Sona standouts: 3 party-list reps defy dress code in the name of advocacy
MANILA, Philippines — Three party-list representatives stood out from the crowd as they carried their advocacies on the clothes they wore for President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s first State of the Nation Address on Monday.
A memorandum earlier issued by House of Representatives Secretary General Mark Llandro Mendoza stated a prohibition on wearing clothes with political messages for the said event.
But for party-list group representatives Arlene Brosas (Gabriela), France Castro (ACT Teachers), and Raoul Manuel (Kabataan), their Sona outfits echo an important call from the groups they represent.
“We are asserting our right as we cite our Constitution — our right to freedom of expression,” Castro told reporters on Monday.
She then explained what each element of her outfit signified: “Itong black ay dahil bumalik tayo sa kadiliman sa pagkaka-elect ng bagong Marcos at isinisimbolo rin nito iyong misinformation, historical revisionism pero ang teachers, nagsisilbi silang kulay, binibigyang ilaw ang katotohanan.”
(The black color signifies the darkness that comes with another Marcos elected into office, and it also symbolizes misinformation and historical revisionism. But you can see teachers giving color and light to the truth.)
Meanwhile, Manuel, who wore a hand-painted Barong Filipino, said he was wearing the demands of the Filipino youth for the Marcos administration.
“Dapat iyong opening ng [face-to-face classes] sa November, ligtas siya. Dito naman sa isang banda, iyong hustisya hindi lang para sa iilan kundi para sa lahat. Magkaugnay po iyong dalawa kaya may kamay na nagco-connect sa kanila,” he further noted.
(The opening of face-to-face classes in November should be done safely. And on the other side of my barong, it’s a call for justice for everyone, and not only for a select few. An illustration of interlocked hands connects these two advocacies.)
A phoenix, whose wings spread across the back of his barong, represents the Filipino youth’s role in bringing hope to their country, despite the culture of killing and darkness that is prevalent throughout many parts of it, according to Manuel.
“[Gusto natin na] matigil iyong mga iyan at papanindigan ng kabataan na ito dapat iyong lipunan na meron tayo,” he stressed.
(We want to end this because the youth believe this is the society we truly deserve.)
Brosas, donning a painted saya (skirt) which depicts the crucial role of women in economy, later reiterated their collective hopes for the country’s leaders to uphold the people’s right to express themselves in any medium freely.
“Freedom of expression iyan kaya ini-insist natin na walang masama na magsuot tayo ng mga may political messages kahit saang larangan at kahit saang lugar,” she said.
(This is our right to freedom of expression, so we’re insisting that there’s nothing wrong with wearing anything with political messages in any field and place.)
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