Palace: There are more important things than revise national anthem lyrics

Published September 20, 2018, 2:24 PM

by Patrick Garcia

By Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Malacañang is leaving it to Congress if they would indeed want to change the last two lines of the national anthem “Lupang Hinirang” but said there are more important things to tackle.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque  (Jansen Romero/ MANILA BULLETIN)
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque
(Jansen Romero/ MANILA BULLETIN)

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the statement after Senate President Tito Sotto suggested to revise what he described as a “defeatist” lyrics of the national anthem that has been the country’s anthem that Filipinos sing since1956.

Sotto suggested to change the last two lines from “Ang mamatay nang dahil sa’yo (To die because you),” to “Ang ipaglaban kalayaan mo (To fight for your freedom).”

In his Thursday press briefing, Roque said that they will leave it to Congress if they decide to revise the lyrics of Lupang Hinirang.

“Iniiwan na po namin ‘yan sa Kongreso. Mas maraming mas matitinding problema na dapat harapin. Bahala na po ang Kongreso diyan (We are leaving that Congress. There are more serious problems to face. It’s up to the Congress),” he said.

Sotto’s suggestion came as the Senate deliberated on the bill increasing the number of the sun’s rays in the Philippine flag. He asked his colleagues to consider revising the lyrics but clarified that he is not insisting on it.

According to Sotto, he made the suggestion because if the Philippine flag is being looked into anyway, it would not hurt to look into the entire Republic Act 8491 which prescribes the code of the national flag, anthem, and other heraldic items of the country.

Senator Richard Gordon, who authored the bill which seeks the modify the Philippine flag, said he will consider Sotto’s proposal, adding he is willing to file a separate bill about the suggestion.

The Philippine National Anthem was composed in 1898 by Julian Felipe while its lyrics were adapted from the Spanish poem “Filipinas” written by Jose Palma in 1899. The tune did not originally have lyrics when it was played during the proclamation of Philippine independence on June 12, 1898.

Felipe’s musical arrangement and composition was officially adopted on September 5, 1938 and the Spanish lyrics were translated into Filipino beginning in the 1940s. The current Filipino version was sung for the first time on May 26, 1956. Minor revisions made in the 1960s are used until thatthe present time. The Filipino lyrics were confirmed in 1998.