DESPITE reminders from the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) to sing the national anthem in Filipino, the Provincial Government of Misamis Oriental will continue to play and sing the Bisaya translation, Capitol spokesperson Carlo Dugaduga said.
Dugaduga said that until Governor Yevgeny Emano issues an order, the Bisaya version of Lupang Hinirang will still be played during official gatherings like the flag-raising ceremony.
He said the singing of the national anthem in Bisaya is more meaningful as the locals can feel and understand the lyrics of the song.
Bisaya, he said, like the dialects of the ethnic groups in the southern part of the country, is part of the Filipino language and not a foreign language.
"Ang mga lumad, labi pa sa mga IPs (indigenous people) mahimong mo awit sa national anthem sa ilang kaugalingong pinulongan kay tipik kana sa kulturang Pilipino. Kanus-a nahimong langaw ang atong kaugalingong linggwahe? Dili makibhangan ang akong pagka Pilipino ug ang akong pagpangga sa nasod og mokanta ko sa lumadnong awit," Dugaduga said.
(The indigenous people can sing in their own dialects as it is part of Filipino culture. When did our own language fade? I will never lose my Filipino identity and love for the country when I sing the national anthem.)
The issue started after a group called Oro Tri Media Government Watch sent a letter to the NHCP informing the commission that the singing of Lupang Hinirang in Bisaya is a violation of Republic Act (RA) 8491 or the Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines.
Section 20 of RA 8491 states that the "observance of the flag ceremony in official or civic gatherings shall be simple and dignified and shall include the playing or singing of the anthem in its original Filipino lyrics and march tempo."
The NHCP has already sent a reminder to the Provincial Government last March, but the commission has yet to receive a response.
The commission is also set to write a letter to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) regarding the matter.
Dugaduga said they will wait for any further communication from the DILG.
Meanwhile, Provincial Board Members President Elipe and Gerardo Sabal III said there is nothing wrong in singing the national anthem in Bisaya.
"That song has been sung ever since I became a member of the City Council way back 1995. Yan ang ginagamit sa (That has been used in) Cagayan de Oro City," Elipe said.
"It doesn't necessarily mean that since it's translated in Bisaya that it would make the singing of the national anthem any less patriotic. I don't really see any reason why sasabihin ng Historical Commission na hindi pwede (the Historical Commission would say that it is not allowed)," he added.
Elipe said the song was sang with the same thought and message.
He added that it is better for Mindanaoans to sing the Bisaya version as they would "understand it more and sing it from the heart."
"It shouldn't be a priority of the NHCP because I don't see it as a deviation from the singing of the nation anthem. It is still the signing of the national anthem, but in Visayan," Elipe said.
Sabal, for his part, said they fully respect the law. He added that the NHCP should not prohibit the people of Misamis Oriental to sing the Lupang Hinirang in vernacular.
"Hindi naman namin binastos yung national anthem (We did not disrespected the national anthem). We just translated in our vernacular for the reason that we are more passionate in singing the national anthem in ou vernacular," Sabal said.