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Philippines may ban Madonna for disrespecting flag

Aurea Calica - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – American singer Madonna may face a ban in the Philippines for disrespecting its flag in her concerts this week, a historical commission official said.

The 57-year-old entertainer is on a world tour to promote her “Rebel Heart” album, and did sold-out shows on Wednesday and Thursday in Manila.

“She ridiculed our flag,” said Teodoro Atienza, chief of the heraldry section of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, in an interview over dzBB.

He said Madonna violated Republic Act 8491, which prohibits the wearing of the Philippine flag “in whole or in part as a costume or uniform.”

“The singer and concert producers could be held liable for the violation even if they were unaware of the law,” Atienza said. “They may face deportation and might not be able to return to the country. She also allowed the flag to touch the stage floor, which is another violation.”

Manuel Quezon III, undersecretary for the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office, said over dzRB that although ignorance of the law excuses no one, it should not always be punitive.

“We should all bear in mind that the law exists for a reason…because we want our flag to be respected. People died for that flag,” Quezon stressed.

He said there is a need to inform people and students on what the flag stands for, in reaction to the expulsion of a high school student who used the flag to mop the floor and the idea to ban Madonna from entering the country again.

There was no immediate response from the organizers of the concerts, held in the same hall where Pope Francis met Philippine families last year. Madonna is expected in Singapore today.

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