Tattoo, piercing shops in Baguio up for regulation

BAGUIO City Councilor Leandro Yangot is eyeing to regulate body art, such as tattoos and piercings, for minors by regulating establishments which offer the service.

“It is alarming to know that minors can easily get body piercing and tattoos,” said Yangot.

Yangot added although the state does not prohibit body modifications, provided it is done properly under the guidelines stated by the law, those getting the tattoo must be briefed of the after effects.

“They are ignorant of the possible harmful effects directly related with tattooing and piercing and as such they must be given extraordinary attention and possible harmful effect of their decision,” the councilman said.

Yangot said studies show there are numerous ill effects related to tattooing and piercing which pushed the alderman to pen the proposed law which mandates tattoo and piercing artists need to explain the risks and aftercare instructions associated with both acts.

Allergic reaction, bacterial, fungal and skin infections were cited as leading side effects of both tattoo and piercing with the threat of contracting the Human Immunodeficiency Virus due to unsterilized equipment used during the procedure.

If the law is passed, tattoo and piercing artists found not following the guidelines will face imprisonment or pay fines imposed by the city government plus the revocation of the business permit of the establishment where the tattoo or piercing was administered.

A blood-borne pathogen training and apprenticeship for several hundreds of hours may be required of a tattoo artist, Yangot said, in compliance to the rules and regulations implementing the Philippine Aids Prevention and Control Act of 1998. If finally approved, thus, the ordinance is applicable on all business establishments engaged in tattooing and body piercing within the city.

In the Cordillera region, traditional tattoo’s have been a hit primarily because of Kalinga’s famous tattoo artist, Maria “Whang–od” Oggay who lives in Buscalan, Tinglayan, town in Kalinga.

Whang–Od’s ink is composed of the mixture of charcoal and water that will be tapped into the skin through a thorn end of a lemon or pomelo tree.

National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) is currently deliberating for the "Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan" known as the National Living Treasures Award to Whang-od.

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