THE National Historical Commission of the Philippines said it won't take action over the flag blunder committed by the national athletics team in the Southeast Asian Games after getting an apology from sports officials.
Alvin Alcid, head of the Research, Publication and Heraldry division of the commission, said they have already received an explanation from the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) on why sprinters Kayla Richardson and Eric Cray wore uniforms with Philippine flags turned upside down in the Singapore showpiece.
Athletics chief Philip Ella Juico on Wednesday blamed the suppliers of the team uniforms for the lapse.
“Pagdating sa pananagutan, inamin naman na ng Philippine Sports Commission 'yun. It’s a mistake na inamin naman na nila. For us, ayusin na lang po nila 'yun. It’s okay with us,” said Alcid.
“Sa batas naman 'pag unang violation na ganyan, we just call their attention. Na-call naman na namin 'yung attention nila, so they just have to correct that next time,” he added.
Alcid also absolved Richardson, Cray and the other athletes who wore the uniforms with the wrongly placed flags from any accountability, saying they only wore jerseys issued to them by officials.
“Actually hindi kasalanan ng atleta 'yan, sinuot lang nila 'yung uniform. Kawawa naman yung mga atleta natin. May mga karangalan din naman silang dinadala sa atin,” he said.
“The officials explained naman na they were just so focused sa pagre-represent sa bansa eh,” he added.
But even with the commission not taking action, historian and television host Xiao Chua said athletics officials and the uniform supplier of the national team can still face legal problems if an individual decides to pursue the issue in court.
“Ngayon, safe sila. Kasi walang nagde-demanda. Pero 'pag may nagdemanda, patay sila. Pinatawad na sila ng NHI, wala nang kaso sa NHI, kaso pag may nagdemanda, kaso 'yun,” Chua said.
Chua pointed out the flag blunder is a clear violation of the Philippine Flag and Heraldic Code Republic Act 8491 which states: 'The flag, if flown from a flagpole, shall have its blue field on top in time of peace and the red field on top in time of war; if in a hanging position, the blue field shall be to the right (left of the observer) in time of peace, and the red field to the right (left of the observer) in time of war.'
“Malinaw na violation 'yan kasi flag talaga yung nakadikit sa jersey eh. Pwede silang lumusot run kung walang bitwin at araw yung emblem,” said Chua.
“It may be an honest mistake of the manufacturer, kaso you should be educated. Dapat alam mo kung ano ang pwesto ng flag, saan ang asul at saan ang pula,” he added.
“Alam naman natin na kung pula ang itinaas mo, state of war 'yun. Ano yan ominous ba yan lalo’t we are in a stand off with China?” said Chua, referring to the tension between the Philippines and China amid a dispute over jurisdiction of the Spatlys and Kalayaan group of islands in Palawan.
Chua said the inverted flags also ruined a glorious moment for the athletes.
“Kita mo suot nila sa track suit nila 'yung jerseys. So every time na ipapakita 'yung highlights na 'yun sa tape at international sports coverages, inverted ang flag natin. Masakit sa mata, nakaka-insulto talaga,” said the UP-educated historian.
Chua, however, said any case will face complecations considering controversy happened overseas.
“'Yun ang isa pang tanong 'run. Sa Singapore nangyari 'yun, ang tanong, may jurisdiction ba ng Pilipinas run? Ganyan 'yung nangyari kay Martin Nievera when he was questioned over the singing of national anthem (for a Manny Pacquiao fight). Sa US siya kumanta, kaya nakalusot,” he said.