SENATE President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III policy urged the Department of Health (DoH) to suspend
its “No License, No Massage” policy for therapists and instead work with the Technical Education and
Skills Development Authority (TESDA) for a better alternative.
Pimentel said the government should come up with requirements for massage therapist that are
“inexpensive, accessible, and inclusive” so as not to deprive Filipinos of a viable alternative for
“It’s a painful reality that many of our people cannot afford to go to school and obtain
their high school degrees. But that shouldn’t prevent them from getting employed,” said Pimentel.
Under DoH Administrative Order 2010-0034, no person is authorized to practice massage therapy
in the Philippines without holding a valid certificate issued by the Committee of Examiners for
massage therapy and approved by the health secretary.
To become a licensed massage therapist (LMT), one would be required to undergo six months of
training before taking a licensing exam that is given only twice a year.
The training program costs P8,000 to P15,000 and is conducted only by DoH-accredited training
centers. Furthermore, only high school graduates are allowed to take the exams and become LMTs.
The Senate leader said he understands where the DoH is coming from, “but imposing
unreasonably restrictive requirements on LMTs could negatively impact an industry that employs
thousands of our citizens, including Filipinos with disabilities.”
He called on the DoH to work with TESDA so that it could improve the latter’s existing
training system without making it more difficult for individuals to become massage therapists.
“TESDA already has training centers all around the country, while DoH-accredited training
centers are very few. These TESDA training centers offer massage therapy courses for minimal fees,
sometimes even for free. Tulungan na lang nila ang TESDA para pagandahin ang training para iisa na
lang ang lisensya o certification na kailangan ng masahista,” he added.
Pimentel pointed out that the NCII certificate for massage therapists currently issued by the
TESDA is recognized not only in the Philippines, but in other countries as well.
“It would be instructive for the DoH and TESDA to study how a country like Thailand -- known
worldwide for its massage industry -- certifies its massage therapists. From what I understand Thai
massage therapists only need to undergo 150 hours of massage training and attend a one-week seminar
before becoming an accredited massage therapist. These are reasonable requirements,” Pimentel noted.