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25 September 2012

House Approves Bill Establishing Special Education (SPED) Centers Nationwide

The House of Representatives has approved on third reading a bill establishing special education (SPED) centers for children with special needs (CSNs) all over the country.

House Bill 6547, to be known as the Special Education (SPED) Act of 2012, seeks to institutionalize an adequate and relevant educational program for every CSN through the establishment of SPED Centers and provide vital support mechanisms.

Rep. Susan Yap
Rep. Susan Yap (2nd District, Tarlac), principal author of the bill, said the SPED Centers shall function as the resource center for the implementation of inclusive education that will accept all kinds of children on regular schools.

"The establishment of a SPED center in each school division and at least three SPED centers in big school divisions will ensure nationwide access of the CSNs to basic education through the formal system and other alternative delivery services in education and later facilitate integration with mainstream education," Yap said.

Yap said the Center shall assist, facilitate, and monitor the transfer and admission of qualified children with disabilities to post-secondary or tertiary education institutions.

"These SPED Centers in regular schools shall ensure that CSN fully develop their abilities, talents, interests and all aspects of their development to become more responsible for their lives and more effective partners in all the affairs of the state," Yap said.

The bill defines children with special needs as those who are gifted or are fast learners and those who are disabled, impaired or handicapped and in need of special education as well as services for rehabilitation.

Under the measure, each SPED center shall have specialized teachers who can handle children and youth with special needs including but not limited to those with visual or hearing impairment, autism, learning disabilities, behavioral problems, multiple disabilities, mental retardation/handicap and mental giftedness.

An assistant principal for each SPED center shall administer and supervise the alternative educational programs, early intervention programs, monitoring, supervision, and provision of technical assistance, training and enhancement programs to SPED personnel, referral and placement procedures, and oversee the other components of the special education.

Other members of administrative core and placement committee of the SPED unit are an educational psychologist or psychometrician, physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech and language therapist/speech correction teacher, and one education supervisor.

The measure shall enhance the right of teachers and support personnel to professional advancement through adequate remuneration, scholarship and training grants and other incentives.

The Act also mandates full continuum of educational services by the Department of Education (DepEd) to those CSN below school age through regular home visits, consultations, day care activities and any other proper medium or program.

The measure also provides financial assistance to the economically marginalized but deserving CSN at the elementary and secondary levels; ensures adequate and free medical assistance and intervention programs for CSN; and grants incentives to private institutions catering to the needs of CSN.

The local government units shall be responsible for the provision of CSN-friendly sites and counterpart funds for training and seminars of parents and teachers in their respective localities.

The co-authors of the bill are Reps. Juan Edgardo Angara (Lone District, Aurora), Augusto Syjuco (2nd District, Iloilo), Pedro Acharon, Jr. (1st District, South Cotabato and General Santos City), Bernadette Herrera-Dy (Party List, Bagong Henerasyon), Eulogio Magsaysay (Party List, AVE), Danilo Ramon Fernandez (1st District, Laguna), Winston Castelo (2nd District, Quezon City), Rufus Rodriguez (2nd District, Cagayan de Oro City), Maximo Rodriguez, Jr. (Party List, Abante Mindanao), Joseph Victor Ejercito (Lone District, San Juan City), Emi Calixto-Rubiano (Lone District, Pasay City), Raymond Palatino (Party List, Kabataan), Rodolfo Biazon (Lone District, Muntinlupa City), Ma. Georgina De Venecia (4th District, Pangasinan), Linabelle Ruth Villarica (4th District, Bulacan), Diosdado Macapagal Arroyo (2nd District, Camarines Sur), Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (2nd District, Pampanga), Tomas Apacible (1st District, Batangas), Ma. Carmen Zamora-Apsay (1st District, Compostela Valley), Cesar Sarmiento (Lone District, Catanduanes), Josephine Veronique Lacson-Noel (Lone District, Malabon City), Christopher Co (Party List, Ako Bicol), Rodel Batocabe (Party List, Ako Bicol), Alfredo Garbin, Jr. (Party List, Ako Bicol), Daryl Grace Abayon (Party List, PL, Aangat Tayo), Lani Mercado-Revilla (2nd District, Cavite), Alejandro Miraflores (Lone District, Aklan), Rachel Marguerite Del Mar (1st District, Cebu City), Cinchona Cruz-Gonzales (Party List, CIBAC), Czarina Umali (3rd District, Nueva Ecija), Aurora Enerio-Cerilles (2nd District, Magtanggol Gunigundo (2nd District, Valenzuela City), Emmeline Aglipay (Party List, DIWA), Abigail Ferriol (Party List, KALINGA), Nancy Catamco (2nd District, North Cotabato), Angelo Palmones (Party List, AGHAM), Luzviminda Ilagan (Party List, Gabriela), Mary Mitzi Cajayon (2nd District, Caloocan City), Emmi De Jesus (Party List, Gabriela), Antonio Tinio (Party List, ACT Teachers), Ma. Isabelle Climaco (1st District, Zamboanga City), Rafael Mariano (Party List, ANAKPAWIS), Marlyn Primicias-Agabas (6th District, Pangasinan), Eufranio Eriguel (2nd District, La Union), Mark Villar (Lone District, Las PiƱas), Carol Jayne Lopez (Party List, YACAP) , Salvador Cabaluna III (Party List, I Care), Erico Aumentado (2nd District, Bohol), Thelma Almario (2nd District, Davao Oriental), Pedro Romualdo (Lone District, Camiguin), and Marcelino Teodoro (1st District, Marikina City).

For comments and suggestions, call Tel (632) 931-5001 local 7444.

By Jazmin S. Camero, Media Relations Service-PRIB, from the House of Representatives of the Philippines Website


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