Philippines bill proposes jail time for unenthusiastic anthem singers

(CNN)Philippines citizens may need to start exercising their vocal chords. The country’s House of Representatives has approved a bill requiring members of the public to sing the country’s national anthem, Lupang Hinirang, “with fervor” whenever it is played publicly.

Those who are convicted of violating the proposed law could face public censure, fines between $1,000 to $2,000 and up to a year in prison. The measure did not define how it would qualify whether or not a citizen sang the anthem with enough fervor.

Some other stipulations in the bill: All students at public and private schools would be required to memorize the anthem It should be played in accordance with its original composition, a 2/4 time signature when played instrumentally and a 4/4 time signature when sang. It should be played at a temp between 100 and 120 beats per minute All people are required to stand and face the flag during the anthem, or the band and conductor if there is no flag. Casting contempt, dishonor or ridicule upon the national anthem is considered a violation of the law.

The bill, which has to be approved by the Philippines Senate and President before becoming law, does provide a stipulation for those “whose faith or religious beliefs prohibit them from singing the national anthem”: They must “show full respect” and stand at attention.

The goal of the bill is to instill patriotism and respect, Marlyn Alonte, one of the bill’s sponsors, told CNN. “Some Filipinos don’t even know all the words to the national anthem, Alonte said. When asked about the penalties, Alonte noted that some of the bill’s provisions – including punishments – could change.

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