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EDITORIAL: Love our flag

PERHAPS it is time that we Filipinos should again start doing our duty to fly our flag proudly and with great honor and respect as our fathers and forefathers did because they so loved this country that they bequeathed to us. We commend the city government of Naga for being generous and dedicated in displaying the Philippine flag in our plazas and the main streets, in the rotunda, as well as in the newly-erected flagpoles (27 of them, representing the 27 barangays of the city) in front of city hall while enjoining business establishments, offices and other private domiciles to display the Philippine tricolor in their own shops and premises as the nation celebrates the National Flag Day which had been extended from the original May 28 until June 19, which period incidentally covers Independence Day on June 12 and the birth anniversary of Dr. Jose Rizal, our national hero, on June 19. Today, more than ever, we need to raise the flag when our territory in the West Philippine Sea has been subjugated by a foreign power and our commander-in-chief chose to do nothing to assert our sovereignty. Today, more than ever, we need to raise our flag even higher and more often because our Constitution, like our flag that affirms our rights and identity as an independent nation, has been disrespected many times to suit a leader’s political wishes and personal intentions. Today, more than ever, we should not tire raising our flag because many of people, including the youth, have turned to be passive and uncaring towards serious matters that with impunity are happening around them, such as murder and extra-judicial killings, widespread graft and plunder, and wanton assault against norms and traditions, religious beliefs, and moral standards. As Filipinos, we should reflect on why we have the flag, understand its history in order to develop a deeper appreciation for what it stands for, and view it with pride for it is the primary symbol of our national identity. As older men, we also need to carry the message of the flag to the future leaders of our country – which are the youth of today. Many people have died protecting our country. On National Flag Day, we honor their heroism for giving us our freedom that we are supposed to enjoy today. Such freedom being threatened, we need to fly our flag even higher and not use it as a prop on a jetski. In the United States, while declaring June 14 as their Flag Day, President Woodrow Wilson wrote, “On that day rededicate ourselves to the nation, ‘one and inseparable’ from which every thought that is not worthy of our fathers’ first vows in independence, liberty, and right shall be excluded and in which we shall stand with united hearts.” National Flag Day in the Philippines commemorates the day the country’s flag was first raised after the victory in the Battle of Alapan in 1898. Filipino revolutionaries led by General Emilio Aguinaldo defeated the Spanish troops, enabling the recapture of the Province of Cavite by General Aguinaldo’s troops. It was after that battle, on May 28, 1898, that General Aguinaldo unfurled, for the first time, what would become the Philippines’ national flag. It was not until June 12, 1898, however, that the flag was formally presented to the people. As we mark the 120th celebration of National Flag Day, we are encouraged to proudly display the Philippine flag in our offices, agencies, and government buildings, business establishments, schools, and private homes. Let us display this flag to remind us that we have a nation and its institutions to defend at whatever cost like what our forefathers did --- with their full heart, their sweat, and their blood.

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