“Bakeeeet? (But why?)” Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray responded when asked about President Duterte’s proposal to change the country’s name to “Maharlika.”
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” the 25-year-old aspiring singer said on Friday during a chat with members of the media at the PLDT head office in Makati City.
Mr. Duterte proposed the name change during the distribution of land titles in the Muslim-majority province of Maguindanao early this month, saying he would move the Philippines past its colonial history.
Serenity and peace
The Philippines was named after Spanish king “Felipe,” while Maharlika is “a Malay word that means more of a concept of serenity and peace,” the President said, echoing a similar proposal by dictator Ferdinand Marcos who conflated “maharlika” with royalty.
On Friday, Gray met with PLDT chair and CEO Manny V. Pangilinan to discuss the company’s support for the Miss Universe Organization’s charity work and to finalize details of her commercial endorsement.
“She did a commercial for us in 2012, when she was just 18,” Pangilinan said. PLDT also sponsored Gray’s homecoming.
Earlier this week, Gray declared her opposition to a bill seeking to lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility from 15 to 12, saying the government should instead look at the root of the problem that has driven children to commit crimes.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the beauty queen needed to be “educated” on the issue, as she may have been “misinformed of the facts, given that opposition to the [bill] comes mainly from critics of the administration.”
But opposition Sen. Francis Pangilinan described Gray’s view on the issue as “an incisive, intelligent response” based on her experience as a volunteer for Young Focus International Foundation, a nongovernment organization providing educational assistance to children from the slums of Tondo, Manila. —WITH A REPORT FROM MARLON RAMOS