House Bill 8529, or the proposed "Speech Language Pathology Act", was transmitted to the President last February 20, 2019 after the Senate adopted the House version as an amendment to Senate 462 on January 21, 2019. Prior to this, the House unanimously approved HB 8529 on third and final reading, with 170 votes, last November 21, 2018.
House Bill 8529 is principally authored by Reps. Gary Alejano (Party-list, MAGDALO), John Marvin "Yul Servo" Nieto (3rd District, Manila), Angelina Tan (4th District, Quezon), Luis Raymund Villafuerte (2nd District, Camarines Sur), Michelle Antonio (Party-list AGBIAG), and Alfred Vargas (5th District, Quezon City). Meanwhile, SB 462 is authored by Senators Antonio Trillanes III and Risa Hontiveros.
HB 8529 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.
It defines Speech Language Pathology as the “allied health profession devoted to the evaluation, diagnosis, management, and prevention of human communication and swallowing disorders.”
The bill 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.
Among the powers of the Board are 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.
To be certified and recognized as a professional Speech Language Pathologist, an applicant shall be required to undergo a licensure examination. This shall 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.
Moreover, HB 8529 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 Speech Language Pathologists shall be provided exclusive employment in all existing and proposed positions in public and private entities primarily requiring their services.
Meanwhile, 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.
Persons engaged in the practice of Speech Language Pathology are prohibited from a) representing himself as a Speech Language Pathologist without the valid credentials of registration and certification; b) practicing his profession during the period of suspension from the practice thereof; c) 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 d) using as one’s own the COR, PIC, or STP of another person.
Violating the provisions of the Act 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.