MANILA, Philippines - President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday reiterated his desire to change the name of the Philippines weeks after he said the late president Ferdinand Marcos was right in wanting to change the country's name to "Maharlika."
But Duterte said he had no particular name yet in mind.
"I want to change it in the future. No particular name yet but sure I would like to change the name of the Philippines because the Philippines is named after King Philip," he said in a speech during the groundbreaking ceremony of the Isabela City gymnasium in Basilan.
Duterte floated the idea of renaming the Philippines during a speech in Maguindanao where he distributed land titles to Agrarian reform beneficiaries.
He agreed with the idea of the late president Marcos to change the country's name to "Maharlika."
The President said the Philippines was left with no choice when it was named King Philip II after the country was discovered by Spain in 1521.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo earlier said that renaming the Philippines would need a law and a referendum.
"The Constitution provides that Congress may enact a law that can change the name of the country and submit it to the people for a referendum," Panelo said in a Palace briefing.