Senator Joel Villanueva on Thursday called on the Department of Health (DOH) to simplify its licensure regulations for massage therapists following the implementation of an order requiring massage therapists to secure a license.
"Our end goal is to simplify the process of granting license to massage therapists so we can make it easier, accessible, and affordable for our people," said Villanueva, former director general of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
Administrative Order No. 2010-0034 issued on Dec. 10, 2010 states that no person is authorized to practice massage as a profession without a valid certificate of registration issued by the committee of examiners for massage therapy and approved by the DOH.
Villanueva said the enforcement of the order was suspended in January 2011 after the DOH agreed to a three-year moratorium on licensing of masseurs and masseuses which expired in December 2017.
Villanueva stressed that the DOH and TESDA should work together to harmonize the implementation of training, assessment, and certification of massage therapists.
"We recognize the importance of regulating the massage therapy profession to ensure that only qualified individuals can practice it. However, we find it unreasonable to require our people to undergo six months of training from DOH-accredited training centers when TESDA already has existing training courses and issues a National Certificate in Massage Therapy NC II which is also recognized abroad," Villanueva explained.
Villanueva further said he intends to call the DOH and TESDA officials to a public hearing to come up with an agreement between the two agencies to fix the issue.
"I asked our Senate committee on health chairperson Sen. JV Ejercito to call for a hearing to resolve this matter in no time. We can schedule it once session resumes on January 15," Villanueva said.
"Most if not all individuals who enroll in massage therapy courses are those who cannot afford tertiary education but are interested to gain employment immediately after they graduate. We don't want the DOH order to add more burden to our people," Villanueva further stressed.
Source: Senate of the Philippines