Commentary: Worn out RP flags should be properly disposed
Iloilo City (31 May) -- The Philippine flag is the symbol of our national identity, integrity and independence. As such, respect and reverence shall at all times be accorded the Flag, even if it is worn out and to be disposed of.
Section 14 of republic Act No. 8491 or the flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines provides for the proper disposal of worn out Philippine 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.”
The ceremony for the reverent disposal of worn out Philippine flags is preferably held in conjunction with the flag lowering ceremony.
For the ceremony, an audience shall be gathered in a U-formation with the flagpole located at Center Stage, where a firelay shall be placed in front of the flagpole with its embers already lighted. Candle scraps or oil may be used but not gasoline or kerosene. A piece of mesh screen, about 18”x18” shall be placed on top of the firelay, where the flag shall be burned. A table must be placed beside the flagpole, where an urn of clay or brass for the ashes is placed.
For the flag lowering ceremony, section 22 of RA 8491 provides that: “During the flag lowering, the flag shall be lowered solemnly and slowly so that the flag shall be down the mast at the sound of the last note of the anthem. Those in the assembly shall observe the same deportment or shall observe the same behavior as for the flag raising ceremony.”
Immediately after the lowering ceremony the flag is folded and ceremoniously brought outside of the formation and placed on the table beside the flagpole. The ceremony that follows begins with some patriotic songs sung by those gathered to set the appropriate mood. A guest speaker shall then talk on the significance of the ceremony and on what the flag stands for.
The reverent disposal of the worn out flag shall include the designation of a lady official, who shall stand at a little distance from the fire, to represent “Inang Bayan” and to remind those present that the first Filipino Flag was made by women. The worn out flag shall first be brought to her and then given to the guest of honor who shall reverently place the flag at the firelay. As the ashes are being gathered, the “TAPS” are sounded. The ashes are then placed in an urn, with two designated officials marching with it to a designated burial ground, at least 1.5 feet deep, and one that is not usually trodden. As the assembly disperses, some patriotic songs shall be sung. (PIA 6) [top]