President Rodrigo Duterte has signed the Speech Language Pathology Act (Republic Act 11249) which integrates all speech language pathologists into one accredited professional organization recognized by the Board of Speech Language Pathology and the Professional Regulations Commission.
The measure signed last March 22 is a consolidated bill authored by opposition senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Risa Hontiveros and Representatives Mario Vittorio Mariño, Maria Carmen Zamora, Gary Alejano, among others of the Lower House.
The law defines speech language pathology as the allied health profession devoted to the evaluation, diagnosis, management, and prevention of human communication and swallowing disorders.
It aims to align the regulatory framework for speech language pathology with the current international standards of practice.
The law creates a new government body -- the Speech Language Pathology Board, which shall supervise and regulate the registration, licensure and practice of speech language pathology in the Philippines. It will be composed of a chairperson who shall serve for three years and two members who shall serve for two years following their appointments by the President.
The board is mandated to promulgate, administer, and enforce rules and regulations necessary to carry out the mandate of the law; supervise and regulate the registration, licensure, and practice of speech language pathology in the Philippines; develop and maintain standards for the practice of speech language pathology; and adopt a Code of Ethics for speech language pathologists.
The measure will also create a mechanism for licensure and registration of speech language pathologists.
Under the new law, applicants for the said practice shall be required to undergo a licensure examination and must obtain a general average of 75 percent with no grade lower than 50 percent in any subject to qualify.
Those who shall represent themselves as speech language pathologist without certification shall be punished with a fine ranging from P20,000 to P50,000 or imprisonment of two to five years or both.
The same punishment applies to those unqualified to practice the profession.