5.26.2009

PIA News Service - Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Atienza leads the National Flag Day in Imus, Cavite

DENR Sec. Joselito Atienza will lead this year’s national Flag Day program at Imus Heritage Park, Cavite as chairman of the Flag Advocacy Committee Chairman. Last year, President Arroyo designated Sec. Atienza as Flag czar. The Flag Day nationwide celebration this May 28 is in commemoration of Battle of Alapan in Imus, Cavite in consonance with RA 8491 the Flag and Philippine Heraldic Code.

Earlier last May 25, 2009, Sec. Atienza also led the kick off rites at the QC Quadrangle and was assisted in the Flag Raising Ceremony by QC Mayor Feliciano Belmonte, NHI Exec. Director Ludovico Badoy, DOLE Usec. Arthur Sodusta, Vice Mayor Herbert Bautista, Cong. Nanette Castelo Daza, Cong. Mary Anne Susano, Dep. Commissioner Emilio Gonzales III, other Q.C. national officials and about 6,000 government employees.

According to Sec. Atienza, the “Pilipinas Kong Mahal” flag theme puts stress on “pagbibigay respeto at pagmamahal sa ating bansa.” “Pilipinas Kong Mahal” the Flag Advocacy message is a good reminder for all in the midst of materialism and new technologies, now more than ever we need to enhance good citizenship practices by putting up our flags at home, giving value to the beauty of our natural resources, showing care for a clean and green environment and other practices, Atienza elaborated. “This year’s theme echoes President Arroyo’s resolve to foster unity among Filipinos under a national symbol telling of an extraordinary country blessed by God,” Atienza said.

Meanwhile, this year’s June 12 national chairman DOLE Sec. Marianito Roque said the launching activity and today’s National Flag Day coincides with the Battle of Alapan and starts the 111th Independence Day celebration set for June 12, 13 and 14, 2009. This year’s activities will be geared towards jobs generation, provision of training and livelihood opportunities here and abroad to cope with the global crisis apart from the historical and cultural events. This is in keeping with this year’s theme “Kagitingan, Kagalingan at Kasipagan, Tungo sa Tunay na Kalayaan” per AO 259 signed by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo organizing the NOC for this year’s June 12 celebration.

Further, Sec. Roque said, respect and pride in the Philippine Flag are the core messages of Flag Day activities where under all NGAs, LGUs, schools, universities, embassies/consular offices abroad including private establishments are encouraged to display the Philippine Flag in appropriate ceremonies.

In the recent NOC meeting, Sec. Roque reported that memorandum circulars have been issued by the DepEd to pursue its continuous campaign to educate the public esp. in elementary schools, high schools both private and public to educate them on the proper use and display of the Philippine National Flag. Further, the DILG has issued a directive to LGUs of government, mayors, punong barangays to display the flag, streamers in all government buildings, schools, universities, hospitals, public restaurants, hotels, malls and banks, including the ringing of church bells, fog horns to signal the flag raising. Also, the PIA as member of the Flag Advocacy Committee has urged government media networks and its bureaus to provide the necessary media support to increase public awareness of good citizenship and respect for our flag and the coming June 12 events.

On the other hand, NHI Executive Director Ludovico Badoy, chair of the Technical Working Group said that after the launch, the commemoration of the Battle of Alapan event shall be re-enacted as the main event of the Wagayway Festival today in Imus, Cavite led by Gov. Erineo Maliksi, Mayor Emmanuel Maliksi, Secretary Atienza as Guest of Honor, NOC member-agencies and LGUs. (PIA – BL Peñera)



Feature: National Flag Days

Republic Act No. 8491 prescribed the period from May 28 to June 12 of every year as Flag Days. During this period, all offices, agencies and instrumentalities of government, business establishments, institutions of learning, and private homes are enjoined to display the Philippine national flag. Republic Act No. 8491 is a reminder to every Filipino that the Philippine national flag is the singular symbol of the country defining the unity of the various towns, provinces, regions, and ethno-linguistic and sectoral groups of the nation. It advocates national unity, love of country, and nationhood.

According to historical books, the Philippine national flag was a brainchild of President Emilio Aguinaldo. Our veneration of our national flag is many times more meaningful if we know the distinctive meanings embedded in each element in it.

The colors symbolize certain values: the red field means that Filipino valor is second to none. The white field means that Filipinos are capable of governing themselves. The sky blue field signifies the loftiness of the Filipino struggle for freedom.

The equilateral triangle represents the Katipunan ideals of Liberty, Equality, and the Brotherhood of Men.

The three stars represent the three major geographical subdivisions of the Philippine archipelago, namely Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. The points in each star represent all the islands that make up these major geographic subdivisions.

The eight rays of the sun represent the eight provinces declared by the colonial government to be in a state of war (an estado de Guerra) during the revolution.

Our national flag is further distinguished from all other national flags. When the red field is up and the blue field is below, it signifies that the country is at war.

Let us respect our national flag. It not only represents our national identity but is the flag that was colored by the blood of our forefathers and enshrined by their sacrifices. (PIA - BL Peñera)

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The Philippine National Flag: Symbol of our Nationhood

The Philippine Flag is the country’s most cherished symbol. It is the nation’s emblem for freedom. It symbolizes patriotism, love of country and sense of nationhood; it embodies the aspirations and sentiments of the Filipino people.

Prior to the outbreak of the Philippine Revolution of 1896, the Filipinos had no national flag of their own. When the Filipinos rose in revolt against Spain, each revolutionary group had its own banner. General Mariano Llanera’s troops, for instance, used the “skull flag” in Nueva Ecija. Bonifacio, himself, had a personal standard.

It was during the preparation of the second phase of the Philippine Revolution (1898-1902) that the idea of coming up with a Philippine Flag was conceived by General Emilio Aguinaldo and other revolutionary leaders, then exiled in Hong Kong. The flag was handsewn by Marcela Mariño Agoncillo, wife of Don Felipe Agoncillo, with the help of her daughter Lorenza and Delfina Herbosa Natividad, niece of Dr. Jose Rizal and wife of Gen. Salvador Natividad.

Made of silk, the flag had a white equilateral triangle at the left containing a sunburst of eight rays at the center, a five-pointed star at each angle of the triangle, an upper stripe of blue and a lower stripe of red. The sun stands for liberty; the sunburst of eight rays for the first eight provinces to take up arms against Spain (Manila, Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, Laguna, Cavite and Batangas); and the three stars for the three island groups of the Philippines – Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. The white triangle signifies Filipino hope for equality; the upper blue stripe stands for peace, truth and justice; while the lower red stripe stands for patriotism and valor.

General Aguinaldo brought the flag with him when he returned to the Philippines from Hong Kong on May 19, 1898. On May 28, 1898, in Barrio Alapan, Imus, Cavite, Filipino revolutionaries, with newly acquired arms brought in by General Aguinaldo, engaged a Spanish infantry in a battle. In this encounter known as the Battle of Alapan, the Spaniards were defeated. This battle which resulted in the triumph of Filipino forces was taken as a glorious occasion for General Emilio Aguinaldo to display the Philippine flag for the first time. The event, which marked the baptism of fire and glory of the Philippine Flag, was the beginning of the successful struggle to overthrow Spanish rule and the establishment of the Philippine Republic.

On June 12, 1898, in Kawit, Cavite the Philippine Flag was officially hoisted during the proclamation of Philippine Independence by General Aguinaldo. During the unfurling, the music band of San Francisco de Malabon played for the first time the Marcha Nacional Filipina, composed by Julian Felipe, a Filipino music teacher and composer from Cavite. Later, the poem “Filipinas” by th young poet soldier Jose Palma became the lyrics of the anthem. The same flag was flown with dignity during the inauguration of the Malolos Congress on September 15, 1898.

At the onset of the American occupation, the display of the Philippine Flag was prohibited. Act No. 1696 of 1907 banned the display of the Philippine flag and other revolutionary flags. The ban was lifted in 1920. However, when the Japanese came in 1942, the use of the Philippine Flag was again forbidden.

On July 4, 1946, at the inauguration of the Third Philippine Republic at the Luneta, an historic drama unfolded before the eyes of about 300,000 people. The American flag was lowered and the Philippine Flag was raised, marking the official decolonization of the Philippines.

The Philippine Flag stood as witness to the glorious events of our history. It encountered the most significant events in the Filipinos’ struggle for freedom. Flying alone in the wind, it brings back the glory of our struggle, not only against invaders, but our quest for a just and free society.

In the earlier 1950’s and 1960’s, former Katipuneros and revolutionaries would march in front of the Luneta grandstand carrying the Philippine flag every Independence Day. During the parade, they marched proudly with tears welling up in their eyes, vowing to fight again if there be a need to protect our country’s freedom. Let us rekindle the same idealism and patriotism. Let us rally to the flag – the symbol of our continued struggle, of our ideals and sentiments as a nation. Therefore, reverence and respect should at all times be accorded to the flag. It deserves to be treated with solemnity and dignity.

On March 6, 1965, President Diosdado Macapagal issued Proclamation No. 374 “Declaring the Twenty-Eighth Day of May Each Year as Flag Day.” The display of the Philippine Flag from May 28 to June 12 of each year was done by virtue of Executive Order No. 179 signed by President Fidel V. Ramos on May 24, 1994, for Filipinos “to collectively reflect on the significance of the National Flag.

On February 12, 1998, Republic Act 8491, otherwise known as Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines was signed into law. (Carminda R. Arevalo, National Historical Institute)