Philippines should be renamed to cut colonialism links, lawmaker suggests

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Philippine congressman and list representative of the right-wing Magdalo Party, Gary Alejano, brought in a proposal to rename the Philippines in order to ditch what goes back to the Spanish conquistadores who first named the country in honour of their King Philip II almost five centuries ago.

A house bill was filed by Alejano on June 7 and released by his office on June 11, one day before Philippine Independence Day. “If we want to be truly independent, we must discard the bonds of colonialism by establishing our own national identity,” he said.

Alejano advocated the creation of a “geographic renaming commission,” composed of representatives of the main organisations of history and culture of the country, which should propose a new name for the country within one year of its establishment.

A common suggestion for the country’s new name came up in 1978 as “Maharlika,” meaning “nobly created,” and was popularised by former dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

Another suggestion is “Katagalugan,” which means “Tagalog Republic,” a term used to refer to two revolutionary governments involved in the Philippine Revolution against Spain and the Philippine–American War.

“The reason for renaming our country is to throw away the vestiges of colonialism, to establish our national identity and to define how our nation, our people and our national language will be addressed internationally,” Alejano said, adding that “Spanish and American colonisation of the Philippines muddled our identity as a people and nation.”

Some Filipino historians questioned said that they were open to the idea in principle, but noted also that the Filipino identity does not solely rely on the country’s name.

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Philippine congressman and list representative of the right-wing Magdalo Party, Gary Alejano, brought in a proposal to rename the Philippines in order to ditch what goes back to the Spanish conquistadores who first named the country in honour of their King Philip II almost five centuries ago. A house bill was filed by Alejano on June 7 and released by his office on June 11, one day before Philippine Independence Day. "If we want to be truly independent, we must discard the bonds of colonialism by establishing our own national identity," he said. Alejano advocated the creation of a "geographic...

Reading Time: 1 minute

Philippine congressman and list representative of the right-wing Magdalo Party, Gary Alejano, brought in a proposal to rename the Philippines in order to ditch what goes back to the Spanish conquistadores who first named the country in honour of their King Philip II almost five centuries ago.

A house bill was filed by Alejano on June 7 and released by his office on June 11, one day before Philippine Independence Day. “If we want to be truly independent, we must discard the bonds of colonialism by establishing our own national identity,” he said.

Alejano advocated the creation of a “geographic renaming commission,” composed of representatives of the main organisations of history and culture of the country, which should propose a new name for the country within one year of its establishment.

A common suggestion for the country’s new name came up in 1978 as “Maharlika,” meaning “nobly created,” and was popularised by former dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

Another suggestion is “Katagalugan,” which means “Tagalog Republic,” a term used to refer to two revolutionary governments involved in the Philippine Revolution against Spain and the Philippine–American War.

“The reason for renaming our country is to throw away the vestiges of colonialism, to establish our national identity and to define how our nation, our people and our national language will be addressed internationally,” Alejano said, adding that “Spanish and American colonisation of the Philippines muddled our identity as a people and nation.”

Some Filipino historians questioned said that they were open to the idea in principle, but noted also that the Filipino identity does not solely rely on the country’s name.

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