President Rodrigo Duterte

The Philippines or Maharlika? Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has reiterated his plan to change the name of the country.

In a speech late Sunday night, President Rodrigo Duterte clarified that he has no specific name yet in mind. “No particular name yet but sure I would like to change the name of Philippines because the Philippines is named after King Philip (II),” he said.

Under the Philippine constitution, he said the Congress may, by law, adopt a new name for the country, and shall take effect only upon its ratification by the people in a national referendum.

Last month he first floated the idea to name his country “Maharlika” in a bid to move away from its colonial past.

The archipelagic country was a Spanish colony for centuries until it was ceded to the United States in 1898. The Philippines was named after the Spanish monarch Philip II.

It was not the first time that the idea was floated to rename the Philippines.

In 1978, a former senator also filed a bill in Congress seeking to change the name of the Philippines to Maharlika.

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