Philippines tells anthem crooners not to do it their way

MANILA Tue Oct 5, 2010 4:12am EDT

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MANILA (Reuters) - In the Philippines, a land of passionate singers, taking on the national anthem is about to get a little more daunting -- get it wrong and you could land in jail for a couple of years and be fined more than $2,000.

A ban on the improper singing of Lupang Hinirang (Beloved Land) and unpatriotic displays of the Philippine flag is a Senate vote away from becoming law after the lower house voted 196-0 in favor of it on Monday.

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

He lamented that Filipino artists and singers had been changing the anthem's military march melody and beat, and that the flag had been made into shirts and short pants.

If the Senate passes the law, the first approved by the lower house since the change of administrations in June, violators face up to two years in jail and a fine of 100,000 pesos ($2,280).

(Reporting by Manny Mogato; Editing by John Mair)

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