With increasing and highly complex social and economic problems, a group
of professionals perform the special task of strengthening the Filipino community.
Such professionals are called social workers.
Social work received formal recognition as a profession in the country with
the enactment on June 19, 1965 of Republic Act No. 4373, also known as
the “Act to Regulate the Practice of Social Work and the Operation of Social
Work Agencies in the Philippines and for Other Purposes.” Under the law,
social work practitioners were required to have an academic degree in social
work and to pass licensure examinations.
The Board of Examiners for Social Work was created in 1965, composing
of a Chair and four members, appointed by the President of the Philippines,
with the consent from the Commission on Appointments. The first
board was composed of Leonor E. Pablo, Josefa Z. Generoso, Leonora S.
de Guzman, Petra R. de Joya, Evelina A. Pangalangan, and Roberto R.
Sugcang (who was the first to register as social worker).
In the mid-sixties, social workers actively pushed for measures to uplift
their profession. As a result, Republic Act No. 5175 was passed in
1967, amending R.A. 4373, which provided for the protection of the rights of
social workers holding provisional appointment for the past five years at the
time of the passage of the law. R.A. 5175 also provided for the qualification
of master’s degree holders in social work for board examinations and mandated
the upgrading of the educational requirement of the members of the
Board of Examiners from a bachelor’s degree to a master’s degree in social
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