BUTUAN CITY The Police Regional Office (PRO-13) led by PCSupt. Getulio P. Napenas and other top police regional officials showed on Friday afternoon the appropriate and solemn disposal of worn-out flags at Camp Rafael C. Rodriguez in this city.
The rites dubbed as the "Huling Parangal Sa Watawat," was attended by BGen. (Res.) Charito B. Plaza, PAF as the guest of honor, Father Saturnino Urios University presdent Fr. Christian U. Young, Hon. Ryan Anthony Culima, Chair, City Council Committee on Police Matters, the counterparts from the Philippine Army, chiefs and representatives of government line agencies, the Boy Scouts of the Philippines and other representatives from the various sectors.
The meaningful ceremony commenced with a prayer by PRO 13 Regional Chaplain PCInsp. (Fr.) Joselito Borja. It was followed by an honor afforded, as narrated by the masters of the ceremonies to the time-tested camp tri-color, which was taken from the camp repository and hoisted on Friday morning, for it to have its farewell unfurling above the camp skies.
The tattered national symbol was slowly and ceremoniously lowered down by four police personnel led by an official, at 4:30 p.m. with the singing of the national anthem led by the PRO 13 band. The flag was then carefully folded and with the singing of "Ako ay Pilipino," was presented to CSupt. Napenas, who gave the "go-signal" to place it at the white-draped table placed conspicuously at the center of the field in front of the audience.
The last honors or "huling parangal" to the aged flag was rendered by Napenas. The police official cited Sec. 14 of the RA 8491 otherwise known as "The Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines," which states that "A flag worn-out through wear and tear shall not be thrown away. It shall be solemnly burned to avoid misuse and desecration. The flag shall be replaced immediately when it begins to show signs of wear and tear.
A parade of colors followed showcasing the evolution of the Filipino flags from the "first KKK Katipunan flag" to our present national symbol. A poem "Ang Aking Bandila" was then rendered by SPO1 Leomel Elicano. The message "Ang Simbolo Ng Kalayaan Ng Watawat Ng Pilipinas Sa Bawat Pilipino" was given by BGen.(Res.) Plaza while the assigned personnel paraded the aged flag before the audience with the slow music "Ako'y Pilipino" in the background. The last "Panunumpa Ng Watawat," afforded to the flag was led by CSupt. Mario O. Soriano, PRO 13 DRDA.
The final inspection of the flag was done by Plaza and Napenas who both led the solemn burning of the color amidst the singing of "Magkaisa," in the background. About 30 other worn-out flags were also ceremoniously burned. The ashes of the burned flags were then placed at a "Flag Urn" which was placed in a prepared concrete "tomb" at the foot of the camp's flagpole base. The ashes were buried at the sound of the "Tap" by the PRO 13 band. A wreath was then placed beside it, and the audience who witnessed the ceremony threw some flowers to the grave. A bunch of white baloons then were released skyward.
The ceremony ended in a lively note highlighted with the singing for the first time of the song composed by PSSupt. Cedrick G. Train, PRO 13 DRDO, "Pulis Caraga, Mabuhay Ka!" led by the PRO 13 band.
The activity was part of the regional police celebration of the "National Flag Day" which started May 28 until June 12.(PNA)