National symbols of the Philippines
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The national symbols of the Philippines consist of symbols that represent Philippine traditions and ideals and convey the principles of sovereignty and national solidarity. Some of these symbols are stated in the Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines, which is also known as Republic Act 8491. The national language of the Philippines is Filipino as stated in the Constitution of the Philippines. Aside from those stated symbols in the Constitution and in Republic Act 8491, there are only five official national symbols of the Philippines enacted through law, namely sampaguita as national flower, narra as national tree, the Philippine eagle as national bird, Philippine pearl as national gem and arnis as national sport.
There are symbols such as the carabao (national animal), mango (national fruit) and anahaw (national leaf) that are widely known as national symbols but have no laws recognizing them as official national symbols. Even Jose Rizal, who is widely considered as a national hero, has not been declared officially as a national hero in any existing Philippine law. A National Artist of the Philippines is a rank or a title given to a Filipino citizen in recognition to the recipient's contributions to Philippine arts and letters and they are not considered as a national symbol that represents traditions and ideals.
Development of the symbols
Republic Act 8491, known also as Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines, stipulates the code for national flag, anthem, motto, coat-of-arms and other heraldic items and devices of the Philippines. According to Article XIV Section 6 of the Constitution of the Philippines, the national language of the Philippines is Filipino. Apart from RA 8491 and the Constitution, the Philippines has only five official national symbols enacted either through a proclamation by the executive department or through a Republic Act by the legislative department, namely sampaguita, narra, the Philippine eagle, the Philippine pearl and arnis. In 1934, during the Commonwealth era, Governor-General Frank Murphy declared sampaguita and narra as national flower and national tree, respectively, through Proclamation No. 652. Philippine President Fidel Ramos proclaimed the Philippine eagle as the national bird in 1995 through Proclamation No. 615. Ramos also declared the South Sea Pearl or Philippine Pearl as the national gem in 1996 through Proclamation No. 905. In 2009, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo declared arnis as the national sport and martial art through Republic Act 9850.
In February 2013, the Philippine Senate passes a bill declaring waling-waling (Euanthe sanderiana) as the national flower alongside with Sampaguita. A similar bill in the House of Representatives has already been passed in 2012.  Normally, the bill will become a law (making waling-waling an official national symbol) after the President signs the bill.
Making a national symbol official
A Philippine national symbol will be considered official once it is declared through a law or a proclamation. National symbols such as the cariñosa, carabao, bangus (milkfish), and anahaw (footstool palm) that are circulating through various sources have no official status and have not established by law. According to Nestor Castro, a Filipino cultural anthropologist, most of these unofficial symbols were passed on as tradition in schools every start of the school year when students were asked to buy posters containing the supposed national symbols. While official national symbols are declared through law, Castro and National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) Section Chief Teodoro Atienza considered that the public must be consulted first before declaration of national symbol.
Filipinos as national symbol
According to the NHCP Section Chief Teodoro Atienza, and Filipino historian Ambeth Ocampo, there is no Filipino historical figure officially declared as national hero through law or executive order. Although, there were laws and proclamations honoring Filipino heroes. In the Rizal Law principally sponsored by Claro M. Recto and enacted in 1956, Jose Rizal is mentioned as a national hero in the "whereas" clause of the law. Although, "whereas" clauses function as a preamble or introduction and it is not part of the provisions. On 15 November 1995, the Technical Committee of the National Heroes Committee, created through Executive Order No. 5 by former President Fidel Ramos, recommended nine Filipino historical figures to be National Heroes: Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, Emilio Aguinaldo, Apolinario Mabini, Marcelo H. del Pilar, Sultan Dipatuan Kudarat, Juan Luna, Melchora Aquino, and Gabriela Silang. No action has been taken for these recommended National Heroes until it was revisited in one of the proceedings of the 14th Congress in 2009.
On 3 August 2009, shortly after the death of former President Corazon Aquino, widow of Benigno Aquino, Jr., legislative measures have been filed calling for her official recognition as a national hero. Congresswoman Liwayway Vinzons-Chato filed a house resolution declaring Corazon Aquino a national hero. Although, a week after she filed the resolution, she realized that there is no Filipino historical figure declared through law. On 10 August 2009, she cited on her privilege speech in Congress the nine Filipino heroes recommended by National Heroes Committee in 1995. She then urge Congress to sign the resolutions declaring the nine Filipinos recommended by the National Heroes Committee plus Benigno Aquino, Jr. and Corazon Aquino as national heroes. Congressman Salvador Escudero interpellated Vinzons-Chato's speech and stated that heroes are made in the hearts and minds of people and not through legislation. After the interpellation, it was moved by House of Representatives to refer the privilege speech of Vinzons-Chato to the Committee of Basic Education and Culture. Up to now, these resolutions have not been acted upon.
Filipinos awarded with the rank or title National Artist of the Philippines are not considered to be national symbols because the title is given in recognition to the recipient's contributions to Philippine arts and letters and not as a symbol that represents traditions and ideals and convey the principles of sovereignty and national solidarity.
List of symbols
||12 June 1898
(Reaffirmed 11 June 1998)
|Proclamation of President Emilio Aguinaldo
Reaffirmed by Republic Act No. 8491
|Coat of arms||
||3 July 1946
(Reaffirmed 11 June 1998)
|Commonwealth Act No. 731
Reaffirmed by Republic Act No. 8491[Note 1]
|Music : 11 June 1898
Lyrics : 26 May 1958
(Reaffirmed 11 June 1998)
|Music : Proclamation of President Emilio Aguinaldo
Lyrics : Department of Education Administrative Order
Reaffirmed by Republic Act No. 8491
("For God, People, Nature, and Country")
|12 February 1998||Republic Act No. 8491, Chapter III, Section 40|
||11 February 1987||Article XIV, Sec. 6 of the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines|
||1 February 1934||Executive Proclamation No. 652, issued by Governor General Frank Murphy|
||1 February 1934||Executive Proclamation No. 905|
||15 July 1995||Proclamation No. 615|
||15 October 1996||Proclamation No. 905|
||11 December 2009||Republic Act No. 9850|
- 1 The American Eagle and Lion Rampant of Spain were deliberately deleted without public referendum, under section 14 of Administrative Code of 1987.
- José Rizal, Andrés Bonifacio, Emilio Aguinaldo, Apolinario Mabini, Marcelo H. del Pilar, Muhammad Dipatuan Kudarat, Juan Luna, Melchora Aquino, and Gabriela Silang as National Heroes (These heroes were recommended by Technical Committee of the National Heroes Committee and revisited during the 14th Congress at the House of Representatives. In a resolution, a congresswoman added Corazon Aquino and Benigno Aquino, Jr. to the nine heroes declared by the National Heroes Committee, making the total to eleven national heroes. This was referred to a Congressional Committee and still must be acted upon and passed into law to make it official.)
- Waling-waling as National Flower; passed by Congress in 2013 but was vetoed by the president.
- Cariñosa as National Dance (formerly the Tinikling)
- Carabao as National Animal (or Land Animal)
- Bangus as National Fish
- Mango as National Fruit
- Barong and Baro't saya as National Costume
- "Ako ay Pilipino", "Bayan Ko", and "Pilipinas Kong Mahal" as National Songs
- Juan de la Cruz - symbolizing the Filipino people
- Sipa as National Sport
- Lechon, Adobo, and Sinigang as National Food
- Nipa hut (Bahay Kubo) - National House
- "Republic Act No. 8491 of the Philippines". Web Portal of the Philippine Government. Retrieved 2009-03-10.
- "THE 1987 CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES – ARTICLE XIV". Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines. Government of the Republic of the Philippines. Retrieved 20 February 2013.
- Ralph Angelo Ty (24 April 2012). "'Rizal is not our official national hero' and other facts about PHL's national symbols". GMA News. Retrieved 20 February 2013.
- Ambeth Ocampo (2009-03-03). "Looking Back: What is 'Philippine' or 'national'?". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 2009-03-10.
- "Briefer on the Order of National Artists". Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines. Government of the Republic of the Philippines. Retrieved 20 February 2013.
- "Philippine Fast Facts, National Flower: Sampaguita". National Commission for Culture and the Arts. Retrieved 2009-03-10.
- "Philippine Fast Facts, National Tree: Narra". National Commission for Culture and the Arts. Retrieved 2009-03-10.
- "Philippine Fast Facts, National Bird: Philippine Eagle". National Commission for Culture and the Arts. Retrieved 2009-03-10.
- "Philippine Fast Facts, National Gem: Philippine Pearl". National Commission for Culture and the Arts. Retrieved 2013-02-20.
- Lizares, George (2009-12-20). "Arnis now a national sport". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 2010-01-13.
- "Senate passes bill declaring Waling-waling nat’l flower alongside Sampaguita". Philippine Daily Inquirer. 4 February 2013. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
- Christina Mendez (30 January 2013). "Waling-waling soon a national flower". Philippine Star. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
- "From the BIS Online Query of the Philippine Congress". Philippine Congress. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
- "Legislative Process". Senate of the Philippines. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
- "Philippine Fast Facts". National Commission for Culture and the Arts. Retrieved 2009-03-10.
- "Selection and Proclamation of National Heroes and Laws Honoring Filipino Historical Figures". National Commission for Culture and the Arts. Retrieved 2009-03-10.
- "Republic Act No. 1425". Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines. Government of the Republic of the Philippines. Retrieved 20 February 2013.
- "The "whereas" clause". TransLegal. Retrieved 20 February 2013.
- "Congressional Record: Plenary Proceedings of the 14th Congress, Third Regular Session". Philippine House of Representatives. 03 August 2009. Retrieved 21 February 2013.
- Avendaño, Christine; Salaverria, Leila (08-05-2009). "2 Lawmakers urge: ‘Declare Cory Aquino a national hero’". INQUIRER.net. Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 08-09-2009.
- Ager, Maila; Dalangin-Fernandez, Lira (08-06-2009). "Bids to make Aquino a hero gain support". INQUIRER.net. Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 08-09-2009.
- "Congressional Record: Plenary Proceedings of the 14th Congress, Third Regular Session". Philippine House of Representatives. 10 August 2009. Retrieved 21 February 2013.
- "National Historical Commission - Today in History". National Historical Commission of the Philippines. Retrieved 2011-09-27.
- "Today in Philippine History July 15". Mindanao Examiner. Retrieved 2011-09-27.
- "Palace declares arnis as national martial art and sport". GMA News. 2010-01-08. Retrieved 2011-09-27.