On May 28, 1898, the Philippine flag was first unfurled after the revolutionary army defeated the Spaniards in a battle in Imus, Cavite. Less than a month later, on June 12—what we now commemorate as Independence Day—the flag was formally presented to the people.
By virtue of a 1994 executive order of President Fidel V. Ramos, National Flag Day was extended to the period between May 28 and June 12, during which Filipinos are encouraged to display the Philippine flag in offices, agencies, business establishments, schools and homes.
It’s a good time to remind us that we all fall under the same three colors no matter what dominant shade we displayed during the last campaign period.
No doubt, the just-conducted elections and the wild days that preceded it would stand out as the most creative, most ingenious but also the most vicious among all campaign periods, not just among the candidates and their supporters but among individual citizens as well.
Over social media, ugly exchanges took place that sometimes resulted in relationship rifts. Aside from the violence that occurred on the streets, bad faith and bile accompanied people’s choices—and their judgment of others’ choices.
This period when we are expected to give our national flag the reverence it deserves, we are reminded that one could only sport one color for long. The outgoing President, for instance, has never shed his habit of wearing only a yellow pin on his chest, sending the message that he only leads those who support him.
But what of the others who harbored a different, though equally valid, view?
The new administration will, we hope, shed the practice of immediately rejecting the voices of those who do not agree with it. Diversity and disagreement are good; leaders who are humble enough to acknowledge that they may not have all the answers and that they may not always be right, even better—so long as they place the nation’s interest first.
These virtues came in short supply during the Aquino administration; we hope they will not in the next one.