Sotto gets backlash for suggesting to revise the national anthem

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 20) — The Senate President wants the national anthem revised, but the suggestion did not sit well with netizens.

Senator Vicente "Tito" Sotto said the last line of the national anthem "Lupang Hinirang" reflects a "defeatist" attitude in defending the freedom of the oppressed.

Instead of singing "Aming ligaya ng 'pag may mag-aapi, ang mamatay nang dahil sa'yo [ Our desire is to die for you in the face of oppression]" he said he would change the last phrase to "ang ipaglaban ang kalayaan mo [our desire is to fight for your freedom in the face of oppression]"

"Parang defeatist 'yung last line sapagkat na imbis lumaban, mamatay…dapat laban, hindi patay," Sotto said Wednesday.

[Translation: The last line seems defeatist since instead of fighting (for the oppressed), we should die. We should fight, not die.]

However, netizens were quick to react negatively to the Senator's idea. Some said the revision is irrelevant compared to pressing issues in the country such as inflation.

Wala na akong tiwala sa gobyerno ng Pilipinas kung pati huling linya ng pambansang awit e ginagawa pang issue. NAKAKARANAS NA TAYO NG INFLATION UYYY!!!! BAGSAK NA EKONOMIYA NATIN!!!! MAHIRAP NA NGA LALO PANG NAGHIHIRAP, SAN KA PA?!?!?! We need freaking solutions, freaking change!

— Nicole (@nicoleverdillo) September 19, 2018

Meanwhile, others insist Sotto misunderstood the lyrics of the national anthem.

"Ang mamatay ng dahil sa 'yo." in the National Anthem does not mean "pagsuko". It means that the Filipinos are willing to fight for the country even if it costs them their lives. That right there is patriotism.

'Wag mo na baguhin tito Sotto.

— A N T O N (@chinantoinette) September 19, 2018

In a post on Twitter, Sotto hit back at critics and said he would not insist the proposal if people are against it.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said he would defer the decision on Sotto's suggestion to Congress. He said there are more important matters at hand for the government to address.

"Iniiwan na po namin yan sa Kongreso. Mas maraming mas matitinding problema na dapat harapin. Bahala na po ang Kongreso diyan," Roque said Thursday.

[Translation: We will leave that to Congress. There are more serious problems that we have to face. That is up to Congress now.]

Sotto is not the only senator who offered to make changes to one of the country's national symbols. Senator Richard Gordon opted to add a ninth ray to the sun of the Philippine national flag that would represent the Muslim leaders who fought for the country against foreign invasion. Gordon said the bill is on its third and final reading and he expects it to be passed within the year.

READ: Historian finds error in adding 9th ray in PH flag