National Anthem and Flag: Status quo or abrupt change?
12. October 2018 at 14:07
Two of the top legislators in the country are proposing to amend the lyrics of the Philippine National Anthem as well as add another symbol to the Philippine National Flag. What do their respective bills mean and what does it mean if the Senate ratifies it?Senator Vicente C. Sotto III’s pronouncement of amending the last lyrics of the Philippine National Anthem and Senator Richard J. Gordon’s proposed “Ninth Ray Bill” are stirring dissent and admonishment among certain sectors of society amidst rising inflation rates, incompetent government officials and talks about the mid – term elections slate. But are these abrupt ideas from some of our top legislators worthy for deliberation and relevant to the plight of the Filipino people today?
Under the current administration, Sen. Sotto seeks to change the lyrics, ““Aming ligaya na ‘pag may mang-aapi, ang mamatay nang dahil sa’yo” (But it is glory ever when thou art wronged for us thy sons to suffer and die.) with “Aming ligaya na ‘pag may mang-aapi, ang ipaglaban kalayaan mo” (But it is glory ever when thou art wronged. For us to fight for your freedom) due to the supposed defeatist vibe imbibed by the current version of the anthem. Whereas Sen. Gordon aims to add another ray to the sun found in the Philippine flag to commemorate the community of Muslim leaders who fought against oppressive foreign invaders.
To look at it on a positive light, the proposed amendment seeks to empower Filipinos into proactively defending and upholding the honor of our country while the “Ninth Ray Bill” honors the diverse number and ethnic groups across the country that is responsible for the liberation of the Philippines. In essence, it goes to show that the basics are often what we tend to overlook and might bring about a sudden change that shall stimulate Filipinos to develop their inner sense of national pride.
However, despite the good intention packed hand in hand with the proposal, it still casts an eerie shadow of doubt as it functions like a political mechanism conceived to arbitrarily diffuse the focus on pressing problems such as the staggering inflation rate, ineffective methods to mitigate natural disasters such as typhoons and landslides and the elimination of the critics of the government either through public detention or by public defamation.
In addition, as much as technically defeating does the word dying for one’s country may sound, it is in fact the most altruistic action that a patriotic person can do. Dying is also not just about physical death but rather it covers a multitude of deaths that a human being can experience such as emotional death, spiritual death and to witness the figurative death of one’s personality or to witness such in other people. On the other hand, Gordon’s proposal was deemed incorrect by historian Vic Torres because the eight rays represent the first provinces placed by Spain under Martial Law and not the first areas that revolted under Spanish rule which he used as his primary historical basis for the creation of the bill.
By far what they are proposing is a long and tedious process that requires the bill author to confer with the Republic Act 88491 or the Flag and the Heraldic Code of the Philippines which will require all government – sanctioned places of residence or office to relinquish the previous version of the flag or any document or material bearing the symbol of the flag and change it with finality with the current version of the Philippine National Flag; the bill itself is long – standing from the term of President Fidel V. Ramos to the present term unless specific revisions are implemented. Moreover, it effectively disregards the need to preserve history through our national symbols or those materials bearing symbolic reference and are witnesses to the events that transpired during the past. The key term therefore is to preserve and not simply to adapt to the dynamics of the time.
While nationalism and patriotism is needed now more than ever, we should shift our focus as a nation on one quality that we need to inculcate among our fellow men – empathy or the capability to relate with how other people are feeling. Whether or not we need to amend the Philippine National Anthem or redesign our National Flag remains to be seen but let us first resolve the matters that strike close to our heart before changing those that have little or nothing to do with what people presently care about.