The House of Representatives has passed on third and final reading the bill declaring the waling-waling orchid as another national flower of the Philippines.
Reps. Mylene Garcia-Albano (2nd District, Davao City) and Marlyn Primicias-Agabas (6th District, Pangasinan), authors of House Bill 5655, underscore the popularity of waling-waling orchids worldwide as an endemic Philippine flower that epitomizes the trait and character of Filipinos as a people.
"We also want people to appreciate and behold the sense of pride and identity the waling-waling offers," Garcia-Albano said.
Garcia-Albano said the Waling-waling will have the same status as the Sampaguita which was declared the national flower of the Philippines by Governor Frank Murphy through Proclamation 652 in 1934.
Sampaguita is also known as Jasminum Sambac and one of the three national flowers of Indonesia. It is believed that the flower was brought from the Himalayan areas to the Philippines in the 17th century.
Garcia-Albano said the waling-waling plant, which is the best orchid variety in the country, is scientifically known as Vanda Sanderiana and used to abound the tropical forest of Mount Apo in Davao and Zamboanga De l Sur. It is even touted as the queen of Philippine Flowers.
Garcia-Albano also cited the ornamental value of the waling-waling now even popular in Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong and Hawaii, which made waling-waling hybrids one of the world's multibillion dollar orchid and cutflower industries.
In approving the measure, Primicias-Agabas, chairperson of the Committee on Revision of Laws, gave consideration for the cultural importance of the Sampaguita, particularly the intangible cultural heritage of the Filipino people that remains relevant, valid and widely held among the current generation.
The bill mandates the Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to promulgate rules and regulations that will protect, conserve and propagate the Waling-waling orchid together with the Sampaguita.