Filipinos May Soon Be Jailed for Singing the National Anthem Without Enough Passion

Philippines citizens may soon be fined and jailed for singing “Lupang Hinirang,” the national anthem, without enough enthusiasm.

The mandate is part of House Bill 5224, which strengthens the rules on the proper use and display of the Philippines’ national symbols and the rendition of its national anthem.

The bill, approved by the country’s House of Representatives on Monday, requires the public to sing the anthem, whether recorded or performed by a band, with fervor when it is played at public gatherings.

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It also requires the public to stand and face the Philippine flag while the anthem is being sung or played, placing their right palms over their left chest in salute.

If there is no flag in sight, everyone must face the band or the conductor present.

Meanwhile, those who cannot sing the anthem due to religious beliefs may do so, but are required to “show full respect” by standing when it is sung or played.

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While the anthem must be sung in Filipino by default, it can be translated in other languages and dialects subject to the approval of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP).

Photo: YZJa/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

The bill warns against singing or playing the anthem before events of “mere recreation, amusement or entertainment purposes,” except on:

1. International competitions where the Philippines is the host or has a representative
2. National or local sports competitions
3. During the “signing off” and “signing on” of radio and television broadcasting stations
4. Before the initial and last screening of films and before the opening of theater performances
5. Other occasions as may be allowed by the NHCP

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When passed by the senate, those in violation of the rules may be fined between ₱50,000 ($988) to ₱100,000 ($1,997) or jailed for up to a year. The court may decide to apply both penalties at first offense, but must do so in succeeding offenses.

Read the full bill here.

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