Charice Pempengco, the 18-year-old Filipina starlet who recently landed a role on Glee with her powerful singing voice, could soon be violating her home country’s laws if she’s not careful. The Philippine Congress voted unanimously last week in favour of a bill proposing a $2,000 fine or jail time for the improper singing of the national anthem, Lupang Hinirang (Beloved Land). Pempengco, like many pop stars, opens sports events with a crooning interpretation of the national song—a trend that prompted the government to put a stop to the corruption of a patriotic symbol traditionally set to the beat of a military march.
Included in the bill is a ban on clothing displaying the country’s flag. “It’s basically and principally for Filipino citizens to instill more love of country, by explaining to them how the symbols of government, led by the flag, should be treated, including the proper way of singing the national anthem,” said Rep. Salvador Escudero, the bill’s principal author. The proposal must still be approved by the country’s senate and President Benigno Aquino before it can be passed into law.
But this concern isn’t unique to the Philippines. Another Asian country, Bangladesh, has made “insulting the national flag or anthem” a punishable offence.