QUEZON CITY (via PhlAmPress) – Do you know that while every one accepts Dr. Jose Rizal as the Filipinos’ national hero, there is no official law declaring him as such which makes him a ‘bogus’ hero?
Lawmakers headed by Rep. Rene Relampagos of the first district of Bohol have discovered the “anomaly” and have thus filed and supported a bill to make Dr. Rizal officially as the country’s national hero and elevate other national symbols of the Philippines.
The measure which was filed during the first regular session of the House of Representatives in February 2014 is called the House Bill 3926 or the “Philippine National Symbols Act of 2014.”
The country’s lawmakers, however, find no urgency in approving measure as it remains unacted upon in the Committee on the Revision of Laws. House of Representatives records indicate that the committee has not reported out the measure for consideration by the House in a plenary session and could well be declared as “gathering dust” there.
Under the proposed law, aside from Dr. Rizal, the Philippine peso will be declared or re-declared as national currency, Great Seal as national seal, Manila as national capital and Malacanang Palace as national seat of government.
The House of Representatives, meanwhile, approved on third and final reading House Bill 2072 authored by Rep. Gina de Venecia declaring the lowly backyard plant malunggay (moringa) as the national Philippine vegetable and November as the “National Malunggay Month.”
Under the Relampagos bill, also to be declared or re-declared as official national symbols are Filipino as national language, “Lupang Hinirang” as national anthem, arnis as national martial arts and sport, carinosa as national dance and the monkey-eating eagle as national bird.
Others to be declared or re-declared are the carabao as the national animal, bangus (milkfish) as national fish, narra as national tree, Philippine pearl as national gem, sampaguita as national flower and anahaw as national leaf.
Philippine mango is also to be declared or re-declared as national fruit, adobo as national food, bakya as national slippers, bahay kubo as national house, jeepney as national vehicle, Bayan Ko as national song and Maka-Diyos, Maka-tao, Makakalikasan at Makabansa as national motto.
De Venecia cited the economic, nutritional and medicinal benefits of malunggay. She said the vegetable has been promoted by the World Health Organization for the past 20 years as low-cost health enhancer in poor countries.
De Venecia also stressed the importance of malunggay products to the Philippine economy.
“Malunggay tree is one of the most important plants that deserve national and international promotion due to the many bio-medical endowment and numerous socio-economic benefits that can be derived from it,” De Venecia said.
Relampagos said House Bill 3926 or the “Philippine National Symbols Act of 2014” will provide a basis for the declaration and recognition of the country’s national symbols.
Relampagos, chairman of the House committee on tourism, said while national symbols represent the nation, history and culture, several of them are not officially declared.
“In the Philippines, there are around twenty national symbols being taught in school. However, of these symbols, only ten are official, that is with basis either in the Constitution, Republic Acts and Proclamations,” Relampagos said.
The lawmaker said the unofficial symbols are now considered “blatantly colorums” for not having basis for their declaration.
“Rizal now becomes the unofficial national hero, carabao the unofficial national animal, mango the unofficial national fruit, bangus the unofficial fish, the baro’t saya as the unofficial national costume and so on,” Relampagos said.
Aside from correcting their unofficial status, Relampagos said his bill also aims to develop nationalism and develop tourism through these symbols and to preserve, promote and provide guidelines for their use, care and conservation, among others.