New bill seeks to regulate speech therapists

The House unanimously approved on third and final reading House Bill 8529 which seeks to regulate the practice of speech language pathology.

The proposed "Speech Language Pathology Act", principally authored by Rep. Harvey Vittorio Mariño (5th District, Batangas), garnered the vote of all 170 House Members present during the voting.

The bill seeks to promote the development of a corps of competent, world-class, and globally competitive speech language pathologists through the establishment of mechanisms, safeguards, and procedures for the development of the profession in the country.

The bill defines speech language pathology as the “allied health profession devoted to the evaluation, diagnosis, management, and prevention of human communication and swallowing disorders.”

HB 8529 provides for the creation of the Board of Speech Language Pathology to ensure the effective supervision, control, and regulation of the practice of speech language pathology.

The Board shall have the following powers, among others, to: 1) promulgate, administer, and enforce rules and regulations necessary to carry out the mandate of the measure; 2) supervise and regulate the registration, licensure, and practice of speech language pathology in the Philippines; 3) develop and maintain standards for the practice of speech language pathology; and 4) adopt a Code of Ethics for speech language pathologists.

The Board shall comprise a chairperson and two members who shall be appointed by the President of the Philippines from the three recommendees for each position. The recommendees are in turn selected from the five nominees of the Accredited Integrated Professional Organization (AIPO) of speech language pathologists.

Meanwhile, all applicants for registration for the practice of speech language pathology shall be required to undergo a licensure examination, which will cover, among others, subjects such as anatomy and physiology of the speech and hearing mechanism; language and communication disorders; and research, professional ethics, and community development.
The measure further integrates all speech language pathologists in the country into one accredited professional organization recognized by the Board of Speech Language Pathology and the Professional Regulations Commission.

Registered pathologists shall be provided exclusive employment in all existing and proposed positions in public and private entities primarily requiring the services of speech language pathologist.

Foreign speech language pathologists seeking to practice in the country may be issued Special Temporary Permits (STPs) by the Board if the foreign pathologist is: 1) called for consultation for a specific purpose which in the judgment of the Board is essential to the growth of the profession; 2) an internationally recognized expert or specialist in any branch of speech language pathology and whose services are essential for the advancement of speech language pathology in the Philippines; or 3) to be engaged as professor, lecturer, or critic in fields essential to speech language pathology in the country.

Moreover, HB 8529 prohibits any person engaged in the practice of speech language pathology from doing the followings acts: 1) representing themselves as a speech language pathologist without the valid credentials of registration and certification; 2) practicing his profession during the period of suspension from the practice thereof; 3) allowing an unqualified person to advertise or to practice the profession by using their Certificate of Registration (COR), Professional Identification Card (PIC), or STP; and 4) using as one’s own the COR, PIC, or STP of another.

Violating the provisions of the measure or any of the implementing rules and regulations as promulgated by the Board of Speech Language Pathology shall be punishable by a fine of P20,000 to P50,000 or imprisonment of two to five years, or both, at the discretion of the court.

SOURCE: Czarina Engracia (2018). Bill to regulate speech language pathology hurdles House final reading. PRESS RELEASES. 25 November 2018 03:48:24 PM. www.congress.gov.ph/press/details.php?pressid=11069

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