SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — Local visitors and tourists alike can now enjoy the majestic view of Subic Bay with the dignified Philippine national flag flying on its pole 24-hours a day, including weekends.
This developed following the amendment of Republic Act No. 8491, also known as “The Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines,” to designate the Subic Bay Freeport Zone as place where the Philippine flag should be permanently hoisted.
Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma said that she has received from Executive Director Ludovico Badoy of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) a copy of NHCP Board Resolution No. 8, s. 2017, which amended Section 19 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 8491.
“This allows us to fly the Philippine flag 24 hours a day, and every day of the week,” Eisma said. “And this is an honor we gladly receive, and a matter of deep pride for the SBMA,” she added.
Eisma said that as the SBMA is holding a month-long celebration for its 25th year anniversary that will culminate on November 24, the Philippine flag would again be at the center of the celebration because most of the activities are held in front of the SBMA administration building where the huge flag is located.
She added that a plaque from the NHCP attesting to the agency’s privilege to continuously fly the Philippine flag will be installed on the base of the flagpole fronting the SBMA office along Waterfront Road here.
In June this year, SBMA Deputy Administrator for Administration Ruel John Kabigting wrote the NHCP regarding the SBMA’s intention to keep the Philippine flag, the biggest in the country, constantly flying, even during weekends and holidays.
“We wanted to give thousands of tourists who come to Subic Freeport the opportunity to behold and pay homage to the Philippine flag,” Kabigting said.
He noted that Philippine flag at the SBMA office is 44 feet long and 22 feet wide, and because it is flown atop a 120-feet high flagpole, is highly visible from many points in the Freeport.
“However, it is pitiful that visitors coming during weekends only see the flagpole without the huge Philippine flag flying at its top,” Kabigting said.
Kabigting said that flying the biggest Philippine flag in the country is a matter of pride and honor for every Filipino, “especially at this time when our sovereignty, territorial and exclusive economic rights are being challenged in the West Philippine Sea, and most recently the rebellion in the Marawi City.”
According to SBMA Senior Deputy Administrator for Public Works Marcelino Sanqui, the flagpole upon which the biggest Philippine flag is hoisted also has historical symbolism.
He said the 94 feet in its total height of 120 feet stands for the 94 years of American occupation of Subic Bay; the next 18 feet for the heads of states who attended the Asia-Pacific Economic Conference in Subic in 1996; and the remaining eight feet for the 8,000 volunteers who helped preserve Subic Bay facilities when the United States Navy withdrew in 1992.
Sanqui, who supervised the erection of the said flagpole in 1997, said the flagpole itself symbolizes national dignity and liberty, volunteerism and malasakit, and progress and development.
“It is dedicated to all volunteers who served and contributed their time, effort and skills to preserve and protect the former US Naval Base, which is now a bustling industrial center and tourism destination,” he added. (Dante M. Salvana)