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“Circumcision season” kicks off in the Philippines after a year off due to Covid

Jack Arthur



PHOTO: lies + lies = truth/Flickr

“Circumcision season” is heating up again in the Philippines after Covid delayed the annual tradition by a year. One boy, 12 year old Caspien Gruta has endured a year of teasing due to his upcoming snipping. The procedure had been postponed because of a volcanic eruption and then the Covid situation.

Caspien says he worries if he doesn’t get circumcised now, he will be shamed. The Philippines boasts one of the highest rates of circumcision in the world and many Filipinos regard the process as a crucial step for the journey into manhood.

The procedure has started to become globally scrutinised as some critics say it is tantamount to child abuse, according to a report. In an article published in the US National Library of Medicine, the “trade-off” of losing part of one’s penis is highly subjective, but circumcision, before a child is an age of consent, is not a “desirable health-promotion strategy”.

Another perspective, from Circumcision: a surgeon’s perspective, published in the Journal of Medical Ethics, points out that penile cancer rates can be reduced significantly due to circumcision while a boy is still young.

In the Philippines, male circumcision is largely free of such debate. In fact, boys are under incredible pressure to have the procedure carried out. Although another medical journal piece, “Circumcision practice in the Philippines: community based study” says that 6 out of 10 respondents in a study reported post-circumcision penile complications after their circumcision. Last year, for the first time in perhaps centuries, the scissors and knives had to be put on hold due to Covid. As a result, many boys have experienced penis-shaming from male family members and friends.

“I feel like I’m a genuine Filipino now because getting circumcised is part of being a Filipino,” says Caspien after the 20 minute ordeal that successfully separated his foreskin from the rest of his penis.

Another boy, 12 year old Almer Alciro, says he got his circumcision because “they” said he will then grow taller and it will help him with playing sports, the height, not the foreskin removal. The procedure is known as Tulì in the Philippines, which shouldn’t be confused with this East African Jewellery store



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Jack is from the USA, has a B.A. in English, and writes on a variety of topics. He lives in Thailand.

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