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Promoting environmental planning
in the Philippines

HISTORY

The Philippine Institute of Environmental Planners (PIEP) was formally established on October 16, 1969 with the approval of its charter by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

 

The Incorporators

Serafin G. Aquino, Jr.

Luis Ma. Araneta

Cesar H. Concio

Manuel T. Mañosa

Geronimo V. Manahan

Angel E. Nakpil

Honorato G. Paloma

Asteya M. Santiago

Leandro A. Viloria

 

Formation of the organization

The need to form an organization such as the PIEP was generated by a series of events which led to the demand for and recognition of a new field of expertise – planning. These events included the following:

Establishment in 1965

The establishment in 1965 of the Institute of Environmental Planning (IEP) (now the School of Urban and Regional Planning) as an academic unit of the University of the Philippines by virtue of R.A. 4341 and the subsequent offering of a graduate program in planning in 1967. The IEP was mandated, among others to “make available a pool of professional urban and regional planners to carry out the national policy of comprehensive planning and development;


1968 Joint resolution

The adoption of a joint resolution in June 1968 by the Congress of the Philippines declaring the national policy of comprehensive environmental planning to effectuate the conservation, rehabilitation and development of human settlement and the natural environment through comprehensive integrated planning and management.


1969 Three landmark studies

The launching of three landmark studies in early 1969, jointly by the Institute of Planning and the Department of Public Works Transportation and Communications, with UNDP Technical Assistance, namely: The Physical Framework Plan of the Philippines, the Manila Bay Design Framework Plan and the Mindanao Design Framework Plan.

 

1968-1988: The First 20 years


A Planning Council: the Early Beginnings of a Planning Profession Group

The Provisional Body for Environmental Planners which was the predecessor of PIEP was the Council of Environmental Planners which first met 42 years ago in 1969.

It had a very brief life of several months. It had nine (9 ) founding members namely Angel Nakpil, Leandro A. Viloria, Serafin Aquino, Luis Ma. Araneta, Honorato Paloma, Cesar Conco, Manuel Manosa, Geronimo Manahan and Asteya Santiago. Of these founding members 9, only 2 were non-architects who were faculty members of the then Institute of Planning which started to offer courses in physical planning in 1969.

These abovementioned members would later form also the original founding members of the PIEP when it was formally organized.

The Council held three organizational meetings, preceeded by informal meetings to draft the charter and by-laws of the envisioned professional organization.

The first organizational meeting was where the main agenda was “Intent to Reorganize, and determination of the Organization. The second organizational meeting ( there was little data on the first meeting and will have to consult the then Acting Secretary , GV Manahan or the Acting President Manuel Manosa) of the Council which was was held on March 2, 1969. This was presided over by Manuel Manosa while Geronimo Manahan acted as Secretary. An important part of the agenda was the presentation of the Constitution and By-Laws which was approved in principle in the preceding meeting. Another item in the agenda was for the creation of a Committee to finalize the format of the Constitution and By-Laws for eventual ratification.

The proposed charter and by-laws were first presented in this meeting which were approved in principle These were approved in principle and the consensus was that these documents were to be presented in the third organizational meeting to be held on March 06, 1969. Dr. Viloria suggested that the Constitution and By-laws include a transitory provision embodying the Constitution of the provisional Council and the interim provisions and policies in membership qualifications. However, Mr. Nakpil moved that the body consider a permanent council in lieu of a provisional one and let the profession of the Constitution and By-Laws be transitory. These were approved in principle and the consensus was that these documents were to be presented in the third organizational meeting to be held on March 06, 1969. The term INSTITUTE to identify the organization was approved unanimously.

The third meeting of the Council took place on 6 March 1969, a year (?) after the Council first came into being. During the third organizational meeting, Mr. Manosa summarized the efforts to organize such a professional group as initiated by Angel Nakpil and Walter Geoffrey Faithfull. He recalled that the initial meetings were held to draft the charter and by laws which were approved in principle as presented in the second organizational meeting. It was in this third organizational meeting that The members unanimously approved that the organization be called an Institute.

The officers first elected were Geronimo Manahan a Secretary, Luis Ma. Araneta as Treasurer, Leandro A, Viloria as Vice President. Angel Nakpil became the first President of the PIEP, replaced Manuel Manosa who was the interim presiding officer.

Various committees were constituted to take charge of the various concerns of the organization. These committees were the Committee on the Constitution and By-Law headed by Cesar Concio; Membership Committee, Serafin Aquino; Executive Committee- President Nakpil; Finance Committee headed by Luis Ma. Araneta and Public Relations Committee, by Leandro A. VIloria. Committee on Programming, Angel Nakpil;Committee on Professional Practice, chaired by Honorato Paloma, Committee on Education and Reearch, none was designted since there was not urgent need for it.

This discussion raises the following questions where the answers are not available in the materials reviewed. What was the so-called Council? What were its beginnings? Who composed it and when and how did it get organized? How did it get transformed into the present PIEP? Data for this is incomplete and rather sketchy, but it reveals the first skeletal outline of the formation of the PIEP. To fill up this gap, there is need to conduct interviews with those who may have the institutional memory on this.


The Importance of a Planning Profession Organization

An important document which reveals some information on the triggering factors for taking the initiative to organize a professional organization for planners is the letter of Mr. Geoffrey Faithful to the then regional urban planner of the National Planning Commission (NPC). The NPC was the then national planning organization made responsible for national and local planning in the country. It was created by E.0. 98 in 1946 and had the primary objective of rehabilitating the country from the damage caused to towns and cities during World War II.

In his letter to Mr. Ricardo Mendoza, Chief Regional Urban Planner of the NPC, Mr. Faithfull (the then UNDP Consultant on Planning based in the Institute of Planning in U.P.), dated 19 July, 1967, he underscored the importance of a professional association. He said, "a professional association can do much to foster improved practice, education, training and public and political acceptance, understanding and support." While he admitted that the profession is not new in the Philippines, "the number of practitioners is limited, as is their support and understanding." He also cited the role of the Institute of Planning, underscoring the fact that its full impact will not be made "unless professional planners play their part "who should join together in a properly constituted professional organization, for it to be fully effective."

At this time, two organizations, according to Mr. Faithfull, already existed, namely the League of City and Regional Planners and the Regional Science Organization. The first had as secretary a Mr. Garcia (no first name mentioned) while the second involved Mr. Constancio Ancheta of the National Economic Council (NEC).

Mr. Faithfull exhorted Mr. Mendoza in the same letter to give thought to the early formation of an official professional organization for planners.

An equally important document regarding the professional organization if the Official Paper of the U.P. Institute of Planning, dated 3 March, 1969 (entitled "Opinion on the Philippine Institute of Environmental Planners") where the proposal was made that the proposed PIEP, instead of a Board of Examiners for Planners, be given the sole responsibility of examining and recognizing directly or indirectly, the professional entering into the practice of planning in the country. The PIEP can be directed by legislation to handle the entrance examinations or any other set-up devised to regulate planning practice in the Philippines. The matters required for administration and registration purposes cqn be handled by any government agency such as the professional and vocational registration of the Revised Administrative Code. The Paper pointed to the rationale for organizing this group which is "to discourage the formation of splinter groups" which according to this position paper "may retard the rapid development of a planning philosophy for the country, if not the fragmentation of a unified planning ideology." The Paper warned that "without any unique planning ideology or philosophy, planning as a profession will not flourish in the country".


Drafting of legislation to govern Planning Practice

In a Memorandum to Dean Leandro A. Viloria by a Committee of the members consisting of Professors Asteya Santiago, Gerardo Calabia and Eloisa Litonjua, it recommended that the Committee on Professional Practice of the PIEP draft the bill "which shall govern the practice of the planning profession which shall then lay down provisions on the matter of licensing and regulating the practice, code of ethics and professional conducts, schedule of fees etc." This was in response to the request of Professor Honorato Paloma, chairman of the Committee on Professional Practice of the PIEP for definition and clarification of the nature and extent of the planning activities of the UP Institute of Planning (Memorandum to Dr. Leandro A. Viloria, dated October 12, 1971 by the Committee to study the request for clarification of Professor Honorato Paloma chaired by Asteya Santiago).


Organization of the Board of Environmental Planners

Section 4 of PD 1386 provided for the creation of a Board of Environmental Planning, stating that "within 30 days after the approval of this Decree, there shall be created a Board of Environmental Planning, hereinafter referred to as the Board, which shall be composed of a chairman and two (2 members). They are to be appointed by the President of the Philippines from among those recommended by the Philippine Institute of Environmental Planners.

PIEP elected its officers from among the members of the Council which was the predecessor of the Board of Directors of the PIEP. These officers were Angel E.Nakpil as President, Leandro A.. Viloria as Vice President, Luis Ma. Araneta as Treasurer and Geronimo Manahan as Secretary. Several Committees were created namely the Committee on Constitution and By-Laws (which was made responsible for handling the registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission aside from finalizing the Constitution and By-laws of the body), the Membership Committee, the Executive Committee, the Finance Committee, and Public Relations Committee; and several committee on Programming, Professional Pracitce and on Education and Research.