Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Sunday told critics to his proposal to revise the lyrics of the national anthem that they can relax as he has not filed any bill for such purpose.
Sotto clarified that he merely brought up the idea during the course of discussion over Sen. Richard Gordon’s bill seeking to add one more ray to the eight rays on the national flag.
“It’s just a usual wish of a composer who thinks a word or two can stand improvement in any song whether it’s an anthem or any song,” said Sotto, who is a songwriter and composer before he became a politician.
The proposal drew negative comments that flooded social media, prompting Sotto to retort on his Twitter account that many people just don’t understand.
“If you don’t want it, then don’t!” Sotto said.
The silver lining on his proposal to tweak the “defeatist” lyrics of “Lupang Hinirang” according to Sotto, was that it stoked nationalism among the Filipinos, particularly the youth as he cited intense debates his suggestion had sparked.
It’s just a usual wish of a composer who thinks a word or two can stand improvement in any song.
“Now you know what I mean,” Sotto told the Daily Tribune.
During the interpellation on Gordon’s bill, Sotto brought up the idea that “Lupang Hinirang’s” last line “ang mamatay ng dahil sa ‘yo” (to die because of you) sounds defeatist and suggested instead to replace it with “ang ipaglaban kalayaan mo” (to fight for your freedom).
“I am more concerned and serious about the way our national anthem is being sung. The pronunciation and intonation are incorrect in some words and phrases,” said Sotto.
Sen. Gordon shared Sotto’s sentiment and the importance of rousing patriotism among our people.
“Sometimes it’s good to have this kind of discussions that rouse our nationalism,” said Gordon. “It is important that the children of today should learn and understand our rich history to develop in them a sense of patriotism,” he added.
For Sotto, the best interpretation of the national anthem is the one sung by Joey Ayala in 2013, with words properly pronounced and a slower tempo.
Similar to Sotto’s suggestion, Ayala also modified the last line of the anthem but with a different sense: “ang magmahal ng dahil sa iyo” (to love because of you).