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Philippines May Imprison People Who Don’t Sing National Anthem With Enough Passion

REUTERS/Erik De Castro

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Eric Lieberman Deputy Editor

The Philippines House of Representatives approved a bill Monday that would require citizens to sing the national anthem with enthusiasm when it is publicly played.

If Filipinos fail to belt out the song “Lupang Hinirang” loudly or passionately enough, they could face a hefty fine or jail time, The New York Times reports. Local newspapers may also condemn any violators with a “public censure.”

“The singing shall be mandatory and must be done with fervor,” the bill reads, according to The New York Times.

The legislation, which is yet to be finalized, has other stipulations, like mandating the tempo of any public rendition to be anywhere from 100 to 120 beats per minutes and forcing schools to guarantee all students memorize the anthem. It also should be played with a 2/4 time signature when played with instruments, and a 4/4 time signature when performed vocally.

Specific punishments for lack of spirited singing include a fine of 50,000 to 100,000 pesos (which equals roughly $1,000 to $2,000) and up to a year of imprisonment.

The bill still has to pass the Philippines Senate and be approved by the president to be come established law in the country.

If put into effect, the rule would be reminiscent of North Korean policy in which citizens are pressured to be as zealous or intense as possible when the country’s leader arrives at an event, or passes away.

Other countries have implemented specific mandates over their respective anthems.

The Supreme Court in India, for example, ruled in November that its national anthem must be played before film screenings in theaters. Months later, the court was compelled to clarify its ruling, stipulating that standing is not required if the anthem is played within a theater after people reportedly assaulted others for not complying. (RELATED: Man Sentenced To 35 Years In Jail For Allegedly Criticizing Royal Family On Facebook)

In new rules set in 2014, China disallowed the playing of the anthem in a setting with “an inappropriate atmosphere,” like private weddings, funerals, and commercial events.

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