9th ray in Philippine flag pushed anew-A A +A
Saturday, June 11, 2011
A PROPOSAL to add a ninth ray in the country’s flag is being revived in Congress.
Senator Ramon Bong Revilla Jr. said the modification to the flag aims to recognize the country’s Muslims, who similarly fought along with their Christian counterparts in resisting the Spanish colonial rule in the late 19th century.
Under Senate Bill 2691, all rays will be equally spaced and each ray will have one major beam, twice as broad as the two minor beams on either side.
The eight rays of the sun represent the eight provinces that revolted against the Spanish regime in 1896, namely: Batangas, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Manila, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, and Tarlac.
On the other hand, the three stars in the flag represent the three major geographical divisions of the country: Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
“By symbolically placing our Muslim brothers in our flag, we are giving them their right place in our history," Revilla said, who made the call in time for the country’s 113th Independence Day celebration today, Sunday.
The bill seeks to amend Republic Act 8491 or the Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines.
A similar bill passed in the bicameral conference committee in 2009 but unfortunately, both houses of Congress failed to ratify the measure authored by then Senator Richard Gordon.
However, Revilla pointed out that the ninth ray will prove further that the government is indeed giving equal importance to Muslim Filipinos.
The government is currently negotiating for a final peace deal with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which once aspired for self-rule due to alleged government neglect on Muslim welfare.
The group has been pushing for a “Bangsamoro sub-state,” which is an expanded territory, including the provinces under the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Armm), while still recognizing one republic.
Decades of strife and inefficient delivery of government services put majority of Armm’s 2.8 million people in poverty, with Maguindanao ranked as the fifth poorest province in the Philippines in 2009.
According to the U.S. State Department International Religious Freedom Report last year, the Muslim population of the Philippines hovers between five and seven million. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)