Philippines flag and pride
Philippines flag and pride iStock

Filipinos who do not enthusiastically sing their national anthem may be jailed for up to a year, according to a proposed new bill.

The new bill, which was approved by the Philippines House of Representatives, applies only when the national anthem is played in public.

If the bill is passed, those who do not sing the anthem with sufficient energy may be punished with a fine of 50,000-1000 pesos ($1,000-2,000). A person's second offense will slap him with a fine and up to a year in prison.

In addition, those imprisoned would be publicly censured.

"The singing shall be mandatory and must be done with fervor," the bill states, adding that citizens must stand and face the flag during the anthem. "Any act which casts contempt, dishonor or ridicule upon the national anthem shall be penalized."

If there is no flag present, citizens should face the band or conductor. Casting contempt, dishonor, or ridicule upon the national anthem would be considered a crime.

The bill does not state how "fervor" would be defined, however, it does include a clause for people "whose faith or religious beliefs prohibit them from singing the national anthem." These people must stand at attention and "show full respect."

Meanwhile those playing the anthem would would need to keep to a tempo of 100-120 beats per minute, and schoolchildren would be required to memorize the song.

Marlyn Alonte, one of the bill's sponsors, told CNN that the bill's goal is to instill respect and patriotism in the country's citizens.

"Some Filipinos don't even know all the words to the national anthem," she said, adding that some of the bill's provisions may change before it becomes law.

Another of the bill's sponsors, Maximo Rodriguez Jr, said, "The national anthem embodies and expresses the aspirations, dreams, ideals, longings, commitment and determination, nationalism and patriotism, sentiment and spirit of the people."

At Hebrew University graduations, it became the norm for Israeli Arab students, with impunity, to turn their back on the stage when the national anthem "Hatikvah" is sung or at best, remain seated. This year, the university skipped the traditional singing of the anthem at the end of the ceremony so as "not to offend them." In 2012, Supreme Court Justice Salim Jubran chose not to sing the national anthem at the end of the inaugural ceremony of President of the Supreme Court Asher Grunis. He did, however, stand - facing the flag - to show his respect.

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