Alejano wants commission to rename Philippines

MANILA, Philippines – Citing the need for the country to be "truly independent," a lawmaker filed a bill that would create a commission "to conduct a comprehensive study for an appropriate name that we shall call our nation."

House Bill 5867, or An Act Constituting a Geographic Renaming Commission to Rename Our Country, was filed by Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano last Wednesday, June 7.

In a press release on Sunday, June 11, the legislator's office said the filling of the bill coincides with the Philippines' celebration of its 119th Independence Day on Monday, June 12. (READ: How did the Philippines celebrate June 12 under Marcos' martial law?)

"If we want to be truly independent, then we should throw away the bonds of colonialism by establishing our own national identity. For our country to move forward, we should identify a name for our country that genuinely reflects our national aspirations, a name that signifies our values and self-determination," said Alejano, a former soldier.

"While many other nations who were formerly under colonial yoke have reverted back to their former pre-colonized name as it gives them a sense of national pride and identity as free people, we opted to retain the name given by our Spanish colonizers. It is high time for our country to experience a sense of being and independence by choosing a name that reflects our character, our values, as a people, and as a nation," he added.

The proposed commission would have representatives from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), and the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF). They would be given a year to complete their work and a proposed budget of P30 million from the yearly national budget.

Alejano is a member of the opposition bloc in the House of Representatives. 

He and Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, another former soldier turned legislator, recently filed a supplemental complaint before the International Criminal Court against President Rodrigo Duterte over killings related to the government's war on drugs.

Alejano also filed an impeachment complaint against Duterte last March, but it was junked by the House, which is dominated by the President's allies. (READ: Alejano slams House as Duterte puppet after losing impeachment bid– Rappler.com