MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday that majority of Filipino Muslims may not be in favor with the present name of the country, a name which he had said is not reflective of the country’s history and heritage.
In his speech during the 1st National Assembly Liga ng mga Barangay sa Pilipinas at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City, Duterte said that Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chairman Nur Misuari would not accept being called a Filipino because it has roots on the country’s colonization by Spain.
“He is a Tausug. Maybe he would not really consider a Filipino in the right sense because it's a name. In the name of the king of Spain, Philip, Philippines, and that they will never be accepted by the Moro people. Believe me,” he said.
“Hindi magsabi 'Philippines'. 'Pag maglabas 'yan sila, ano ka? Ako? Tausug. Ako Maranao. Hindi magsabi ‘yan 'ako Pilipino.' Maybe 'yung mga diplomats, those who are in the career positions in government, they ought to --- pero 'yung average na Moro,” he said.
The President, who is in favor of changing the country’s name from the Philippines to Maharlika, said the public should read up history on Facebook.
“'Yan namang King of Spain, you should read the --- ‘yang nasa Facebook ninyo. Find out who King Philip was or is. And he was not a good man. He had so many wives unlike me 2 lang. Kaniya marami. At he was a despot. Hambogero. So he was lording it over because it was the Spanish era of dominance sa Europe,” Duterte said.
But contrary to some people's opinions, the word "Maharlika" does not mean "noble", a historian earlier said after Duterte floated the idea of replacing the name of the Philippines with this term.
Maharlika means "free man" but was mistranslated to refer to members of the aristocracy, said Dr. Rolando Borrinaga, a historian from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.
Members of the maharlika do not participate in politics, unlike the datu class of rulers, he told radio DZMM.
Maharlikas are also different from the Timawa or freed slaves, he added.
Former President Ferdinand Marcos also used "Maharlika" in faking his military records during the World War 2, according to US Army investigators.
He claimed to have commanded a group of guerrillas known as the "Maharlika Unit", but according to the New York Times, various Army officers rejected his requests for recognition of the unit between 1945 and 1948, calling his claims "distorted, exaggerated, fraudulent, contradictory and absurd."
Army investigators finally concluded that Maharlika was a fictitious creation and that ''no such unit ever existed'' as a guerrilla organization during the war." - with a report from Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News