Ellen Tordesillas column today reminds me of yet another reason I think the present Flag Law was an absolute disaster for the country. She points to the Pledge of Allegiance familiar to generations of Filipinos until the Ramos administration got it into its head to tinker with everything.
The Pledge of Allegiance I grew up with, and which most readers of this blog probably learned in school was this:
I love the Philippines
It is the land of my birth
It is the home of my people
It protects me and helps me
To be strong, happy and useful.
I will heed the counsel of my parents
I will obey the rules of my school
I will perform my duties
Unselfishly and faithfully.
I will be A True Filipino
In thought, in words, in deed.
To my generation, the Filipino version was what we learned:
Iniibig ko ang Pilipinas.
Ito ang aking lupang sinilangan.
Ito ang tahanan ng aking lahi.
Ako’y kanyang kinukupkop at tinutulungan
Upang maging malakas, maligaya at kapakipakinabang.
Bilang ganti, diringgin ko ang payo ng aking mga magulang.
Susundin ko ang mga tuntunin ng aking paaralan.
Tutuparin ko ang mga tungkulin ng isang mamamayang makabayan at masunurin sa batas.
Paglilingkuran ko ang aking bayan nang walang pag-iimbot at ng buong katapatan.
Sisikapin kong maging isang tunay na Pilipino
sa isip, sa salita, at sa gawa.
In 1998, it was replaced with this:
Ako ay Pilipino
Buong katapatang nanunumpa
Sa watawat ng Pilipinas
At sa bansang kanyang sinasagisag
Na may dangal, katarungan at kalayaan
Na pinakikilos ng sambayanang
Which is a carbon copy of the American pledge of allegiance:
I pledge allegiance to the Flag
of the United States of America,
and to the Republic for which it stands:
one Nation under God, indivisible,
With Liberty and Justice for all.
The corrosive effects changes to things that ought not to be changed was best demonstrated, I think, when Raul Roco campaigned for President. He would talk to students about love of country, and quote the pledge of allegiance from memory. The problem was, the pledge of allegiance he was reciting was no longer taught in the schools, the students had no clue what on earth Roco was quoting, and whatever Roco was mentioning no longer evoked anything because it had been scrapped by Congress (and, apparently, Roco had some culpability in the whole thing, too).
With one law, students in school in 1998 and since, were cut off from the generations that came before. The Wikipedia entry on the Panatang Makabayan (whose translation has been tinkered with, too!) and the Panunumpa ng Katapatan sa Watawat says that both are still in force, but in the flag ceremonies I’ve attended, it seems to me most people only use the newer one. And besides which it makes you wonder why we need a separate pledge of allegiance to the nation and another to the flag (the Roco order says the Panatang Makabayan is to be recited during the first subject of the day, I don’t know if this is done, but it divorces the pledge to the nation from the flag ceremony). The patriotic ties that should bind us have become a secondary and mangled pledge.
In the news, Fitch’s decision to remain cautious, inspires officials to collect more; one reason the country remains under scrutiny (and below investment grade in the ratings) are concerns that election-related spending may throw the national fiscal situation out of whack. Incidentally, apparently it’s more attractive to invest in mining in Zambia rather than the Philippines.
It’s final: Filipinos belonging to the class that suffered through the nursing board exam leak have to retake the leaked portions of the exam if they want to work in the USA. If Monico Puentevella represents the thinking of the delegation to lobby the decision, no wonder they failed.
Newsbreak reports on urban counterinsurgency and the Philippine Star reports on the silliest acronym ever (see youth leader and blogger Mong Palatino’s reaction); it also reports on a series of possible abductions that have decapitated the New People’s Army.
Overseas, the curious story of an archive that wasn’t opened to the public for over 60 years; and how the Empress of Japan has had another nervous breakdown. How Scooter Libby’s screwed the Republicans and how to get ahead in the US Congress.
In the punditocracy, my Arab News column for this week is A Feminine Achievement.
Glenda Gloria, who has covered the Philippine military for years, explains why political killings troubles her. Manuel Buencamino uses the military’s own words to show how its refusal to face accountability makes no sense. The Inquirer editorial hails the Chief Justice for establishing special tribunals to try cases of political killings.
In the blogosphere, Alex Waterhouse-Hayward writes fondly of my Mexican uncle Raul Guerrero (my father’s cousin).
Blog Them Out Of The Stone Age has this fail-safe acronym for handling accountability questions:
Never sign anything