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Social Workers

General practice of Social Workers

The following shall be punished by a fine of not less than five hundred pesos nor more than two thousand pesos, or imprisonment for not less than one month nor more than two years, or both, in the discretion of the court;


  1. Any person who shall practice or offer to practice social work in the Philippines without being registered or exempted from registration in accordance with the provisions of this Act;
  2. Any person representing or attempting to use as his own, the certificate of registration of another;
  3. Any person who shall give any false or fraudulent evidence of any kind to the Board or any member thereof in obtaining a certificate of registration as a social worker;
  4. Any person who shall impersonate any registrant of like or different name;
  5. Any person who shall attempt to use a revoked or suspended certificate of registration;
  6. Any person who shall in connection with his or her name, otherwise assume, use or advertise any title or description tending to convey the impression that he or she is a social worker without holding a valid certificate;
  7. Any person who shall violate any provision of this Act;35
  8. Any person, corporation or entity operating as a social work agency without the corresponding Certificate of Registration issued by the Social Welfare Administration.36 (Redesignated a subparagraph (h) by Sec. 6, R.A. No. 5157)

Qualification of Board Members

Each member of the Board shall, at the time of his appointment:

  1. Be a citizen and resident of the Philippines;
  2. Be at least thirty years of age and of good moral character;
  3. Possess a Master’s Degree in Social Work (M.S.S.W., M.S.S.,M.A.S.W., or its equivalent) conferred by a reputable school, college or university duly recognized by the government and also by a duly accredited school, college or university abroad.5
  4. Have had at least five years of practice in a social work agency in the case of a holder of Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work or its equivalent, or at least two years of social work practice in the case of a holder of a Master’s Degree in Social Work or its equivalent, after receiving the respective degreee. Be a registered social worker duly qualified to practice social work under this Act: Provided, however, That this qualification shall not be required of the first appointees to the Board under this Act, and;
  5. Not be a member of the faculty of any school, college or university at the time of appointment; nor during the year immediately preceding the appointment to be a member of the Board conferring the Bachelor’s and/or Master’s degree in social work, or shall have any direct or indirect pecuniary interest in such institution.
Members of the Board

Republic Act No. 4373 
An Act to Regulate the Practice of Social Work and the Operation of Social Work Agencies in the Philippines and for Other Purposes


  1. Social work is the profession which is primarily concerned with organized social service activity aimed to facilitate and strengthen basic social relationships and the mutual adjustment between individuals and their social environment for the good of the individual and of society by the use of social work methods.
  2. A ”social worker” as used in this Act is a practitioner who by accepted academic training and social work professional experience possesses the skill to achieve the objectives as defined and set by the social work profession, through the use of the basic methods and techniques of social work (case work, group work, and community organization) which are designed to enable individuals, groups and communities to meet their needs and to solve the problems of adjustment to a hanging pattern of society and, through coordinated action, to improve economic and social conditions, and is connected with an organized social work agency which is supported partially or wholly from government or community solicited funds.
  3. A ”social work agency” is a person, corporation or organization, private or governmental, that engages mainly and generally, or represents itself to engage in social welfare work, whether case work, group work, or community work, and obtains its finances, either totally or in part, from any agency or instrumentality of the government and/or from the community by direct or indirect solicitations and/or fund drives, and/or private endowment. 

With increasing and highly complex social and economic problems, a group of professionals perform the special task of strengthening the Filipino community.

Such professionals are called social workers.

Social work received formal recognition as a profession in the country with the enactment on June 19, 1965 of Republic Act No. 4373, also known as the “Act to Regulate the Practice of Social Work and the Operation of Social Work Agencies in the Philippines and for Other Purposes.” Under the law, social work practitioners were required to have an academic degree in social work and to pass licensure examinations. The Board of Examiners for Social Work was created in 1965, composing of a Chair and four members, appointed by the President of the Philippines, with the consent from the Commission on Appointments. The first board was composed of Leonor E. Pablo, Josefa Z. Generoso, Leonora S. de Guzman, Petra R. de Joya, Evelina A. Pangalangan, and Roberto R. Sugcang (who was the first to register as social worker).

In the mid-sixties, social workers actively pushed for measures to uplift their profession. As a result, Republic Act No. 5175 was passed in 1967, amending R.A. 4373, which provided for the protection of the rights of social workers holding provisional appointment for the past five years at the time of the passage of the law. R.A. 5175 also provided for the qualification of master’s degree holders in social work for board examinations and mandated the upgrading of the educational requirement of the members of the Board of Examiners from a bachelor’s degree to a master’s degree in social work.

Click HERE to view the list of Accredited Integrated Professional Organizations (AIPOs) /Accredited Professional Organizations (APOs)