MANILA -- The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) is set to review the alleged contract of traditional tattoo artist Whang-Od with the online learning platform Nas Academy.
In a Facebook post, NCIP-CAR regional director Marlon Bosantog assured the public that "appropriate intervention is initiated" amid allegations of exploitation against Nas Academy founder and vlogger Nuseir Yassein, more popularly known as Nas Daily.
According to Bosantog, the commission will investigate if there is informed consent on the said contract between Whang-Od and Nas Academy for a tattoo course, which was shown on social media on Thursday.
"Bandying on social media a contract is not a proof of compliance. The NCIP will make our review and onsite validation and interview, whether the free, prior, and informed consent process should have been implemented on this incident," he said in his post, which was shared on the NCIP-CAR Facebook page.
Bostantog also pointed out that indigenous peoples have intellectual property claims in Whang-Od's art, adding that the Kalinga community has also opposed the use of their tattoo designs by a clothing brand.
And while NCIP-CAR welcomes efforts to promote and protect culture in the country, Bosantog stressed that it is illegal to monetize cultural practices without consent.
"Attempts to monetize without consent, diminish, and demean such practices and even its peoples will be dealt with harshly by appropriate penal laws," he said.
Early this week, Whang-Od's grandniece called out Nas Academy for being a "scam," saying that the traditional tattoo artist did not sign any contract to do the course. Her Facebook posts have since been deleted.
In response, Nas Academy uploaded a video of Whang-Od affixing her thumbprint to a document, which is said to be her contract for a tattoo course on the online learning platform.