Today, the 12th of June 2006, is the 108th Independence of the Philippines – the Pearl of the Orient Seas. The country where I was born and grew, from a Filipino-Spanish father (Cuneta) and a Chinese-Filipino mother (SESE or XIE in Chinese). I talked about the two (2) different dates for the Philippine Independence before – June 12th and July 4th, this time though let’s talk about respect.
In most country, people give the highest respect to their National Flag and National Anthem, especially when the nation’s independence day is very near, disrespect will result to punishment according to the nation’s law.
Here in the Philippines, Republic Act No. 8491, an Act Prescribing the Code of the National Flag, Anthem, Motto, Coat-Of-Arms and Other Heraldic Items and Devices of the Philippines or simply the “Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines“, states the clear use and respect for the Nation’s Flag and Heraldic Items and the appropriate punishment should there be disrespect and misuse.
SECTION 2. Declaration of policy. – Reverence and respect shall at all times be accorded the flag, the anthem, and other national symbols which embody the national ideals and traditions and which express the principles of soveregnty and national solidarity. The heraldic items and devices shall seek to manifest the national virtues and to inculcate in the minds and hearts of our people a just pride in their native land, fitting respect and affection for the national flag and anthem, and the proper use of the national motto, coat-of-arms and other heraldic items and devices.
CHAPTER II: THE NATIONAL ANTHEM
SECTION 35. The National Anthem is entitled Lupang Hinirang.
SECTION 36. The National Anthem shall always be sung in the national language within or without the country. The following shall be the lyrics of the National Anthem:
Perlas ng Silanganan
Alab ng puso,
Sa Dibdib mo’y buhay.
Duyan ka ng magiting,
Di ka pasisiil.
Sa dagat at bundok,
Sa simoy at sa langit mong bughaw,
May dilag ang tula,
At awit sa paglayang minamahal.
Ang kislap ng watawat mo’y
Tagumpay na nagniningning,
Ang bituin at araw niya,
Kailan pa ma’y di magdidilim,
Lupa ng araw ng luwalhati’t pagsinta,
Buhay ay langit sa piling mo,
Aming ligaya na pag may mang-aapi,
Ang mamatay ng dahil sa iyo.
SECTION 37. The rendition of the National Anthem, whether played or sung, shall be in accordance with the musical arrangement and composition of Julian Felipe.
The respect part:
SECTION 38. When the National Anthem is played at a public gathering, whether by a band or by singing or both, or reproduced by any means, the attending public shall sing the anthem. The singing must be done with fervor.
As a sign of respect, all persons shall stand at attention and face the Philippine flag, if there is one displayed, and if there is none, they shall face the band or the conductor. At the first note, all persons shall execute a salute by placing their right palms over their left chests. Those in military, scouting, citizens military training and security guard uniforms shall give the salute prescribed by their regulations. The salute shall be completed upon the last note of the anthem.
Everything is clear, it is written in the Law to respect the National Anthem other than the National Flag. But two nights ago, when the National Anthem Lupang Hinirang was being played inside a Cinema before the Last Full Show, FILIPINOs of all the people are talking in their cellphones, talking to their friends, walking around, running(!), and laughing, what’s more, they are all in-front near the cinema screen. What a disrespect! Yes they did “stood”, but the law do not provide punishment depending on one’s “weight” of disrespect. A disrespect is a disrespect, what all these Filipinos did then is as good as not standing.
CHAPTER VII: PENALTIES
SECTION 48. Failure or refusal to observe the provisions of this Act, and any violation of the corresponding rules and regulations issued by the Office of the President, shall after proper notice and hearing, shall be penalized by public censure which shall be published at least once in a newspaper of general circulation.
The Department of Education, Culture and Sports and the Commission on Higher Education, upon the recommendation of the Institute and after proper notice and hearing, shall cause the cancellation of the recognition or permit of any private educaional institution which failes or refuses to observe the provisions of this Act for the second time.
SECTION 50. Any person or juridical entity which violates any of the provisions of this Act shall, upon conviction, be punished by a fine of not less than Five thousand pesos (P5,000) nor more than Twenty thousand pesos (P20,000), or by imprisonment for not more than one (1) year, or both such fine and imprisonment, at the discretion of the court: Provided, That for any second and additional offenses, both fine and imprisonment shall always be imposed: Provided, further, That in case the violation is committed by a juridical person, its President or Chief Executive Officer thereof shall be liable.
As much as I hate what is happening to this country, as much as I hate the negative image of the Filipinos and the Philippines, disrespect to our very own identity, even if its only a/the National Anthem (by law, the National Anthem is of equal level to the National Flag) is something that I for one can not tolerate. We, the people already seldom participate in Flag Ceremonies or the singing of the Lupang Hinirang or even the placing of our hands as stated by the Act (mentioned above), and we still have the guts to keep on talking, walking, running, and laugh while our National Anthem is being played? C’mon. Don’t tell me or anyone else that you are not a Filipino, the law never stated that the Act is for the Filipinos only. Whether you are a Filipino or not, especially that you are here in the Philippines, our country, you MUST respect our Law and that includes our National Anthem – Lupang Hinirang as stated by the Republic Act No. 8491 (RA8491) or the “Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines“.
Kayong mga Pinoy, mahiya naman kayo!