Alejano wants Philippines renamed
MANILA — How can the Philippines assert its independence? For Magdalo Party-list Rep. Gary Alejano, it helps to ditch the very name given by Spanish conquistadores.
Citing the need to be “truly independent,” Alejano has sought the creation of a proposed Geographic Renaming Commission to come up with a new name for the country within one year of its establishment.
Under House Bill No. 5867, the proposed commission will be tasked to submit its recommendations to the President by the end of its one-year life span.
The proposed commission will be composed of three commissioners from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, and the Komisyon ng Wikang Filipino.
A secretariat will be formed to provide technical support for the office. The proposed commission will also be authorized to create technical committees and engage the assistance of experts and professional advisors.
For the commission, Alejano sought an initial allocation of P30 million from the General Appropriations Act.
The bill explained that renaming the country is meant “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.”
“Ideally, the name of a country should define not only its land, but also its people and patrimony. In addition, the new name must also reflect our history, culture, society, and national sentiments,” Alejano explained in his bill.
The measure also noted that many nations formerly under colonial yoke have reverted to their precolonial names to gain a sense of national pride and identity.
Alejano noted that precolonial Philippines was divided into various kingdoms, rajahnates and sultanates, and the colonizers further “muddled our identity as a people and nation.”
During the expedition of Ruy Lopez de Villalobos in 1542, the country was named after the prince who would later become King Philip II of Spain. A common suggestion for the country’s new name would be
Maharlika, popularized by dictator Ferdinand Marcos. SFM/rga
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