34 people were arrested on Wednesday night for disrespecting the flag by not standing up to sing the Philippine national anthem when it played before a screening of ‘The Hows of Us’ at a mall in Lemery, Batangas.
The Batangas Provincial Police Office was conducting an operation at Xentro mall’s cinemas to monitor and apprehend violators of Republic Act 8491 or the Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines. Under these, citizens are required to pay due respect to the national anthem and flag. One show of this is by standing when Lupang Hinirang is played, even during casual events like movie screenings.
The 34 violators are currently being held in Lemery police station and will be facing charges for violating the Flag and Heraldic Code or other appropriate sanctions after filing in court on Thursday.
Section 38 of the Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines mandates that the attendees of public gatherings sing the anthem with fervor when it is played.
“As a sign of respect, all persons shall stand at attention and face the Philippine flag, if there is one displayed, and if there is none, they shall face the band or the conductor. At the first note, all persons shall execute a salute by placing their right palms over their left chests,” the code reads.
The code outlines the corresponding penalties for any person who violates any of its provisions. Upon conviction, individuals may be punished by a fine of not less than P5,000 and not more that P20,000, or by imprisonment for not more than one year, or bother such fine and imprisonment, at a court’s discretion.