DepEd Proposes Use of ‘Sablay’ Instead of Toga for Graduation Rites in HS, Elementary

When it comes to the graduation rites in the Philippines, students are expected to wear toga over their semi-formal clothes. But an official of the Department of Education (DepEd) thinks that such is ‘too westernized’ and must be replaced by the ‘sablay’. Do you agree?

Traditionally used by graduates of the University of the Philippines (UP), the sablay is made from a woven cloth with inscriptions – and UP makes use of ‘baybayin’ for the inscription. Worn over a Filipiniana attire, a sablay would promote the Philippine culture, claimed Education Undersecretary Alain Pascua.

Photo credit: Manila Bulletin

Entitled “Proposal to Use Sablay Instead of Toga for End-Of-School-Year Rites in Elementary and Secondary Schools”, an Aide Memoire by Pascua listed the merits of using a ‘sablay’ instead of the toga for graduation rites.

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

He proposes that schools make use of the ‘sablay’, instead. He also argued on the merits of the woven cloth over the toga which has long been the traditional uniform for graduation.

Photo credit: Inquirer

He believes that the sablay has the following advantages:

  • Instill patriotism and national among young learners
  • Promote core values of Makabansa and Makakalikasan
  • Promote local culture and national diversity
  • Nurture ethnic roots and perpetuate the production of local textiles of indigenous peoples
  • Boost rural development
  • Provide jobs and empower women and men weavers
  • Revive and sustain local and traditional weaving enterprises

Proposal, Not Mandate

A leaked memo went viral, with netizens divided over the proposal. This led Pascua to clarify that this is still his proposal and has not been discussed at the Execom-Mancom levels.

Someone must have been very excited of the proposal that is why the internal memo was shared,” Pascua clarified.

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.

Photo credit: USec Alain Pascua / Facebook

But with the public easily associating the ‘sablay’ with UP and had long been used to the toga, it is unknown whether the proposal will be widely accepted.

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