MANILA, Philippines?The Senate and the House of Representatives early this week approved the addition of a ninth ray to the sun in the Philippine Flag during the bicameral conference on the disagreeing provisions of the two chambers? versions of a measure amending the Flag and Heraldic Code.
Senator Richard Gordon, chairman of the Senate panel and principal author of Senate Bill (SB) 3307, lauded the approval of the measure saying that it would foster greater unity among Filipinos regardless of religion.
?We are a country that has had a conflict with our Muslim brothers for the last so many decades. I think this is a big step toward reuniting our country, recognizing the contributions of our fellow countrymen, the Filipino Muslims. We should recognize their deeds in our country,? he said in a statement.
The bicameral conference committee ironed out the differences between SB 3307 and House Bill 6424. Aside from Gordon, present during the meeting were Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, and Representatives Del De Guzman, chairman of the House panel, Ma. Carissa Coscoluella, Salvador Escudero III, and Roman Romulo.
SB 3307 proposes amendments to Republic Act 8491, otherwise known as An Act Prescribing the Code of the National Flag, Anthem, Motto, Coat-of-Arms, and Other Heraldic Items and Devices of the Philippines.
Included in the Senate bill is Gordon?s proposal to add a ninth ray to the sun in the Philippine flag to acknowledge the courage, bravery, and integrity of Muslim Filipinos who fought for the nation's independence.
?This is a great step in recognizing the fact that we had Muslims such as Lapu-Lapu, Sultan Kudarat, Amai Pakpak, Sorongan, who kept fighting the Spaniards long before this country thought of a revolution against Spain. This would foster unity, make sure that nobody is excluded. If we are to have national unity in this country it must begin in our flag, it must be symbolized in our flag,? he said.
?We take an amendment of the law here but we actually amend the mindset of our countrymen and bring the nation back to its original posture, one that will not accept tyranny, one that will oppose tyranny. And we should give credit where credit is due,? he added.