DAVAO CITY, Philippines—-One can be fined. Worse, jailed for improper singing of the Lupang Hinirang (National Anthem).
This, after the House of Representatives approved the Number 5224 or the Revised Flag and Heraldic Code which amended Republic Act Number 8491 or the Flag and heraldic Code of the Philippines.
The 212 lawmakers present last Monday unanimously supported the Bill which specifies the correct rendition of the national anthem prescribing the rules on proper use and display of the Philippine flag.
A major amendment being proposed by the measure is the inclusion of provisions on the proper use of the national seal, motto, and coat-of-arms, aside from the Philippine flag, national anthem, and other “heraldic items and devices.”
“Any act which casts contempt, dishonour or ridicule upon the national anthem shall be penalized,” the bill says.
The Bill states, all citizens must stand to attention facing the Philippine flag, if displayed, or the band or conductor.
It also provides precise official music for the tune, which was composed by Julian Felipe and adopted as the anthem in 1938. A 2/4 beat is mandated when the music is played and 4/4 when it is sung.
The proposed “flag code” also obliges the national education authorities to “ensure that the national anthem… shall be committed to memory by all students” of public and private schools.
The national anthem, however, would not be allowed to be played preceding “events of recreation, amusement, or entertainment purposes.”
The anthem may be played during the following:
-International competitions where the Philippines is the host or has a representative
-National or local sports competitions
-During the “signing on or off” of radio and television broadcasting stations
-Before the initial and last screening of films and before the opening of theater performances
-Other occasions allowed by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines.
– Defacing or ridiculing the flag;
-Using flag as drapery or tablecloth;
-Displaying the Flag under a picture of painting;
-Using the flag in bars, clubs, casino or cockpits;
-Wearing national symbol as part of costume or accessories;
-Putting national symbols on merchandize and;
-Using national symbols in ads.
The Fines and Penalties
-Violators run the risk of paying to the range of P50,000 to P100,000 from the current P5,000 to P20,000. Violators may also face imprisonment up to a year.
-A public censure would also be issued against the violator, to be published at least once in a newspaper of general circulation.
-The permit of private educational institutions which would violate any of HB 5224’s provisions would be canceled by the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), upon the recommendation of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP).
-Public officials or employees who will violate the rules, meanwhile, would be punished in accordance with Rule 10 of the Revised Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service. They could also face criminal charges.
The Bill says, Individuals whose faith prohibit them from singing “Lupang Hinirang” must still show full respect.
The measure also reiterates the designated time for the raising and lowering as well as manner of display or hoisting of the Philippine flag when it is flown solo or displayed with another flag.
The bill likewise maintains the current guidelines on the proper use, disposal, and replacement of worn-out Philippine flags.-Editha Z. Caduaya/Newsline.ph