SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
The House of Representatives approved on third and final reading House Bill 3222 which seeks to establish a National Vision Screening Program (NVSP) for kindergarten pupils to facilitate early detection of eye disorders and ailments among them.
The bill principally authored by Deputy Speaker Pia Cayetano (2nd District, Taguig City-Pateros), Reps. Estrellita Suansing (1st District, Nueva Ecija) and Alfred Vargas (5th District, Quezon City) seeks to identify early childhood visual problems and provide immediate attention to visually impaired kindergarten pupils through the creation of the NVSP under the Department of Education (DepEd).
The bill provides for the creation of the Vision Screening Continuing Research Fund (VSCF) through donations to DepEd or the Department of Health (DOH). The VSCF shall be subject to existing budgeting, accounting, and auditing rules and regulations.
It mandates tax exemptions for donors to the NVSP and VSCF, and that the amount necessary for the implementation of the program shall be included in the DOH and DepEd budgets in the annual General Appropriations Act (GAA).
Data from the Philippine Eye Research Institute show one in 20 pre-schoolers and one in four school-aged children have an eye problem. Further, over 10 percent of young Filipino children have visual acuity problems, higher than the five to 10 percent of the United States and Europe.
The Philippine Academy of Ophthalmology likewise underscored that poor vision at a young age impairs the child’s performance in school and impacts their interactions with the community.
Cayetano stressed the importance of early detection, noting many eye problems could be resolved at an early stage through simple diagnostic exams and non-surgical procedures.
Other authors of the bill are Reps. Ramon Durano VI (5th District, Cebu), Evelina Escudero (1st District, Sorsogon), Karlo Alexei Nograles (1st District, Davao City), Dakila Carlo Cua (Lone District, Quirino), Romeo Acop (2nd District, Antipolo City), Cristal Bagatsing (5th District, Manila), Gabriel Bordado Jr. (3rd District, Camarines Sur), Cecilia Leonila Chavez (Party-list, BUTIL), Raul Del Mar (1st District, Cebu City), Mark Go (Lone District, Baguio City), Glona Labadlabad (2nd District, Zamboanga del Norte), Angelina Tan (4th District, Quezon), Manuel Sagarbarria (2nd District, Negros Oriental), Joey Sarte Salceda (2nd District, Albay), Mohamad Khalid Dimaporo (1st District, Lanao Del Norte), Celso Lobregat (1st District, Zamboanga City), Leopoldo Bataoil (2nd District, Pangasinan), Arthur Defensor Jr. (3rd District, Iloilo), Francis Gerald Abaya (1st District, Cavite), Arlene Arcillas (1st District, Laguna), Marlyn Alonte-Naguiat (Lone District, Biñan City), Raul Tupas (5th District, Iloilo), Cheryl Deloso-Montalla (2nd District, Zambales), Deogracias Victor Savellano (1st District, Ilocos Sur), Wilfredo Caminero (2nd District, Cebu), Rogelio Neil Roque (4th District, Bukidnon), Isagani Amatong (3rd District, Zamboanga del Norte), Fernando Gonzalez (3rd District, Albay), and Gil Acosta (3rd District, Palawan). / CMBE