MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte said he is planning to replace the country’s name from Philippines to Maharlika, as planned by late dictator Ferdinand Marcos before.
In a speech in Buluan, Maguindanao on Monday evening, Duterte said he thinks that Marcos is right to replace the country’s name, which was derived from Spanish monarch Philip II.
“Philippines because it was discovered by Magellan using the money of King Philip. Kaya pagdating ng ulol ginawang Philippines. Pero okay na ‘yan, balang araw palitan natin,” Duterte said.
He added: “Actually, tama si Marcos. Panahon ni Marcos, tama talaga si Marcos. Gusto niya palitan [ng] Maharlika, the Republic of Maharlika because maharlika is a Malay word and it means more of a concept of serenity and peace.”
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo in a media briefing on Tuesday said the President was just floating the idea of changing the country’s name and nothing is concrete yet.
“The President is just floating with the idea but it’s an interesting idea,” Panelo said. “His reason is that the word ‘Maharlika’ is a Malay word. He’s expressing his idea again, as usual.”
The Philippines was named after Spain’s King Philip II in the 16th century, when the country was still a Spanish colony. Spanish explorer Ruy Lopez de Villalobos was the one who gave birth to the name “Las Islas Filipinas” for the archipelago.
Former Senator Eddie Ilarde have filed Parliamentary Bill 195 in 1978 seeking to change the name Philippines to Maharlika but it drew negative reactions since it was associated with Marcos.
Magdalo party-list representative Rodolfo Alejano filed a bill two years ago which seeks the creation of “Geographic Renaming Commission” that would look into changing the name of the Philippines.
Alejano said then that renaming the country “would rid it of the vestiges of colonialism, establish the national identity and define how the nation, people, and national language would be addressed internationally.” The bill is still pending before the committee level./PN