By Vanne Elaine P. Terrazola
Senate President Vicente Sotto III has suggested to revise what he described as “defeatist” lyrics in the Philippine National Anthem.
During the Upper Chamber’s deliberations on the bill increasing the number of the rays on the Philippine flag on Tuesday afternoon, Sotto asked his colleagues to consider looking into amending the last two lines of “Lupang Hinirang.”
The last two lines of Lupang Hinirang go, “Aming ligaya na ’pag may mang-aapi, ang mamatay nang dahil sa ‘yo (But it is glory ever, when thou art wronged, for us thy sons to suffer and die).”
Citing sentiments from composer and writers whom he has “rubbed elbows with,” Sotto said these lines show a “defeatist attitude.”
Sotto, a composer himself, said he has thought of a new phrase to replace the last line with “ang ipaglaban kalayaan mo (to fight for your freedom),” he said, reading out a piece of paper.
Sotto, however, noted that he does not insist on changing the lyrics of the National Anthem right away.
“I’m not suggesting it right now. I’m just saying that perhaps you have looked into this (Philippine flag), might as well look into the entire law,” Sotto said, referring to Republic Act No. 8491.
RA 8491 prescribes the code of the national flag, national anthem and other heraldic items of the country.
Sen. Richard Gordon, who authored and now co-sponsors the bill on the proposed increase of sun rays in the Philippine flag, welcomed Sotto’s proposal.
Gordon said he is willing to file a separate bill about Sotto’s suggestion.
The Philippine national anthem was composed and arranged in 1898 by Julian Felipe, who derived its lyrics from a Spanish poem by Jose Palma entitled “Filipinas.”
The song was translated to various languages. In 1956, former President Ramon Magsaysay declared Lupang Hinirang as the country’s national anthem.