By Gillian M. Cortez
A LABOR GROUP urged lawmakers and their spouses to dress simply and modestly when they turn up at President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday.
In a statement on Sunday, spokesperson Alan A. Tanjusay of the Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) said, “The SONA is not an ostentatious fashion show or a dress rehearsal. This day is more of people wanting to know the situation of our country and what the President plans to do about it, please don’t steal the show from them.”
SONA attendees in the past arrived in stylish attire, usually showcasing local designers. Mr. Tanjusay, in his statement, said the SONA is “an event designed for the general public.”
“We are in…, economically difficult times and any flamboyant display of designer clothes and expensive necklaces, bracelets, earrings and bracelets is offending to the general public who are poor, hungry and suffering,” he also said.
Section 4(h) of Republic Act No. 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees states that lawmakers and government employees “shall not indulge in extravagant or ostentatious display of wealth in any form.”
The late Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, in 2013, had planned to file a resolution stipulating a dress code for SONA.
Mr. Tanjusay said his group considers President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s third report to the nation as “very crucial to the people in the light of (the) economic crisis being experienced by high inflation and (the) eroding value of wages.”
He added: “Given our political and economic situation, the President as a leader and father of this nation must set out concrete courses of actions on what he plans to do amid the financial crisis that workers and their families are facing. These will serve as hope and guide for them in (this) time of current despair.”
In his statement on Sunday, Nagkaisa Labor Coalition (Nagkaisa) spokesperson Renato B. Magtubo said the presidential report his group expects “would squarely address economic woes and political issues besetting the country today.”
Nagkaisa also cited the need for “(a)ddressing the proliferation of illegal and abusive contracting arrangements that DO (Department Order) 174 (of the Labor Department) and (Mr. Duterte’s) EO 51 failed to do, by way of certifying as urgent the Security of Tenure Bill pending in the Senate.”
ALU-TUCP on Saturday also cited the Security of Tenure bill as urgent, adding that the government should approve the group’s proposed P500 subsidy for workers. The bill, however, is not among the priority measures identified by the government.
Nagkaisa said further that Mr. Duterte needs to address the “gap (of) workers wages and the cost of living brought about by the TRAIN law, rising inflation, peso devaluation, profiteering and the spike in global prices of petroleum products by way of certifying as urgent wage bills pending in the House of Representatives.”