Councilor Roy Gregorio Ventura, proponent of the ordinance seeking massage attendants and therapists regulation. (File photo)

Councilor Roy Gregorio Ventura has refiled a proposed ordinance seeking to regulate the hiring of massage attendants and therapists in Puerto Princesa by licensing them.

Ventura who refiled the ordinance on Monday said it is aimed at safeguarding the welfare of the residents of the city, domestic, and foreign guests who avail their services.

The ordinance was first filed in 2018 but was differed, he said.

“Na-refile natin ‘yan kasi gusto sana natin na ma-regulate ang mga workers kasi may mga gumagawa dyan na hindi lisensyado. May nakakarating din kasi sa atin na ang iba ay gumagawa ng ‘extra service’ which is hindi dapat. Maliban naman doon sa nakakarating sa atin ay gusto rin natin na maging maayos ang mga massage spa dito sa atin,” Ventura said.

He said there are around 500 licensed massage therapists and attendants currently working in the city’s 50 to 100 registered massage clinics and spas.

Ventura cited a report of the City Tourism Office (CTO) that said there has been “a proliferation of untrained, unlicensed, and unassessed massage therapists and attendants in Puerto Princesa.”

Those who work the trade but are unlicensed will be fined P1,000 for first offense and P2,000 for second offense.

For the third and subsequent offenses, cancellation of occupational permits and licenses will be imposed, including a P5,000 monetary penalty and three-to-six months of imprisonment depending upon the discretion of the court.

Ventura also said that in the case where an alien violator was caught, his/her employer shall be liable for the violation.

Previously, Ventura said that licensed massage attendants have asked the city government to initiate their regulation to do away with bad practices.

“Kasi ‘yan maraming lumapit sa aking mga licensed massage attendants. Hiniling nila sa akin na tulungan sila na kung puwede ay ma-protektahan din silang mga licensed, na mga legal. Marami kasi tayong mga illegal dito na nagtatrabaho, experience lang pero walang mga papeles, walang mga accreditation. Lalung-lalo na ‘yan tungkol sa health, mahirap na kapag may nabiktima na bisita [o] mga mamamayan. Mamaya nagpa-practice sila, nagmamasahe sila [and] hindi nila alam ‘yong tama na procedure, [baka] mamaya madisgrasya ‘yong mga minamasahe nila tapos kung may problema hindi sila mahabol kung saan sila,” he said.

He said massage therapists must be employed in a duly-registered parlor or spa with certification as proof; must be a bona fide member and endorsed by the association of massage attendants/therapists; has secured his/her barangay clearance and health card from the City Health Department (CHD), and has a National Certificate II (NCII) in massage therapy issued by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

He also said that there shall be no massage attendant allowed to conduct or perform the service within the jurisdiction of Puerto Princesa City without first complying the requirements for registration and licensing.

The proposal has been referred to the committee on labor and employment and committee on health and sanitation.