Thursday, June 02, 2005

Respect your flag

How much respect do we give to the Philippine National flag? Do we really pay attention to such details? I say, hardly. My attention to this came after reading this article by noted columnist Manuel Quezon III entitled The Long View: Amend the Flag Law. I was a boy scout, a Maginoo Scout, thank you, and I have been trained to respect the flag during those growing up years. I remember how we were taught how to properly raise (briskly) and lower (solemnly and slowly) it, fold it and to burn it in case it has to be put away as a result of wear and tear. I even remember that we would run to the flagpole and lower it at the slightest sign of rain lest it be drenched. This is the reason why I've always wondered why the flag is let alone flying during a rainy day in school. I looked for the flag law and to my amazement, it doesn't say anything to this effect. As a matter of fact, The Sec. 16 (f) of Republic Act 8491 entitled "AN ACT PRESCRIBING THE CODE OF THE NATIONAL FLAG, ANTHEM, MOTTO, COAT-OF-ARMS AND OTHER HERALDIC ITEMS AND DEVICES OF THE PHILIPPINES" says: The flag shall not be raised when the weather is inclement. If already raised, the flag shall not be lowered. I wonder where our scout master got the idea that it should not be drenched in rain. MAybe the 1935 Constitution, huh? But still, it makes more sense to me that the flag should not let stay under the rain out of respect. But who am I, right? Maybe just a romantic teacher whose ideals can be misplaced at times.

Reading the Flag Law, I noticed we also have a Pledge to the Flag in (f) Sec.24. We never recite this. What we recite is the Panatang Makabayan (Patriot's Oath) which the Department of Education changed sometime in 2001 under Sen. Raul Rocco, who was then the Secretary of Education.

I've written about the singing of the National Anthem and it can be found in the first paragraphs here. As Mr Quezon points out the error of the law, how can the government assure that the song is sung with fervor? Who measures it and with what? If I don't sing it within their standards, would I go to jail? I believe that rules are made with the intention of following it through. Hence, the law must include a teeth by which such can be implemented. Otherwise, it is inutile and must be changed.

Also among Mr. Quezon's observations/protestations, which I believe are noteworthy, are:

1. Displaying the flag en masse violate(s) the spirit and letter of the law...The flag is not for decoration; to display it en masse is to use it primarily for decorative effect; (what about all those flaglets the government put on the roads during Independence Day?) and,

2. Standards for the flag, ie. its color both on historical and practical grounds. The shades chosen are not enforced, and this bothers me, considering the fervor that attended the debate and the discussion on the matter among historians, and the bother our legislature, presidents and government, in general went through to make the change. (Why not enact a law prohibiting the manufacture/purchase of the Philippine flag for both public and private sectors confining it to a single company to ensure uniformity, huh?)

In a country besieged by turmoil brought about by graft and corruption, brain drain, downward economic plunge and all that, the flag may be the last thing on our minds. But should it be so? I say it should not for the flag should be there to unite us and make us proud as a people - collective individuals who aim for one goal under one spirit, one blood. Too bad this is lost to us for the common individual still longs for the most basic commodities such as food, shelter and clothing. When will this ever end? No amount of education can top that, will it?

24 comments:

samantha said...

So true, respect for our own flag is probably extinct already (okay maybe not extinct but close to extinction at least). It might seem that respect for our flag is the least of our concerns but maybe respect for our flag is just the tip of the iceberg. You said that the flag is there to symbolize our pride as filipino people. If you look at it maybe its not only respect for our flag that is about to be phased out, but also what that very flag represents - filipino pride. Although there is still quite a number of filipinos living in the philippines who can sincerely say that they are proud to be filipino, that number is getting smaller and smaller each year. So many filipinos view thier own country as some hopeless god-forsaken place that they can't wait to leave. So maybe it isn't just the flag maybe its the very thing it represents.
Just a thought :)

ruth said...

sad, tito rolly. but i think malaki ang magagawa ng primary/secondary school teachers in this. i hope like you, other teachers are also aware of the big diference they can make...

bayi said...

Once raised, the flag should not be lowered in the face of unfavorable weather. Lowering the flag when it rains may imply that the flag (hence the country) cannot face adversity.

The flag should be made from very strong and light material that will not get dirty easily. I believe such material is available these days.

A manufacturer should take the initiative to mass-produce a few models of minature versions of the national flag that will stick on cars. This can help inculcate patriotism.

rolly said...

Samantha Of course. It is always about the very thing a symbol represents.

Ruth Indeed! But as i said, no matter how and what the teachers inculcate in their students, it will still depend on the situation. What good will it be to have false pride when you are starving?

Bayi Hey, long time no see. If you put it that way, yes, that makes sense. I've never put it in that context - not taking down the flag in case of inclement weather. Yhanks.

Toni said...

Kumirot ang puso ko doon. Seriously. I wasn't a girl scout (well for one year lang) but I did remember seeing my schoolmates rushing to take the flag out of the rain too.

Tito Rolly, saan ba kayo nagtuturo? Sana kapag nagkaanak ako, maging teacher ka nila. Ang dami kong natututunan sa blog mo eh, what more ang mga future anak ko kung naging teacher ka!

watson said...

In like manner, there is a resort being made in Boracay for our soldiers that is receiving a lot of flack, simply because the basic resources are wanting. I was contemplating on this, and wondered where it's simply because the opportunity to do it (availability of land, etc) is there and they're simply taking this opportunity, and that they're taking action for something they can do, while the basic resources are wanting because the government itself is incapable of delivering?

There are a lot of things that need action, and we do need to prioritize, but I think there are ways to divide work so many things can be finished at the same time.

bugsybee said...

Hi Rolly! It's enlightening to know that the law does not require that the flag be lowered in case of inclement weather. Since I was in grade school, I always thought this was standard procedure because I remember that people would run to the flag pole to take out the flag when it rains.
I think that today, we have lesser respect for our flag, in much the same manner that we have forgotten to give due respect to the singing of the national anthem. That's sad because I think that practically all the problems of our country stems from the fact that we are not patriotic.

rolly said...

Toni Okay, reading yours and Bugsybee's comments, I am relieved that my memory didn't fail me. We did run to lower the flag when it rained.

I have emailed my response to your question.

Watson Oh yes, that hotel being built for soldiers in Boracay that the Defense Chief said he knew nothing about. Neknek.

Bugsybee Natatandaan mo rin pala yun ano?

We're not patriotic. Hindi naman siguro lahat. Marami pa ring patriotic satin, iba-iba nga lang ang level ng patriotism. For example, brain drain, syempre mas marami satin , una muna pamilya. E talagang mahirap buhay dito e. Ang unang-unang dapat patriotic, yung mga pulitiko natin na walang ginawa kundi magpayaman.

husticia said...

was a girl scout too and i remember, in our CSA, we take turns on raising the flag during our flag ceremony in the morning sa covered courts...isa din ako sa tumatakbo to save the flag from the rain.

infact, even though we live here, may Philippine flag yung binata ko sa room niya, and i/we proudly show it to everyone who visits our place.

sachiko said...

the opposite here..national anthems and flag raising have always been sensitive issues here.
a walkout of school teachers is a common thing during school entrance ceremonies when anthems and flag raising are being (very rarely) done. it has to do with the war. the association of the teachers are against the practice as the song and the flag reminds the people of WW2.

joffin said...

hello tito rolly!
sorry ang tagal kong hindi nakabisita.
ang intersting naman nitong topic mo, kelangang makahirit.
on the topic of clags, i must say proud ako at disiplinado tayong mga Pinoy kesa sa mga maericano. dito sa states andaming flags pero naman pinapabayaan nilang mabasa sa ulat at sa snow! saka nakakashock dahil andami kong nakikityang punit saka faded na flags dito.
ako naman tito rolly eh girlscout, hehe.

samantha said...

Sorry if I pointed out the obivious hehehe :) Actually the point I was trying to stress was that efforts to create a flag law might prove futile if the very thing it represents is on the brink of denigration. Creating a flag law will not "create respect" for the flag it would be just another one of those "just-going-through-the-motions-things". If our people take pride in being filipino you wouldn't need a law to "make" them respect the flag. They would respect the flag out of love for country and not because the law commands them to. :)

rolly said...

Justice I am discovering more and more people who have been scouts before nad yes, we all rushed out to save the flag from the rain. Brings back memories, no?

Sachiko That's interesting. This is the first time i've learned about what you shared. And I've always thought the Japanese are very patriotic.

Joffin I think different cultures show their patriotism differently. HAve you read Bayi's comment above. That also makes sense, right?

Samantha Good point.

BatJay said...

tamang tama nga ito at nasabay doon sa post ni bongK about the pledge of allegiance. ako rin, hindi ko alam na mayroong pledge. ang alam ko lang na pledge ay yung panpakintab ng furniture at yung panatang makabayan (yung original version which is better, i think).

naisulat na rin ni ambeth ocampo many times yung pag tugtog sa national anthem - dapat daw march (same as vigorous?). naalala mo nung time ni marcos, gumawa ang mga singers na pinoy ng "we are the world" version ng pambansang awit at ang daming tumaligsa rito. they had to stop showing it after a while. mali naman talaga.

there has also been a lot of dfiscussion on the standard color of the flag. specifically, what type of blue. if i remember it correctly, the correct color should be something approaching light sky blue (and not navy blue as is seen in many versions).

rolly said...

Batjay Ibang pledge naman yung sinasabi mo e. magaling magpakintab ng sahig at mga furnitures yun.

Yeah, nabasa ko na rin yung isinulat ni Ambeth about the way the National Anthem should be sung. Ang accepted yata e yung arrangement ni Lucio San Pedro and in the key of F. Too much flack over a very trivial thing,if you ask me. KAhit ano pang key yan, di ba? E yung Star Spangled Banner nga ginawang rock ni Jimi Hendrix yung ibang portion sa Woodstock, diba? I wonder how our musicians would react if an artist did that to our song. Oh yes, I remember the time when they tried to copy the "We are the World" concept where, I think Maurice Albert, a foreigner, re-arranged the National Anthem and it received many protestations. I didn't agree with it (the arrangement)either. Sana kung nauna sila baka sakali pa, pero alam naman ng lahat na kinopya lang yung idea where different artists participated in singing it. Oh well...

pepseeh said...

sir, ginagawan ba ng paraan yung PA system? it's getting sort of annoying, no offense.

rolly said...

pepseeh Yes. I was told that the wirings of the PA system was damaged by the ongoing construction of the eroom. I don't know if your teachers have already announced to you that we will be conducting the flag ceremony in the classrooms in the meantime, until the PA system is working again.

pepseeh said...

oh, an eroom? is that what the construction above the LRC area is?

Kris said...

tito rolly, krisberse here from Pinoypoets. Add up kita sa links ko ha?

Rache said...

hello tito! :)

kamusta na? i miss blogging, bloghopping and learning from it. haayyy... busy kasi.

but anyway, my two cents:

it is very important to respect the flag. but more important than that is knowing the reason for the respect.

saluting, standing up, waving a flag sometimes becomes mechanical kasi eh.

it only counts when you mean it.

TEACHER SOL said...

Hi TITO ROLLY, checking your updates po...kamusta na? *wink*

Tamang-tama sa Independence Day ang post nyo. I hope our fellow Pinoy wouldn't be disheartened by the challenges happening to our country today.

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Joey me said...

I feel the same nung elwmwntary days nmin nag uunahan pa.para maisilong ang flag para di mabasa

rolly said...

Lalim ng nahukay mong article ah. Yes, during those days, bawal mabasa o madumihan ang flag