House Approves Bill Modernizing Practice of Chemistry

This article was originally published on the House of Representatives website.

The House of Representatives has approved on 2nd Reading the bill regulating and modernizing the practice of Chemistry in the country to make it attuned and responsive to modern scientific and technological developments, the rise in international standards and global competition, and concerns for the environment and climate change, among others.

The House Committee on Civil Service and Professional Regulation chaired by Rep. Andres D. Salvacion, Jr. (3rd District, Leyte) earlier endorsed and defended in plenary House Bill 5016, in substitution of HB 1706 authored by Rep. Victoria G. Noel (Partylist AN-WARAY), seeking to regulate and modernize the practice of Chemistry in the country by repealing Republic Act 754, otherwise known as The Chemistry Law of the Philippines.

Noel said there is now a need to update the Chemistry Law, enacted on June 18, 1952, to make it more responsive to recent changes brought about by rapid developments in Chemistry, Science and Technology, the rise of international standards, global competition and also concerns for the environment, climate change, and sustainable development.

“Today, for example, sophisticated chemical designs, synthesis and analyses are required in a wide variety of application, such as environment, water, food products, pharmaceuticals, forensics, plastics and polymers, materials, and many others,” said Noel, an Assistant Majority Leader.

She explained that Chemistry has two important aspects: Chemistry as a scientific and academic endeavor; and Chemistry as applied to public safety, public interest and the national economy. “The Chemistry Law should promote the former, but should regulate the latter,” said Noel.

House Bill 5016 or the proposed Chemistry Profession Act provides that Chemistry is vital to public safety, the national economy and the protection of the environment. It is the State policy to promote, regulate and protect the professional practice of Chemistry and ensure the continued development and high international standards of its practice in the country.

The bill refers to Chemistry as the study, analysis, modification and calculations of physico-chemical or biochemical properties of matter. It provides that the professional practice of Chemistry covers the performance of a service related to the public interest, public safety, legal or regulatory matters.

The following shall be the functions of the registered chemists, among others: perform chemical analysis or chemical synthesis; certify a chemical analysis or chemical synthesis; inspect a laboratory with respect to its chemical or biochemical activities; supervise a chemical laboratory; teach, lecture and review a professional Chemistry subject in the curriculum of the Bachelor of Science in Chemistry degree or a subject in the Chemistry licensure examination given in any college, university, or training or review center or any other educational institution or certification body; supervise sale of chemicals, chemical apparatus or chemical equipment; and functions related to the management of chemicals such as chemical safety, chemical waste management, pollution control and the like.

The measure provides for the creation of a Professional Regulatory Board of Chemistry, under the administrative control and supervision of the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC). Among the powers and duties of the Board are to: supervise and regulate the practice of Chemistry in the country; determine the requirements and evaluate the qualifications of the applicants for registration and renewal of license of registered chemists and registered chemical technicians; prescribe the subjects in the licensure examination, determine the syllabi of the subjects and their relative weights, construct the exam questions and submit the exam results to the PRC; adopt and promulgate the Code of Ethics and Code of Good Governance for the practice of Chemistry; hear and decide administrative cases filed against chemists, chemical technicians, and the owners and administrators of chemical laboratories; and inquire into the conditions affecting the practice of the profession and adopt measures to enhance and maintain the high professional, ethical and technical standards.

The Board shall be composed of a Chairperson and two members to be appointed by the President of the Philippines from a list of three recommendees for each position ranked by the PRC from a list of five nominees for each position submitted by the Accredited Professional Organization (APO) of chemists, the bill provides. They shall hold office for a term of three years from the date of appointment or until their successors have been appointed.

No person shall practice or offer to practice as chemist or chemical technician without having previously obtained a certificate of registration from the Board and a professional identification card, unless exempt from registration or from said requirements, the bill provides.

All applicants for registration for the practice of Chemistry and Chemical Analysis shall be required to pass the licensure examination, the bill provides. The measure likewise enumerates the scope of examination for chemists, qualifications of an applicant for chemical technician, and scope of examination for chemical technician.

For Chemistry licensure examination, the examinee must obtain a general average of at least 70 percent and no rating less than 50 percent in any subject. If the examinee passes any two subjects, he or she shall automatically qualify as a chemical technician. For chemical technician licensure examination, the examinee must obtain an overall average of at least 70 percent and no rating less than 50 percent in any subject, the bill provides.

House Bill 5016 is co-authored by Andres, Reps. Jesulito A. Manalo (Party-list, ANGKLA), Julieta A. Cortuna (Party-list, A Teacher), Jonathan A. dela Cruz (Party-list, ABAKADA), Philip A. Pichay (1st District, Surigao del Sur), Sergio A.F. Apostol (2nd District, Leyte), Leah S. Paquiz (Party-list, Ang Nars), Carlos M. Padilla (Lone District, Nueva Vizcaya), Victor J. Yu (1st District, Zamboanga del Sur), Celso L. Lobregat (1st District, Zamboanga City) and Anthony G. del Rosario (1st District, Davao del Norte).

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