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January 18, 2021

Should we do away with the Provincial Flags during independence?

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It has been a much debated topic among schools, in the workplace, on social media and in communities that we should do away with the provincial flags and keep Papua New Guinea’s national flag during Independence celebrations.

There are two sides of the argument, but this is an issue every year. Seeing someone proud of their identity makes PNG, PNG. If it doesn’t honour this particular aspect of Independence than it doesn’t create unity. Should then provincialism be encouraged during the September 16 celebrations?

“You cannot blame people for lifting their provincial flags along with the PNG flag. It is engraved in their minds that come independence, they will be separated into provincial groups to display their cultures through dance, by wearing bilas (traditional wear) that clearly outlines where they come from, and speak languages that create barriers.”
(Kahsol Posman)

The concept of the “One Flag Campaign” has been carried out to encourage fellow Papua New Guineans to celebrate Independence as ‘one’ country.

We are all familiar with our provinces and respective provincial flags, but can we as Papua New Guinean’s say the same when we wave our national flag on an event that is recognised globally?

September 16 is a day commemorated not just in PNG but across the globe by Papua New Guineans and friends. Regardless of where one hails from, or where they were raised or for whatever reason, the country as a whole is celebrated. And it is for that reason that the PNG flag should stand alone on a day that rightfully marks the coming together of a country divided by individual culture and heritage and mark the coming together of a nation.

“Yes I think so because this is our independence day and not provincial day. Yes we should be proud of our individual flags but I think that with all due respect we should be giving this one day to our national flag to be waved and held up high in the breeze for everyone to see.”
(Joy Anda Poponawa)

Some would agree otherwise, in a sense, that both flags should be shown with Pride, where the provinces make up PNG and their diversity is what makes this country great. The cultures represent the many walks of life, traditions and customs. It is with pride that all flags should be raised.

 “Nothing is wrong with provincial flags. Because these provincial flags also represent PNG. So in that case we should use two flags, our provincial flags and also our PNG flag. That would be nice” (SopSii EllrAtz)

Whether your for one flag or for every flag, September 16 will forever remain the day that Papua New Guinea gained its Independence.

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