Groups reject 'unconstitutional' directive to recite Bagong Pilipinas pledge, hymn

President Marcos urged to focus on real, pressing issues

The latest directive of President Marcos to integrate the recital of the “Bagong Pilipinas” Hymn and Pledge in flag ceremonies of all national government agencies and instrumentalities, including public schools and state universities and colleges, continued to face resistance, especially from groups of educators and teachers.


"The Marcos Jr. administration appears to be prioritizing symbolic gestures rather than addressing the severe economic and social issues plaguing Filipinos," said Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines Chairperson Vladimer Quetua in a statement issued on Tuesday, June 11.

ACT Philippines denounced Marcos's directive because the memorandum exceeded the "mandates of the Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines."

For the group, the President's directive is a "clear attempt to impose a superficial sense of nationalism and progress."

Focus on real issues

The group also alleged that the latest directive aims to "divert" attention from the "real and pressing" socio-economic issues the country is facing.

"While we grapple with low salaries and wages, soaring costs of living, and chronically underfunded education and social services, the President chose to implement ceremonial measures to further promote his government branding which, in reality, for almost two years, has been failing to bring significant progress to the lives of the Filipino people," Quetua lamented.

"What we need are tangible solutions to these problems and not attempts to shape public perception," he added.

ACT said that if Marcos intends to "foster nationalism" and expects the people to participate in national development actively, his administration must first "ensure it is fulfilling its social and economic responsibilities to the citizens."

The group reiterated its long-standing demands for salary hikes, such as a P33,000 national minimum wage, P33,000 entry-level pay for government employees or those at Salary Grade 1, P50,000 entry-level pay for public and private school teachers, and SG16 for instructors at the tertiary level.

ACT reiterated that the administration must prioritize "real, impactful changes" over ceremonial gestures to truly foster nationalism and drive national development.


ACT urged Marcos to retract the directive, as it "is self-serving, devoid of genuine national interest, and potentially unconstitutional," as pointed out by some lawmakers and law experts.

Likewise, progressive educators at the University of the Philippines (UP) also expressed concerns that the "Bagong Pilipinas" hymn and pledge may be "unconstitutional."

The Congress of Teachers/Educators for Nationalism and Democracy (CONTEND) firmly opposed President Marcos's directive encouraging the recitation of the Bagong Pilipinas Hymn and Pledge during weekly flag ceremonies.

"We believe that this policy may be unconstitutional," the group said in a statement issued on June 10.

Citing lawyer Mel Sta. Maria, former Law Dean of Far Eastern University, CONTEND noted that the Flag Law (RA No. 8491) "does not provide the Office of the President the authority to create and require a new hymn to sing or pledge to recite during flag ceremonies in the country."

CONTEND explained that the "Bagong Lipunan" of the Marcos dictatorship in the '70s was a period marked by "severe human rights violations, suppression of dissent, and economic hardship for many Filipinos."

Thus, the group noted that the introduction of the Bagong Pilipinas Hymn and Pledge "seems to evoke this dark chapter in our history, glorifying an era that brought suffering to countless citizens."

Like ACT, the group also urged the Marcos administration to dedicate its efforts to addressing the "pressing issues faced by our citizens."

"The focus should be on practical solutions such as increasing wages for workers, reducing the cost of essential goods, supporting drivers and operators to prevent loss of livelihood under the anti-people jeepney phaseout, and creating quality and regular jobs in the country," CONTEND said.

Moreover, the group stressed that it is "imperative that our government prioritizes tangible improvements in the lives of our people over superficial changes that echo a troubling history."

For CONTEND, reverting to symbols of a regime known for its abuses "undermines our collective memory and the democratic principles we strive to uphold."

The group then challenged all educators to resist President Marcos's "unconstitutional move" and instead "underscore historical truth and the principles of nationalism and democracy in our classrooms and research."