P and F defect: Changing the official name from ‘Pilipinas’ to ‘Filipinas’

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I’d think twice about changing the “official name” of the Philippines to “Filipinas”. Try doing an image search on the word “Filipinas” in Google and you will find what the term generally connotes. Not very flattering, to say the least. Certainly the results of that Google image search will not be consistent with the goals of the Philippine Government’s Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (Commission on the Filipino Language) which came up with this newest brainwave to change the official name of the country to “Filipinas.”

One of the results of an image search on Google for 'Filipinas'

One of the results of an image search on Google for ‘Filipinas’

In its Resolution 13-19 dated the 27th May 2013, the Commission put forth the notion that “Filipinas” is the more “modern” term that should be replacing the more popular “Pilipinas” as the country’s official name. It also articulates a goal of progressively phasing out the use of “Pilipinas” in all government institutions’ names and, presumably all communication artifacts such as logos and letterheads. The resolution recognises that the use of “Pilipinas” in public communication artifacts came about largely during a time when the Tagalog alphabet lacked the letter “F”.

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Having been educated at a time when this F-less alphabet was in effect, it comes as news to me that the Tagalog alphabet has had an “F” for some time now. One wonders though how the Filipino’s renowned P’s and F’s defect in her speech came about despite this lack of a letter “F” back then. The new level of confusion revolving around those two letters that this new resolution introduces to our bulol society will certainly give new meaning to our P’s and F’s Defect!

This latest head-scratcher of a resolution comes at an interesting time considering that the word “Filipinas” has come to be mainly used for referring to Filipino females. Filipino women don’t exactly enjoy the most spotless of reputations abroad. Just recently a mail-order-bride racket run by South Koreans and Filipinos was reportedly busted in the outskirts of Manila. The report cited how the appeal to Filipino women of being matched by an agency to a foreign husband stems from the promise of “a prosperous life”.

“We have rescued 29 (Filipino women) who were duped into promises of an instant wealthy life thru marriage with Korean gentlemen although in most cases, they ended up in the losing end after becoming victims of grave abuses,” [Chief Superintendent Reginald Villasanta, executive director of the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission] said.

Consider too that more than 52 percent of the overseas foreign workers (OFWs) deployed abroad that the Philippine economy depends on are females — i.e., Filipinas — the issue of many of these falling victim to prostitution and human trafficking rackets has also recently been highlighted after officials of the Philippine Government’s foreign services in Jordan were implicated in such a scandal.

In another incident involving Filipinas, ten of them working as “guest relations officers” in Malaysia were recently reported “rescued” by Malaysian police on the request of the Philippine embassy there. An all-too-familiar story is behind how these Filipinas ended up in their predicament…

The Embassy said the Filipinas were originally recruited to work as service crew in Baila Me Karaoke bar in Bintulu, Sarawak but ended up working as GROs.

“The Filipinas were forced to work beyond regular work hours without regular salaries and only earning from the ‘commission’ they receive on drinks offered to customers,” said the embassy.

It said the 10 Filipinas arrived in Malaysia last February 6 “through irregular channels.”

Perhaps what all this is telling us is that there are really more important problems out there that require the sort of strong collective wherewithal to act upon that is a monumental challenge to muster as it is even without the added confusion — and distraction — of trivial initiatives like changing the official name of the country. Quite ironic, indeed, that the fundamental issues surrounding the Philippines’ image problems overseas that centre around perceptions of its women could be exacerbated by an initiative that presumptively seeks to strengthen our national identity.

22 Replies to “P and F defect: Changing the official name from ‘Pilipinas’ to ‘Filipinas’”

  1. Being one of the people who is a lot more fond of the national language than the average bloke, I have a few words:

    1. Irrelevant
    2. Arbitrary
    3. We pay people to do this shit?

    NOBODY has called the Philippines “Filipinas” for the past 80 years or so. Why change it now?

  2. Wow, leave it to Filipinos to think about changing the most inconsequential detail about the Philippines above other more pressing matters.

  3. Even if they change it nmn people will still use Pilipinas LOLs. Oks lang sa akin ang use of Filipinas. Pero u know they have to think this over din. Parang okay how can we b united f what is above us isn’t even united diba?

  4. I have a lot of respect for Virgilio Almario’s work on the UP Diksiyonaryong Filipino, a modern and comprehensive documentation of the national language.

    But this! This speaks of all that is wrong with our country: the most farcical and superficial attempt at improvement I’ve ever seen in my whole life. This is the best that the KWF has to offer?

  5. it’s irrelevant, stupid thing. i prefer using Pilipinas instead of changing it to that shit Fiii..lipinas! pilipinas is easier to pronounce and more relevant to the society. changing the name will result to confusion again. nahihilo na nga tayo sa national identity natin.pinapalala pa.

  6. This make me sick. Up to now we are not sure of our national identity? Our politicians have the propensity of changing existing street names, places, infrastructures, etc. Even important landmarks were demolished to give way to “progress!” Now this move to change the present name Philippines, Pilipinas to Filipinas. Will this improve the day to day subsistence of the poor citizens? There are more pressing problems in dire need of solutions. Other more progressive countries did not changed their names but instead focussed on how to improve the lots of their citizens. This is just a waste of taxpayers money. Let us stop this nonsense!

  7. Bakit pa papalitan ang pangalan ng bansa, aksaya lamang sa oras at pera ang gagawin nila . Maraming problema sa ating bansa na dapat mas inuuna nila, kagaya ng poverty at corruption na hindi na natapos at patuloy pang tumataas tapos gagawa ulit ng panibagong isyu .

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