House OKs bill strengthening use, display of national symbols

Posted at 05/28/14 4:48 PM

MANILA -- The House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading a proposed measure strengthening the rules on the proper use and display of the country’s national symbols.

House Bill 4042, which substituted House Bills 323, 1102 and 1224 authored by Reps. Evelina Escudero (1st District, Sorsogon), Rufus Rodriguez (2nd District, Cagayan de Oro City) and Maximo Rodriguez, Jr. (Party List, ABAMIN), and Joseller Guiao (1st District, Pampanga), respectively, amends the Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines or Republic Act 8491.

Pangasinan 5th District Representative Kimi Cojuangco, chairperson of the House Committee on Basic Education and Culture, said that the new bill will not only update the intention of RA 8491, but will also prescribe standards in the singing of the national anthem, and the protocol and display of the Philippine flag.

Under the measure, the rendition of the National Anthem shall be in accordance with the musical arrangement and composition of Julian Felipe, in 2/4 beat when played, and within the range of 100 to 120 metronome, in 4/4 beat when sang.

The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), in coordination with the proper government agency, shall disseminate an official music score sheet that reflects the manner in which the national anthem should be played or sung.

The Oath of Patriotism (Panatang Makabayan), in addition to the Pledge of Allegiance to the Philippine Flag, shall also be recited in its original form, and shall be recited in all basic institutions after the singing of the national anthem.

As a sign of mourning, the flag shall be flown at half-mast for any period less than seven days in all the buildings and places where the deceased was holding office on the day of official announcement of the death of officials, such as the President or former President for ten days; the Vice President, the Chief Justice, the Senate President and the House of Representatives’ Speaker for seven days; the incumbent members of the Supreme Court, the Cabinet, Congress, and persons as may be determined by the NHCP.

To give due recognition and tribute to the selfless dedication of public school teachers and as a sign of mourning, the flag shall also be allowed to be flown at half-mast on the day of the official announcement of the death of a retired or incumbent public school teacher, for a period of not more than five days on the Department of Education schools or district offices where the deceased was assigned to teach.

All government agencies and instrumentalities, local government offices, government-owned and or controlled corporations and local government units are enjoined to observe flag days with appropriate ceremonies.

All offices, agencies and instrumentalities of government, business establishments, institutions of learning and private homes are obligated to display the flag from May 28 (National Flag Day) to June 12 (Independence Day) of each year, every April 9 (Araw ng Kagitingan), May 1 (Labor Day), last Sunday of August (National Heroes Day), November 30 (Bonifacio Day), December 30 (Rizal Day) and on such other days as may be declared by the President and or local chief executives.

All local government units are also directed to allocate appropriate sums for a flag code public awareness program as well as the proper implementation of the provisions of the flag code.

Acts of omission which shall be deemed disrespectful to the national symbols may be penalized by the NHCP.