Philippines to Maharlika?

Spokesman Salvador Panelo

Palace pushes name change

MALACAÑANG on Tuesday said Congress might enact a law to change the name of the Philippines to the Republic of Maharlika, a day after President Rodrigo Duterte said he agreed with the same proposal made by the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

Palace spokesman Salvador Panelo said Congress might act on the idea floated by Duterte.

“The Constitution provides that Congress may enact a law that can change the name of the country and then submit it to the people for referendum, like a plebiscite,” Panelo said.

He said people should “just see how it evolves.”

“The style of the President, he floats an idea, then somebody gets it. Congress or whatever. His was only the idea,” he said.

“He said it’s a Malay word. Since we are Malays, we should have a name identified with us. I agree with him, I like the idea of Maharlika name for the Philippines,” he said.

In 2017, Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano filed a bill seeking to rename the Philippines.

Under House Bill 5867, a commission will be formed to replace the country’s name.

Panelo said such move was not needed anymore because Congress could legislate a law to change the country’s name.

“If the constitution says you can enact a law, why do you need to create a commission? By proposing a bill, players will deliberate in Congress and they will be invited. So, it will be straight up,” he said.

In a speech during the distribution of certificates of land ownership award to agrarian reform beneficiaries of Maguindanao on Monday, Duterte said “Maharlika” was a good name because it reflected serenity and peace.

“We cannot do anything anymore. Philippines, because it was discovered by [Ferdinand] Magellan using the money of King Philip. When the idiots came, they named [our land] Philippines. But that is okay. Someday, we will change it,” Duterte said.

“Marcos is correct. During his time, he was right. He wanted to change the name to Maharlika. The Republic of Maharlika, because Maharlika is a Malay word and it means more of a concept of serenity and peace,” he added. (The Manila Times)