Archive for January 2008

New Board and Officers for 2007-2008

January 15, 2008


This year, with the new constitution being implemented, fifteen new board members were elected to serve three, two, and one terms. The election was held last August 16-24, 2007.


Elected board members starting 2007 are Allan B.I. Bernardo, PhD (3 years, from De La Salle University-Manila), Jesus Enrique G. Saplala, PhD (3 years from, from Miriam College), Richard dlC. Gonzales, PhD (3 years, from University of Santo Tomas), Mira Alexis P. Ofreneo, PhD (3 years, from Ateneo de Manila University), Lucila O. Bance, PhD (2 years, from University of Santo Tomas), Ma. Suzette M. Agcaoili, MA (2 years, from Department of Social Work & Development), Maria Caridad H. Tarroja, PhD (2 years, from De La Salle University-Manila),  Maria Theresa D. Ujano-Batangan, PhD (2 years, from University of the Philippines-Diliman), Ma. Isabel M. Melgar, PhD (2 years, from Ateneo de Manila University),Carmencita H. Salonga, PhD (2 years, from Centro Escolar University),  Ma. Claudette M. Alvarez- Agnes, PhD (1 year, from University of Santo Tomas),  Eduardo C. Caligner, MA (1 year, from Ateneo de Manila University and University of Santo Tomas), Annalyn L De Guzman-Capulong, MA (1 year, from University of the Philippines-Diliman), Ray P. Leuterio, PhD (1 year, from Letran College-Calamba, Laguna), and Jerry J. Jurisprudencia, PhD (1 year, from Miriam College).


The board then proceeded to elect the officers for 2007-2008: President – Allan B.I. Bernardo, PhD, Vice President – Jesus Enrique G. Saplala, PhD, Executive Secretary – Lucila O. Bance, PhD, Treasurer – Maria Caridad H. Tarroja, PhD, and P.R.O. – Mira Alexis P. Ofreneo, PhD.




Guidance Act Legal Forum

January 15, 2008

Around a hundred psychologists, guidance counselors, psychometricians, and graduate students filled the Escaler Hall of Ateneo de Manila University for PAP’s Legal Forum on Understanding the Implications of RA 9258 or the Guidance Act of 2004 last November 16, 2007.

There were three panel discussants: Atty. Carlos Almelor (Head of PRC Secretariat Office), Atty. Theodore Te (faculty member of UP College of Law) and Atty. Minerva Ambrosio (a private practitioner who have worked with different psychologists in courts). The highlights are summarized  here.

PAPJA conquers Miriam College

January 15, 2008

For the second time after ten years, Miriam College hosted the 21st Psychology Association of the Philippines – Junior Affiliates (PAPJA) National Convention with the theme, Unity amid Diversity: One Philippine Psychology from December 7-8, 2008. Miriam College president, Dr. Patricia B. Licuanan, welcomed more than 1,500 delegates from all over the country at the jam-packed Marian Auditorium. The keynote speech was delivered by Dr. Queena Lee-Chua, who shared anecdotes on her experiences as a researcher and teacher of psychology and math. This was followed by a plenary on the work of psychologists in the different fields, lead by PAP president, Dr. Allan Bernardo for research, Ms. Bing Manlapaz of DDISGV – for human resources management and Mr. Lorenzo Abacan of the Sophia School. Students had a chance to ask or clarify questions and were given helpful tips regarding job application, establishing contacts, doing research and so on. Four simultaneous focus group discussions with the psychology organizations’ representatives from the different schools were held during lunch, which addressed the issue on PAP’s role in helping its junior affiliate members.                                


Perhaps, the first day’s highlight was the Fourth Inter-School Psychology Quiz Challenge, which was held at the Miriam College High School Covered Court. University of Santo Tomas went for a three-peat as they conquered the title again, followed by second placer, De La Salle University and St. Louis University in third place.


Also, winners for the outstanding undergraduate theses and posters were announced at the end of the program. The outstanding undergraduate thesis went to De La Salle University, followed by Miriam College and Far Eastern University. The outstanding poster researches went to Ateneo de Manila University for the first and third place while the second place went to College of the Holy Spirit.


There were more than 40 workshops the next day and they were all full as usual. The most popular workshop was perhaps Fr. Jaime Bulatao’s An Introduction to Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy. Fr. Bulatao, PAP founding member, had two workshops where students were treated to an experience of altered states of consciousness and were taught how to apply this to their daily lives.  

Highlights of the Proceedings: Legal Forum on Understanding the Implications of RA 9258.

January 15, 2008

Are psychologists  required to be licensed under RA 9258?

Psychologists must be licensed if they want to practice guidance and/or counseling as stipulated in RA 9258. The scope of practice covered by this law includes such functions as counseling, psychological testing, research, placement, group processes, teaching of guidance and counseling subjects in such sites as educational institutions, rehabilitation centers, non-governmental organizations, community-based agencies, hospital and other workplaces. The Professional Regulatory Board will act only based upon the provisions of the law. If you do not agree/not satisfied, recourse can be sought with the regular court or the Department of Justice.


Who is qualified to be licensed under RA 9258?

If the provision of the law is clear, there is no need for such an interpretation. As stated in the law, those who have Bachelor’s degree in Guidance & Counseling, MA Guidance & Counseling, PhD Guidance & Counseling are qualified to be licensed. 


Can I seek registration without taking the examination?

If you have an MA & PhD in Guidance & Counseling with certain number of years of experience, you can be registered without taking the licensure examination. For example, those with Ph.D or M.A. in Guidance and Counseling with at least 3 years of counseling practice can be registered.


What if I find ambiguity in any provision of the law?

Write the Professional Regulatory Board (PRB) for clarification and seek their opinion. The power to interpret the provisions of the law rests on the PRB, but a complaint can be filed in the courts to challenge the law. 


If your degree falls within the provisions of the law, then there is nothing to fear, you just have to present your transcript and certification of your practice.


The PRB went to the extent of expanding on the provisions. There must be consistency between the law and the IRR. The purpose of the IRR is to put details that are not in the law. This consists of procedures and steps on how to carry out the provisions of the law.


The PRB has the power to suspend the implementation of the law. If you think the provisions of the IRR are not valid or unconstitutional, you can file this complaint in the court. But the PRB itself has the authority not to carry it out if they believe that it is not valid.


What is the implication of RA 9258 for Psychological Centers?

If you are practicing Psychology without overlapping with the functions of Guidance Counselors, then you can continue your practice. Otherwise, your practice is illegal.


(The IRR defines guidance and counseling as the profession that involves the use of an integrated approach to the development of a well-functioning individual primarily by helping him/her to utilize his/her potentials to the fullest and plan his/her future in accordance with his/her abilities.)


What is the implication of RA 9258 for those currently hired as Guidance Counselors?

Be guided by the provisions, the rules and regulations. You can apply for registration without examination, provided you were able to comply with the provisions of the law.


You can continue occupying your position until you have applied for Grandfather’s clause. Try to be registered within 2-year period after the composition of the board. If you continue to practice not having complied with the provisions, you risk imprisonment.


I question the validity/constitutionality of the law and its IRR. What are my options? What is the recourse of psychologists?


Atty. Ambrosio: Continue practicing and wait for someone to question; proactively, ask for opinion of the Secretary of Justice; push through or lobby for the passage of the Psychology Bill.


Atty. Te: Challenge the law; clarify what the law means as it applies to Psychology; ask for Declaratory Relief (which can be done by an individual or by groups of individuals); clarify the overlaps in definitions stipulated in the Guidance Law.


Atty. Almelor: The law has recognized the practice of Guidance Counseling; we should not resort to any step that violates the law.


As distributor of test materials, does the law mean that I can sell only to licenced Guidance Counselors?

The law has no prohibition against selling to anyone.

Allen Tan, PhD recalls 25 years of PJP.

January 15, 2008


For twenty five years, the Philippine Journal of Psychology (PJP) was edited by Allen I. Tan, PhD. Dr. Tan completed his PhD in Social Psychology at Cornell University. Through e-mail, we were able to collect his thoughts as the outgoing editor.


The PJP began in 1968 and Dr. Tan started editing the December 1983 issue – a solid 25 years ago! However, he was quick to add that within that period, there were 4 years wherein he did not edit for the PJP, making it a total of 21 years of PJP editing for him. When he first began, he felt that his priority was to catch up on the unpublished issues. He realized that journals in the Philippines are often a few years behind.  So he set it as his personal goal to get the PJP up to date and start publishing it in a regular manner. By the early 1990s, Dr. Tan was able to guide the PJP in largely accomplishing this. Today, the PJP is the envy of many Philippine social science journals who are still a few years behind.


Dr. Tan does however regret having had moments wherein he felt that he sacrificed quality in order to publish an issue on time.  According to him, he rationalized that by being punctual, the PJP would get better submissions.  This worked on the premise that if you have a good article and could submit it to 3 possible journals, you would probably choose the one that would publish your article on schedule rather than to a journal that might take 2 or 3 years to do so. Once or twice, in a rush to get the PJP out on time, Dr. Tan failed to spot a typo on the cover and he shared that these mishaps do haunt him until today (most especially when it was an author’s name which was misspelled on the cover).


Still, despite these trying instances, the PJP has had a great deal of accomplishments. In the 1990s, a web site for the PJP was finally set up; probably making the PJP the first Philippine social science journal to do so.  This visibility led to a number   of submissions that were eventually published.  It also sold a few extra PJP issues. It was Athena, Dr. Tan’s daughter, who served as webmaster. 


When asked about how the PJP has grown and evolved during his term, Dr. Tan shares that the quality of research and articles submitted in Philippine psychology has undergone tremendous improvement. He mentions that back in the 1980s, the PJP had very few submissions; sometimes the authors were unable to make the necessary revisions to make their articles meet publication standards.  At times, they, as editors, had to make the revisions for them in order for the PJP to have enough articles for an issue. Occasionally, they had psychologists submit their whole thesis as is to the PJP for a number did not have the time, interest or capability to re-write their thesis in article form! Today, a different tale is being told, most submissions follow correct journal style. Dr. Tan further elaborates by saying that majority of the background literature nowadays is usually direct and relevant, and the methodologies are generally more rigorous. Also, Dr. Tan adds that there has been a big change in terms of one’s access to information. In the 1980s, he would often allow authors to have long literature reviews because most of the PJP readers did not have access to many of the background researches cited.  Today, with internet access, there is less need for lengthy descriptions of previous studies.


Dr. Tan continues by stating that the growth in the quality of submissions as well as the greater number of articles submitted has allowed the PJP to become a peer reviewed journal.  Many institutions now require a publication in a peer reviewed journal for a faculty member to be promoted.  He adds that the Philippine Journal of Psychology’s own peer review system was established a few years ago by Dr. Regina Hechanova. This has given the PJP a lot more prestige.


Dr. Tan shares that after 25 long years, he has grown very much attached to the PJP, but he acknowledges that it is now time to leave the journal to younger and more capable psychologists. He is however very happy to pass on a PJP that is publishing regularly and improving quality of articles. Dr. Tan’s great efforts have indeed paved the way in doing scientific Psychology in the Philippines. Dr. Tan ends by saying that he wishes to thank the Psychological Association of the Philippines for giving him the privilege of editing the PJP over all these years. 


For Dr. Allen Tan, it has truly been a most fulfilling and rewarding endeavor! (Written by JC Capuno)


Hello Dr. Emy!

January 15, 2008

Dr. Emy Liwag, the new editor of PJP 

Our new editor for the Philippine Journal of Psychology is Ma. Emma Concepcion D. Liwag, PhD. She is an associate professor in the Psychology Department of the Ateneo de Manila University. She finished her PhD in Developmental and Cognitive Psychology at the University of Chicago.

Philippine Psychologists in Supreme Court Forum on Extrajudicial Killings

January 15, 2008

A delegation of social psychologists and graduate students from the Ateneo de Manila University was invited by Chief Justice Reynato Puno to the Supreme Court’s Summit on Extrajudicial Killings and Enforced Disappearances held at the Manila Hotel last July 16 and 17.  The Summit was attended by representatives from the government — the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, and the Commission on Human Rights. Representatives from different sectors were also present like the media, academe, and the civil society, including relatives those people who are still missing.


At the plenary session on the first day of the Summit, peace/political psychologist  Cristina J. Montiel, Ph.D. presented her paper on “The Social Fabric of Extrajudicial Killings and Enforced Disappearances.”  It provided the body with the on-going perceptions in Philippine society with regard to the killings, such as the existing notions on the characteristic of the killer and the victim and the motivation behind the killings.


Last 1 March 2007, the Supreme Court issued an Administrative Order entitled “Designation of Special Courts to Hear, Try and Decide Cases involving Killings of Political Activists and Members of Media”.  The Summit aimed to further search for wholistic solutions and to provide more inputs to the Supreme Court as they address the problem of political killings.