Manila, Philippines – Building on the success of L.E.A.P in 2020, the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC), together with the Professional Regulatory Board of Landscape Architecture (PRBoLA) and in partnership with the Philippine Association of Landscape Architects (PALA), successfully hosted another international conference on landscape architecture profession entitled “Leadership in Education and Practice 2 (L.E.A.P 2): Academic Alignment and Program Recognition” held last 19-20 November 2021, via online platform.
This year, esteemed academicians, representatives from Foreign and Philippine Higher Education Institutions, practicing professionals in landscape architecture from the International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA) - Asia Pacific Region (APR) and IFLA World and local Non-Government Organizations (NGO) gathered in the two-day, follow-though virtual international conference, aiming to establish linkages with their foreign counterparts to pursue a collaborative partnership and identify the challenges the profession faces and come up with collaborative measures.
The conference opened with the insightful remarks delivered by International Affairs (IAO) Director Atty. Melisa Jane B. Comafay, followed by the remarkable messages from PRC's Honorable Commissioners, Yolanda D. Reyes and Jose Y. Cueto, Jr. and Honorable Chairperson Teofilo S. Pilando, Jr.. On the operationalization of the IFLA- APR Charter, particularly on its policies on advocacy, education, assessment, research and policy matters, Dr. Nappy L. Navarra, the Philippine delegate to the IFLA-APR, commenced the discussions of Day 1 on his presentation of Landscape Architecture in the Position of Leadership in the Designed and Built Environments. He was followed by Dr. Zheng Xi, Chairperson of the IFLA-APR Education and Academic Affairs Committee, on the presentation of Challenges and Trends of Landscape Architecture Education. In the afternoon, LA representatives from Thailand, Singapore, and Philippines[MOU1] respectively presented the status of LA practice and education.
Discussions were continued on day 2 as PRBoLA Chairperson Hon. Paulo G. Alcazaren provided significant recapitulations on the highlighted discussions from the first day of the conference. Chairperson of IFLA-APR Accreditation Panel Mike Barthelmeh kept the ball rolling by presenting the Commonalities and Uniqueness of the IFLA-APR Education; followed by Professor Dr. Ariya ‘Narm Aruninta of Chulalongkorn University with her presentation on Towards the APR Recognition of Landscape Architecture Education; and finally, Dr. Grace Ramos, current Dean of the University of the Philippines (UP) – College of Architecture, shared her expertise in the academe through her presentation on the Faculty and Students’ Mobility. During the afternoon session, local Landscape Architect delegates were engaged in the plenary and breakout sessions, sharing views on the current industry demands and education curriculum features and alignment.
Indeed, this conference marked another significant milestone for the Landscape Architecture profession, opening a wider array of knowledge and opportunities for our so-called ‘Stewards of the Land’ during this time of the pandemic, and more importantly, for the future. The PRBoLA’s thrust and progressive determination to achieve competence amongst Filipino landscape architects is geared towards strengthening the necessary mechanisms for the academic recognition and accreditation in Landscape Architecture for cross border practice, collaboration, and eventual development and recognition of fields of specialization. This is in line with the Philippine Qualification Framework as well as the Landscape Architecture Qualification Framework, both aiming to hone a more established, sustainable education, and professional practice towards achieving phronetic and futurist Filipino landscape architects.