From Philip­pinesto Ma­har­lika

Sun.Star Pampanga - - TOPSTORIES! -

I find few dis­agree­ments with Pres­i­dent Duterte’s words and deeds, but next to his su­per­cil­ious des­ig­na­tion of the late dic­ta­tor Mar­cos as a hero who de­serves to be buried at the Libin­gan ng mga Bayani (He­roes Ceme­tery), I find his lat­est ca­per of float­ing and sig­ni­fy­ing his in­ter­est in chang­ing the name Philippines to Ma­har­lika the high­est of ab­sur­di­ties, if I may call it that way.

It is one thing to put on the high­est pedestal one’s idol and hero, like Duterte has done about Mar­cos, but it is an­other thing to ram it down the throat of the Filipino peo­ple be­cause it was once the dream and as­pi­ra­tion of the per­son you greatly ad­mired.

I do not know if chang­ing the coun­try’s name to Ma­har­lika mat­ters re­ally be­cause if Wikipedia has the com­pre­hen­sive an­swer for ev­ery­thing then its con­no­ta­tion is not what we want it to be or what we per­ceived it to be be­cause it says that the ori­gin of the word is In­dian-in­spired that in­flu­enced our cul­ture as mem­bers of the Malay race.

When put in the proper con­text, his­to­ri­ans and schol­ars agree on one thing and it is that Ma­har­lika means any­thing but “a con­cept of seren­ity and peace,” as Duterte im­puted it to be, or “a roy­alty” as pres­i­den­tial spokesper­son Sal­vador Panelo wants us to be­lieve it is.

In fact award-win­ning nov­el­ist Ab­don Balde Jr. shared his views in the so­cial me­dia, say­ing that the word Ma­har­lika was in­cluded in the Vo­cab­u­lario de la lengua tagala (vo­cab­u­lary of the taga­log lan­guage) that showed its mean­ing, when trans­lated from Span­ish to Taga­log, as “alipin na it­in­ur­ing na malaya,” which means in English as “a slave deemed/ con­sid­ered free.” I would as­sume that Ma­har­lika was trans­lated in Span­ish as “es­clavo con­sid­er­ado li­bre.”

Balde’s views are ir­refutably con­firmed by his­to­rian Rolando Bor­ri­naga of the Na­tional Com­mis­sion for Cul­ture and Arts dur­ing an in­ter­view with ra­dio sta­tion DZBB, that Ma­har­lika ac­tu­ally means “free man.”

The rea­son why I am ex­pound­ing on this al­ter­na­tive name is be­cause it puz­zles me why Duterte is pick­ing up where Mar­cos has left off when what the lat­ter was mainly in­ter­ested in was hav­ing his ego in­flated by fan­ta­siz­ing and falsely re­viv­ing that the name Ma­har­lika was an­cient Filipino no­bil­ity.

It is even dis­com­bob­u­lat­ing that he­roes like Mabini, Luna, del Pi­lar, Aguinaldo, Boni­fa­cio and no­tably Rizal did not belit­tle the name Philippines and in fact were proud be­ing called Filipinos who wrote, con­demned, fought and died valiantly for the coun­try against the abuses and atroc­i­ties of both the Span­ish colo­nial rulers and the Span­ish fri­ars.

It is per­haps pru­dent for our lead­ers to be re­minded that the name Philippines is not what made us who we are to­day but, rather, it is us, the peo­ple who have given the coun­try the am­bi­gu­i­ties per­ceived to­day by the peo­ple in the world com­mu­nity.

– Je­sus Siev­ert

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