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    DepEd proposes sablay instead of toga in high school, elementary graduation

    MANILA, Philippines – In most schools in the Philippines, graduation means that the students are required to wear a toga on top of their “Sunday’s best clothes” or a semi-formal attire. But an official of the Department of Education (DepEd) proposes the use of a sablay, a piece of woven cloth traditionally used by graduates of the University of the Philippines (UP).
    DepEd proposes sablay instead of toga in high school, elementary graduation
    Photo credit: NIÑO JESUS ORBETA / Inquirer

    The proposal was leaked on social media before it was approved for posting, but Education Undersecretary Alain Pascua said it wasn’t a security lapse and he’s alright with the early posting as they were able to gauge public’s feelings regarding the sablay proposal.

    Toga is too “westernized”

    In the Aide Memoire entitled “Proposal to Use Sablay Instead of Toga for End-Of-School-Year Rites in Elementary and Secondary Schools”, Pascua explained the merits of the use of a sablay instead of the toga and gown for graduation ceremonies.

    DepEd proposes sablay instead of toga in high school, elementary graduation

    “The use of the toga, with its deep Western roots, has been taken for granted all these years despite its many disadvantages,” Pascua explained. “[Among the] disadvantages of using toga 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.”

    The DepEd Undersecretary also explained that toga promotes uniformity and is too westernized while the sablay will help to 1) instill patriotism and national among young learners, 2) promote core values of Makabansa and Makakalikasan, 3) promote local culture and national diversity, 4) nurture ethnic roots and perpetuate the production of local textiles of indigenous peoples, 5) boost rural development, 6) provide jobs and empower women and men weavers, and 7) revive and sustain local and traditional weaving enterprises.

    DepEd proposes sablay instead of toga in high school, elementary graduation
    Photo credit: NIÑO JESUS ORBETA / Inquirer

    Still a proposal

    However, Pascua clarified that this is merely his proposal and has not been discussed yet at the Execom-Mancom levels.

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

    UP Sablay
    Photo credit: University of the Philippines

    “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. We at the DepEd value feedback and encourage everyone to voice their concerns and ideas.”

    Netizens are torn, however, whether they want the sablay or not for the graduation rites as togas have long been used in the Philippines while the sablay is associated with UP graduates.

    DepEd proposes sablay instead of toga in high school, elementary graduation

    — Joy Adalia, The Summit Express

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