Tourism, wellness groups slam DOH requirements

By: Aileen Garcia-Yap December 18,2014 - 11:45 AM

Spa masseurs must take microbiology, physiology classes to get accreditation

Several tourism-related groups have formed a united front to oppose the “impossible” requirement imposed by the Department of Health (DOH) on spa masseurs.

The DOH is now requiring every spa masseur to take anatomy, microbiology, physiology classes and be updated on current events on top of the twice a year accreditation exam that they have to pass, said Consul Robert Lim Joseph,  Network of Independent Travel Agencies (Nitas) chairman emeritus, in an interview yesterday.

Joseph’s group, SKAL, 888 News Forum, Cebu Health and Wellness Council (CHWC) and the Tourism Educators and Movers of the Philipppines (Team) have agreed to take this matter up to the President’s attention should the health department fail to resolve this issue.

The groups want the  DOH to amend the requirements to those that are more doable and easier to comply for the spa masseurs.

“We have already written to them (DOH) and even met with them presenting our concerns on their “impossible” and limiting requirements. They have not made any action, however. So we will soon take this to President Aquino (Benigno III) and ask him to intervene,” he said.

Another requirement that the group questioned is for the spa masseurs to be at least high school graduates which  defeats the administration’s thrust to create more jobs.

He warned that this tight requirement could cause shops to shut down operations resulting to job loss or for masseurs to offer home services which could then lead to more problems.

“Spas will be closing, so we will lose taxes, and the people working in the spa lose their jobs. Others may start to offer home services and who knows what other services they offer,” said Joseph.

The worst thing is that the courses that the masseurs have to take are not even recognized abroad. They are the standard for masseurs to be able to work in other countries, he said.

“So why would a masseur take all these and not be able to work abroad when opportunities arise?” he asked.

The twice a year exam that masseurs also take is an additional cost for the minimum wage earners as they need to pay P300 every exam.

Aside from that, the DOH is now requiring a uniform that the masseurs have to buy from the accredited training institutions at P700.

“Why would they spend P700 for a uniform that others can provide for only P150. This is really something that will affect the industry,” Joseph said.

There are currently 200,000 masseurs in the country today and out of that only 7,600 have been successfully trained and passed the exam.

“We need to get these issues resolved before we start seeing the sunset of our wellness industry which is among the best products offered to our tourists,” he said.

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TAGS: Cebu, Cebu City, DOH, health, health and wellness, masseurs, spa

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