December 4, 2022

The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples-Cordillera is conducting an investigation on a content creator who initially included in its online classes the art of traditional Kalinga tattooing supposedly taught by Apo Whang-od.
In a statement, NCIP-Cordillera Director Marlon Bosantog said his office was made aware of the issue surrounding the deal that content creator, Nas Daily, had with the family of Whang-od to create an online class they initially called “Whang-od Academy.”
Bosantog said the NCIP initiated appropriate intervention over the issue, which circulated online when Grace Palicas, grandniece of Whang-od, called the academy a scam as her grandmother did not sign any contract with the content creator.
The post has since been deleted, but netizens were quick to catch the fire leading Nas Academy, which is a digital learning platform led by Nuseir Yassin, best known as Nas Daily, to remove Whang-od from its lineup.
“We are thankful for the immediate response and concern from the public. It shows that the exploitation of our indigenous peoples is a public matter deserving moral outrage. We really welcome endeavors to promote, protect, and advocate our cultures and their ancestral bearers,” Bosantog said. 
In a statement on Aug. 5 posted in Nas Academy, the company said its team went and talked with the family of Whang-od and asked for permission.
The statement was accompanied by a video clip of Whang-od putting her thumbmark on the supposed contract, which is interpreted in the local language by a family member beside her, as a sign of her full consent to the project.
“This is the clearest evidence that it is not a scam and achieved the consent of her and her immediate family. Everybody was compensated for their time, and for every sale the Whang-Od Academy generates, most of it went directly to her and her family. We just provided the technology and the marketing,” the statement reads. 
It added the company has the best intentions in sharing Whang-od’s culture to further the appreciation of the tradition of mambabatok for the future generations. The company said it “temporarily took down Whang-od Academy while resolving the issues.
In its earlier promotion, Nas Academy pegged the cost of the online learning on traditional tattooing with Whang-od at P750.
Bosantog said “attempts to monetize without consent, diminish and demean such practices and even its peoples, will be dealt with harshly by appropriate penal laws.”
Last year, 68 elders, leaders, and local government officials of Kalinga passed a resolution affirming that the tattoo pattern or design is part of their collective indigenous property and resultantly requiring all interested entity making use of these patterns/designs to secure their prior consent.
The resolution stated the tattoo designs are owned collectively by the indigenous peoples of Kalinga and not by any individual alone.
The IPs said these are patterns that have already gained universal attribution to the people of Kalinga. – Ofelia C. Empian