MANILA -- Fashion will take centerstage anew at the fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday with the unveiling of the advocacy of lady legislators to save the local fashion industry and a surprise display of stylized barongs with protest symbols.
The dynamic mix is expected to lend color to an otherwise austere SONA with only a sprinkling of congressmen and senators in actual attendance at the Batasang Pambansa with the majority hooked via Zoom videoconference.
But even the virtual limitation will not rain on the parade of some 85 lady legislators who will highlight a distinctive commemorative SONA brooch dubbed “Araw.” Formed in a half-sun silhouette in cream and blue colors, the SONA brooch is the product of the Philippine Fashion Coalition (PFC) which aims to raise funds for industry workers. The brooch comes with masks made of local weaves and jewelry worth P5,000.
Marikina representative Stella Quimbo, one of the 11 congressmen who voted for ABSCBN’s franchise renewal, told ABS-CBN News Friday that this is their way of supporting the Philippine fashion industry, which has been nearly decimated by the pandemic.
Among its advocates are Vania Romoff, Vic Barba, Gabbie Sarenas, Philip Rodriguez, Randy Ortiz, Jor-el Espina, and Marga Nograles of Kaayo Modern Mindanao. JC Buendia, Amina Aranaz Alunan, and Raji Laurel are also pushing the benefit project.
Legislators also have the option to purchase tops and barong made of various local weaves. Quimbo said this is an initial step in helping the industry’s multitude of workers -- from the weavers and raw material manufacturers, sewers, cutters, beaders, embroiderers, sales and logistics personnel and designers.
Of the 301 legislators, 85 are women, a number of whom hold important positions of leadership in Congress, including Baby Arenas, Vilma Santos-Recto, Loren Legarda, and Evelina Escudero. The Association of Women Legislators is led by its president, Deputy Speaker Arenas.
Laguna Rep. Sol Aragones, a long time promoter of local designers, will wear the brooch with her Michael Leyva red top.
House Deputy Minority leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate, who also voted yes along with Aragones to renew the ABS-CBN franchise, will wear a barong made by artists of Sama-samang Artista Para sa Kilusang Agraryo, with symbols calling for the junking of the anti-terror law. He will also wear an abaca-made face mask designed by Karapatan lawyer-cum-artist Sol Taule that also calls for mass testing and pro-active contact tracing. The design uses the color palette of ABS-CBN.
Bayan Muna Rep. Ferdinand Gaite will wear a hand-painted barong by volunteer artist Miguel Alpas depicting workers plight under the Duterte administration and their unity to protect democracy. “It also features symbols of US and China, the two global superpowers that are imposing their will on the country," said Alpas.
The barong would also feature an embroidery of Article III, Section 4 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution by artist Lans Tolda to highlight the issue of press freedom.