A homage? Imee Marcos, Sara Duterte turn heads for ethnic wear during SONA 2023

July 24, 2023 - 8:25 PM
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Photo of Vice President Sara Duterte and Senator Imee Marcos during SONA 2023 on July 24, 2023 (MayorIndaySaraDuterteOfficial/Facebook)

Sen. Imee Marcos and Vice President Sara Duterte wore indigenous outfits during the State of the Nation Address (SONA) of the president on Monday, July 24.

The SONA red carpet is an anticipated part of the afternoon. Government officials and other esteemed guests strut and showcase their Filipiniana outfits before they enter the plenary hall where the national address is held.

Marcos quickly gained buzz on Twitter for her ethnic-looking attire.

She wore tattoos on her shoulders, ornaments, jewelry and a blue sash. Her clothing also bears colorful, intricate details.

In an interview with reporters, the lawmaker said that her outfit was inspired by the indigenous peoples of the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).

Several Filipinos, especially advocates for IP rights, slammed Marcos for her remark about her ensemble.

They perceived it disrespectful and hypocritical, citing the Marcos family’s long history of atrocities against IPs in the country.

“How can you stoop so low as to reduce a culture of which owners your family has antagonized by red-tagging them, displacing them, and stripping them of their rights into a mere costume??? They deserve better than your performative, hypocritical, and disrespectful ‘red carpet’,” a Filipino on Twitter said.

“Cordillera communities have been experiencing bombings and intense militarization; Igorot activists are facing trumped-up charges and terrorist designations, all under Marcos Jr. This is no homage. This is an insult,” a progressive group called Cordillera Peoples Alliance reacted on Facebook.

Other Filipinos also recalled the killings of tribal leaders Macliing Dulag and Pedro Dungoc in Kalinga on April 24, 1980.

They opposed the construction of the Chico River Basin Project of the late President Ferdinand Marcos Sr.

Duterte, meanwhile, arrived at the Batasang Pambansa Complex in a yellow, Muslim costume.

In a social media post, the vice president explained that her SONA ensemble was a homage to the “Moro tribe” living in South Central Luzon.

It comprises a “Bangala” top, trousers and a long skirt with intricate details.

Amid the criticisms, some Filipinos praised Marcos and Duterte for their looks.

They described their overall fits as elegant and beautiful in the event.

Some Filipinos earlier speculated that Marcos Jr. might have not recognized Duterte at the hall. Photos showed that he skipped her handshake while he shook hands with the rest of the guests.

Duterte was later spotted sitting next to first lady Liza Araneta-Marcos at the venue.