Why change in country's name erases PH's identity

by Ron Gagalac, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 04 2013 03:39 PM | Updated as of Jul 05 2013 06:39 AM

MANILA - The Pambansang Samahan sa Linggwistika at Literaturang Filipino has formally asked the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino to stop plans to change the country's name to “Filipinas” from “Pilipinas."

Dr. Pil Garcia, auditor and spokesman of the group, said that while the commission has historical basis, it is still short in facts to claim legitimately that the change is necessary and appropriate.

Garcia explained the term "Filipinas" was indeed the first name given to the country by Ruy Lopez de Villalobos in honor of then King of Spain Felipe. But it was eventually changed to Pilipinas by Lope K. Santos since the country's alphabet does not have a letter F.

Garcia said history dictated that the change in name was made simultaneous after the country was liberated from the Spanish regime, hence, the name Pilipinas was extremely significant because it symbolizes our independence from conquerors.

"Ang pagbabalik sa ngalang Filipinas ay mistulang muling pagpapasakop sa bansang Espanya na minsang pinamunuan ni Haring Felipe."

The association, which is composed mainly of language experts from various colleges and universities, also said such move will create unnecessary confusion among students especially in the midst of a transition to the K plus 12 program.

“Nagkakaroon ng mismatch eh. Nababasa sa mga libro 'Pilipinas', sa media ganun din. Tapos biglang ‘Filipinas’, hindi pwedeng paggising mo na lang ay iba na ang pangalan ng bansa mo," Garcia said.

The group also believes the move is impractical and untimely since globalization is already taking effect in each and every nation.

He said the national language is moving towards adapting the “English” climate of globalization, hence, bringing the “F” back into the country’s name is like moving backward in history.

He said the petition also urges the commission to seek consultations first prior to any implementation. Copies of the petition were given to the Commission on Higher Education, Department of Education, National Historical Institute, the Senate and Congress.

The group believes any changes to that effect must be coursed through Congress. "Hinihiling namin sa Komisyon ng Wikang Filipino na magkaroon muna ng konsultasyon at ipasa sa Kongreso ang kapangyarihan na magpalit ng pangalan,” Garcia said.

In an informal survey conducted by Yahoo Philippines on its website, as of noon Thursday, only 9% of some 55,000 respondents were in favor of “Filipinas”.

Majority still prefers Philippines or Pilipinas as the country's name.

Garcia said they will also be conducting more scientific surveys in different colleges and universities. "Pinag-uusapan dito, pangalan ng bansa, mabago kahit isang letra lang, hindi na tayo yun," Garcia said.