Bill to rename Philippines filed by proponent of failed impeachment bid

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 12) —True independence can only happen if the Philippines sheds its name, says congressman and Magdalo-Party List Representative Gary Alejano.

House Bill No. 5867 or "An Act Constituting a Geographic Renaming Commission to Rename Our Country" was filed by the solon on June 7. It was released by his office on June 11, a day before Independence Day.

"If we want to be truly independent, then we should throw away the bonds of colonialism by establishing our own national identity," he said in a statement. The bill calls for the creation of a commission to look into renaming the Philippines.

"Many nations who were formally under colonial yoke have reverted back to their former pre-colonized name as it gives them a sense of national pride and identity as a free people," Alejano said.

Alejano, a former mutineer, previously filed a failed bid to impeach the  President. He recently filed a supplemental communication with the International Criminal Court in The Hague concerning the administration’s war on drugs and the alleged extrajudicial killings.

Why rename the Philippines?

Alejano said the commission will be tasked to conduct a comprehensive study for a more appropriate name.

"The reason for renaming our country is 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," his explanatory note attached to the House bill read.

Spanish and American colonization of the Philippines "muddled our identity as a people and nation,” he added.

The Philippines was named after King Philip II of Spain in the 16th century, under which it had been a colony for 377 years. The country was colonized by the Spaniards, Americans, and the Japanese.

How?

Alejano said the commission, to be named Geographic Renaming Commission, will study the "possibility and the feasibility of renaming our country, which will appropriately address and define us as a people and nation."

The commission will be composed of commissioners from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), and the Komisyon ng Wikang Filipino.

It said the commission should complete its work not later than one year from the approval of the act, which will then be submitted to President Rodrigo Duterte. It will receive an initial allocation of P30M from the General Appropriations Act.

A previous move to rename the Philippines was in 1978, when then-Batasang Pambansa member Eddie Ilarde filed Parliamentary Bill 195, seeking to change the name "Philippines" to "Maharlika," meaning “nobly created.” Ilarde’s proposal was widely criticized because it was associated with former strongman Ferdinand Marcos, who liked the name, said the NHCP in an article.