A legislator of the ruling Popular Democratic Party, or PPD, has introduced a bill in the Caribbean island's House of Representatives that would bar raising the U.S. flag unless the Puerto Rican flag is raised at the same time.

The bill introduced Friday by Carlos Hernandez Lopez includes a first article that would "prohibit the raising of the United States flag in the absence of the flag of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico by an agency of any of the three branches of government."

The second article states that any agency or government employee that violates said prohibition "will be guilty of administrative misdemeanor and will be fined no less that $100 and no more than $500."

The lawmaker, majority speaker of the House of Representatives, justified the bill because of the symbolic value of the Puerto Rican flag for the people of that U.S. territory.

The PPD, which won the Nov. 7 general elections, wants to preserve the Caribbean island's commonwealth status, which allows a certain degree of autonomy, though the U.S. remains in charge of such areas as defense, borders and diplomatic relations.

Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the United States and its citizens cannot vote in the North American country's elections, though they do carry the U.S. passport. EFE