Bill on using neo-ethnic textiles for graduation passes 2nd reading
MANILA, Philippines — A bill proposing that students of state universities and colleges (SUCs) wear academic regalia made of local textiles for graduation has been approved by the House of Representatives on second reading.
House Bill (HB) No. 7620, the substitute bill to HB No. 4127, was deliberated on by the Committee on Higher and Technical Education last Oct. 22. It was approved via viva voce voting.
Under the bill, a Philippine Academic Regalia Council would be created to formulate a National Academic Regalia Policy.
The council would be made up of representatives from the following agencies:
- National Commission for Culture and the Arts
- National Commission on Indigenous Peoples
- Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges
- University of the Philippines System
- Association of Local Colleges and Universities
- Department of Trade and Industry
The council will also be in charge of ensuring the sustainability, availability, and quality control of the textiles. It will also figure out how to seamlessly integrate neo-ethnic textiles into the regalia.
It will also be in charge of publishing a handbook containing information on the academic regalia and “its proper use, protection, trade, and management,” while protecting the intellectual property rights of the designers.
Back in October 2022, the bill’s principal author, Northern Samar 2nd District Rep. Harris Christopher Ongchuan, said using local textiles for academic regalia would make educational programs and events closer to the Filipino identity and create a market for such items.
“Commonly seen in graduation ceremonies and graduation pictures in social media sites during graduation season, the academic regalia serves as a distinguishing factor and a symbol of the values that the academic institution represents,” Ongchuan said.
“The use of neo-ethnic Philippine textiles created by the local community craftsmen aims to showcase our culture and heritage in order to produce an academic regalia that is truly Filipino. With an average of 300,000 graduates from SUCs annually, the opportunity of creating jobs for communities is also an impetus to the creation of this proposal,” Ongchuan noted.
In the 18th Congress, during the previous administration, then-Antique Rep. Loren Legarda, who’s now a senator, filed a similar proposal, House Bill No. 10690.
It was passed on its third reading last February, just before the 18th Congress adjourned its session for the election season. It was not acted upon, however, when the session resumed.
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