SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — The country’s biggest national flag being flown in Subic Bay will soon be hoisted not just on weekdays, but permanently.
This, following the amendment of Republic Act No. 8491, also known as “The Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines,” to designate the Subic Bay Freeport Zone as a place where the Philippine flag should be permanently hoisted.
Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) chairman and administrator Wilma T. Eisma said she has received from National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) Executive Director Ludovico Badoy a copy of NHCP Board Resolution No. 8, s. 2017, which amended Section 19 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act 8491.
“This allows us to fly the Philippine flag 24 hours a day, and every day of the week. And this is an honor we gladly receive, and a matter of deep pride for the SBMA,” she said.
Eisma said the SBMA is holding a month-long celebration of its 25th year anniversary that would culminate on November 24, and the Philippine flag is at the center of the festivities because most of the activities are held in front of the SBMA administration building where the flag is hoisted.
She also said that a plaque from the NHCP attesting to the agency’s privilege to continuously fly the Philippine flag would be installed on the base of the flagpole fronting the SBMA office along the Waterfront Road here.
In June this year, SBMA deputy administrator for administration Ruel John Kabigting wrote the NHCP regarding the SBMA’s intention to keep the Philippine flag constantly flying, even during weekends and holidays.
“We wanted to give thousands of tourists who come to Subic Freeport the opportunity to behold and pay homage to the Philippine flag,” Kabigting said.
He noted that Philippine flag at the SBMA office is 44 feet long and 22 feet wide, and because it is flown atop a 120-foot high flagpole, it is highly visible from many points in the Freeport.
“However, it is pitiful that visitors coming during weekends only see the flagpole without the huge Philippine flag flying at its top,” Kabigting said.
He said that flying the biggest Philippine flag in the country is a matter of pride and honor for every Filipino, “especially at this time when our sovereignty, territorial and exclusive economic rights are being challenged in the West Philippine Sea, and most recently, the rebellion in the Marawi City.”
According to SBMA Senior Deputy Administrator for Public Works Marcelino Sanqui, the flagpole upon which the biggest Philippine flag is hoisted also has historical symbolism.
He said the 94 feet in its total height of 120 feet stands for the 94 years of American occupation of Subic Bay; the next 18 feet for the heads of states who attended the Asia-Pacific Economic Conference in Subic in 1996; and the remaining eight feet for the 8,000 volunteers who helped preserve Subic Bay facilities when the United States Navy withdrew in 1992.
Sanqui, who supervised the erection of the said flagpole in 1997, said the flagpole itself symbolizes national dignity and liberty, volunteerism and “malasakit” or concern for others, and progress and development. Ruben Veloria/PNA-northboundasia.com