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(The following text or part of it is quoted from the free Wikipedia article Tuli (rite):)

Tulì is a Filipino rite of male circumcision. It has a long historical tradition and is considered an obligatory rite of passage for males;[1] About 93 percent of Filipino males are circumcised.[1] Boys who have not undergone the ritual are labelled supót and face ridicule from their peers.[2]

Circumcision is not considered a religious rite as some four-fifths of Filipinos profess Roman Catholicism, which does not require it. Rather, circumcision is a social norm rooted in tradition that is followed by society at large. Most boys usually undergo the procedure not shortly after birth but prior to reaching puberty or before high school (around ages 10–14).

There exists two common ways of undergoing tuli: either the traditional way by a local village circumciser (known in Tagalog as having it done "de-pukpok") or having it done by medical practitioners in a hospital or clinical setting.

Traditional tuli is a dorsal slit of the foreskin.


The Philippine Islands were once governed from India. The Sultanate of Maguindanao introduced Islam into Mindanao in the 15th century. Thereafter Islam spread through the Philippines. Circumcision (khitan) is a religiously founded tradition in Islam, so it was introduced into the Philippine culture.

Ferdinand Magellan claimed the Philippine Islands for Spain in 1521. Spain's control of the Philippines lasted until the Spanish-American war of 1898. Roman Catholicism was introduced into the Philippines during the Spanish rule. Christians recognized the harmful and abusive nature of circumcision at the Council at Jerusalem in 49 A. D. and rejected the practice as unnecessary for Christians. The Roman Catholic Church further repudiated the practice by the Bull of Union with the Copts in 1492.[3] Although in violation of Christian and Roman Catholic teachings, the Roman Catholic Church has turned a blind-eye to the practice of Tuli in the Philippine Islands, where it continues to flourish.

Psychological issues

Tuli was introduced into the Philippine Islands hundreds of years ago, when the Islands were controlled by Muslims. Every since adult circumcised men have reenacted their own trauma on boys as reported by Vanderkolk.[4]

Boyle & Ramos (2019) studied boys in the Philippine Islands who had undergone medical circumcision and others who had suffered the traditional "tuli" circumcision. Of the boys who had a medical circumcision, 51 percent exhibited symptoms of PTSD. Of the boys who had a tuli circumcision, 69 percent exhibited symptoms of PTSD.[5] [6]

Constitutional issues

The Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines (1987) contains several provisions that may be violated by the practice of Tuli in the Philippines.[7]

Article XIII

Article XIII provides enactment of measures to advance social justice and human dignity. Section 11 provides for the advancement of health. Section 17 provides for a Commission on Human Rights. Section 18 provides specific powers to the Commission to investigate human rights violations and to "[p]rovide appropriate legal measures for the protection of human rights of all persons within the Philippines."[7] No such measures seem to have been enacted to protect boys from Tuli.

Article XV

Article XV provides protection for the family. Section 3(2) provides the right of children to "special protection from all forms of neglect, abuse, cruelty, exploitation, and other conditions prejudicial to their development".[7]

It appears that no one in the Philippine Republic has thought it appropriate to apply these constitutional provisions to the practice of Tuli, except perhaps for Ramos & Boyle, who briefly called for the application of human rights to Tuli.[6]

Dorsal slit reversal

According to Goodwin (1990), the dorsal slit operation may be reversed by suturing the cut ends together, which restores the tissue to its normal position and recreates the foreskin:

One patient presented with a dorsal slit because of an acute infection during childhood. All of the normal preputial skin was still present and the patient wished the skin restored to a normal appearance. An inverted V-shaped incision was made where the dorsal slit had been and the two edges were sutured together, thus, reproducing the normal prepuce. The patient was delighted with the results. It could be that this might be an answer to some critics of circumcision. A simple dorsal slit can be performed in patients who have phimosis or severe recurrent infections. At a later date, if they wished restoration, reconstruction to the uncircumcised appearance would be simple.[8]


Philippine boys circumcised to 'become men'

Circumcision of Philippines

Mass circumcision returns after one year delay

Tuli death

GMA News reported the death due to bleeding on Tuesday, 22 March 2022 of a 13-year-old boy who continued to bleed after his circumcision at a free circumcision event on Saturday, 20 March 2022 in Lucena, Quezon, which had been sponsored by the Scout Royale Brotherhood. The boy was brought to hospital on Monday, but died the following day.[9]

See also

External links


  1. a b REFnews (6 May 2011)."Tuli a rite of passage for Filipino boys", GMA News Online. Retrieved 2 April 2014.
  2. REFnews (19 June 2019)."'Circumcision season': Philippine rite puts boys under pressure", Channel News Asia. Retrieved 20 June 2019.
  3. REFweb Eugene IV, Pope (4 February 1441). Bull of Union with the Copts. Retrieved 5 June 2021.
  4. REFjournal van der Kolk BA. The compulsion to repeat the trauma: re-enactment, revictimization, and masochism. Psychiatr Clin North Am. June 1989; 12(2): 389-411. PMID. Retrieved 10 November 2022.
  5. REFbook Ramos S, Boyle GJ (2001): Ritual and medical circumcision among Filipino boys: evidence of post-traumatic stress disorder. Work: Understanding circumcision: A Multi-Disciplinary Approach to a Multi-Dimensional Problem. Denniston GC, Hodges FM, Milos M (ed.). New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers. Pp. 253-70. Retrieved 5 November 2022.
  6. a b REFjournal Boyle GJ, Ramos Shttps://www.researchgate.net/publication/300649237_Ritual_and_Medical_Circumcision_among_Filipino_Boys. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among Filipino boys subjected to non-therapeutic ritual or medical surgical procedures: A retrospective cohort study. Annals of Medicine and Surgery. 2019; 42: 19-22. PMID. PMC. DOI. Retrieved 28 November 2020.
  7. a b c REFdocument The Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, Filipino people. (1987). Retrieved 1 June 2021.
  8. REFjournal Goodwin WE. Uncircumcision: a technique for plastic reconstruction of a prepuce after circumcision. J Urol. December 1990; 144(5): 1203-5. PMID. DOI. Retrieved 29 January 2020.
  9. REFnews (25 March 2022)."Circumcision causes 13-year-old to bleed to death in Lucena", GMA News. Retrieved 27 March 2022.
    Quote: The Public Attorney's Office is looking into the death.