Senator Pia S. Cayetano on Sunday welcomed the passage of a law establishing a national vision screening program for kindergarten pupils, as she stressed that early treatment of eye problems will lead to better learning among the youth and a sustainable future for the country.
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte signed Republic Act 11358 or the ‘National Vision Screening Act,’ which seeks to establish a National Vision Screening Program (NVSP) under the Department of Education.
“I thank the President for signing this relevant measure, which came just in time for Sight Saving Month,” said Cayetano.
The senator first authored and sponsored the bill in the Senate during the 16th Congress and re-filed the same measure in the House in the 17th Congress. The latter became the base bill for the law signed by the President.
Cayetano said RA 11358 can help fulfill government’s commitments to the United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly Goals 3 and 4 of the SDGs.
Goal 3 calls on nations to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all ages, including the provision of essential services based on tracer interventions, like vision screening.
Goal 4, on the other hand, urges nations to promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. This includes initiatives to put the development of young children on track in health, learning, and psychosocial well-being.
“Good vision is vital for our children’s learning,” Cayetano said, emphasizing how the law’s objectives and the two SDGs are interrelated.
She said poor vision at childhood greatly affects a student’s performance in school, and so “ensuring the full well-being of our children is the first step to enable them to reach their full potential and grow up as productive members of society.”
Prior to the law’s passage, Cayetano has already spearheaded a pilot vision screening test for kindergarten pupils in Taguig City in 2016. The vision-screening was conducted in partnership with the Taguig city government and the UP Manila Philippine Eye Research Institute (PERI).
One hundred fifty (150) pupils aged five to six at the EM’s Signal Village Elementary School underwent a simple vision-screening test, about 15 of whom were found to have vision problems and in turn received immediate and proper treatment. #