Is the Philippines under a state of war? Against whom?


MANILA – Twice in public this month, the Philippine flag was displayed the ‘wrong’ way. A unique feature of the Philippine flag is the symbolism of its equal bands of red and blue — it indicates a state of war if the flag is displayed with the red side on top. The Philippine government traditionally displays it with the blue side on top, saying the Philippines is not in a state of war.

At the recent Southeast Asian Games, some Filipino athletes’ uniforms showed the Philippine flag with the red and not the blue color up. Apologies followed after authorities blamed the supplier of uniforms.


Yesterday, at a picket protest of workers from Metro Manila and Southern Tagalog in front of the Department of Labor and Employment in Intramuros, Manila, they noticed the department’s Philippine flag had the red color up.

Since the workers have been denouncing the labor department’s hand in forcing them into dangerous workplaces and low-wage, insecure jobs, and seemingly engaging them in a war when they protested, the workers found nothing wrong in seeing the Philippine flag displaying the red color up.

kentex factory fire

The workers on strike from Tanduay Distillers Inc. still bore the scars of their recent defense of their picketline from the police, security guards and what they call “Lucio Tan’s goons.”

The supporters of Kentex Manufacturing Corp.’s fire victims brought a mock coffin symbolizing the killer work conditions which the labor department had approved and marked as labor standards-compliant.

Philippine flag red side up

Some of the policemen watching over the protesters and the security guards hastily pulled the flag down to “correct” its color.

[Text by Marya Salamat, Photos by M. Salamat and Pamantik-KMU]


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