Davao massage therapists could lose their job over DOH’s new policy

DAVAO CITY – Spa owners fear that many of their employed massage therapists will lose their job upon the issuance of a new policy requiring spa owners to hire only licensed massage therapists.

In a Sunstar report, the Davao Wellness and Spa Association (DavWell) mentioned that the Department of Health’s (DOH) Administrative Order No. 2010-0034 or the revised Implementing Rules and Regulations Governing Massage Clinics and Sauna Establishments is a threat to hundreds of unlicensed therapists who opt to get a job as massage therapists in massage clinics.

Photo Credit: www.kirstinzullo.com
Photo Credit: www.kirstinzullo.com

Although they have no final plans yet on how to protect their workers after the issuance of the new policy, DavWell President Fides S. Castaneda-Bernabe, believes it will have a domino effect on unlicensed massage therapists.

According to Bernabe, they are considering to recommend to concerned government agencies to bring back the previous requirement indicated in Presidential Decree 856 that sets a ratio in the number of licensed therapists to supervise a certain number of massage therapists at a spa. Once the rule is implemented, the Spa Association thinks many unlicensed spa workers will be terminated.

She added that taking the exam is a burden to a massage therapist because it will cost him some P8,500. If they fail the exam, around 25 massage therapists in each spa could lose their jobs.

Bernabe said there are at least 100 spas in the city. DavWell has 40 establishment members since its establishment in 2010.

The revised policy includes provisions that ensure spa establishments are duly recognized and are accredited; massage therapists should pass the licensure examinations and health certificates should be posted within the spa centers as proof that they provide quality and healthy services to clients.

Meanwhile, the DOH new policy dated December 20, 2010 requires spa masseuses to be duly registered. The order was supposed to take effect this 2015 but DOH issued a moratorium to provide time for the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to adjust DOH’s program for massage therapists. The moratorium started on January 2015 and will last until December 2017.