National symbols of the Philippines

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The national symbols of the Philippines consist of symbols that represent Philippine traditions and ideals and convey the principles of sovereignty and national solidarity of the Filipino people.[1] Some of these symbols namely the national flag, the Great Seal, the coat of arms and the national motto are stated in the Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines, which is also known as Republic Act 8491.[1] In the Constitution of the Philippines, the Filipino language is stated as the national language of the Philippines.[2] Aside from those stated symbols in the Constitution and in Republic Act 8491, there are only six official national symbols of the Philippines enacted through law, namely sampaguita as national flower, narra as national tree, the Philippine eagle as national bird, Philippine pearl as national gem, arnis as national martial art and sport and the Filipino Sign Language as the national sign language. Thus, there is a total of twelve official national symbols passed through Philippine laws.

There are symbols such as the carabao (national animal), mango (national fruit) and anahaw (national leaf) that are widely known as national symbols but have no laws recognizing them as official national symbols.[3] Even Jose Rizal, who is widely considered as a national hero, has not been declared officially as a national hero in any existing Philippine law according to historical experts.[3][4] Although in 2003, Benigno Aquino, Jr. was officially declared by the President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as a national hero by an executive order.[5] A National Artist of the Philippines is a rank or a title given to a Filipino citizen in recognition to the recipient's contributions to Philippine arts and letters and they are not considered as a national symbol that represents traditions and ideals.[6]

Through the years, there were attempts to make those traditional symbols official. One of them is House Bill 3926, a bill proposed on 17 February 2014 by Bohol First District Representative Rene Relampagos of the Philippine House of Representatives that sought to declare, re-declare or recognize a number of national symbols.[7] House Bill 3926 ("Philippine National Symbols Act of 2014"), aimed to encourage nationalism and unity; to guarantee respect, preservation and promotion of national symbols; and to correct the "unofficial" status of the symbols.[7] Among the national symbols listed in the measure are Jose Rizal as the only historical Filipino to be recognized as national hero, adobo as national food and jeepney as national vehicle.[8] It also includes the previous official national symbols, which were eleven during the filing of the bill.[8] As of February 2014, the bill is still pending with the Committee on Revision Laws of the House of Representatives and is not yet a law that would make the proposed symbols as official national symbols.[9]

Development of the symbols

Governor-General Frank Murphy declared sampaguita and narra as national symbols during the Commonwealth era.

The Republic Act (RA) 8491, also known as Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines, stipulates the code for national flag, anthem, motto, coat-of-arms and other heraldic items and devices of the Philippines.[1] According to Article XIV Section 6 of the Constitution of the Philippines, the national language of the Philippines is Filipino.[2] Apart from RA 8491 and the Constitution, the Philippines has only six official national symbols enacted either through a proclamation by the executive department or through a Republic Act by the legislative department, namely sampaguita, narra, the Philippine eagle, the Philippine pearl, arnis and the Filipino Sign Language.

In 1934, during the Commonwealth era, Governor-General Frank Murphy declared sampaguita[10] and narra[11] as national flower and national tree, respectively, through Proclamation No. 652. Philippine President Fidel Ramos proclaimed the Philippine eagle as the national bird in 1995 through Proclamation No. 615.[12] Ramos also declared the South Sea Pearl or Philippine Pearl as the national gem in 1996 through Proclamation No. 905.[13] In 2009, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo declared arnis as the national sport and martial art through Republic Act 9850.[14] On 30 October 2018, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act No. 11106, a law declaring the Filipino Sign Language as the national sign language of the Filipino deaf and the official sign language of the Philippine government involving communications to the deaf.[15][16]

Making a national symbol official

A Philippine national symbol will be considered official once it is declared through a law or a proclamation. National symbols such as the cariñosa, carabao, bangus (milkfish), and anahaw (footstool palm) that are circulating through various sources have no official status and have not established by law.[3][4] According to Nestor Castro, a Filipino cultural anthropologist, most of these unofficial symbols were passed on as tradition in schools every start of the school year when students were asked to buy posters containing the supposed national symbols.[3] While official national symbols are declared through law, Castro and National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) Section Chief Teodoro Atienza considered[3] that the public must be consulted first before declaration of national symbol.[3]

Pending and voted laws

Throughout the history of legislation in the Philippines, attempts were made to expand the list of official national symbols. In February 2013, the Philippine Senate passed a bill declaring waling-waling (Vanda sanderiana) as the national flower alongside Sampaguita.[17] A similar bill in the House of Representatives[18] had already been passed in 2012.[19] Normally, the bill would become law after being signed by the President.[20] However, it was vetoed by President Benigno Aquino III.[21] The veto did not grant the waling-waling as the second national flower due to the confusion that it would create.[22]

A year later, on 17 February 2014, Representative Rene Relampagos, a congressman from the First District of Bohol, introduced a legislation in the Philippine House of Representatives that sought to declare, re-declare or recognize a number of national symbols.[7] House Bill 3926 or the "Philippine National Symbols Act of 2014" aimed to encourage nationalism and unity; to guarantee respect, preservation and promotion of national symbols; and to correct the "unofficial" status of the symbols.[7] It listed 26 symbols including the previous eleven official national symbols.[7][8] The bill is not yet a law that would make those symbols official because it is still pending with the House of Representatives' Committee on Revision Laws as of February 2014.[9]

In February 2016, the House of Representatives approved on final reading of House Bill 6366, which declared the ancient boat balangay as the national boat of the Philippines.[23][24] In April 2018, the House Committee on Basic Education and Culture approved House Bill 1022, seeking to declare baybayin, a pre-Hispanic writing system used in the Philippines, as the country's national writing system.[25][26] As of 2019, both legislation are still unresolved as Senate concurrence and a presidential signature is pending.[20]

Filipinos as national symbol

Jose Rizal is considered as one of the national heroes of the Philippines but according to Ambeth Ocampo, no historical Filipino personage has been declared officially as being a National Hero through law.

According to the NHCP Section Chief Teodoro Atienza,[3] and Filipino historian Ambeth Ocampo,[4] there is no Filipino historical figure officially declared national hero through law or executive order.[27][28] Although, there were laws and proclamations honoring Filipino heroes. In the Rizal Law principally sponsored by Claro M. Recto and enacted in 1956, Jose Rizal is mentioned as a national hero in the "whereas" clause of the law.[29] Although, "whereas" clauses function as a preamble or introduction and it is not part of the provisions.[30] On 15 November 1995, the Technical Committee of the National Heroes Committee, created through Executive Order No. 5 by former President Fidel Ramos, recommended nine Filipino historical figures to be National Heroes: Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, Emilio Aguinaldo, Apolinario Mabini, Marcelo H. del Pilar, Sultan Dipatuan Kudarat, Juan Luna, Melchora Aquino, and Gabriela Silang.[28] No action has been taken for these recommended National Heroes[28] until it was revisited in one of the proceedings of the 14th Congress in 2009.[31]

On 3 August 2009, shortly after the death of former President Corazon Aquino, widow of Benigno Aquino, Jr., legislative measures have been filed calling for her official recognition as a national hero.[32][33] Congresswoman Liwayway Vinzons-Chato filed a house resolution declaring Corazon Aquino a national hero.[31] Although, a week after she filed the resolution, she realized that there is no Filipino historical figure declared through law. On 10 August 2009, she cited on her privilege speech in Congress the nine Filipino heroes recommended by National Heroes Committee in 1995. She then urge Congress to sign the resolutions declaring the nine Filipinos recommended by the National Heroes Committee plus Benigno Aquino, Jr. and Corazon Aquino as national heroes.[34] Congressman Salvador Escudero interpellated Vinzons-Chato's speech and stated that heroes are made in the hearts and minds of people and not through legislation.[34] After the interpellation, it was moved by House of Representatives to refer the privilege speech of Vinzons-Chato to the Committee of Basic Education and Culture.[34]

In 2013, Bayan Muna Congressmen Neri Colmenares and Carlos Isagani Zarate filed House Bill 3431 aiming to declare Andres Bonifacio as National Hero due to his actual participation in the Philippine Revolution against Spain.[35][36] Another measure filed by Congressman Rene Relampagos from Bohol in February 2014 sought to declare Jose Rizal as the sole Filipino national hero. According to the bill, he was a nationalist and well known for his Philippine reforms advocacy during the Spanish colonial era.[7]

Filipinos awarded with the rank or title National Artist of the Philippines are not considered to be national symbols because the title is given in recognition to the recipient's contributions to Philippine arts and letters and not as a symbol that represents traditions and ideals and convey the principles of sovereignty and national solidarity.[6]

Despite declaration from historical experts that there is no historical person declared as a national hero, in 2003, an executive order by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo officially declared Beningno Aquino Jr. as one of the national heroes according to a news report by The Philippine Star.[5] The recognition of Rizal and Bonifactio as national heroes is considered implied due to laws declaring their heroism according to NHCP.[28][36][37]

List of national symbols

Official

Here are the list of national symbols totaling to twelve and excluding national heroes that were enacted through Philippine law.

Type Symbol Image Adopted Legal basis
Declared through Republic Act No. 8491 and the Philippine Constitution
Coat of arms
Coat of arms of the Philippines
Coat of arms of the Philippines
3 July 1946
(Reaffirmed 12 February 1998)
Commonwealth Act No. 731
Reaffirmed by Republic Act No. 8491[Note 1]
Great Seal
Great Seal of the Philippines
Great Seal
12 February 1998 Republic Act No. 8491, Chapter V
National anthem
Lupang Hinirang
Music : 12 June 1898
Lyrics : 26 May 1958
(Reaffirmed 12 February 1998)
Music : Proclamation of President Emilio Aguinaldo
Lyrics : Department of Education Administrative Order
Reaffirmed by Republic Act No. 8491
National flag
Flag of the Philippines
National Flag
12 June 1898
(Reaffirmed 12 February 1998)
Proclamation of President Emilio Aguinaldo
Reaffirmed by Republic Act No. 8491
National language
Filipino
N/A 11 February 1987 Article XIV, Sec. 6 of the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines
National motto
National motto of the Philippines
"Maka-Diyos, Maka-Tao, Makakalikasan, at Makabansa"
("For God, People, Nature, and Country")
12 February 1998 Republic Act No. 8491, Chapter III, Section 40
Declared through executive orders and other Republic Acts
National bird
Philippine eagle
(Pithecophaga jefferyi)
Sir Arny(Philippine Eagle).jpg
4 July 1995[38] Proclamation No. 615
National flower
Sampaguita
(Jasminum sambac)
Jasminum sambac Blanco1.6.jpg
1 February 1934[22][39] Executive Proclamation No. 652, issued by Governor General Frank Murphy
National gem
Philippine pearl
(Pinctada maxima)
Circle south sea pearls.JPG
15 October 1996[13] Proclamation No. 905
National sign language
Filipino Sign Language
N/A 30 October 2018 Republic Act No. 11106
National sport and martial art
Arnis (Eskrima/Kali)
GM Abaya.jpg
11 December 2009[40] Republic Act No. 9850
National tree
Narra
(Pterocarpus indicus)
Pterocarpus indicus Blanco1.205.png
1 February 1934[39] Executive Proclamation No. 652

Unofficial

Here are the lists of national symbols that have no official status.

From failed and proposed laws

Rice topped with chicken adobo. Adobo is under consideration as the National Dish.
The Philippine jeepney is under consideration as the National Vehicle.
Accodring to NHCP, Andres Bonifacio is considered as an implied national hero.

From various sources

Notes

  1. 1 The description of the Philippines' coat of arms can be found under section 14 of Executive Order No. 292 (Book I/Chapter 4), which is also known as the Administrative Code of 1987.[52]

References

  1. ^ a b c "Republic Act No. 8491 of the Philippines". Official Gazette of the Philippine Government. Philippine government. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  2. ^ a b "THE 1987 CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES – ARTICLE XIV". Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines. Government of the Republic of the Philippines. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Ty, Ralph Angelo (24 April 2012). "'Rizal is not our official national hero' and other facts about PHL's national symbols". GMA News. Retrieved 20 February 2013.
  4. ^ a b c Ocampo, Ambeth (3 March 2009). "Looking Back: What is 'Philippine' or 'national'?". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Archived from the original on 15 February 2012. Retrieved 10 March 2009.
  5. ^ a b c Villanueva, Marichu (8 November 2003). "Ninoy officially a national hero". philstar.com. The Philippine Star. Retrieved 17 September 2015.
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  11. ^ "Philippine Fast Facts, National Tree: Narra". National Commission for Culture and the Arts. Archived from the original on 15 September 2008. Retrieved 10 March 2009.
  12. ^ "Philippine Fast Facts, National Bird: Philippine Eagle". National Commission for Culture and the Arts. Archived from the original on 15 September 2008. Retrieved 10 March 2009.
  13. ^ a b "Philippine Fast Facts, National Gem: Philippine Pearl". National Commission for Culture and the Arts. Archived from the original on 20 August 2010. Retrieved 20 February 2013.
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  35. ^ a b "House Bill No. 3431 - AN ACT DECLARING ANDRES BONIFACIO AS NATIONAL HERO" (PDF). Philippine House of Representatives. 26 November 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 February 2014. Retrieved 10 May 2016.
  36. ^ a b Geronimo, Jee (29 November 2013). "Solons: Make Bonifacio our official national hero". Rappler. Retrieved 10 May 2016.
  37. ^ Manto-Beltran, Lea (29 August 2015). "The making of a Philippine national hero". The Manila Times. Retrieved 10 May 2016.
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  39. ^ a b Pangilinan Jr., Leon (3 October 2014). "In Focus: 9 Facts You May Not Know About Philippine National Symbols". National Commission for Culture and the Arts. Retrieved 29 March 2016.
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  45. ^ "#CNNFood challenge: What's your country's national dish?". CNN. 18 September 2015. Retrieved 16 March 2016.
  46. ^ "The Philippines Declared the Guinness World Record Holder for the Largest Serving of Lechon". thedailymeal.com. 9 November 2015. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
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