Artist-lawyer shows handpainted face mask to be worn by solon during SONA 2020

July 24, 2020 - 2:20 PM
Handpainted face mask
Handpainted face mask by artist-lawyer Maria Sol Taule for Rep. Carlos Zarate (Bayan Muna party-list) in this photo uploaded by Zarate on his Facebook on July 23, 2020. (Photo from Karlos Ysagani Zarate via Facebook)

Karapatan lawyer and artist Maria Sol Taule shared images of the handpainted face mask she has created for Rep. Carlos Zarate (Bayan Muna Party-list) to be worn on the day of President Rodrigo Duterte‘s fifth State of the Nation Address.

The handpainted face mask is made of abaca that bears images of people clamoring for COVID-19 mass testing initiatives and the revocation of the highly controversial Anti-Terrorist Act of 2020.

Taule explained that the images on the face mask show “the indignation and disgust of the Filipino people on how the government is handling the current health crisis” which includes fast-tracking the passage of the anti-terror law.

“It is not enough that we let pass the distasteful jokes of the clowns in Malacañang and watch our government slowly kill us with their incompetence. It is our solemn duty to go out and speak, lest we are left to choose between dying from the virus or from the government’s fascist attacks,” she wrote on Facebook.

Bayan Muna Rep. Karlos Ysagani Zarate will be wearing this handpainted facemask made from abaca on Monday during the…

Posted by Maria Sol Taule on Thursday, July 23, 2020


Taule also shared her design on Twitter where she mentioned in the thread that she previously handpainted Zarate’s “barong” for SONA 2019 which showed a protest against China encroaching on the West Philippine Sea.

She likewise mentioned that she handpainted his “barong” for  SONA 2018 with the message urging the government to resume its peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

Zarate is part of the Makabayan bloc known for wearing protest attires during SONA.

Reports note that while they will not be physically present in the Batasang Pambansa Complex, they will attend rallies showing their “protest fashion.”

What’s in the mask? 

On mass testing

The public has long clamored for mass testing which entails testing all of the suspect cases, the close contacts of probable and confirmed cases, frontline healthcare workers and those in high-risk communities to be able to isolate them.

The World Health Organization noted that testing is the only way to slow down the transmission of COVID-19 especially since there are asymptomatic individuals.

The Department of Health recently expanded its testing guidelines which included the swab testing of some general workers, overseas Filipino workers and locally-stranded individuals.

On anti-terror law 

Meanwhile, critics of the highly-contested anti-terror law fear that it can potentially stifle dissent and curtail constitutionally-protected civil liberties due to its certain provisions.

These include the legalization of wiretapping, granting warrantless arrests without redress of grievances, being detained for up to 24 days without charges and having a vague definition of terrorism.  

More than 10 petitions by law experts, lawmakers, organizations have been filed in the Supreme Court questioning its constitutionality. The petitioners include the framers of the current 1986 Philippine Constitution.

Fashion as expression

SONA, apart from being a joint session attended by lawmakers in both houses, is also known as a venue where politicians can express themselves through their attires.

Last year, former presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo, also the chief presidential counsel, caught the public’s attention with his black suit that had colorful elements on the side.

Some of the designs featured individuals in colored hoods.

Panelo denied that the design was inspired by “Bikoy” or the controversial hooded figure in the “Ang Totoong Narcolist” videos that alleged Duterte and his family had connections with the narcotics trade.

The former spokesman is known for his unique fashion sense that has inspired the creation of Twitter account “What Sal Panelo Wore” which documents his “sartorial elegance.”

Prior to being appointed as a spokesperson, Panelo was reported to visit the Malacañang press working area in a leather jacket, tattered jeans and pinky rings. He could also be seen in a shawl and boots when “reporting to work” before.