THE Davao City 20th Council has passed on the third and final reading a city ordinance requiring local government employees to wear Indigenous People (IP) and Moro-inspired attire or accessories every first Monday of the month at work.

City Councilor Al Ryan Alejandre first proposed the ordinance on July 26, 2022.

“Importante kaayo ni kay ang atoang IPs, [the] eleven tribes kinahanglan nato ni sila ma-develop and ma-promote ilahang kultura para dili sila mawala (This is important in developing and promoting the culture of the 11 tribes and prevent it from disappearing),” Alejandre said in an ambush interview on November 15, 2022 at the Sangguniang Panlungsod.

He said the ordinance is a big step to provide inclusivity and acknowledge the 11 tribes outside the Kadayawan celebration.

“Mao na ni sugod nga they will not be left behind, dili lang ni nga every Kadayawan nato sila ma-remember (It will not only be during the Kadayawan Festival that we honor them),” Alejandre said.

Aside from this, he said this ordinance will also provide livelihood opportunities to the IPs and Moro communities.

“The other way around we can give them kanang livelihood for their community kay daghan naman musuot sa ilahang attire and accessories, and iapil ni siya as one of the official uniforms (because people will be wearing their attire and accessories. It will be part of the official uniforms of the employees),” Alejandre said.

He said government employees have three options for this mandate; wearing authentic attire as long as they have an IP certification allowing them to wear such attire, IP-inspired attire, and the IP-inspired official uniform.

However, Alejandre said they cannot mandate the government employees under the national offices but they encouraged them to wear at least the accessories or inspired IP attire.

Meanwhile, Alejandre said full implementation of the city ordinance will be in January 2023 and no penalty will be given to violators.

The filing of the ordinance came after Vice-President Sara Duterte wore a traditional Bagobo Tagabawa dress during the first State of the Nation Address of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on July 25, 2022. This drew mixed reactions, mostly praise, from netizens.

“The comments of some Filipinos on VP Sara’s traditional attire likewise opened my eyes to the harsh reality that there is still more to be done in terms of our appreciation of our culture. It is high time I think that we raise the level of awareness of our society in terms of our culture, especially among our youth, so that we will be more sensitive to the words we say or post online,” Alejandre said when he proposed the ordinance. KSD