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Senate-House panels OK bill adding 9th ray to RP flag

The country’s national flag will soon have nine rays in its sun instead of only eight. The Senate and House of Representatives are expected to ratify next week the reconciled version of Senate Bill 3307 and House Bill 6424 which provides for the inclusion of additional ray in the sun, Senator Richard Gordon told GMANews.TV Thursday. The two bills proposed amendments to Republic Act No. 849, or An Act Prescribing the Code of the National Flag, Anthem, Motto, Coat-of-Arms and Other Heraldic Items and Devices of the Philippines. The bicameral conference committee approved on Tuesday, among others, the additional ray to the sun in the Philippine flag symbolizing the courage, bravery and integrity of Muslim Filipinos who fought for the nation's independence. Gordon, chairman of the Senate panel and principal author of Senate Bill (SB) 3307, lauded the approval of the measure saying that it would foster greater unity among Filipinos regardless of religion. He said the National Historical Institute initially opposed the proposal but he still pursued it. “I don’t care what they think about it. Once it is signed, they should follow the law." “We are a country that has had a conflict with our Muslim brothers for the last so many decades. I think this is a big step towards reuniting our country, recognizing the contributions of our fellow countrymen, the Filipino Muslims. We should recognize their deeds in our country," he said. The other members of the joint Senate-House panel were Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri, and Representatives Del De Guzman, chairman of the House contingent, with Ma. Carissa Coscoluella, Salvador Escudero III, and Roman Romulo as members. Gordon said the national flag not only represents principles of sovereignty and solidarity of the Filipino nation, but also embodies the ideals and traditions of the Filipino people developed over the course of national history. He added that the flag symbolizes the nation’s struggle for independence and victory against foreign colonizers. The three stars in the flag represent the three major geographical divisions of the country: Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao; while the eight rays of the sun represent the eight provinces that revolted against the Spanish regime, namely: Batangas, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Manila, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, and Tarlac. The senator said he proposed the addition of the ninth ray because behind the stories of the most celebrated names of national heroes, who fought for the country’s independence, lie the stories of mostly-forgotten Muslim heroes, including Lapu-Lapu, Sultan Kudarat and Rajah Sulayman, who displayed courage, bravery and integrity against a determined foe. - GMANews.TV