A few generations ago, including mine, Filipino school children were taught love of country through the “Panatang Makabayan” (Pledge of Allegiance) that we had to recite every morning during flag raising ceremony. We knew it by heart and the words still ring loudly in my ears —
Iniibig ko ang Pilipinas
Ito ang aking lupang sinilangan
Ito ang tahanan ng aking lahi
Ako’y kanyang kinukupkop at tinutulungan
Upang maging malakas, maligaya at kapakipakinabang
Bilang ganti, diringgin ko ang payo ng aking mga magulang
Susundin ko ang mga tuntunin ng aking paaralan
Tutuparin ko ang mga tungkulin ng isang mamamayang makabayan at masunurin sa batas
Paglilingkuran ko ang aking bayan nang walang pag-iimbot at ng buong katapatan
Sisikapin kong maging isang tunay na Pilipino sa isip, sa salita, at sa gawa.”
But in November 2001, a new version was introduced by the Department of Education under the late Secretary Raul Roco. The existing one was revised for no other reason than to “use shorter lines in less formal Tagalog.” In so doing, not only were many words and phrases, taken out – especially the last line; it also lost its cadence and rhythm.
And we wonder why today’s young do not take patriotism seriously.
This is what they recite today:
“Iniibig ko ang Pilipinas,
aking lupang sinilangan,
Tahanan ng aking lahi,
Kinukupkop ako at tinutulungan
Maging malakas, masipag at marangal
Dahil mahal ko ang Pilipinas.
Diringgin ko ang payo ng aking magulang,
Susundin ko ang tuntunin ng paaralan.
Tutuparin ko ang tungkulin ng mamamayang makabayan
Naglilingkod, nag-aaral at nagdarasal ng buong katapatan.
Iaalay ko ang aking buhay, pangarap, pag-sisikap sa bansang Pilipinas.”
The Panata as our generation knew it was a translation from the original English text:
“I love the Philippines.
It is the land of my birth;
It is the home of my people.
It protects me and helps me to be strong, happy and useful.
In return, I will heed the counsel of my parents;
I will obey the rules of my school;
I will perform the duties of a patriotic, law-abiding citizen;
I will serve my country unselfishly and faithfully
I will be a true Filipino in thought, in word, and in deed.”
Guess who “reminded” Filipinos that the Philippines is “the land of my birth and the home of my people” while kissing the Philippine flag all across the country?
The ascendancy of Rodrigo Roa Duterte as the 16th President of the Philippine Republic, whose love of country is unquestionable, will hopefully inspire a resurgence of patriotism among Filipinos.