Tak­ing the knee and flag-burn­ing T

Sun.Star Pampanga - - OPINOIOPNINION -

HE Philip­pine flag law is tougher than that of many other coun­tries, in­clud­ing United States. If the U.S. had a law sim­i­lar to ours, Pres­i­dent Trump could just or­der the ar­rest of any football player kneel­ing on one knee be­fore the Amer­i­can flag while their na­tional an­them is sung or played.

Rules on be­hav­ior of per­sons be­fore the na­tional flag are sim­i­lar in the two coun­tries: stand­ing at at­ten­tion, fac­ing the flag, with right hand over chest (PH) or the heart (U.S.) The dif­fer­ence is that vi­o­la­tion is crim­i­nal­ized here but not in the U.S. 2 laws dif­fer

Repub­lic Act # 8491 (Flag & Heraldic Code of the Philip­pines) car­ries the penalty of pub­lic cen­sure or a fine of P5,000-P20,000 or a jail term of not more than one year.

Ti­tle #36, Sec­tion 171 of the U.S. Code, which lays down the rule of con­duct, does not pro­vide a penalty. It is merely “declara­tory and ad­vi­sory,” the U.S. Congress was told af­ter a study of the law. Their Na­tional Flag Code, adopted in 1923, was cov­ered with a joint res­o­lu­tion of Congress, which also has no pe­nal pro­vi­sion.

Manolo Que­zon III, who was then work­ing with Mala­cañang, in 2016 noted that for­eign­ers usu­ally wouldn’t know how strict our flag law is un­til they’re caught vi­o­lat­ing it. Madonna, in Manila for two days in Jan­uary of that year, draped her body with the Philip­pine flag and set off an up­roar. She didn’t know that us­ing the flag as part of a cos­tume is pro­hib­ited.

But even some na­tives don’t know bet­ter. Three Univer­sity of the East stu­dents years ago mopped a class­room floor with a flag while others laughed, which was video recorded. The stu­dents were ex­pelled; it wasn’t known if they were charged. Pres­sure on own­ers

Trump must know that football play­ers who protest by kneel­ing while the an­them was played can’t be pros­e­cuted. So he turned to the next best thing he saw: pres­sure team own­ers to fire them. The same own­ers though, in 2016, en­cour­aged but didn’t re­quire their play­ers to stand dur­ing the cer­e­mony.

Trump’s re­cent at­tack on ath­letes, on which he dou­bled down the fol­low­ing day, failed to curb dis­sent. In­stead, the protest has spread across the coun­try, go­ing be­yond football teams to ath­letes in other sports, in­clud­ing bas­ket­ball. Steph Curry and Le­bron James, as huge cage stars as they can get, blasted Trump on Twit­ter; James called Trump a “bum.” Free speech

Be­sides not be­ing pe­nal­ized, “mis­con­duct” dur­ing flag rites in the U.S. is tied up with its con­sti­tu­tional rule on free speech. Colin Kaeper­nick, San Fran­cisco 49ers quar­ter­back, who started it all in Au­gust last year, said he couldn’t “show pride in the flag of a coun­try that op­presses black and other colored peo­ple.”

Trump sup­port­ers dis­agree, say­ing free speech may still be ex­er­cised with­out be­ing of­fen­sive to the flag, the “sym­bol that em­bod­ies na­tional ideals and tra­di­tion.”’ Flag burn­ing

If any­one in the Philip­pines shows any form of dis­re­spect to the Filipino flag, he can get jailed. Some­one can burn the Amer­i­can flag in a pub­lic protest and will go un­puni shed.

Tak­ing the knee at a football cer­e­mony in­fu­ri­ates Trump. Watch how he acts up if some­one sets the U.S. flag on fire dur­ing a march in Wash­ing­ton D.C.

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