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Regulation of tattoo industry under study

“WE are willing to abide if the law will be approved but naa pud unta’y proteksyon sa tattoo artist”.

This was one of the concerns raised by Jess Bryan Osilao, a home-based tattoo artist and member of Mindanao Association of Tattoo Artist (MATA) during the meeting of the City Council committee on health and sanitation and health insurance chaired by Councilor Maria Lourdes S. Gaane.

The committee, with invited tattoo artists and representatives of concerned agencies, scrutinized the proposed ordinance regulating the tattoo industry in Cagayan de Oro City.

One of the highlights of the discussion was the provision, which deems it unlawful for any person to perform tattoo work on any person who is pregnant, with contraindicated skin condition, insane or psychologically damaged.

The tattoo artist inquired how they can avoid violating this provision if clients deny that they are pregnant or have skin allergy or permanent disability.

Atty. Vladett Castro of the City Legal Office said tattoo artists must require clients to secure medical certificates before they receive such procedure.

“We need also to protect our clients, naa gyud unta medical certificate, dapat moagi tag proseso for the protection of both parties”, Atty. Castro stressed.


According to the tattoo artists, ink products are being purchased online direct from Manila.

There is an international website, which provides a list of legitimate distributors in the country, The Power learned.

In response to the query of Councilor Gaane, Liza Pabillore of the Department of Trade and Industry said tattoo ink is not included in the mandatory products for inspection.

Tattoo ink is under the Department of Health (DOH), which is considered as medicine, she said.

A representative of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said the office only regulates washable products including henna which are considered as cosmetics. She said the FDA is now studying tattoo ink.


Atty. Castro said tattoo artists must also secure a work permit and a certificate of attendance that they attended a seminar handled by a duly licensed dermatologist or physician with regards to aseptic techniques.

A representative of MATA said the organization is willing to help by holding seminars about the safety of tattooing.

Councilor Gaane reiterated that the committee aims to protect clients and look into the legitimacy of tattoo artists doing business in the city.

“The purpose of the ordinance is for the protection of both parties not just for clients,” she stressed.

She urged concerned parties to submit their respective recommendations to be incorporated in the proposed ordinance. (JBD with the reports from Jhonel Tumampoc and Mary Jane del Puerto)

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