Kin allow use of Whang-od designs for international brand

THE kin of Buscalan elder Maria Oggay “Whang-od” have given their consent for the use of Whang-od’s tattoo designs for an international brand.

In a statement by New Era, it said Whang-od herself allowed the use of the designs as well as her next of kin.

“The New Era team had coordinated with Whang-od, Solomo Pa-ut (nephew) and Estella Palangdao (niece), who is currently residing with Whang-od. All were involved in choosing, designing and revisions of the merchandise,” the statement added.

It further said that “three headwear and one apparel were produced as New Era’s standard collection with all their artists. The designs chosen were based on consultation from Whang-od and her family. The symbols chosen were based on the most used tattoo symbols.”

However, National Commission for Indigenous Peoples Free Prior (NCIP) Informed Consent focal person and information officer Rocky Ngalob said the company should have first secured consent from the owners of the design before the same was utilized for commerce.

New Era’s statement said they are presently coordinating with NCIP and added that the headgear apparel will be compliant.

“Revenues incurred therein, will be shared to the owner. If the designs are traditional, the owners are the community,” Ngalob said.

On the onset of the issue, Supervising Tourism Operations Officer Lorraine Alunday Ngao-i said a team from the province has concluded an internal investigation on the use of tattoo designs.

Ngao-i has since not given an update after saying a meeting with Whang-od and her family confirmed no consent was taken from the family nor the community.


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