part of this Act.

SECTION 44. Repealing Clause. — Section 115 of Republic Act No. 8550 and Section 75 of Republic Act No. 8435 and PRC Resolution No. 2000-664, series of 2000 are hereby repealed. All other laws, decrees, executive orders, and other administrative issuances and parts thereof which are inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are hereby modified, superseded or repealed accordingly.

SECTION 45. Effectivity. — This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days after its publication in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation.

Approved: August 22, 2019.

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