I’m sorry readers if I was harsh last time. Ok now, Let me argue my point.
In an interview, Gordon said, “This is a great step in recognizing the fact that we had Muslims such as Lapu-Lapu, Sultan Kudarat, Amai Pakpak, Sorongan, who kept fighting the Spaniards long before this country thought of a revolution against Spain. This would foster unity, make sure that nobody is excluded. If we are to have national unity in this country it must begin in our flag, it must be symbolized in our flag”. True, But they’re not the only ones that resisted the Spanish government before momentous revolution of 1896. In the more than 300 years of rule, Spain dealt with countless revolts and resistance. A careful review of our history would even reveal names we never even heard of, their heroism sealed away waiting for our generation to resurrect them.
What we need is to improve library access for the Filipino youth, something that can’t be achieved if our National Library is being ignored, pilfered and has been underfunded for decades. Only through reforms and improvements in the way Philippine history is taught that we can make Filipinos proud of their country. We as a Filipinos should understand the tradition of freedom our heroes fought to preserve. The symbol they created, the flag, should never be subject to modification. Period.
Since the bill’s intention was to represent the “mostly-forgotten Muslim heroes”, the question is, what difference would it make other than altering the flag we raised during Aguinaldo’s declaration of independence? The benefits of this law are not clear. If we intend unity with our Muslim countrymen, will suddenly adding a ray for Lapu-Lapu, Sultan Kudarat and Rajah Sulayman bring us any closer to our dreams of national harmony?
Gordon failed to consider that the Muslims of Mindanao is already represented in the national flag. The flag was designed to represent us all. The rays of the sun represent the provinces that are traditionally considered to be the first to revolt against the Spaniards during the crucial years of our struggle for freedom. The symbolism in our flag pays tribute to the critical role of these provinces involvement (in our single greatest revolution of ’96) but this does not mean that the other provinces who rose against Spain before the revolution of ’96 are being excluded. Let us not forget the Ilocanos, Cebuanos, Ilonggos, Bicolanos and many more provinces that rose up against tyranny even before the great revolution. In Bohol we have what is considered to be one of the longest rebellion against Spain in all of its colonies, lasting more than 80 years, should we then consider adding a ray for the courageous Boholanos? Or what about the Silang’s of Ilocos, another ray for our Ilocano heroes?
If the modification in our flag would symbolize the “Filipino Muslims”, as Gordon stated, this would just create a dilemma since we’ll be classifying and identifying Filipinos that fought for our independence by their religion. This certainly would not foster communal harmony; we have to understand that religion has always been a divisive issue. If we pass this law, on the basis that we wanted to acknowledge the Muslims presence in our fight for freedom, we’ll soon have to look into adding another one for the Aglipayan church.
I’m proud to honor our nation’s heroes, regardless of their religion, race or province. We have to demand from ourselves how to live up to the best of our national tradition. Yes, there is a need for unification but there are many ways we can achieve this. We are making an irreversible mistake in altering our flag believing that it would help solve our problems. Making changes in our flag would not improve our situation. Let us all remember that the flag isn’t just a piece of cloth that was made to remind us that we exist; many Filipinos have died raising that flag. Dying for the Filipino flag is synonymous with dying for Filipinas. It’s always been this way – for more than 100 years now since we first raised this flag in Cavite and sung our most beautiful himno nacional. Let us not forget our history.
I say, leave the flag alone.