As president, Aquino will have to sign off on the proposed ban on off-key singing of the national anthem [Reuters]

Philippine MPs have proposed a law against off-key singing of Lupang Hinirang (Beloved Land), the national anthem and also to curb unpatriotic displays of the Philippine flag.

The Philippines' lower house voted 196-0 in favour of the measure on Monday. The proposal will become law if it is passed by the senate and signed by the president, Benigno Aquino.

The proposal has been put forward as the MPs felt that Filipino artists had been changing the anthem's military march melody and beat, and the flag was being made into clothing articles. The change in the anthem's tune was noted when it was sung at the boxing matches of Manny Pacquiao, the seven-time Filipino world champion.

If this new law is passed, Filipino singers deviating from the anthem tune could be handed a jail sentence as well as a $2,000 fine.

Salvador Escudero, the bill's principal author, said: "Our congress has given more teeth to government's campaign to invigorate patriotism, respect and love of country by singing our anthem properly."

Elsewhere in Asia, Bangladesh has passed a law to make "insulting the national flag or anthem" a punishable offence. The law also bans the use of the anthem as a ring tone or welcome tune in mobile phones for commercial gains.

Source: Agencies