BUKIDNON VIEWS: Angaray’s Take: Singing the Lupang Hinirang

By Loreta Sol L. Dinlayan

MALAYBALAY CITY (BukidnonNews.Net/December 11) I attended the flag ceremony this morning. Today is Monday, the mandatory day of raising the Philippine flag in all government offices.

A certain young movie-goer was imprisoned last month for not standing from his seat during the singing of the Philippine national anthem (movie houses play Lupang Hinirang before film-showing starts).

He violated the Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines based on sections 21 and 38 of Republic Act No. 8491. His failure of not observing the law is an eye-opener for every Filipino to recall the value of patriotism.

Flag raising ceremonies are sometimes taken for granted. The spearheading brass band or chorale or rondalla takes away the accountability of the attendees to sing the Lupang Hinirang. The would-be singers become the audience to the “performers”. This scenario also happens during program when multi-media take the course of singing the Lupang Hinirang and the majority of the audience simply wait until the last note is played.

The singing of the national anthem and the reciting of the Panatang Makabayan were part of my elementary school’s early morning routine. A teacher reminded me and my classmates not to miss the right words in the line:

SA DAGAT AT BUNDOK

SA SIMOY AT SA LANGIT MONG BUGHAW

We should be careful not to replace MONG with MO’Y. During my high school years in Bukidnon National High School, I arrived late in the flag ceremony one time. The poor me, together with other late-comers were made to undergo a “special flag rite” in front of the main building.

We had to sing loudly and that was the first time I heard myself singing, seemingly. I was a sophomore, then. My junior and senior years produced a far excellent performance during flag ceremonies. As the captain of Bravo Company in our Citizen Army Training (CAT) in my final year in high school, I got sharp eyes to those who misbehave during flag ceremony; and yes, to those who come late.

Sometime in 2013, a survey was conducted with this question: ALAM MO BA KUNG ANO ANG GAWIN KAPAG NARIRINIG ANG PAGTUGTUG NG PAMBANSANG AWIT NG PILIPINAS?

Only 75% of the Filipinos aging 10-64 years old know what to do upon hearing the playing of the national anthem based on the 2013 Functional Literacy, Education and Mass Media Survey (FLEMMS). It means that 25% of the Filipinos are not aware of the following gestures: stop and face the flag, put off one’s cap/hat (if one wears it) and place the right hand in one’s chest. These are patriotic gestures that reflect how a Filipino treats one’s identity as a citizen of the Philippines.

The other Friday, during the lowering of the flag in Bukidnon State University, three of our college students made a public apology for not standing and not paying attention to the singing of the national anthem. The closed circuit television (CCTV) caught them and were later identified to be located a few meters away from the flag pole. The university management called their attention for violating the Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines. The university sanctioned them appropriately. Like that young man in a movie house who failed to respect the flag, younger Filipinos have to be re-oriented on patriotism by the schools.

This Monday morning’s flag ceremony made the crowd sing the Lupang Hinirang, Bukidnon My Home, Asean Hymn and the University Hymn without the accompaniment of any musical instruments. The chorus that came out from our mouth empowered us to start a new working week. This morning, I sang the Lupang Hinirang well.  I am proud.

(BUKIDNON VIEWS is the opinion section of Bukidnon News.Net. Ms. Loreta Sol Dinlayan is a social science educator at Bukidnon State University, where she also works as in-charge of the Bukidnon Studies Center, formerly university museum.)