By Leslia Ann Aquino
Patriotism and love for country cannot be taught or instilled in every Filipino merely by wearing the traditionally Filipino “sablay” instead of toga during graduation ceremonies.
“If the reason for the discussion is to teach patriotism, my observation and experience in our culture is: dressing is not the best and effective way to teach love of country,” Bishop Andrew Alarcon said.
“We do not become ‘more Filipino’ by simply wearing a saya or sablay. Nor do we become less a Filipino because we wear a toga,” he added.
The elders and educators, Alarcon said must see the more important and more effective ways of teaching love of country.
“Love of country goes far deep beyond dress, more so with something that may not even be necessary yet,” said Alarcon.
But, he said, it is good to review the practical import and significance of the toga if it has become a pressing concern.
Bishop Alarcon said this is his personal opinion.
“Our DepEd (Department of Education) officials would know better than me,” he said.
An official of the DepEd had earlier proposed the use of “sablay” to inspire a sense of nationalism among graduates as well as help the local weaving industry.