Law on Philippine National Anthem

In early May 2009, the Philippines was abuzz about Martin Nievera's rendition of the Filipino national anthem before the Manny Pacquiao and Ricky  Hatton boxing match in Las Vegas.  A few commentators opined that his take on the song was a violation of Philippine law, specifically Section 37 of the Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines (R.A. 8491) .  


Republic Act No. 8491

 AN ACT PRESCRIBING THE CODE OF THE NATIONAL FLAG, ANTHEM, MOTTO, COAT-OF-ARMS AND OTHER HERALDIC ITEMS AND DEVICES OF THE PHILIPPINES

. . .

CHAPTER II
THE NATIONAL ANTHEM

Section 35. The National Anthem is entitled Lupang Hinirang.

Sec. 36. The National Anthem shall always be sung in the national language within or without the country. The following shall be the lyrics of the National Anthem:

Bayang magiliw,
Perlas ng Silanganan
Alab ng puso,
Sa Dibdib mo’y buhay.
Lupang Hinirang,
Duyan ka ng magiting,
Sa manlulupig,
Di ka pasisiil.
Sa dagat at bundok,
Sa simoy at sa langit mong bughaw,
May dilag ang tula,
At awit sa paglayang minamahal.
Ang kislap ng watawat mo’y
Tagumpay na nagniningning,
Ang bituin at araw niya,
Kailan pa ma’y di magdidilim,
Lupa ng araw ng luwalhati’t pagsinta,
Buhay ay langit sa piling mo,
Aming ligaya na pag may mang-aapi,
Ang mamatay ng dahil sa iyo.

Sec. 37. The rendition of the National Anthem, whether played or sung, shall be in accordance with the musical arrangement and composition of Julian Felipe.

Sec. 38. When the National Anthem is played at a public gathering, whether by a band or by singing or both, or reproduced by any means, the attending public shall sing the anthem. The singing must be done with fervor.

As a sign of respect, all persons shall stand at attention and face the Philippine flag, if there is one displayed, and if there is none, they shall face the band or the conductor. At the first note, all persons shall execute a salute by placing their right palms over their left chests. Those in military, scouting, citizens military training and security guard uniforms shall give the salute prescribed by their regulations. The salute shall be completed upon the last note of the anthem.

The anthem shall not be played and sung for mere recreation, amusement or entertainment purposes except on the following occasions:
a) International competitions where the Philippines is the host or has a representative;  b) Local competitions; c) During the “signing off” and “signing on” of radio broadcasting and television stations; d) Before the initial and last screening of films and before the opening of theater performances; ande) Other occasions as may be allowed by the Institute.

Sec. 39. All officials and employees of the national and local government, and any agency or instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or controlled corporations, privately-owned entities or offices displaying the national flag and government institutions of learning are hereby directed to comply strictly with the rules prescribed for the rendition of the anthem. Failure to observe the rules shall be a ground for administrative discipline.