Latest Stories

Pilipinas or Filipinas? Proofreader to blame


A scapegoat has been found for the supposedly unauthorized alteration of the first letter of the country’s name from “P” to “F” in the official messages of four government agencies on the celebration of Buwan ng Wika (National Language Month) in August.

For now, it’s an unnamed “putative overenthusiastic proofreader.”

Virgilio Almario, head of the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF), or the Commission on the Filipino Language, has claimed “it is possible that some overenthusiastic proofreader from the KWF has introduced the changes in [the] spelling [of the country’s name].”

Almario, a national artist for literature, said the changes were made “even if there were express instructions from the KWF chair not to interfere with official communications,” citing the orthography of the national language, the standardized system for writing words using letters according to established usage.

In a letter to the Inquirer, he expressed the Office of the President-attached body’s “apologies to the concerned agencies.”


The KWF, he said, would “send our due explanations and regrets internally.”

“We will also plead with them to indulge our putative overenthusiastic proofreader who may have passionately believed in the wisdom of the language reform we are now undertaking,” Almario said.

He said the KWF was not in the habit of tampering with official or other documents.

“[W]e at KWF take our mandate to heart. That is why, we have been undertaking very specific programs and projects almost double time,” Almario said.

He said the recent Pambansang Kongreso sa Wika (Filipino Language Congress) was among these projects. “This is the first-ever gathering of language experts, teachers, writers and other lovers of language from all over the Philippines to discuss very important language issues. No previous KWF leadership has mustered such a historic assembly.”

Claim disputed

Some KWF old-timers, however, disputed Almario’s claim that a KWF proofreader was responsible for the “lapses in the proofreading” of agency souvenir programs.

“It’s common knowledge that [Almario] has not given up on his ‘P-to-F’ campaign despite Malacañang orders not to do so,” said a KWF personnel.

The employee dared Almario to identify the erring KWF proofreader he was referring to.

Last month, Almario admitted in an Inquirer interview that he had authorized the use of Filipinas instead of Pilipinas on the KWF seal, letterheads and publications.


Francisco Duque III, chair of the Civil Service Commission (CSC), called the KWF “pasaway (stubborn)” last week for tampering with the official messages of the CSC and three other government agencies on the celebration of the National Language Month.

In a 96-page souvenir program, the KWF altered the word Pilipinas to Filipinas in the messages issued by the CSC, Department of Tourism,  Department of National Defense, and  National Commission on Culture and the Arts.

In the KWF’s official invitation to its congress on the Filipino language on Aug. 19 at Ateneo de Manila University with President Aquino as guest of honor and speaker, it changed the country’s name from Pilipinas to Filipinas.

In the plaque it presented to the President, the KWF used Republika ng Filipinas.

President’s message, too

Earlier, Malacañang took to task Almario for tampering with Aquino’s official message on the recent 225th birth anniversary of the poet Francisco Balagtas.

Undersecretary Manuel Quezon III of the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office asked the KWF chief to make the necessary corrections in commission publications and refrain from altering the original message of the President.

“Any message of the President cannot be changed or revised without permission from the Office of the President,” Quezon said in Filipino in his Aug. 16 memorandum.

Citing the Constitution, Quezon pointed out that the official title of the President is Pangulo ng Pilipinas, not Pangulo ng Filipinas. “It is Pilipinas if you are referring to the country’s name,” he added.

Law required

When interviewed, Almario acknowledged that the Palace had yet to give the KWF the go-ahead to change the Filipino translation of the Philippines from Pilipinas to Filipinas. He said that such a change would require the passage of a law.

But he stressed the need to promote the “P-to-F” campaign to explain the wisdom of adopting Filipinas as the country’s international name.

He pointed out that Filipinas, as the corrected spelling of Pilipinas, was an application of the national orthography.

In an April 12 resolution, Almario and all 10 members of the KWF board decided to adopt the name Filipinas, replacing Pilipinas.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Filipinas , Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) , language , Philippines , Pilipinas , proofreader , Virgilio Almario

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. Opinions split on Napoles turning state witness
  3. Delfin Lee: Blame Pag-Ibig, not me
  4. Plunder complaint filed vs PNP chief, firearms office head over license delivery deal
  5. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  6. San Juan cops fail to arrest Cedric Lee
  7. More ‘Yolanda’ bodies found
  8. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  9. Lawyer: Napoles ‘will tell all’
  10. Boy ‘sexually assaulted’ at Indonesia international school
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  3. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  4. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  5. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  6. Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  7. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  8. Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  9. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  10. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  8. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  9. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
  10. Ex-PBA player Bryan Gahol dies in road mishap


  • Napoles tags over 100 officials in pork scam – Lacson
  • Vitangcol to sue Czech envoy
  • Senator’s kickback from pork bigger than those of Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – Lacson
  • 43 out of 414 Etihad passengers yet to be found, tested for MERS-CoV – Palace
  • Maid confesses in killing of 2 and stabbing of employer in Laguna
  • Sports

  • Caguioa blasts ‘no heart, soft’ Ginebra on Twitter
  • San Mig Coffee grinds out win over Alaska to force decider
  • UP nips St. Benilde; Adamson blasts RTU in Filoil women’s caging
  • Kevin Garnett responds to Raptors’ GM F word
  • Albert Pujols hits 500th HR of major league career
  • Lifestyle

  • Entering the monkhood a rite of passage
  • Haneda International Airport: A destination on its own
  • Wanted: Beauty queen with a heart that beats for the environment
  • Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  • Life lessons I want to teach my son
  • Entertainment

  • Bollywood Oscars, film stars come to Florida
  • Ex-Fox exec denies allegations in sex abuse suit
  • Kris Aquino backtracks, says Herbert Bautista and her are ‘best friends’
  • Summer preview: Chris Pratt enters a new ‘Galaxy’
  • Bon Jovi helps open low-income housing in US
  • Business

  • SM to rebuild Tacloban hospital
  • PSEi slips after 4-day rally
  • Toyota sells 2.58 million vehicles, outselling GM
  • McDonald’s 1Q profit slips as US sales decline
  • SEC approves SM’s P15B retail bond offer
  • Technology

  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Engineers create a world of difference
  • Bam Aquino becomes Master Splinter’s son after Wiki hack
  • Mark Caguioa lambasts Ginebra teammates on Twitter
  • Opinion

  • One-dimensional diplomacy: A cost-benefit analysis of Manila’s security deal with Washington
  • No ordinary illness
  • Reforest mountains with fire trees and their kind
  • Day of the Earth
  • When will Chinese firm deliver new coaches?
  • Global Nation

  • Filipinos coming home from Mideast must obtain MERS clearance – DOH
  • US Secret Service in Manila ahead of Obama visit
  • Palace thanks Estrada for successful HK mission
  • Hong Kong accepts PH apology; sanctions also lifted
  • China won’t budge, wants PH gov’t to apologize to HK
  • Marketplace