Alejano's unlikely ally: Duterte supports renaming Philippines

NEW NAME? President Rodrigo Duterte and Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano share views on the need to change the name of the Philippines. Duterte photo from Malacau00f1ang; Alejano photo by Darren Langit/Rappler

NEW NAME? President Rodrigo Duterte and Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano share views on the need to change the name of the Philippines.

Duterte photo from Malacau00f1ang; Alejano photo by Darren Langit/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Opposition senatorial bet Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano and President Rodrigo Duterte have the same views on at least one issue: changing the name of the Philippines.

Duterte, on Monday, February 11, said he agrees that the country's name has to be changed as it is a vestige of Spanish colonial times.

"'Philippines' because it was discovered by Magellan using the money of King Philip [II]. Kaya pagdating ng ulol, ginawang Philippines. Pero okay na 'yan. Balang araw palitan natin (So when the fool got here, they named it 'Philippines.' But that's okay. One day, we will change it)," he said during a speech in Buluan, Maguindanao.

What would be the country's new name if Duterte had his way? He agrees with the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos' suggestion – Maharlika. The word means "nobly created."

"Tama talaga si Marcos. Gusto niya palitan: Maharlika (Marcos was really correct. He wanted to change it: Maharlika). The Republic of Maharlika because Maharlika is a Malay word and it means more of a concept of serenity and peace," said Duterte.

In June 2017, Alejano had filed a bill in the House of Representatives that would create a commission to study possible new names for the country.

"While many other nations who were formerly under colonial yoke have reverted back to their former pre-colonized name as it gives them a sense of national pride and identity as free people, we opted to retain the name given by our Spanish colonizers. It is high time for our country to experience a sense of being and independence by choosing a name that reflects our character, our values, as a people, and as a nation," he had said. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.

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