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Joey Ayala (Photo from justsarahg.blogspot.com)[/caption]Musician Joey Ayala is talk of the town with the uploaded video of his recent performance of the Philippine National Anthem gone viral. In a TEDx-Diliman forum held Oct. 13, the veteran singer-songwriter sang what he considers a more appropriate version of "Lupang Hinirang," basically changing the tempo of the song and changing some of the lyrics including the line "ang mamatay ng dahil sa 'yo" as he deemed "may grave psychological damage na ginagawa 'yang (linya ng) kantang 'yan sa atin..." He added seemingly in jest, "...kaya pag gumagraduate ang tao, gusto niyang mag-abroad, kasi ang implicit belief is kung dito ka, tepok ka, killed ka." He also noted what he claims are several mispronunciations in the way some of the words were sung pointing out "...may dilag ang tula...ano 'yun ulam? Dilagang tula..." Ayala is aware of the implications of his actions, telling those gathered at the forum prior to his performance: "This is an iilegal act that we all share." Comments on the video, which already has 400,000 hits on YouTube as of this writing, were mixed. "Nice rendition," said one. "Eye opener," said another. Others did not agree with Ayala. "I'm sorry but i think Filipino(s) should stick to the original version, this song is written with the blood of our ancestors so I think we should give due respect to all that died during war time by keeping it the way they did," wrote a netizen. When asked about the matter, Teddy Atienza, chief of the National Historical Institute's Heraldry Section, told Bulletin Entertainment: "Hindi pa namin nasisilip 'yan." Atienza reiterated that any changes made on the National Anthem should go through a "referendum." "Dapat idaan muna niya 'yan sa mga gumagawa ng batas. Hindi puwedeng basta paglaruan ang National Anthem dahil isinulat 'yan nung panahon pa ng rebolusyon," he said. Asked if they are going to take steps relating to Ayala's actions, Atienza said: "Hahanapin ko muna 'yan (video), titignan at pag-a-aralan." Section 37 of the Republic Act No. 8491, also known as the 1998 Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines, provides that "the rendition of the National Anthem, whether played or sung, shall be in accordance with the musical arrangement and composition of Julian Felipe." Republic Act 8341 punishes failure or refusal to observe the provisions of the code with public censure. The guilty may also be fined up to P5,000 or imprisoned not more than a year, or be meted with both penalties, at the discretion of the court. Felipe composed the tune in 1898 as a march. It was played during the proclamation of the country's independence from Spain at Kawit, Cavite on June 12, 1898. In the past, the NHI criticized the incorrect performance of the anthem during sporting events taking to task singers like Sarah Geronimo and Lani Misalucha. Ayala had explained that his suggested version is anchored in his interest relating to how "songs can help people experience themselves in a different way, or catch themselves in habits that are no longer productive."