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DepEd official bats for ‘sablay’ instead of toga

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By Merlina Hernando-Malipot

An official of the Department of Education (DepEd) is proposing the use of “sablay” instead of the usual toga for end-of-school-year rites in elementary and secondary schools nationwide.

DepEd Undersecretary for Administration Alain Del Pascua, in an Aide Memoire dated Feb. 18, is pushing for the use of sablay to “instill patriotism and nationalism among young learners.”

DepEd Undersecretary for Administration Alain Del Pascua (FACEBOOK / MANILA BULLETIN)

DepEd Undersecretary for Administration Alain Del Pascua (FACEBOOK / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

“The use of the toga, with its deep Western roots, has been taken for granted all these years despite its many disadvantages,” Pascua said. Among the “disadvantages of using toga,” he said, is primarily because “it is not Filipino.”

“It does not inspire loyalty to the nation but selves as a reminder of a colonial past and the toga, which covers the whole body, is impractical and uncomfortable to use in a tropical country like the Philippines,” Pascua added.

Pascua also noted that the use of toga “promotes uniformity and does not encourage the flourish of cultural diversity” and “renting or buying a toga, with gown and cap, is an additional expense and an added burden on parents.”

“In view of the foregoing, it is respectfully proposed that sablay, instead of the toga, be used in end-of-school-year rites in all elementary and secondary’ schools,” Pascua said.

The use of sablay, Pascua said, will help “promote core values of Makabansa and Makakalikasan and local culture and national diversity.” Also, using the sablay will help “nurture ethnic roots and perpetuate the production of local textiles of indigenous peoples and boost rural development.”

Pascua noted that with the demand of sablay to be used by millions of students, this will also “provide jobs and empower women and men weavers and revive and sustain local and traditional weaving enterprises.”

Sablay is an indigenous loose garment that is draped across the body during formal occasions. The sablay is also known as the official academic costume of the University of the Philippines (UP).

Still a proposal

Meanwhile, Pascua clarified that said Aide Memoire “has yet to be discussed” at the Execom-Mancom levels and “remains a proposition.”

Pascua said the memo “was leaked” before it was presented to the ExeCom for discussion. “The aide memoire question did indeed come from me which I sent to a DepEd Execom and Mancom Groups for their consideration and feedback, but somehow the aide memoire leaked through posts on Facebook,” he added.

In a phone interview, Pascua clarified that the memo being leaked to social media was “not a very serious case” of security breach.

“Someone must have been very excited of the proposal that is why the internal memo was shared,” he said.

“One positive outcome though of the leak was that we were able to gleam at the public’s sentiment towards the proposal, which has generally been favorable and very welcoming, give or take a few concerns that need to be addressed should the proposal be considered,” Pascua said. “We at the DepEd value feedback and encourage everyone to voice their concerns and ideas,” he added.

Asked if there will be an investigation on why the memo in question was leaked, Pascua said that there is no need for it. “This incident helps reinforce the importance of checking facts and sources,” he said.

Thus, he reminded the public to always refer to issuances through www.deped.gov.ph and its various official social media accounts that include DepEd Tayo. “At all times, OUA issuances are released at DepEd Workplace,” he said.

If approved, the use of sablay for end-of-school-year rites may be implemented as early as this school year or in the coming years. “We have to discuss first and take into account various considerations related to this proposal,” Pascua ended.

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