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Physical and Occupational Therapy

General Practice of Physical and Occupational Therapy

No person shall practice or offer to practice physical therapy and occupational therapy in the Philippines as defined in this Act, without the prescription of a duly registered physician and a valid certificate of registration as a physical therapist or an occupational therapist, as the case may be issued by the Board of Examiners for Physical Therapists and Occupational Therapists

A person shall be deemed to be practicing physical therapy within the meaning of this Act, who for a fee or other consideration applies or advises the use of heat, cold, light, electricity or other means for the treatment or prevention of disorders or neuro-muscular or musculoskeletal systems of the human body or subject a patient to passive mobilization or physical rehabilitation procedures repeatedly.

A person shall be deemed to be practicing occupational therapy within the meaning of this Act, who for a fee or other consideration, applies or advices the use of the treatment or prevention of disorders of the physical or psychological formation of the human body, or subjects a patient to occupational therapy procedures repeatedly.

Qualification of Board Members

Each member of the Board shall, at the time of his appointment:

  1. Citizen and resident of the Philippines for at least five years;
  2. At least thirty-five years of age if he is a chairman, or thirty years of age if he is a member;
  3. Of good moral character and must not have been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude;
  4. A physiatrist if he is the chairman, or a holder of a bachelor’s degree in physical therapy or occupational therapy with at least five years experience as a physical therapist or occupational therapist as the case may be; and
  5. Not member of the faculty of any school, college or university conferring a bachelor’s degree in physical therapy or occupational therapy as a major study at the time of his appointment nor have any pecuniary interest, directly or indirectly, in such institution: Provided, That this subparagraph shall not be applicable to the chairman and members of the first Board.
Members of the Board

Republic Act No. 5680 
An Act Creating the Board of Examiners for Physical Therapists and Occupational Therapists.

Short title of Act. - This Act shall be known as the Philippine Physical and Occupational Therapy Law.

Definition of Terms. - As used in this Act, the following terms shall mean:


  1. Physical therapy is the art and science of treatment by means of therapeutic exercises, heat, cold, light, water, manual manipulation, electricity, and other physical agents.
  2. Physical therapy technician is a person, who not having acquired a bachelor’s degree in Physical Therapy is qualified through in-service training and practical experience to assist in the application of physiotherapeutic procedures and to undertake specific assignments as directed by a qualified physical therapist in carrying out the prescription of a licensed physician. Such assignments shall be confined within the limits of a hospital or institution of employment.
  3. Rehabilitation medicine, at the patient level, is the “clinical management of the problems associated with disability, with the objective of improving to the maximum level the physical, socio-economic and physiological functioning of a disabled individual Medical rehabilitation is an integral part of total medical care. Total rehabilitation is best achieved through the coordinated work of various health disciplines like medicine, psychology, social work, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech and hearing, nursing, vocational evaluation, dietetics, and special education.”
  4. Physical therapist is a person legally qualified and licensed to practice physical therapy under this Act.
  5. Physiatrist is a legally qualified and licensed physician specializing in the practice of rehabilitation medicine.
  6. Occupational therapy is a paramedical discipline concerned with the administration of medically prescribed treatment, in the form of supervised activity, to persons disabled by disease or injury. The objective of occupational therapy is to contribute to the development of the disabled person’s independence, to improve his emotional, social, and physical well-being and his ability to care for himself both at home and on the job, and to begin early evaluations and experimentation for future job training and employment. Occupational therapy may be prescribed by a general medical practitioner or a specialist in any of the recognized branches of medicine and is administered under the direction of a registered occupational therapist.
  7. Occupational therapist is a legally qualified person licensed to practice occupational therapy under this Act and who by accepted academic training and professional clinical experience possesses the knowledge and skills to achieve the objectives as defined and set by the occupational therapy profession. The occupational therapist functions through the use of the basic methods, approaches and procedures of occupational therapy (creative, manipulative, educational, pre-vocational evaluation and self-care activities) which are designed to assess and develop the actual and potential abilities of the individual. The occupational therapist plans, organizes, evaluates, and participates in a medically oriented treatment program to assist the disabled person towards physical independence, productivity, and constructive personal or social relationship. The occupational therapist functions in general and special hospitals, rehabilitation and welfare centers, pediatric clinics, psychiatric clinics, specialized schools, geriatric institutions, home care programs, and work-adjustments units.
  8. Occupational therapy technician or assistant is a person who, not having acquired a bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy, is qualified, as determined by a bona fide national professional association of occupational therapists in the Philippines through in-service training under practical experience, to function as an assistant to and under the direct supervision of an occupational therapist to assist in rehabilitating patients in hospitals and similar institutions.
  9. Disability is a loss or reduction of a person’s capacity to effectively cope with the demands of his environment as a result of disease or injury, including birth trauma.

Thirty years ago, a group of physical therapists and physicians assembled to push for the passage of a bill that would regulate the practice of physical and occupational therapy in the Philippines.

Their efforts were rewarded when on June 21, 1969, the bill drafted by Congressman Jose Aldeguer of Iloilo was passed into law – Republic Act No. 5680. Entitled the “Physical and Occupational Therapy Law” it provided for the creation of a Board of Physical and Occupational Therapy, a five-person body composed of a chair and four members, two of them physical therapists and another two occupational therapists.

The first Board was constituted on October 3, 1972 with Dr. Jesus Mendoza (the first registrant) as Chairman and Mr. Henry Pit-Og, Mrs. Josefina C. Rabino, Mrs. Conchita Abad, and Mrs. Fe Isaac-Saño as Members. The Board promulgated the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Physical and Occupational Therapy Law which was subsequently approved on November 2, 1972. The Board conducted the first licensure examinations for eighteen occupational therapists and twenty-six physical therapists on July 23, 1973.

It implemented partial computerization of licensure examinations in 1994 and full computerization a year after. In 1994, the PRC and the boards of the various health professions, including the Board of Physical and Occupational Therapy, signed an agreement with the Department of Education on the rules of school inspection.

With the agreement, the Board intensified its campaign to vigorously inspect schools offering PT-OT programs. In 1995, the Board participated in the Consultative Conference to draft the Standards of PT-OT Education which were embodied in CHED Memorandum Order No. 7, series of 1998. The Board also worked in close coordination with the Department of Health on the program of accreditation of affiliation centers in the training of PT and OT students and in the review of disability programs.

Click HERE to view the list of Accredited Integrated Professional Organizations (AIPOs) /Accredited Professional Organizations (APOs)