Senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao wants a ninth ray added in the sun of the Philippine flag.
Pacquiao filed Senate Bill No. 1984 last January 14, renewing propositions to increase the rays of the eight-rayed sun in the country’s flag to represent Filipino Muslims who fought against Spain’s colonization.
He said Muslim heroes are “mostly unrecognized”, citing for instance Lapu-Lapu and Sultan Kudarat, who led battles against the Spaniards.
“Our Muslim heroes who equally struggled valiantly for our country’s independence must be given due recognition alongside with those already recognized in the most heraldic article of national importance, in the Philippine flag,” Pacquiao added.
In pushing this, he said the Phlilippine flag “should not only encapsulate a symbolism that survives the passage of time, but one which truly reflects the historical accounts and gives due recognition to those who went through heroic struggles over the course of national history.”
A similar proposal was filed on July 1, 2019 by Senator Richard Gordon, who has repeatedly campaigned for the recognition of the Muslim community’s contribution in the national independence.
There have been several attempts in Congress to add a ninth ray in the Philippine flag’s sun by amending the Republic Act No. 8491, or the Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines.
During the 14th Congress, the proposal was approved by both the Senate and the House of Representatives but did not materialize.
Based on the records from the Senate’s and House’s websites, only the Senate approved the reconciled bill on the proposal in 2009.
In 2018, Gordon again sponsored the measure for the Senate’s approval but the bill failed to hurdle the chamber until 17th Congress adjourned.
According to the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), the eight rays represented the first eight provinces to take up arms against Spain — Manila, Bulacan, Pampanga, Cavite, Batangas, Laguna, Tarlac, and Nueva Ecija.
In a statement issued June 2020, amid false reports on a supposed new image of the Philippine flag, the NHCP said it has no intention of changing the current specifications of the flag.