A Filipino lawmaker filed a bill on the Congress that seeks to declare adobo as national food, bahay kubo (nipa hut) as national house, passenger jeepney as national vehicle, and wooden clogs, locally known as “bakya”, as national footwear of the Philippines.
Cong. Rene Relampagos, Representative of the First District of Bohol, proposed House Bill No. 3926, also called the “Philippine National Symbols Act of 2014”, to declare the ten unofficial symbols taught in schools as official national symbols.
He also said that the bill aims to instill nationalism, and develop tourism through the promotion and conservation of the national symbols. Likewise, it also seeks to ensure respect and preservation as well as provide guidelines and procedures for their use, care, and protection.
Relampagos admitted that national symbols epitomize the nation and its history and culture. However, many of them, especially those who are taught in schools, are not officially declared. He said that there are only ten official national symbols based on the Constitution, Republic Acts, and Proclamations but there are almost 20 national symbols being taught in schools.
The congressman named some symbols that are considered national symbols though there is no official declaration, including Dr. Jose P. Rizal as national hero, carabao as national animal, mango as national fruit, bangus as national fish, and baro't saya as national costume. He also cited Bayan Ko (My Country)" as the national song and “Maka-Diyos, Maka-tao, Makakalikasan at Makabansa" (pro-God, pro-man, pro-environment, and pro-country) as the national motto.
Similarly, the House of Congress also approved House Bill No. 2072 on its third and final reading that declares malunggay (Scientific name: Moringa oleifera) as national vegetable. The bill also assigns November as National Malunggay Month.
Pangasinan Rep. Gina de Venecia, author of the House Bill, said that malunggay tree provides many health benefits and livelihood opportunities. Additionally, the World Health Organization encourages the consumption of malunggay in poor countries because it helps improve health.