So much has been said about Martin Nievera’s rendition of the Philippine national anthem during the fight between Manny Pacquiao and Ricky Hatton.
I found myself in wonder when I watched the fight on TV. I tuned in just at the moment Martin was singing the last few words of the national anthem. And truth be told, it took me a few seconds to realize that it was indeed the national anthem he was singing — or at least, a semblance of it.
I almost did not recognize our own national anthem! Naturally, everyone sensed trouble for Martin right away. Everyone knew he would be under fire — except perhaps, Martin himself.
After all, he is not the first artist to gain notoriety for veering away from the proper way of singing the Lupang Hinirang.
But what really is the big deal?
In fairness to Nievera, I would give him the benefit of the doubt — I don’t think he deliberately meant any disrespect to the country. Some would even claim they felt his love for country, after feeling goosebumps after hearing his falsetto.
But then, there is the law: Republic Act 8491, which spells out the proper way of showing reverence to national symbols such as the Lupang hinirang, the national flag, and the country’s coat of arms.
Our national anthem is said to be unique for its tempo. It was written as a march, which means it is meant to be sung at a fast-paced tempo (because it is a march, after all). It is even sung in the key of G. These details follow the arrangment of its composer, Julian Felipe. These details are spelled out in section 37 of the law itself.
Sec. 37. The rendition of the National Anthem, whether played or sung, shall be in accordance with the musical arrangement and composition of Julian Felipe.
Obviously, Martin’s rendition did not follow this provision, just like other artists who rendered the anthem in Pacquiao’s past fights.
But the real debate does not lie on merely following the law. The center of the argument lies really on why the law exists to begin with.
The Lupang Hinirang is not just any ordinary song in the top 40. It is a symbol of our sovereignty. It is the symbol of our country, and a culminating symbol of the struggles in gaining independence. The national anthem sums up our history, and more than 300 years of struggle for freedom. This history, of course, is what we wish to pass on to future generations of Filipinos.
It is our responsibility to pass it on correctly. It is every Filipino’s responsibility to pass these traditions, to pass on our very history accurately. Otherwise, we would end up having different versions on our very own history.
The Philippine national anthem, its notes and lyrics, are not similar to articles on wikipedia, which can be carelessly edited by anyone, who wishes to add any revisions or modifications if he or so wishes. These are fixed.
I find myself agreeing with the National Historical Institute. Many children were watching the fight. Do we want them to be confused? And I am sure that Martin Nievera himself knows that he has a responsibility to be a role model because he is a public figure, and is representing the country in the world stage, er arena.
So fine, Martin showed patriotism with his falcetto. But isn’t it true that one shows true love for country by safeguarding its sacred traditions, living them correctly, and passing them to future generations correctly? Can it not start with the flag and the national anthem?
It is not the song itself that we are giving reverence to, but what the song stands for, and the people who died so that we can sing this national anthem in the context of freedom and independence.
I don’t know why Martin keeps on saying that he didn’t change a single note. We’re not deaf! And his intentions aside, his rendition of the national anthem degraded it into a song for entertainment, and even a self-serving showcase of his good voice. The song was sung for promotion and entertainment. And the law is very clear about the national anthem not being sung for mere entertainment purposes. He has trivialized the national anthem as any other OPM song that could be revised and revived.
It is sad that quite a number of public figures have apparently gotten away with such sacrilege, since there is a law. The law calls for a monetary penalty of at least P5,000, as well as a public censure from the government. But has the law ever been enforced? It is evident that the National Historical Institute is all sound bites, but not able to enforce the law.
Now, a partylist solon has even filed a resolution calling a house inquiry over the brouhaha. I am tempted to feel that this is an over-reaction. Some quarters would even say that such moves are
only meant to generate media mileage for 2010 (come on, let’s face it!). Still, to be fair, the National Historical Institute needs more teeth to perform its mandate. And in order for it to have more police powers, an investigation in aid of legislation may be necessary.
Don’t look now, but the Department of Health has called on Manny Pacquiao to postpone his trip from Los Angeles back to the Philippines. The Pacman is due to arrive on Friday.
I don’t get it. Why is Team Pacquiao being singled out by Secretary Francisco Duque? Duque says that Pacquiao and his delegation may bring the dreaded H1NL flu virus to the country.
Come on, where is the logic in that?
If Duque is worried about Pacquiao, then he might as well call for the blocking of all arrivals from LA and Las Vegas. He might as well do the same with Hong Kong, South Korea, and the UK.
And if that were the case, we might as well prevent Filipinos from traveling to all those places!
Oh, and let’s not forget Cebu, where two patients are now being quarantined.
If it’s any consolation, Duque’s crazy idea gives him the attention that he has been wanting. I just don’t think that this attention would translate into votes that would get him to the Senate come 2010.