Manila, Philippines – On the 20th of November 2023, in Jakarta, Indonesia, a historic moment unfolded as Hon. Charito A. Zamora, the Chairperson of the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) of the Philippines, signed a groundbreaking Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) on Interior Design Services with Mr. Ir. Taufik Widjoyono, Chairperson of the Construction Services Development Board (CSDB) of Indonesia.
This MRA signifies a collaborative effort between CSDB and PRC to promote the exchange of interior designers between the Philippines and Indonesia while fostering the adoption of best practices in the dynamic field of interior design. It formalizes the recognition of qualifications and experience of interior designers from both nations, setting the stage for mutual recognition, registration, and collaboration.
The genesis of this MRA can be traced back to the international conference titled "Conference of Philippines and Indonesia Towards the Framing of Mutual Recognition Arrangements for Interior Design," held from the 4th to the 6th of September 2023. During this conference, the groundwork was laid for this transformative agreement. The declaration and acceptance of intent to establish a bilateral MRA were officially formalized on the 5th of September 2023, by Hon. Charito A. Zamora and Mr. Ir. Taufik Widjoyono.
Preceding the formal MRA was a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) inked on the 2nd of December 2022, during the "PINTO: 1st Conference with Indonesia on Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications," held in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines. The MOU was signed by Hon. Sonia Olivares, Chairperson of the Professional Regulatory Board of Interior Design, and CSDB Board Member Tri Widjajanto Joedosastro, witnessed by Ma. Victoria Almario, President of the Philippine Institute of Interior Designers (PIID), and Rohadi Sumardi, President of Himpunan Desainer Interior Indonesia (HDII).
In her keynote address, Hon. Zamora emphasized, "In embracing this MRA, we affirm our dedication to upholding the highest standards of competence, professionalism, and ethics in the field of Interior Design. The exchange of ideas and practices will undoubtedly result in a cross-pollination of creativity and innovation, enriching the cultural fabric of both our nations."
The Philippine delegation accompanying Hon. Zamora in Jakarta included PRBoiD Members Hon. Maria Carlota D. Hilvano, Hon. Vincent Louie V. Tan, Director Atty. Melissa Jane Comafay, and other key staff of the PRC.
Meanwhile, in Pasay City, PRBoID Chairperson Hon. Sonia Olivares led the online witnessing of the MRA Signing Ceremony, joined by Ms. Cecille Fernando, Chief of the Qualification Recognition Division (QRD), Ms. Ma. Victoria Almario, President of PIID, and Dr. Racquel Florendo, President of the Council of Interior Design Educators (CIDE). Correspondingly, PRC Commissioner Hon. Jose Y. Cueto, Jr. and PRC Assistant Commissioner Mr. L. Louis P. Valera also virtually participated from their respective offices.
Hon. Olivares expressed her gratitude, reflecting on the arduous yet rewarding journey to the momentous agreement. She remarked, "The processes we went through are incredible. The endless Zoom meetings beyond hours, exchanges of comments and suggestions, deliberations beyond midnight, agreeing to disagree, and harmony within diversities of thoughts, are etched and instilled in our memories. We bonded, developed enduring friendships and partnerships, and acquired profound knowledge in global professional practice. With our MRA signed, the difficult work begins, and our joint commitment towards ASEAN Integration starts."
Following the signing ceremony, a meeting was convened to revisit the MRA's objectives. It also aimed to establish assessment statements and members in the Monitoring Committee for each country, eventually leading to the formation of the Indonesia-Philippines Interior Design Council (IPIDC). In the words of Hon. Zamora, "By working together to align our regulatory frameworks, share best practices, and ensure that the qualifications of professionals are acknowledged across borders, we are taking steps towards creating a unified and globally competitive interior design community."
This MRA heralds a new era of collaboration and excellence in interior design services between the Philippines and Indonesia, promising benefits for professionals and elevating the standards of the industry in both nations.