MANILA, Philippines - A congressman has filed a measure that seeks to officially declare the country's national symbols, including the classic dish adobo which would be the national food of Filipinos.
Bohol First District Rep. Rene Relampagos proposed House Bill 3926 or the "Philippine National Symbols Act of 2014" to provide a basis for the declaration and recognition of the country's national symbols.
Relampagos, the chair of the House committee on tourism, said while national symbols represent the nation, history and culture, several of them are not officially declared.
"In the Philippines, there are around twenty national symbols being taught in school. However, of these symbols, only ten are official, that is with basis either in the Constitution, Republic Acts and Proclamations," Relampagos said.
The lawmaker said the unofficial symbols are now considered "blatantly colorums" for not having basis for their declaration.
"Rizal now becomes the unofficial national hero, carabao the unofficial national animal, mango the unofficial national fruit, bangus the unofficial fish, the baro't saya as the unofficial national costume and so on," Relampagos said.
Aside from correcting their unofficial status, Relampagos said his bill also aims to develop nationalism and develop tourism through these symbols and to preserve, promote and provide guidelines for their use, care and conservation, among others.
Relampagos said the State has a declared policy "to inculcate patriotism, nationalism and appreciation of the role of national heroes and symbols in the historical development of the country."
Under the proposed law, the following will be declared or re-declared as official national symbols: