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‘Law needed to order singing of Bagong Pilipinas’

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang’s directive to integrate the singing and recitation of the “Bagong Pilipinas” hymn and pledge into the weekly flag ceremonies of national government agencies and instrumentalities needs a law, according to Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel III.

“I suggest that the executive branch submit a bill containing those ideas, to amend the existing law governing the national anthem, pledge and flag-raising ceremonies. The (memorandum circular) is not sufficient. I believe a law is needed in order to authorize that,” Pimentel said.

Malacañang has ordered national government agencies and instrumentalities and encouraged local government units (LGUs) to integrate the singing and recitation of the “Bagong Pilipinas” hymn and pledge into their weekly flag ceremonies.

Memorandum Circular 52, which was signed by Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin, seeks to “further instill the principles of the ‘Bagong Pilipinas’ brand of governance and leadership among Filipinos.”

The Palace directed the heads of all national government agencies and instrumentalities, including government-owned and controlled corporations and education institutions, to ensure that the “Bagong Pilipinas” hymn and pledge are properly disseminated within their respective institutions and offices.

The Presidential Communications Office was also tasked to implement measures to communicate and make available the hymn and pledge to all government agencies and the public.

Pimentel said the policy “involves the way of thinking of the people. Hence, such a mandate must emanate from the people’s chosen representatives – their legislators.”

“Also, notice that the MC involves SUCs (state universities and colleges). The students therein are not even government employees. They all observe the established flag ceremony under existing law,” he pointed out.

For Senate Majority Leader Francis Tolentino, the question in the MC includes “whether that is only for the executive branch or for everyone because the judiciary and then the legislature are separate, so (we need) to clarify that as well.”

Senate Pro-Tempore Jinggoy Estrada explained that insofar as laws are concerned, the singing and