Regulation of occupational therapy signed into law

THERAPY. A new law regulations the practice of occupational therapy. Image from Shutterstock

THERAPY. A new law regulations the practice of occupational therapy.

Image from Shutterstock

MANILA, Philippines – The practice of occupational therapy in the Philippines will now be regulated by the government after President Rodrigo Duterte signed a new law.

Duterte signed Republic Act No. 11241 or the Philippine Occupational Therapy Law of 2018 on March 11. The measure was made public on Tuesday, March 19.

Occupational therapy is a profession which helps persons with illness, injury, or disability recuperate and continue living their lives fully. This could include helping children with disability to socialize and thrive in school and helping the elderly adjust to or deal with new physical and cognitive conditions.

The law creates the Professional Regulatory Board of Occupational Therapy which will issue or cancel registration and licenses for the practice of occupational therapy.

The President will appoint the board chairman and two members.

In the meantime, the existing Board of Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy will continue its functions until the regulatory board under the new law is created. 

Examination, licensing

To practice occupational therapy in the Philippines, one must take an examination to be administered by the Board. To be eligible for the exam, one must be a Filipino citizen or a foreigner whose country allows Filipinos to practice occupational therapy in their country. You must not have been convicted for any offense involving moral turpitude and must be a graduate of a degree in Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy or its equivalent.

The passing rate for the exam is at 75% and no grade lower than 60% on any subject.

Those who pass the exams will be given a certificate of registration, professional license, and professional identification card. It will be illegal to practice occupational therapy without passing the exam and without valid registration and professional license.

The Board can also issue special or temporary permits to foreign-licensed occupation therapists if their services are “highly needed,” involve teaching positions in the field, or improve the profession in the Philippines.

The special permits must be approved by the Professional Regulation Commission and will be valid for only one year, with the possibility of renewal.

The law also mandates the creation of a national professional organization of occupational therapists, to be registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. It will be considered the “one and only” accredited organization of professional occupational therapists.

The Board will also need to adopt a code of ethics and standards of practice, to be issued by the accredited organization for occupational therapists.

Those who violate the act will be fined not less than P20,000 but not more than P50,000 or imprisonment of 2 to 5 years, or both. –

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at