Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Flagging means to lose energy, to become feeble, less active and to decline. (The Penguin English Dictionary, 2001). Pardon the pun but the campaign to promote the Flag Law seems to be flagging. Every year, during the week ending on May 28, the National Historical Commission (NHC, formerly NHI) energetically musters the population to celebrate Flag Day. Absolutely everyone has to be involved--local government units, the Boys and Girls Scouts, departments and agencies, particularly National Defense and Education.

Last year, the NHC sent a rather phlegmatic lecturer to the Manila City Hall where student representatives of various public schools were gathered at the ceremonial hall eager to learn about the history of the Philippine flag, how to fold the flag and the Flag Law (Republic Act 8491) that sanctions disrespectful acts and misuse of our national standard.

Not content with that single lecture, the Manila Historical and Heritage Commission took an extra step by distributing to the city's 896 barangays enormous colored posters illustrating the do's and don't's contained in the Flag Law. The informative, sturdy and glossy posters were distributed through the Manila Barangay Bureau, in May 2009.

A couple of weeks ago, while making an ocular inspection of an archaeological site along Pedro Gil Street in Santa Ana, some residents of the place urged me to take down the flag in front of a tiny barangay office located on the traffic island cum park. The flag was faded, grimy and tattered at the edges. To display ( either deliberately or negligently) the Philippine flag in that pitiful state is definitely against the Flag Law.

And where was the barangay chairman? Didn't he read that Flag Law poster distributed last year? He was nowhere to be found; neither did he answer his cell phone. Two men clambered up the post, took the flag down as respectfully as they could, and handed it to me. It shall be properly cremated, during Flag Day ceremonies ( twilight of 28 May) with 300 other tattered flags gathered from all over the city by Manila's Reservist Corps.

It might interest the reader to know that out of the 896 posters only one remains. The rest, according to reports ( of the Manila Tourism and Cultural Affairs bureau), became collateral damage of typhoon "Ondoy". Be that as it may, we should not lose heart, our interest in promoting respect for the Philippine flag should never wane.

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