Esteemed representatives and distinguished guests from the Librarianship profession from ASEAN Member States (AMS) gathered as the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) and the Professional Regulatory Board for Librarians (PRBFL), in partnership with the Philippine Librarians Association, Inc. (PLAI), hosted the First Southeast Asian Librarians Leadership Convergence, Part 2 last 1-3 December 2021 via online platform.
As a follow-through activity of the initial hosting undertaken last 10-11 November 2020 under International Commitments Fund (ICF) 2021, and with this year’s theme, “A Roadmap for the Implementation of the Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA)”, the PRC through the PRBFL and PLAI successfully concluded the virtual three (3)-day Convergence, notwithstanding the restraining forces caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Welcoming the participants on day 1 is PLAI President Emma M. Rey, followed by the opening remarks of PRBFL Chairperson Hon. Yolanda C. Granda, and insightful messages from PRC Commissioner Hon. Jose Y. Cueto Jr., and PRC Chairperson Hon. Teofilo S. Pilando, Jr..
Apart from learning the latest strategic developments in the Library and Information Science (LIS) education and practice from attending delegates from Cambodia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Viet Nam, and the Philippines, through the Committees on LIS Education Standards in the ASEAN Region, LIS Practice Standards in the ASEAN Region, and Code of Ethics for ASEAN Librarians, the Convergence successfully strengthened collaborative engagements with foreign counterparts towards establishing an MRA. The activity opened a wide opportunity to take a glimpse on the respective matrices for the MRA provision of the participating AMS, as well as on the reports of the Committees, all synthesized by PRBFL Member Hon. Lourdes T. David. Moreover, the participants were able to learn and grasp the exchange of information between and among participating AMS through an effective writeshop towards formulation of roadmap and creation of action plan towards the roadmap on MRA on LIS services. From there, best practices and common issues were shared to identify gaps and differences from the same, and to propose recommendations to bridge these gaps, as well as to determine assessment models in the other AMS.
Towards the end of the activity, it is clear that formulation of Roadmap towards establishment of MRA can be quite challenging, considering the crucial factors that intend to develop an agile and competent professional workforce in the region. With these initiatives, the PRC, being the regulatory body of the Philippines, can help develop one another, striving for mutual arrangements in the future, and constant upgrading of LIS education and professional standards in the international arena. It will therefore provide an avenue for the LIS practitioners to be recognized globally.
In 2022, the PRBFL will take the lead to conduct substantial activities to further strengthen the links between the LIS leaders and practitioners from the Southeast Asian countries on the recognition and harmonization of the qualifications as envisioned in the ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint.
The activity ended through the closing remarks delivered by PRC International Affairs Office (IAO) Director, Atty. Melisa Jane B. Comafay, who applauded the continuous invaluable role of the LIS in furthering the overall quality of research and education towards development. This is a testament to the enduring relevance of the librarianship profession despite and amidst the rapid technological advances that have greatly transformed its conduct in the past two decades.