Bye Pilipinas, hello Filipinas?

Kim Arveen Patria
Kim Arveen Patria
Yahoo! Southeast Asia Newsroom

What’s in a name? For the Filipino nation, it should reflect its history and modernization, the country’s language commission said.

This, as it moved in a recent resolution to revert to the name “Filipinas” instead of the more popular “Pilipinas” and even “Philippines” as the country’s official name.

“Ipinapasiya, gaya ng ginagawang pagpapasiya ngayon, na ibalik ang gamit ng ‘Filipinas’ habang pinipigil ang paggamit ng ‘Pilipinas’ (We resolve, as it is hereby resolved, to revive the use of ‘Filipinas’ while stopping the use of ‘Pilipinas’),” the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) said in an April 12 resolution.

This is to “promote the country’s official and modern name which reflects its history and development as a nation,” added the document, which is making rounds in social media nearly a month before Buwan ng Wika in August.

The resolution also urges that the name “Filipinas” be gradually introduced into seals, letterheads, notes and other official documents.

Firms and institutions using the name “Pilipinas” will also be encouraged to spell it as “Filipinas” instead.

The KWF noted, however, that the change will not be mandatory, especially for entities established before the letter “F” has been introduced in the Filipino alphabet.

It added, however, that all organizations that will be created after the implementation of the resolution, should carry the name “Filipinas.”

Adding context to the resolution, the KWF in its website linked the new policy to a piece by its chairman, national artist Virgilio Almario.

The 1992 article entitled Patayin ang ‘Pilipinas’ (Kill ‘Pilipinas’) said the use of three names—Philippines, Pilipinas and Filipinas—leads to “national confusion.”

“Hindi  tayo magkaisa kahit sa pagtawag himang sa ating sarili (We fail to unite even in what to call ourselves),” said Almario, who is also a former dean of the University of the Philippines College of Arts and Letters.

Almario has long been pushing for the use of “Filipinas” which he said was the original name given by the Spanish colonizers to honor King Felipe II.

He further urged that the name “Philippines” be scrapped first, saying this shows how American rule is retained in the Filipino mindset.

Almario also highlighted how it is preposterous that citizens of a country known to the world as the Philippines are called Filipinos.

“Modernisado na ang ating alpabeto at kasama sa mga dagdag na titik ang ‘F’ (Our alphabet is modern and ‘F’ is one of the additional letters),” Almario said, adding that this is why the national language is “Filipino” and not “Pilipino.”

The national artist admitted, however, that the change will involve costs and that it will take time for Filipinos to get used to the new name.

He stressed, however: “Anuman ang gastos, mas malaki pa rin ang mga praktikal at historikal na pakinabang natin kapag nagkaisa tayo sa ‘Filipinas’ (Regardless of cost, there is greater practical and historical benefit if we unite under ‘Filipinas’).”