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Op-Ed: The danger of the deregulation of professions

Author Pablo Vázquez is president of the Puerto Rico Professional College of Engineers and Land Surveyors.

The recent Fiscal Plan presented by the government of Puerto Rico proposes the deregulation of  professions with the supposed intent of facilitating the entry into the labor market.

Unfortunately, the plan does not provide details as to what it specifically proposes, what professions are to be impacted by this idea and how they would be affected if that course of action were implemented.

The undeniable reality is that the regulation of the exercise of the professions in Puerto Rico are in place for compelling reasons of the state interest and not as a mere whim.

In the particular case of engineering and surveying, these are professions that directly affects the safety and health of citizens.

When imposing requirements of studies, revalidation and licensure, the state ensures that the persons to whom it grants the privilege of said practice, comply with minimum standards regarding competence and education.

The same happens with the multiple professional associations to which the state has delegated the faculty to ensure the ethical behavior and the continuing education of its members.

We warn that indiscriminately allowing professional practice without adhering to requirements of continuing education, ethical guidelines and governing corps, damages the professional relationship, legal responsibility and ethical duty of the person who provides professional services to the person who receives them.

The development of the mechanisms and processes to guarantee a professional practice in Puerto Rico with due competition has taken many decades to develop.

The reforms the government may propose cannot put us in the opposite direction to the guarantees to the citizen of a responsible and truly professional service.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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