By Vanne Terrazola
A measure which seeks to regulate occupational therapy in the country has hurdled the Senate.
With 20 affirmative votes and no negative vote, the Senate approved on third and final reading Monday the Senate Bill 454, or the proposed Philippine Occupational Therapy Law of 2018.
Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, sponsor of the measure, said the approved bill would “formally recognize occupational therapy (OT) as an independent medical profession from physical therapy and align its regulatory framework with international standards of practice.”
Under the proposed law, a Board of Occupational Therapy shall be created under the supervision of the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC). The Board compose of a chairperson and two members appointed by the President of the Philippines.
The bill would also introduce a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) program for occupational therapists, including a reciprocity clause, which would pave the way for Filipino occupational therapists to practice abroad and integrate the OT profession into one national professional organization through the Accredited Integrated Professional Organization (AIPO).
Trillanes noted that the existing Republic Act No. 5680, which created the Board of Examiners for Physical Therapists and Occupational Therapist on June 21, 1969, “may no longer be attuned to the local and international standards.”
“It is high time that we address this anomaly by creating a separate regulatory board and legal framework for the profession in light of the increasing demand for our highly competitive occupational therapists, and the challenges being brought by our commitments in the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Economic Community, particularly in terms of the movement of professionals within the region,” Trillanes said.
“As one of the fastest growing professions in the country and abroad, updating the regulatory framework for the practice of our occupational therapists would undoubtedly complement the talent and skills of Filipino occupational therapists not only to make them globally competitive but also to enable them to give greater service to our country and our people,” he added.