Xentro Mall in Lemery Town in Batangas, Philippines. Photo: Google Maps

Thirty-four people were arrested for not standing during the playing of the Philippine national anthem in a cinema in Lemery Town in Batangas.

Before the feature film started on Thursday afternoon at a cinema in Xentro Mall, the national anthem was broadcast. According to the Republic Act 8491, also known as the Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines, citizens must stand and sing the national anthem when it is played at any gathering, Rappler reported.

However, surveillance footage showed that while the majority of the people in the cinema stood up, others remained seated. Some were seen texting while others were eating. After the national anthem was played, those who were seated were arrested.

A total of 34 moviegoers were detained at the Lemery police station while appropriate charges were prepared for filing.

In the Philippines, the penalty for violating Republic Act 8491  is a fine between PHP5,000 and PHP20,000 (US$93 to $372) or a maximum jail term of one year.