An Indigenous Peoples group expressed disappointment over Vice President Sara Duterte-Carpio’s choice of wardrobe during the first State of the Nation Address of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr..
The group Sandugo Alliance said they are “greatly disappointed but unsurprised” at Duterte’s reason for wearing a tribal clothing during the event.
“More than identity or cultural appropriation, the issue is a matter of hypocrisy and decency,” said the group in a statement over the weekend.
“By displaying out traditional attire on her body, she projects the illusion that (she) is promoting our culture, rights and aspirations,” read the group’s July 30 statement to the media.
They accused the vice president of being “instrumental” in the closing of tribal schools in Mindanao and the harassment of displaced people who took shelter in a Protestant church compound.
“If she and her family choose to crush our life ways, she has no business wearing our clothing,” read the Sandugo statement.
“In fact, as she was busy preening in Lumad dress at the Batasang Pambansa, two more Lumad students were arrested on trumped-up charges in Davao City,” said the group.
The group said “genuine promotion of national minorities is not a gown that can be shed, nor a trend that may fall out of fashion.”
“These garments are not mere embellishments, but sophisticated indicators of the state of our people, communities, and environment,” they added.
They said making traditional textiles is “a tedious process intertwined with the state of our ancestral lands, whose forests and waterways yield the very fibers and dyes we use.”
“If they are threatened by large-scale dams and mines, these fabrics will not materialize,” said the group, adding that the process of making textiles necessarily involves whole communities.
“Thus, the well-being of our people is a prerequisite for the imagination of designs and motifs,” read the Sandugo statement.
“It is impossible to even conceive of weaving when we are hamletted, militarized, internally displaced, and besieged by massacres,” said the group.
In a statement on Friday, Duterte-Carpio said she wore the tribal dress to symbolize her “solidarity” with the Indigenous Peoples of Mindanao and all over the country “who have been rising up against the terrorist New People’s Army’s chronic exploitation of their children, arming them as new recruits.”