AGHAM rep dons fake ‘barong,’ vows to seek probe

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/13 August)—Beware of fake piña barong tagalog.

An astounded AGHAM Party-list Rep. Angelo Palmones issued the warning Friday after a scientist told him he was not wearing an original barong tagalog.

“It’s a synthetic barong tagalog made in China,” he revealed before hundreds of participants at the closing ceremony of the regional celebration of the National Science and Technology Week (NSTW) here.

Piña barong tagalog is made from pineapple fibers.

With his humiliating discovery, Palmones, a former broadcast journalist with roots in North Cotabato, vowed to file a congressional resolution asking the Department of Trade and Industry to conduct a thorough investigation on the proliferation of the fake traditional Filipino male dress in the country.

He said he bought the fake barong tagalog from one of the malls in the city after his driver forgot to put one inside his car.

The entry of fake products in our country should be closely monitored to protect our very own, because this puts us in a disadvantaged position, he said.

As this developed, Palmones noted the country is lagging behind in terms of innovation in the ASEAN region, placing 111th among 139 countries in the 2010-2011 Growth Competitiveness Index of the World Economic Forum.

“This is embarrassing but we should not lose hope and we must do something,” he said.

On technical readiness, Palmones said the Philippines ranked 95th out of 139 countries, and 85th out of 139 in the economic survey.

Palmones expressed optimism the country could improve its rankings, citing that initiatives such as in Region 12 may be among the helpful models to increase interest in science and technology.

He also stressed the need to increase the budget for DOST, which he noted is not even one percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

Zenaida Hadji Raof Laidan, DOST-12 regional director, said they have been working to infuse innovative science and technology to improve the quality of life of the people in line with the National Science and Technology Plan, in consonance with the Medium Term Regional Development Plan and in support of the Medium Term Philippine Development Plan.

“Our development framework is anchored on harnessing an ecosystem of knowledge-based, market-driven and technology-enabled SMEs thru synergy and strategic partnerships with the community, local government units, academe and government  agencies and the private sector,” she said.

Laidan conceded that Southwestern Mindanao may currently have low to moderate level of public understanding of science and technology.

“Yet I believe that time will come for Region XII to reap the benefits of its people’s willingness to understand science and technology and of its citizen’s optimism that S&T can improve their lives,” she said. (Bong Sarmiento/MindaNews)