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Living in a civilization means living with other people. As cities grow, so is its
demands for basic necessities like water. Also, as cities grow, so is the waste
produced by the inhabitants. The problem of delivering water to the city and its
inhabitants, and the problem of proper handling of human waste paved way to
the creation of the art and science of plumbing. Plumbing is the art and science
of installing pipes for the distribution of water and also as a channel for human
wastes and wastewaters. It is an overlooked profession but the absence of it can
have a huge impact on civilization. The absence of pipe networks can easily result
in chaos and the spread of diseases.
The recorded history of plumbing in the Philippines started in the time of
Spanish occupation. It was during the 17th century when Spaniards created
massive structures and with it is the incorporation of plumbing installations. The
walled city of Intramuros was considered the model community since the friar
engineers who designed and managed the construction of the structures in the
city also had European standard plumbing installations. Although plumbing
practices was first adapted by the friars, it was in the 18th and 19th century that
Filipinos started to have a grasp on installing plumbing systems. It was also at this
time that Filipinos were tasked to do plumbing works in towns. It was part of their
job to maintain, repair, or remodel plumbing systems.
The second part of the history of plumbing in the Philippines started when
the Americans arrived in the Philippines. It was at this time that huge changes
were adapted and implemented. The spread of diseases such as cholera,
leprosy, schistosomiasis and other contagious diseases meant that hygiene and
sanitary practices be changed in order to prevent further deaths and outbreaks.
Municipalities even received instructions on proper waste disposal in the efforts to
stop the spread of diseases.
It was on 1902 that the plumbing trade was duly recognized by the
government and appointed master plumber John F. Haas as the first chief of the
division of plumbing construction and inspection. This next stage in the plumbing
practice though was centered in the capital city of Manila. During this time also
that Filipino master plumbers created a building code for the capital city which
was based on the plumbing code of United States of America. Roughly three
decades after that, during 1935, that the National Master Plumbers Association of
the Philippines (NAMPAP) was created and registered with the securities and
exchange commission. The creation of NAMPAP was made possible through the
efforts of Francisco Geronimo, Mariano de Ocampo, lgmidio Suarez, Eusebio
Mina, Jose Rivera, Raymundo Reyes, Sr., Roberto Feliciano, Gregorio Lazaro,
Raymundo Gumapac, John Jones, Trinitario Ortiz, Valentin Casupanan, Catalino
Casupanan, Crispin Francisco, Teodoro Pastor, Cornelio Odvina and Jesus
Tangbal Dera. It was NAMPAP who initiated the creation of Department of Publiv
Services of the City of Manila. Later on, other cities and municipalities adopted
the plumbing code of manila and NAMPAP spearheaded the enactment of law
regulating the practice of master plumbing in the Philippines.
In 1954, House Bill No.962 was approved by the Third Congress of the
Republic of Philippines which became Republic Act No. 1378. Later on June 18,
1955, R.A 1378 otherwise known as the “Plumbing Law of the Philippines” was
signed by President Ramon Magsaysay. Four years later on January 28, 1959, with
the help of NAMPAP, the National Plumbing Code of the Philippines was
approved by the Malacañang. NAMPAP also assisted in passing the law which
created National Waterworks and Sewage Authority (NAWASA).
During 1966-1969 a curriculum for plumbing engineering was created by
the Board of Examiners of Master Plumbers along with NAMPAP. This was
approved by the Department of Education and was first introduced in Feati
On 1996, Jaime M. Cabase which was the NAMPAP president at that time
spearheaded the updating of the Revised National Plumbing Code of the
Philippines. It was on October 1999 that they were able to pass a draft code to
the Board of Master Plumbers (BOMP). After being reviewed by the Philippine
Regulatory Commission the Revised Plumbing Code of 1999 was adopted and
later signed by then president Joseph Ejercito Estrada on December 21, 1999
pursuant to Section 4 of R.A. 1378 known as the Plumbing Law. It was also during
this time that conventions, regional conferences, and forums were held regularly.
It was attended by master plumbers as well as the manufacturers, dealers and
suppliers of plumbing tools, equipment, materials, and services where
presentations are made for the benefit of people working in the field of plumbing
engineering and to propagate growth in the industry.

Works involving plumbing are often overlooked by people and even
thought of as “dirty” work but I consider it noble and totally indispensable.
Because of plumbing works incorporated in the modern structures, people enjoy
the luxury of having water instantaneously and wouldn’t even have to handle
human wastes manually. This doesn’t only save time but also prevents the spread
of diseases due to mishandling of waste products. The discovery of plumbing
engineering is a giant leap for mankind.
Laws and regulations are made throughout the years which highlights the
importance and the delicate nature of the profession but still in the Philippines,
we still experience problems related to plumbing every day. Is it the inadequacy
of the laws and the codes or is there a neglect in its implementation that causes
these problems? Perhaps it could be a human factor? I think its more of the latter.
The lack of discipline among Filipinos is undeniable and until we tackle this
problem, it will continue to generate problems and haunt the next generations.