Davao City Congressman Karlo Nograles said yesterday that it’s about time for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) to throw out some of its “archaic” requirements for potential recruits, most notably the “no tattoo rule.”
“For our military and police organizations to bar the entry of capable and well-meaning Filipinos in their ranks on the basis of tattoos is quite archaic, if only because tattoos are no longer taboo in this day and age. Thus, we call for the removal of this ban,” Nograles said.
Enlistment of a person baring tattoos is currently prohibited by the PNP, AFP and even the coast guard since they view such body markings as “physical defects” that “demerit or disqualify their application.”
“I know a lot of people who have been declined application into the service on the basis of their having tattoos. They said that it felt unfair to be rejected and I can’t help but agree with them,” said Nograles, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.
According to the Davao-based lawmaker, it’s very wrong to automatically associate or judge tattooed individuals as being criminals, rebels, or undesirables for their organizations.
“Like the nonsensical minimum height requirement of at least five feet for both the military and police service, the no tattoo rule must be done away with for the simple reason that it is not a good measure of one’s capabilities or heart on the battlefield,” Nograles pointed out.
He said what’s important is for the applicant to be physically fit, with good moral character and no criminal record.
“If the applicant meets these requirements then he or she should not be denied the right to serve the country,” stressed Nograles, who is being groomed to be part of the administration’s Senate slate for the midterm elections next year.
If anything, Nograles said that Philippine history is replete with instances of bravery by tattooed Filipino warriors in the face of foreign conquerors. This is because tattoos have been a part of the country’s rich culture even before the arrival of the Spaniards in the 16th century.
“The Spanish conquistadores branded these Filipino warriors as the ‘pintados’ because of their ornate and at-times intimidating body markings. Ultimately, the foreigners admired these painted people for their fierceness and courage,” he said.