MANILA, Philippines — If shopping malls can play Christmas songs all day long, they should have no problem playing the national anthem three times a day.
Bacolod Rep. Anthony Golez made this statement as he filed a bill mandating commercial establishments and government offices to play the “Lupang Hinirang” in the mornings, at noon and in the afternoons every day, in order to help strengthen Filipinos’ national pride.
In his explanatory note to the measure, Golez states that people lead fast-paced lives nowadays and need to be reminded about the value of patriotism through the daily playing of the national anthem.
He said the “Lupang Hinirang” has always been the “great symbol of the pride and honor that Filipinos have for their country.”
Hearing the national anthem played in government offices, shopping malls and other commercial centers would rekindle the national pride of Filipinos, especially those who have been working abroad but have returned to the country for a vacation, Golez said.
“If Christmas songs and advertisements are played in public places, it will not be a burden for malls and commercial centers to require them to play the ‘Lupang Hinirang’ three times a day,” he added.
Under Golez’s bill, known as the “Strengthening National Pride Act,” the “Lupang Hinirang” would be played in the Office of the President, the Senate, the House of Representatives and the Supreme Court three times a day at 10 a.m., 1 p.m and 4 p.m every day.
Shopping malls and commercial centers would also be required to play the national anthem within their corridors and hallways during operating hours every day, at the same time.
The President would also be tasked to designate which other government offices would have to play the national anthem in their premises thrice a day, considering the transactions the public has with these offices.
The bill states that the national anthem should be played “loudly and clearly,” and persons in government offices, shopping malls and commercial centers must stand still and stop what they are doing when the song is playing.
They are also encouraged to sing along while the “Lupang Hinirang” is playing.
Under the bill, those who fail to stop and stand still while the anthem is playing would be punished with a one month imprisonment and a P1,000 fine.
On the other hand, malls and commercial centers that defy the order would be fined P25,000 for every time they fail to play the national anthem. The heads of government offices who fail to implement it would be charged with serious neglect and removed from public office with forfeiture of retirement and separation benefits.
Golez’s bill is pending with the House committee on basic education and culture.