Why some Philippine flags need to be burned

·3 min read

YOU might think the title is controversial, but actually, it isn't.

If you’ve seen a washed-out, old and tattered Philippine flag, did you know that it should be immediately replaced, and the old one should be in ashes?

1. Philippine flags are sacred



Because it is sacred in nature, it is considered sacrilegious to simply throw the flag away. Just imagine something beloved together with a pile of trash.

The Philippine flag not only represents the country and its people, it is also a symbol that we are a soverign and free nation.

2. Burning old flags



Because it represents the solidarity of the country, flags hoisted should always look intact and immaculate.

Republic Act No. 8491, also known as the "Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines," said reverence and respect should at all times be accorded the flag.

"A flag worn out through wear and tear shall not be thrown away. It shall be solemnly burned to avoid misuse or desecration. The flag shall be replaced immediately when it begins to show signs of wear and tear," Section 14 of the Republic Act stated.

3. Don't light a fire just yet



Although the law doesn't extensively state any protocol for flag-burning, certain ceremonies are held to pay homage for the flag.

People in authority, including boy or girl scouts, usually lead the retirement of the flag.

According to the Philippine Information Agency, the ceremony for the reverent disposal of worn out Philippine flags is preferably held in conjunction with the flag-lowering ceremony. Audiences usually gather in a U-formation at a flag pole and a firelay will be placed in front of it with its embers already lit.

The flag is folded and ceremoniously brought outside of the formation and set on the table near the flagpole immediately after the lowering ceremony. Various patriotic songs will then be sung by those present to set the tone. The significance of the event and what the flag represents will be discussed by a guest speaker.

4. Women's role in flag-creation



Because women played a big role in the creation of the county's first flag, they, too, have a large part in the retirement of a flag.

The first flag of the country was sewn by Marcela Mariño Agoncillo, with the help of her daughter Lorenza and Delfina Herbosa Natividad (a niece of Propagandista José Rizal).

The reverent disposal of the worn-out flag will feature a lady official to represent "Inang Bayan '' and to remind all present that the first Filipino flag was made by women.

The worn-out flag will be delivered to her first, then given to the honored guest, who will solemnly place it at the firelay.

5. A burial



The "Taps," or bugle call, are sounded as the ashes are collected.

The ashes are then deposited in an urn, which is carried by two recognized authorities to an approved burial area that is at least 1.5 feet deep and not frequently trampled on.

Some patriotic songs will be sung as the crowd disperses.

***

References:


1. Republic Act No. 8491 | GOVPH. (1998, February 12). Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines. https://www.officialgazette.gov.ph/1998/02/12/republic-act-no-8491/

2. Pcg, S. (n.d.). Philippine Flag. Department of Foreign Affairs. https://sydneypcg.dfa.gov.ph/78-the-consulate/688-philippine-flag#:%7E:text=A%20flag%20worn%20out%20through,signs%20of%20wear%20and%20tear.

3. Gaje, V. M. (2007, May 31). Commentary: Worn out RP flags should be properly disposed. Philippine Information Agency. http://archives.pia.gov.ph/?m=12&fi=p070531.htm&no=19

4. Retirement of Philippine Flag | World Scouting. (2016, August 28). Scout. https://sdgs.scout.org/project/retirement-philippine-flag#:%7E:text=This%20practice%20is%20actually%20in,to%20avoid%20misuse%20or%20desecration.

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