Philippines looks to ban Madonna for 'disrespecting' flag
In this Feb. 20, 2016 file photo, U.S. singer Madonna performs during the Rebel Heart World Tour in Macau. (AP/Kin Cheung)
Published Sunday, February 28, 2016 11:11AM EST
The Philippines said Sunday it was looking to ban Madonna from performing in the country after the U.S. pop diva "disrespected" the country's flag during her concert in Manila last week.
Photos from the concert published in local media showed the 57-year-old "Like a Virgin" star draped in the Philippine flag.
While press reports said the audience roared its approval at the icon, who was in the country as part of her global "Rebel Heart" tour, Filipino officials were less amused.
"Malacanang (presidential palace) is keen on banning Grammy award winner and Queen of Pop Madonna from performing in the Philippines for disrespecting the Philippine flag in her concert," presidential spokesman Herminio Coloma told AFP.
A 1998 law prescribes a one-year jail term, as well as a token fine for, wearing the Philippine flag "in whole or in part as a costume or uniform."
The flag flap was the second controversy provoked by Madonna's visit to the devoutly Catholic Asian nation.
A Catholic bishop last week called on the faithful to stay away from Madonna's sexually charged concerts, which often encompass religious themes, calling them the devil's work.
"Pinoys (Filipinos) and all God-loving people should avoid sin and occasions of sin," Archbishop Ramon Arguelles said in a statement posted on the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines' official website.
Arguelles said the concerts, Madonna's first in the Philippines, were among "subtle attacks of the evil one".
During her Manila shows Madonna gyrated round a stripper pole shaped like a crucifix, accompanied by dancers dressed as scantily clad nuns.
The controversial star didn't forget the less fortunate on her Philippine trip however, tweeting photos showing her visiting children at an orphanage run by nuns in the capital.
The star, now touring in Singapore, has yet to comment publicly on the flag furore.
The Philippine authorities have also suggested the concert organiser may be sanctioned over the flag incident.
Officials of Music Management International, which produced Madonna's Manila concert, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.