JUNE 13, 2019 — Senator-elect Francis Tolentino is proposing to add a fourth star to the Philippine flag.
“I propose a fourth star to the Philippine flag. A fourth star to reflect the Benham Rise. The future land for the next generation of Filipinos,” Tolentino said in a speech during the celebration of the country’s 121st Independence Day in Davao City on Wednesday.
The Benham Rise, also called Philippine Rise, is a 13-million hectare underwater plateau off the coast of Aurora province. The United Nations, through the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS), officially recognized the Philippines’ claim on the territory on April 2012.
Article XVI, Section 1 of the 1987 Constitution states: “The flag of the Philippines shall be red, white, and blue, with a sun and three stars, as consecrated and honored by the people and recognized by law.”
Constitutionalist Joaquin Bernas wrote in ‘The 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines: A Commentary,’ that the 1987 Constitution “has left untouched” the Philippine flag since it was designed.