Ambeth Ocampo, a historian and chair of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, wrote the following in his column today:
Can our youth still identify with a tune that is over a century old? Or do we reinvent or repackage that same tune to make our youth sit up, rap, or dance, as they revisit the past? ...Nobody seems to care that the Flag Code prescribes that the anthem be sung the way Julian Felipe composed it in 1898. Is this possible?It seems that he would like to update the National Anthem but is constrained by Section 37 of Republic Act 8491 ("The rendition of the National Anthem, whether played or sung, shall be in accordance with the musical arrangement and composition of Julian Felipe") to keep it as it is.
—"The right way to sing the National Anthem" (Philippine Daily Inquirer, 25 May 2005)
To echo his question, is it possible to update the National Anthem and still retain its patriotic feel? My answer: not only possible, but necessary. We do not speak now the way Filipinos spoke during the time of the Philippine Revolution. And we should not be expected to sing the way they sang.