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Burning the flag

George P. Moya

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Burning the flag
Worn out flags shall not be thrown away but shall be solemnly burned to avoid misuse or desecration

MANILA, Philippines – The flag was flying on half-mast at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), as the country mourns the death of National Artist for Music Francisco Feliciano.

The flag, already torn at its seams, was to be burned along with 10 other old ones, in an official ceremony at the CCP. The flag burning is a first in the 45-year history of the country’s cultural center.

In her speech at the special program, CCP chairperson Emily Abrera said that the flag is a symbol that the Philippines is a sovereign and free nation.

Abrera adds that the flag burning is in compliance with Section 14 of Republic Act No. 8491 or the Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines. It states that worn out flags shall not be thrown away but shall be solemnly burned to avoid misuse or desecration.

CCP president Dr Raul Sunico said the flag is a testament to Filipinos’ burning desire to establish a free republic.

He added that the CCP will turn over 100 worn-out flags kept in its storage rooms to the Boy Scouts of the Philippines (BSP) who assisted them during the ceremony.  The BSP will use the flags in flag burning rites in other institutions to introduce to them to the ceremony and the proper procedure.

Before darkness fell, the old Philippine flags were set on fire, their ashes placed in an urn. After a brief procession, the ashes were buried in CCP’s front lawn, near the flagpole where the flags once flew.

The 90-minute ceremonial rite, dubbed “Huling Pagpupugay sa Watawat ng Pilipinas,” is a final salute to the old Philippine flags that silently served the country.

All photos by George P. Moya

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