Anak Mindanao Party List (AMIN) Rep. Sitti Djalia Turabin-Hataman, a known advocate of women’s rights in Mindanao, has a new passion—fashion.
After conquering and excelling in politics and social work, the congresswoman now plans to be an entrepreneur as she dares to come up with her own Hijab fashion line and Muslim accessories that would redefine the usual styles and designs of women’s apparel in the country.
Hataman says she wants to incorporate Muslim culture through the everyday fashion by making Hijabs—a veil that covers the head and the chest of Muslim women—look stylish for women of all ages and sizes.
“As more Muslim women from all walks of life are into the Hijab, each bringing her own fashion sense, the variety becomes limitless,” Hataman says.
The Hijab fashion, the congresswoman notes, will not cost much to those who want to try. She says that it is also easy to get accustomed to.
According to Hataman, the Hijab can be styled by either wrapping it around the hair or by covering the face and the neck with it depending on one’s mood or what she wants or intends to convey for that day.
“The value is modesty, so I think the simpler the better,” Hataman says.
“The Hijab and the clothing must cover the hair, neck, and chest, down to the legs and the ankles. As to color or design, I personally do not have any preference, but they must at least match what one is wearing. Like if I’m wearing a printed top, I go for a plain Hijab,” she adds.
The Hijab at present is available in all major malls nationwide as well as in famous local shopping centers like Divisoria and Baclaran.
It is typically sold around P90 to P250 depending on the style, the brand and the design.
But Hataman’s new fashion line promises to be better than those currently available in the market.
The first lady of ARMM, after all, is known for excellence in everything she does.
The congresswoman was a former columnist of the Daily Zamboanga Times and a leader of various non-government organizations that sought to improve people’s lives and advocate human rights.
The plight of families in conflict areas of Sulu and Basilan in Mindanao is just one of Hataman’s many advocacies.
“My experience in working with and for families in conflict areas gave me the opportunity to share deeply their plight, fears and aspirations. As a development worker in NGOs, my engagement with them was limited to hearing and documenting their stories, providing meager support to address immediate needs like relief in evacuation areas, and linking them to institutions mandated to help them,” she says.
“I used to be frustrated with my limitations, I knew I was not responding to their needs. But now, with this opportunity to represent AMIN in Congress, I realize everything that I went through, everything that I learned, prepared me for this. I am grateful and honored to accept this new responsibility, bringing with me the stories of these families, with a framework based on their realities,” the congresswoman adds.
As one who has been fighting for women empowerment in Mindanao, Hataman says her organizations have gone a long way in terms of empowering women, yet they still have a long way to go too, considering the gap between how empowered the rich women are compared to those less fortunate; between the educated, career women and those who did not get the same quality of education.
But despite her new plans to venture in a business, the congresswoman vowed to remain focus on her first priority—public service.
“This early, we have already started our consultation and planning workshops in cities and provinces, identifying each area’s priority legislative measures, programs, projects and advocacies. Anak Mindanao as an organization or party envisions a Mindanao with resilient and sustainable communities in harmony with other communities and nature,” she says.
The congresswoman also plans to re-file the bills filed by AMIN in the previous Congress when her husband, RG Mujiv Hataman, was its representative.
These bills include the Anti-Racial Discrimination Bill, Mandatory Study of Moro and Indigenous People’s History and Culture, and Institutionalization of Zones of Peace in conflict areas.
“We are also now drafting a bill that aims to promote organic agriculture for food security, economic opportunity and environment protection, and a look into the possible revision of the code of Muslim personal laws, the law which covers marriage, divorce and inheritance of Muslim Filipinos. There is a group now reviewing the Code of Muslim Personal Laws (CMPL). We shall also support the Internally Displaced Persons’ Bill,” she reports.
Hataman says part of AMIN’s mission is educating people, more specifically on how government bureaucracy works.
AMIN hopes to bridge the gap in information so people can make realistic expectations and decisions.
“In fact in our city and provincial consultations and planning, part of it is a lecture on government bureaucracy,” she says.