The House of Representatives has approved on second reading a bill that seeks to regulate the registration, licensure and practice of physical therapy in the country.
House Bill 8452, or the Philippine Physical Therapy Law, was sponsored by Bohol Rep. Alexie Tutor, who chairs the House Committee on Civil Service and Professional Regulation.
The bill aims to protect the public from incompetent and unauthorized practitioners of physical therapy, and to promote the development of the profession in accordance with the standards of global practice.
The bill defines physical therapy as “the health profession concerned with the prevention, diagnosis and management of movement disorders, and the enhancement of physical and functional abilities of individuals and populations through the use of physical means such as therapeutic exercises, manual therapy, electrotherapy, hydrotherapy, assistive devices and other modalities.”
The bill also creates the Professional Regulatory Board of Physical Therapy, which will supervise and regulate the practice of physical therapy in the country. The board will consist of a chairperson and four members, who will be appointed by the President from a list of nominees submitted by the Philippine Physical Therapy Association (PPTA).
The bill also provides for the qualifications, examination, registration and licensure of physical therapists and physical therapist assistants. It also sets the scope and limitations of practice, code of ethics, continuing professional development and disciplinary action for violators.
The bill also appropriates funds for the implementation of its provisions.
Rep. Tutor said that the bill is a response to the clamor of the physical therapy sector for a law that will recognize their vital role in health care and rehabilitation.
She added that the bill will also address the issues and challenges faced by physical therapists in terms of education, training, employment and migration.
According to PPTA President Michael Gabilo, there are about 20,000 licensed physical therapists in the country, but only about 8,000 are actively practicing. He said that many physical therapists opt to work abroad due to better opportunities and compensation.
He expressed hope that the passage of the bill will encourage more physical therapists to stay and serve in the country.
The bill is expected to be approved on third and final reading before it is transmitted to the Senate for concurrence.