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Vico Sotto: Pasig schools will use 'sablay' instead of toga at graduations

This year, graduates of Pasig's public schools will march with the traditional sablay slung across their chests instead of the old toga, the city's mayor Vico Sottoannounced on Thursday, February 20.

With this, Pasig takes a step ahead of the Department of Education, which earlier said it is considering a switch to the sablay, similar to what the University of the Philippines has practiced at commencement exercises since 1990.

The sablay is a loose, woven garment worn diagonally on one shoulder then made to hang around the opposite hip like a sash or sari. It originated from indigenous Filipinos who used to wear them on important occasions.

The toga, meanwhile, is a long, flowing robe matched with a square-brimmed cap with a tassel – the western staple at graduation ceremonies.

"Nag-usap na kami ng mga pampublikong paaralan dito sa Pasig, at mula sa 'toga,' du'n na rin kami sa 'sablay,'" Sotto said in a tweet.

(I have spoken with the public schools here in Pasig, and from the "toga," we're also going for the "sablay.")

UP graduation

SABLAY. University of the Philippines students wearing the sablay during their graduation rites in June 2019. File photo by Jire Carreon/Rappler

"Bukod sa mas Pilipino ito, pareho lang ang gagastusin ng LGU, pero maiuuwi nila ito pagkatapos ng graduation!" Sotto added.

(Besides [the sablay] being more Filipino, local government units will end up spending just as much on them but the graduates will be able to take them after graduation!)

For the same price, one could only rent and not buy a toga, the mayor pointed out.

Education reforms

Sotto has initiated several reforms in Pasig's education system.

After renaming the city's scholarship program to make it apolitical, he changed the system of evaluating scholars' performance to encourage more educational activities instead of attendance at city hall events.

From just over 11,000 scholars before his term, Sotto increased the roster to 13,000 scholarsfor school year 2019 to 2020. Pasig expects to enroll some 16,000 scholars in the next term this year.

Last week, Sotto approved cash incentives for the city's honor students: up to P1,500 for those in elementary, and up to P3,000 for high schoolers.

Sotto also urged students, especially those in college, to get involved in local government affairs, particularly in running the public school system. – Rappler.com

JC Gotinga

JC Gotinga often reports about the West Philippine Sea, the communist insurgency, and terrorism as he covers national defense and security for Rappler. He enjoys telling stories about his hometown, Pasig City. JC has worked with Al Jazeera, CNN Philippines, News5, and CBN Asia.

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