By Charissa Luci-Atienza
A bill seeking casket flag honors for teachers and media practitioners has been filed at the House of Representatives.
KABAYAN party-list Rep Ron. P. Salo filed House Bill 8619, along with KABAYAN partylist Rep. Paul Hernandez in recognition of the sacrifice and public service of teachers and journalists.
“Teachers and media practitioners are also modern-day heroes because they offer their lives every day in the name of public service and are often exposed to hazardous situations, especially during elections and when they are assigned to remote areas or high-crime incidence localities,” Salo said.
He expressed hope the merits of their bill would be considered when the bicameral conference panel reconciles the Lower and Upper Chamber versions of the bill seeking to amend the current Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines.
On May 4, 2017, the House of Representatives approved House Bill 5224.
“The idea and pertinent provisions of HB 8619 can still find their way into the reconciled bill during the bicameral conference stage, so that is the next window of opportunity for HB 8619” Salo said.
He explained that the list of the deceased who can be honored with casket draping of the flag, under House Bill 5224, “is limited and does not include teachers and media practitioners.”
HB 5224 provides flag at half-mast honors for deceased teachers at the schools and school districts where they served.
Salo said HB 8619 provides an exhaustive list of deceased individuals who need to be honored with the Philippine flag on their casket, which shall either be mandatory or discretionary, at the option of the family of the deceased.
The list also includes former presidents of the country, war veterans, national artists and scientists, soldiers and police personnel who died in action, he said.
The deputy majority leader expressed hope that President Duterte would certify HB 5224 as urgent.
“It would be a big boost if President Duterte will certify as urgent HB 5224 since it still has no counterpart consolidated bill in the Senate. That certification would certainly speed things up,” Salo said.