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Prelates disagree with suggestion to rename the country

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By Leslie Ann Aquino

A Catholic prelate has opposed the idea of changing the name of the Philippines to Maharlika.

Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes said such an idea is “distasteful” especially since it comes at a time when the country is preparing for the 500th year anniversary of the arrival of Christianity here in 2021.

“It is distasteful for Duterte to change the name of our country especially at this time when we are remembering history,” he said in an interview.

“The history of our country is very much connected with the arrival of Christianity in 1521 when (Ferdinand) Magellan planted the Cross on our shores, declaring the Archipelago as under the crown of Christ the King and the crown of King Philip of Spain,” Bastes added.

The prelate said it was this “historic act” that this group of Islands became united as a nation.

According to Bastes, who is the head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines Episcopal Commission on Mission, is already preparing for the big celebration in April 2021, to commemorate the celebration of the First Historic Mass and the First Baptism in Cebu.

The prelate would rather that the Maharlika name be used for the highway connecting our Islands.

For his part, Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo also dismissed the idea.

“This is another musing of an old man that is not worth commenting about,” he said.

“There are so many issues that are important for our country that he should talk about and address,” added Pabillo.

Earlier, President Duterte said he agreed with former President Ferdinand Marcos supposed plan to change the name of the Philippnes to Maharlika as it was a better fit for the country because of its Malay origin.

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