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Dipolognons in Suban-on and Filipino costumes pose at the Dipolog City Boulevard during the opening of the "Pagsalabuk Festival," which started on May 4 and ends on July 1. (Photo courtesy of Dipolog City government)

If he can only have his way, President Rodrigo Duterte wants to rename the Philippines to “Maharlika”.

In a speech during his visit to Buluan, Maguindanao, on Monday, Duterte said he is open to renaming the country to “Maharlika”, which means nobility, and that should be done “in the near future.”

The idea started off with former President Ferdinand Marcos, who Duterte idolizes.

“Philippines. (It’s named) Philippines because it was discovered by Magellan using the money from King Philip (II). Kaya ‘pag dating ng u**l, ginawang Philippines (That’s why when the st***d explorer came, he named it the Philippines),” Duterte was quoted as saying by SunStar Philippines.

“Pero okay na ‘yan. Balang araw palitan natin. Actually, tama si Marcos, panahon ni Marcos, tama talaga si Marcos. Gusto niya palitan (ng) Maharlika, the Republic of Maharlika because Maharlika is a Malay word and it means serenity. Tama si Marcos nun,” (But that would be fine. In the future, let’s change it. Actually, Marcos was right. He wanted to change (the Philippines’ name) to Maharlika, the Republic of Maharlika because Maharlika is a Malay word and it means serenity. Marcos was right),” he added.

(Ace Morandante/Presidential Photo)

According to the country’s historians, the Philippines was named in honor of King Philip II of Spain II, following the arrival of Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan in the country in March 1521.

The proposal to change the name Philippines to “Maharlika” was previously initiated by then Batasang Pambansa member Eddie Ilarde through Parliamentary Bill filed in 1978.

Marcos, who was the country’s Chief Executive at that time, supported Ilarde’s proposal. However, the measure was not approved because the word was seen as “imperial in nature by several ethnic groups.”

In June 2017, Magdalo Party-list Representative Gary Alejano filed another bill, which calls for the creation of a commission that will look into renaming the Philippines.