34 arrested for disrepecting flag in Batangas cinema
LEMERY, Batangas — Police arrested 34 moviegoers here Wednesday afternoon for showing disrespect while the Philippine National Anthem was being played before a film screening in a local cinema.
Lemery municipal police chief, Chief Insp. Alfie M. Salang, reported to Batangas provincial police director Senior Supt. Edwin Quilates that the local police operation “Oplan Bandila” was conducted in the movie house at a mall in Barangay Malinis.
Salang said the movie goers were arrested after they failed to stand up while the National Anthem was being played prior to the showing of the movie, “The How’s of Us”.
He said “Oplan Bandila” aims to net persons found violating Republic Act No. 8491, or the “Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines”, and is implemented in all theaters, cinemas and public events across the region at the initiative of Police Regional Office 4-A (Calabarzon) Director, Chief Supt. Edward Carranza.
Quilates said that Carranza’s directive to all police units in the region, which issued last month, aims to instill in all Filipinos, especially in Calabarzon, a culture of patriotism and sense of duty.
He said the order to the region’s provincial police directors is to dispatch law enforcers every time there are film screenings in cinemas to check public viewers who do not stand when the National Anthem is played.
Based on a surveillance video and photos taken at the cinema, the 32, whose names have been withheld, were found to have violated RA 8491.
“This serves as a stern warning to everyone that we shall at all times give due respect to the Philippine National Anthem while being played, as stated in Sec. 38. Chapter 2 of RA 8491,” Quilates warned.
He referred specifically to Section 38 of the law, which states that “when the National Anthem is played at a public gathering, whether by a band or by singing or both or reproduced by any means, the attending public shall sing the anthem. The singing must be done with fervor.”
The Flag and Heraldic Code specifies that “as a sign of respect, all persons shall stand at attention and face the Philippine flag, if there is one displayed, and if there is none, they shall face the band or the conductor. At the first note, all persons shall execute a salute by placing their right palms over their left chest.”
The Code also stipulates that those in the military, scouting, citizen’s military training, and security guard uniforms shall give the salute prescribed by their regulations. The salute shall be completed at the last note of the anthem.
Failure to observe the National Anthem rules shall be a ground for administrative discipline in the case of government officials and employees, without prejudice to the provisions of Section 50 of the Code.
The penalty consists of a fine of PHP5,000 to PHP20,000, or imprisonment of not more than one year, or both, at the discretion of the court. (Jojo C. Magsombol/PNA
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