President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos was right in his plans to change the name of the country to “Maharlika” instead of the Philippines.
In his speech in Maguindanao, Duterte recalled how the Philippines was named.
“[They named it] Philippines because it was discovered by Magellan using the money of King Philip II. That’s why when the bastard arrived, he named it Philippines,” Duterte said during the ceremonial distribution of 834 Certificates of Land Ownership Award to 780 Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries.
“Actually, Marcos was right. During his time, he was really 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 said. Nat Mariano
“He was right during that time. Filipinos were just jealous [calling him as a] dictator. Like me, I’m a dictator. Since when have I become a dictator?” the President asked.
Duterte said he never ordered anyone to interfere with the lives of the people.
“I came here to promote peace,” Duterte said.
“But it’s okay. When the time comes, let’s change the name,” he added. Nat Mariano
According to Duterte, Magellan was the Spaniard who named the Philippines.
However, Magellan named the country “Las Islas de San Lazaro” (St. Lazarus’ Islands) when he reached the islands of Homonhon in Samar on the feast day of St. Lazarus of Bethany in 1521.
After the expedition of Magellan, another Spaniard named Ruy Lopez de Villalobos arrived in Samar and Leyte in 1543, naming the country “Las Islas Felipinas” (Philippine Islands/Islands belonging to Philip) in honor of King Philip II of Spain.
In 2017, Magdalo Party-list Representative Gary Alejano filed a bill seeking the creation of a Geographic Renaming Commission to come up with a new name for the Philippines.
Under House Bill No. 5867, Alejano planned to rename the country that would establish a national identity not anchored on its colonial past, stressing that the country needs to establish its own national identity.