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From logo to hymn and pledge, what next?

More than slogans, songs or pledges, meaningful changes are realized when people see good examples and dedicated work from their leaders.

Jun 17, 2024

Tita C. Valderama


4-minute read

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The Bagong Pilipinas logo came first, then the hymn and pledge. How can these bring about relevant changes in our lives? What’s the next thing on the administration’s agenda to bring us to the promised land?

Most Filipinos have yet to feel the fruits of the Marcos Jr. administration’s touted economic successes, particularly from the billions of dollars of investment pledges supposedly secured from the many foreign travels of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

The retail price of rice is still far from the aspiration of P20 per kilogram. The struggle to make both ends meet is becoming more and more challenging for more families, as it seemingly becomes impossible for salaries and wages to keep pace with rising prices, even for the most basic needs.

Malacañang unveiled in July 2023 its Bagong Pilipinas campaign as the administration’s brand of governance and leadership. Just a few days before the 126th anniversary of Philippine Independence on June 12, Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin signed Memorandum Circular (MC) 52 for the singing of the Bagong Pilipinas hymn and recital of the Bagong Pilipinas pledge after flag-raising ceremonies in all government agencies and entities and in schools.

Local government units (LGUs) are “encouraged” to do the same. Many wonder what will happen to the heads of LGUs that will ignore MC 52. Would cases that have been gathering dust somewhere come to life if they refuse to order the singing of the Bagong Pilipinas hymn?

The singing of the Bagong Pilipinas hymn and recital of the pledge is meant to “further instill the principles of the Bagong Pilipinas brand of governance and leadership among Filipinos.”

Vice President Sara Duterte had her own version of Bagong Pilipinas, Bagong Mukha song, which rapper Andrew E composed for her 2022 campaign. Was she consulted, as VP and Education secretary, in the making of the Bagong Pilipinas hymn and pledge?

When VP Duterte’s father, former president Rodrigo Duterte, was still trying to ingratiate himself with the Marcoses in 2019, he broached the idea of renaming the Philippines “Maharlika,” a word originally meaning warrior class, to pay homage to the country’s pre-colonial past.

The incumbent president’s father popularized “maharlika” during his rule. A major highway that connects Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao, a hall in Malacañan Palace, and other public facilities were named “maharlika.”

Would the Marcos Jr. administration have another “Maharlika” in the near future?

After the government spent millions of pesos officially launching the Bagong Pilipinas campaign at the Rizal Park in Manila last January, have you felt or noticed any substantial or meaningful change in the way the country is governed?

I am not yet too old to forget that allies of the president, led by his first cousin, House Speaker Martin Romualdez, started the year with a brazen attempt to amend the 1987 Constitution through a people’s initiative, which was marked by allegations of bribery and other forms of corruption and intimidation.

This came after they failed to ram through our throats their version of the Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF), using pension funds in the state-run Government Service Insurance System and the Social Security System.

Have you heard any progress on the MIF lately, more than a year after the Romualdez Express rushed its approval in December 2022 and almost one year after Marcos signed it into law in July 2023?

With the midterm elections drawing near, the Marcos administration should work harder in explaining to the Filipino people what exactly is its “brand of governance and leadership” that the Bagong Pilipinas logo, hymn and pledge seek to achieve.

There is nothing new in the Bagong Pilipinas lyrics and pledge that Filipinos don’t know yet to inspire or motivate them to contribute to nation-building. More than slogans, songs or pledges, meaningful changes are realized when people see good examples and dedicated work from their leaders.

Nothing beats good governance, where leaders take leadership to heart by judicious spending of limited public money, government positions are given on the basis of performance instead of friendship or debt of gratitude, and changes are aspired for the public good, not for personal redemption.

The views in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of VERA Files.
This column also appeared in The Manila Times.

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