Duterte wants to rename the Philippines

President Rodrigo Duterte gestures during a ceremony marking the return of the three Balangiga bells taken by the US military as war booty 117 years ago, at Balangiga, Eastern Samar in central Philippines Dec 15, 2018. (Reuters file photo)

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MANILA, Feb 12, 2019, Bangkok Post. Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte is advocating to change the nation’s name one day to “Maharlika” to move away from the country’s colonial links, reported the Bangkok Post.

Duterte’s call echoes a push by the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos to call the nation “Maharlika” which in the local language means nobility. The country, which was under Spanish rule for more than 300 years, derived its name from Spain’s King Philip II.

Senate President Tito Sotto said Duterte’s idea would entail rewriting the Constitution and will require too many changes. Duterte has also been pushing for changes in the nation’s charter and shift to a federal form of government.

“Someday, let’s change it,” Duterte said on Monday after distributing land titles in the Muslim-majority province of Maguindanao. “Marcos was right. He wanted to change it to Maharlika because that’s a Malay word.”

Marcos, who was ousted from power by a peaceful uprising more than three decades ago, first suggested the name change to promote nationalism after he placed the Philippines under military rule.

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