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Ready? Sing

They say El Niño is over. Yeah, tell that to my sweaty shirt. But seriously, I can feel the slight decrease of the temperature. I appreciate the afternoon thunderstorms which just make me want to curl up on bed. But after the rain, it’s still hot. It’s not as hot as it had been in the past months, but it’s still hot. I remember something a Grade 5 pupil told me about one time that they had their flag ceremony at their school. The 7:30 morning sun was already burning uncharacteristic of the usual experience. The ceremony was taking too long. The children started to break off from their lines and seek shelter under the shadows of any structure, building or bush to get relief from the intense heat. Eventually, there were no more lines and almost every child was on the sidelines of the grounds. Teachers were coaxing the children to go back to their positions, but they would not budge. I guess, at some point self-preservation has to take its place above submission to authority. That whole pre-class period under the sun takes around 20 minutes with the prayer, national anthem, panatang Makabayan, nationalistic song, regional march, division hymn, school song, announcements and the calisthenics before or after the songs. Why does it take so long? Why are there so many songs? Why do we have to do it outside under the burning sun? Can’t we do it inside the classroom? I guess, the singing would still be the same under a ceiling. We got news for you, kids. We got one more song for you, and another pledge too!

May I ask something? Why do government employees and students of state colleges and universities need to include the singing of the Bagong Pilipinas Hymn and the reciting of the Bagong Pilipinas pledge in the flag ceremony on Monday and the flag retreat on Friday as

Per Memorandum Circular No. 52,? According to news articles, “this is intended to promote the principles of the Bagong Pilipinas governance and leadership among state employees.” (

Are not those principle already included in the “Panunumpa ng Kawani ng Pamahalaan” which is recited by government employees in the Monday flag ceremony? Is that somehow insufficient that another pledge has to be added? Are not those same principles already included in the lines of “Lupang Hinirang”? Are there additional principles?

I don’t know how this is going to work. Do they sing the BP hymn after the national anthem, and recite the BP pledge after the panatang Makabayan or Panunumpa ng Kawani? This may sound shallow and petty. But this will just extend the time of standing outside and raising the right hand, which already takes up around half an hour which could already be used to start actual work.

We, laymen may overlook RA 8491 or The Flag and Heraldic Code, which has been cited by Sen. Coco Pimentel and Far Eastern University Law Professor Mel Sta. Maria ( They say, the said law has to be amended to accommodate the BP hymn and pledge. However, the President may stand on Section 19 which states that “The Office of the President upon the recommendation of the Institute shall issue rules and regulations for the proper conduct of the flag ceremony”. So, indeed, the Office of the President could issue rules and regulations for the proper conduct of the flag ceremony. We could suppose that the office deems the inclusion of another hymn and pledge is proper. But, an issuance has to be based upon recommendations of the National Historical Institute, which was not indicated in the memorandum circular. This implies that any issuance on changes or addition should be historically significant. Has the Bagong Pilipinas hymn and pledge reached that level. Regardless of its status, we have not been made aware of any recommendation of the NHI.

There is a profound power in songs. They can move emotions, of love in courtship, of unity in sports cheers and chants, of mourning in a dirge. Professionals have made an industry out of it. Songs are also used in political campaigns. They may come in the form of jingles or anthems, but songs nonetheless. They may come in the form of Mambo, Mambo, Magsaysay or Rosas, but political campaign tunes nonetheless. As a matter of fact, the US Library of Congress believes that “campaign songs and songs of political parties can help to spread particular points of view and build solidarity around candidates and platforms.”

“Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises.” James 5:13


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