President Rodrigo Duterte seems determined to change the name of the Philippines.
He said Monday night that the country’s name “could change” in the future, during a speech at the National Assembly of the Liga ng mga Barangay sa Pilipinas (League of Villages) at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.
Duterte reasoned that Muslims do not like being called “Filipinos” because it reminded them of King Philip II of Spain, whose name the country was named after.
“And that will never be accepted by the Moro people, believe me,” said the President, mentioning Moro National Liberation Front founding chairperson Nur Misuari and the newly ratified Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Duterte’s home region.
Misuary, the President explained, “is a Tausug,” Duterte said. “Maybe he may not consider [himself] a Filipino in the right sense. Because it’s in the name, the name of the king of Spain. ‘Philip’ [became] ‘[the] Philippines.’”
Muslims prefer to identify themselves by the name of their tribes, the President said.
“Whenever they go out, [they would say] ‘I’m a Tausug. I’m Maranao.’ They will never say ‘I’m a Filipino.’ Maybe the diplomats, those in the career positions, and [those working for the] government [they would say that] but the average Moro….”
“Whatever develops in the future, even in the name we leave it up to the people of the Republic of the Philippines and the Moro [to decide]. They want to call it Maharlika, fine,” said Duterte.
Spanish explorer Ruy Lopez de Villalobos named the country “Felipinas” in 1542, in honor of King Philip, who was then Spain’s crown prince.
Previously, Duterte proposed that the Philippines should be named “Republic of Maharlika,” an idea supported by former dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
King Philip II, the President said, was “not a good role model” and that people should read more about him on Facebook.
“He was not a good man. He had so many wives, unlike me, I only had two. Him, he had a lot. And he was a despot. He was lording it over the country because it was the Spanish era of dominance in Europe,” Duterte said.