REPUBLIC ACT NO. 11358

An Act Establishing A National Vision Screening Program for Kindergarten Pupils

and Appropriating Funds Therefor

 

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress assembled:

Section 1. Short Title. - This Act shall be known as the "National Vision Screening Act".

Section 2. Declaration of Policy. - Pursuant to Article II, Section 15 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, it is hereby declared the policy of the State to protect and promote the right to health of the people and instill health consciousness among them. In line with this policy, the State shall endeavor to promote every Filipino's full potential through good vision by creating ways and means to address vision problems, including blindness, among children.

Towards this end, the State shall institute a program that will help screen the school children for visual problems.

Section 3. Establishment of the National Vision Screening Program. - A National Vision Screening Program (NVSP) is hereby established under the Department of Education (DepED) which is primarily intended to screen the eye vision of kindergarten pupils.

Section 4. Program Objectives. - The objectives of the NVSP  are:

(a) To conduct simple vision screening test on kindergarten pupils through trained teachers and health personnel and identify pupils with possible visual problems;

(b) To identify early childhood visual problems;

(c) To provide immediate attention to visually impaired kindergarten pupils and create a referral system so that they may be checked and treated by eye care practitioners;

(d) To develop a vision screening results database for kindergarten pupils; and

(e) To conduct continuing research on the state of visual impairment among kindergarten pupils.

Section 5. Program Implementation. - The DepED shall lead the implementation of the NVSP, in coordination with the Department of Health (DOH) and the Philippine Eye Research Institute (PERI), which is under the National Institutes of Health (NIH) of the University of the Philippines (UP).

In the implementation of the NVSP, the DepED shall:

(a) In coordination with the DOH and the PERI, administer the vision screening program to all kindergarten to all public kindergarten pupils using a Vision Screening Kit which includes charts with symbols or numbers, occluders, and transparent key: Provided, that the DOH and the PERI may recommend to adopt new modes or methods of vision screening based on the latest trends and developments;

(b) In coordination with the DOH and the PERI, train and certify teachers in conducting the vision screening program;

(c) In consultation with the DOH and the PERI, develop a system of referral and corrective measures for kindergarten pupils who are suspected or diagnosed to have possible eye ailments;

(d) Create a vision screening results database containing the results of the screening per child and visual conditions diagnoses by the eye care practitioners; and

(e) Monitor and evaluate the implementation of the NVSP.

Private schools shall be encouraged to adopt their own system of vision screening for kindergarten pupils enrolled in their respective schools, subject to the standards under the NVSP.

Section 6. Philhealth's Benefit Package. - The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) shall develop a benefit package for the consultation and treatment of eye diseases of children.

Section 7. Vision Screening Training. - The PERI shall be mainly responsible for the Vision Screening Trainers for purposes of quality assurance. It shall likewise recommend the appropriate Vision Screening material to be used.

Section 8. Research. - The DOH and the PERI shall conduct research and provide evidence-based recommendations to the DepED on matters pertaining to the NVSP. Furthermore, the PERI shall perform continuing research on childhood-related eye vision ailments.

Section 9. Vision Screening Results Database Sharing. - The vision screening database containing the results of the screening per child and visual conditions diagnosed by eye care practitioners and other data gathered shall be shared by and among the DepED, the DOH and the PERI and other concerned agencies of government.

Section 10. The Vision Screening Continuing Research Fund. - There is hereby created a Vision Screening Continuing Research (VSCR) Fund to be sourced from any donation or bequest made to the DepED, the DOH or the PERI in favor of the NVSP which shall subject to existing budgeting, accounting and auditing rules and regulations. The VSCR Fund shall be used to fund the PERI for its continuing research program in connection with  childhood related eye vision ailments.

Section 11. Tax Exemption. - All grants, bequests, endowments, donations and contributions made to the DepED, the DOH, or the PERI for the NVSP and for the VSCR Fund to be used actually, directly, and exclusively by the DepED, the DOH, or the PERI for the NVSP and for the VSCR Fund shall be exempt from donor's tax and the same shall be allowed as allowable deduction from the gross income of the donor for purposes of computing the taxable income of the donor in accordance with the provisions of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997, as amended.

Section 12. Appropriations. - The amount of Ten million pesos (P10,000,000.00) shall be included in the budget of the PERI of the University of the Philippines-Manila to cover the implementation of this Act for public kindergarten pupils. Thereafter, such sum as may be needed for the continued implementation of this Act shall be included in the annual General Appropriations Act.

However, for kindergarten pupils enrolled in private schools, the funding for the implementation of their respective school's vision screening program shall be assumed by the private schools concerned.

Section 13. Implementing Rules and Regulations. - Within ninety (90) days from the approval of this Act, the DepED, the DOH, and the PERI shall formulate the implementing rules and regulations of this Act.

Section 14. Separability Clause. - If any provision of this Act is held invalid or unconsititutional, the other provisions not so declared shall remain in force and effect.

Section 15. Repealing Clause. - All laws, decrees, orders, rules and regulations contrary to or inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are hereby repealed or amended accordingly.

Section 16. Effectivity. - This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days after its publication in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation.

Approved: JULY 31, 2019

PHILIPPINE EYE RESEARCH INSTITUTE

NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH PHILIPPINES

UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES

Leo DP Cubillan, MD MPH

Director

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