“PI” is politically incorrect

Please Stop Calling the Philippines ‘P.I.’

Michael Gonzalez

I teach Philippine history in an American community college and I flinch every time a bright-eyed student would talk about his/her recent trip to “P.I.”

P.I., of course, means Philippine Islands, and to most Filipinos familiar with the U.S. colonization of the Philippines, it is a politically incorrect term. This much I learned from my U.P. history professor Dr. Oscar Alfonso.

P.I. as a term is specific to the Philippines as U.S. territory, a colonial one, until the U.S. Congress granted Philippine independence in 1945. The use of P.I. is an innocent mistake given that Philippine Islands is a direct translation of Islas Filipinas in Spanish, the name Spanish explorer Legazpi in 1543 gave to the group of islands (Leyte and Samar) in honor of the Felipe II, King of Spain.

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