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Duterte wants Philippines renamed 'Maharlika'

To reflect pre-colonial past, president revives name advocated by Marcos

President Rodrigo Duterte gestures during a ceremony to mark the return of the Balangiga bells taken by U.S. soldiers as war booty 117 years ago, at Balangiga, central Philippines, on Dec. 5, 2018.   © Reuters

MANILA -- Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has suggested renaming the country "Maharlika," a word originally meaning warrior class, to pay homage to the country's pre-colonial past. 

Duterte has revived an idea advocated by Ferdinand Marcos, the Philippines' former president and dictator who implemented martial law to keep himself in power for two decades. During his regime, Marcos popularized the word and named the state broadcaster, a north-south highway and a presidential hall after it. 

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