Due precisely to the ethnocentricism of the Philippines´ dominant ethnie, the Philippine state has come to exhibit ethnocratic tendencies. An ethnocratic state, according to David Brown, is one which "acts as the agency of the dominant ethnic community in terms of its ideologies, its policies and its resource distribution." According to Brown, this involves three propositions:
- Recruitment to the state elite positions, in the civil service, armed forces and government, is disproportionately and overwhelmingly from the majority ethnic group. Where recruitment of those from other ethnic origins does occur, it is conditional upon their assimilation into the dominant ethnic culture.
- The cultural attributes and values of the dominant ethnic segment are employed as the core elements for the elaboration of the national ideology, so that the state´s depiction of the nation´s history, the state´s stance on language, religion and moral values, and the state´s choice of national symbols all derive primarily from the culture of the ethnic majority. Thus, the national identity which is employed to define the multi-ethnic society is neither ethnically neutral nor multi-ethnic, but rather it is mono-ethnic.
- The state´s institutions - its constitution, its laws and its political structures - serve to maintain and reinforce the monopolization of power by the ethnic segment. Thus the channels which the state provides for participation are such as to either restrict all avenues for politics or to secure the disproportionate representation of the ethnic segment.
Brown clarified, however, that ethnocracy constitutes a tendency shown to varying degrees in a large number of states, and not a descriptive category to which any actual state completely conforms. 
The Philippine state is perhaps far from being as ethnocratic as that of Myanmar (Burma),  but there are still a lot of disturbing signs. To disprove that the Philippine state has ethnocratic tendencies, government representatives would probably point to the regional autonomy granted to the Muslim and Cordillera peoples, now enshrined in the country´s 1987 constitution. But it must be borne in mind that such "autonomy" was granted only after armed Muslim and Cordilleran movements had waged bitter wars against the government. And just how satisfactory this "autonomy" is remains questionable.
In the case of the Muslims, the MNLF has already signed three peace agreements with three different administrations (Marcos, Aquino and Ramos), each providing for Muslim autonomy. Less than three years after the latest - the 1996 peace pact - was signed, Eric Gutierrez lamented that a mangled version of autonomy was shaping up and that bureaucratic gridlock, legal disputes, political challenges and diminishing popular support were eroding the territory, authority, funding and political infrastructure of the new autonomous region even before it could be set up.  It would seem that Muslim autonomy is not really being implemented, just renegotiated. The 1996 pact also provided for "intensive peace and development efforts" to be carried out in the provinces covered by autonomy, but the Muslim areas remain as backward as ever.  And although all three government-MNLF accords promised Muslims greater representation and participation in the central government, there has hardly been any marked progress. For long periods, there were no Muslims in the Cabinet, in the Supreme Court and among the top generals of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. And for some time now, there has been no Muslim in the Senate, the upper house of the Philippine Congress. What can perhaps be considered as the only concrete achievements of the 1996 agreement are the end of the armed hostilities between the government and the MNLF  and the integration of a significant number of MNLF fighters and sympathizers into the Philippine armed forces and police.
Where the ethnocratic tendencies of the Philippine state lie strongest, however, is in the cultural sphere, or in what Smith has described as the "nation-building" process. Take the depiction of the Philippines´ "national history", for instance. Hardly anything has actually been done to redress the virtual exclusion of the Muslims from, and the distortions about them in, this "national history". Criticizing Philippine scholarship for being "obdurately silent" on the Moros, Aijaz Ahmad wrote in 1982: "From The Philippines: Past and Present, by Dean C. Worcester, the seminal work in American historiography of the Philippines, to History of the Philippines, by Renato Constantino, the most eminent of the contemporary Filipino nationalist historians, serious scholarship of the past seven decades nowhere offers even a dozen consecutive pages on the history, culture, politics and society of the Moros. They are left almost entirely to missionaries and obscurantists." 
In 1971, when armed clashes were starting to intensify in Mindanao, a group of Muslim leaders and scholars bewailed not just the perennial discrimination against Muslims in many levels of the national life but also "the misrepresentation or distortion of their true image as a historic people."  Since then, a number of historians have produced excellent scholarly works on the Muslims, but their contents have not been incorporated in textbooks on Philippine history being used in elementary and high school. Few Filipino school children have read or heard about such Muslim heroes as Sultan Qudarat, Alimudin I and Amai Pakpak. Since the Philippines gained independence, Filipinism, with all its omissions and distortions of the Muslims, has been the "official nationalism". 
In the 1960s and 1970s, Agoncillo, Constantino and other nationalist historians strove to correct the biases and blast the myths implanted by colonial (especially American) scholarship and to write "a truly Filipino history, the history of the Filipino people."  It now appears that the country´s "national history" needs to be revised or rewritten to rid it not just of strong survivals of colonial historiography, but also of ethnocentric biases, which in fact bear some extent of colonial influence.
On account of their religion and language, many Muslims have felt excluded from being full Filipino citizens. Although the Philippines, as a secular state, adheres to the principle of the separation of church and state, government functions and activities are still often marked by Christian customs and rituals. Christian Filipinos often proudly proclaim that the Philippines is the only Christian (or Catholic) country in Asia, and the government has done nothing to counter such insensitive ethnocentric thinking.
As Majul has rightly asserted, "the premise that the Catholic religion is one of, if not the basic element for identification in the Filipino national community ... [is] unacceptable on legal and historical grounds."  Filipino, the Tagalog-based national language, still has not been enriched much by the country´s non-Tagalog vernaculars and has hardly incorporated any words from the languages and dialects of the Muslim ethnic groups. The 1996 peace agreement does provide for the integration of Islamic values in the educational curriculum and the propagation of Arabic as an auxiliary medium of instruction, but these can only be truly implemented if and when the new autonomous region has been put in place.
By commemorating 12 June 1998 as the centennial of "the birth of the nation", the Philippine government transformed the Revolution of 1896-98 - in Gregory Bankoff´s words, "quintessentially a Christian affair"  - into a nationalist origin myth, a myth to which the Muslims cannot identify. Having been absent from "the birth of the nation", the Muslims, despite their valiant struggles against Spanish and American colonialism, have not been reflected in the country´s national flag and national anthem. The Philippine flag has a sun with eight rays, the rays symbolizing the first eight provinces that revolted against Spain in 1896. When the proposal to add a ninth ray to represent the Muslims was presented sometime ago, Christian Filipinos roundly rejected it. This, noted Macario Tiu, stands in contrast to what the United States did - as the number of states in the union grew from the original thirteen to the present fifty, the Americans just kept adding stars on their flag. 
Even as the Muslim struggle against colonialism is unreflected on the flag, the "gratitude" of Filipinos to the imperialist power which later tricked them and became their colonial master is flamboyantly displayed. No less than the Philippine Declaration of Independence explains the symbolism of the colors of the flag: "... the colors Blue, Red and White commemorating the flag of the United States of North America, as a manifestation of our profound gratitude towards this Great nation for its disinterested protection which it lent us and is continuing to lend us." 
The ethnocentric bias of Christian Filipinos and the ethnocratic tendencies of the Philippine state are perhaps best captured in the country´s foremost symbol: its name. Philippines and Filipino not only reflect what the Muslims have not wanted to be: Christian, Westernized, even colonial-minded. The terms are an insult to their creed and their very being. The MNLF could very well have been alluding in part to the appellations Philippines and Filipino when it contended: "[T]he Filipino government has the birthmarks of its Spanish and American predecessors. Its most distinct mark is its colonial character."  That Muslims have long objected to Philippines and Filipino and that Christians and the Philippine government have paid no heed to their objections are further indication of the Christian Filipinos´ ethnocentrism and the state´s ethnocratic tendencies.
It is no wonder that, as Kenneth E. Bauzon has pointed out, Muslims view the present government as a foreign government (gobirno a sarwang tao), a government of the Bangsa Pilipino (Filipino nation) of which the Bangsa Moro are not a part.  No wonder too that among many Muslims, the old MNLF slogan "Moros - not Filipinos!" still resounds and draws new adherents. Among Muslims who still say they are Filipinos, one can never be sure if the Filipino-ness is just on paper. The Sultan of Maguindanao and his associates, in fact, say they are Filipinos only by document - they have no choice but to put down Filipino as their nationality when filling out legal papers, e.g., in applying for jobs. 
Many of the Philippines´ nationalist writers and scholars have bewailed the persistence or resurgence of the colonial mentality, "colonial consciousness" or "neocolonial identity" among today´s Filipinos.  According to Constantino, colonial mentality, as commonly understood, "encompasses our subservient attitudes towards the colonial ruler as well as our predisposition towards aping Western ways".  Colonial mentality corresponds to what Fanon referred to as the internalization or "epidermalization" of inferiority among peoples subjected to colonization.
In Constantino´s view, the Philippines is a nation alienated from itself, with no real goals except to emulate alien standards and values imported from the North. Philippine society is an artificial one, as Filipinos pretend to be what they are not. In aping the worst consumerist aspects of the North, they have developed an obsessive desire to acquire consumer goods, especially foreign ones. Unlike their Asian neighbors, Filipinos have a weak sense of nationhood and feel little national pride. The young prefer to be citizens of one of the more powerful nations rather than Filipinos, and look forward to foreign placements for work. The sense of national community has been eroded; the crass materialism imbibed from the North has produced a massive rat race where everyone thinks only of self. With the globalization of culture, Filipinos get inundated through the transnational media with images full of artificiality, inanity, sexism, violence and racism. The culture being institutionalized is alien in language, direction and content. The educational system continues to miseducate Filipinos by glorifying the boons of continuing foreign domination at the expense of indigenous culture.  School children learn very little of their country´s history, especially of the heroic resistance of their ancestors to American occupation. "The legions of little brown Americans in our midst," bemoaned Constantino, "attest to such a tragic flaw." 
Poring over children´s textbooks and "letters to the editor" in Philippine dailies, Niels Mulder was struck by the great frequency and quantity of the Filipinos´ negative evaluations of themselves and of their country, with such references as "this God-forsaken country", "our society has really gone to the dogs", and "our culture of violence". Mulder related this penchant for self-flagellation and Philippines-bashing among contemporary educated Filipinos to "the colonialism-imposed syndrome that makes many Filipinos see themselves in the comparative perspective of the eternal underdog who feel they have to explain themselves, to apologize vis-à-vis outsiders". He traced how this self-flagellation came about. Thanks to the uncritical depicting in textbooks of the American era, Filipinos of the postcolonial period were effectively indoctrinated with the exemplariness of American civilization, and they started to measure themselves by its idealized standards. Perceiving themselves as culturally part of Western civilization, Filipinos proudly proclaimed themselves to be the world´s third largest English-speaking country, the only Christian nation in Asia, the showcase of democracy, the bridge between East and West. Convinced that their Westernized ways were superior and boasting one of the most robust economies in Asia, Filipinos felt a certain smugness towards their fellow Asians. Through the years, however, the Philippines´ growth lagged behind its neighbors. The myth of superiority completely unraveled during the Marcos dictatorship, a period of great unrest and crisis. As the country´s economy floundered, tens of thousands of Filipinos were forced or opted to work abroad. The ouster of Marcos through the "people power revolution" of 1986 resulted in the widespread visibility of I-am-a-proud-Filipino stickers. But such pride lasted for only a brief period, as political and economic conditions failed to improve significantly and the Philippines became "the sick man of Asia". The self-flagellation, which had started in the Marcos period, became common practice. 
Although "colonial mentality" is an overused term, noted Elmer A. Ordoñez, there are still many indications to this "affliction". He cited the pre-eminence in the mass media of American and Western pop culture in song, dance and lifestyles; the preference for "stateside" products to local goods; the continuing dominance of English over Filipino as medium of instruction; and the low visibility of Filipino authors compared to Western writers. 
A most telling sign of the Filipinos´ "epidermalization" of inferiority has to do with the epidermis itself. According to Randy S. David, one of the more enduring legacies of Spanish colonialism, which has been reinforced by American television, is a lingering colonial concept of beauty pervasive especially among the younger generation, one that is based on the "mestizo standard of beauty": fair skin, large eyes and tall noses.  Modern-day Filipinas, still as heavily made-up as Doña Victorina, have put one over her: they use skin whiteners or resort to face-lifts. Like their predecessors, today´s brown Spaniards and brown Americans look down on those who are dark-skinned.
Disagreeing with the "conventional wisdom" that Filipinos suffer from "colonial consciousness", "a weak sense of national identity" and a "damaged culture", Eva-Lotta E. Hedman and John T. Sidel contend that the Philippines has experienced "a cultural renaissance and a resurgence of nationalist consciousness and sentiment" in the past two decades. The nationalism is not "official nationalism", but a popular one, resulting in fact from the creative energies of Filipinos working outside - or even against - the Philippine state. According to Hedman and Sidel, the experience of anti-Marcos struggle in the 1980s, enjoyment of Philippine movies, television and pop music, and everyday struggles of overseas Filipino workers engendered new modes of representing Filipinos and imagining a Philippine nation. Instead of referring to and revering mythologized Origins and Great Man History, the new popular nationalism is characterized by "ironic, self-deprecatory humour", "mirthful irreverence" and "playful diasporic intimacy" and is more inclusively gendered. Hedman and Sidel cite highly varied examples of this popular nationalism, among them: a wacky comic strip providing its readers by metonymy an "imagined community" of fellow-Filipinos; newspaper columns of a historian (Ocampo) who brings Philippine historical figures to life with vignettes; two prizewinning novels written by a woman writer, both of which feature a female central character involved in a nationalist project; the proliferation of an article "testing" one´s Filipino-ness on the basis of a list of everyday Filipino practices; the growing patronage for "ethnic" jewelry and fabrics as well as for a folk music group using "ethnic" instruments; a rock group and a film making sly mockery of the mimicry of foreign songs and films; the emergence of strong solidarities among overseas Filipinos; and the outpouring of nationalist outrage over the execution of a Filipina maid in Singapore and the imprisonment of another in Abu Dhabi. 
Is there a persistence of colonial consciousness or is there a resurgence of nationalism?
Constantino, Mulder and Ordoñez, on the one hand, and Hedman and Sidel, on the other, apparently take positions that are polar opposites. Constantino and Hedman/Sidel even differ in the interpretation of a few particular phenomena. While Constantino castigates the giant shopping malls sprouting all over the country´s major urban centers as de-nationalizing influences promoting consumerist tendencies fed by foreign brand name advertising, Hedman/Sidel welcome them as reflecting and reproducing "an image of limited equality that resonates with the promise of democratic citizenship in the contemporary Philippines". And while Constantino tends to fault Filipino overseas contract workers for looking toward other countries to ensure their future, becoming almost exclusively economistic in their outlook and having little concern about what is happening to their country, Hedman/Sidel praise them for promoting what Anderson has described as "long-distance nationalism". 
But there are areas of reconcilability or at least complementarity. Mulder qualified that the middle classes are the ones indulging in Philippines-bashing and self-flagellation and that the population at large is not part of all this, except from being exposed to school and media negativism. Hedman/Sidel, on the other hand, see a resurgence of popular nationalism. Thus, it may very well be that while the middle classes remain ensconced in the colonial state of mind, the masses are already revelling in their mirthfully irreverent nationalism.
At one stage, Constantino expressed a disinclination to the term colonial mentality for it connoted "a resigned acceptance of it as the natural and inescapable condition of the average Filipino mind" and "disregard[ed] the necessity of looking inward to examine what forces within ourselves reinforce and deepen this intellectual bondage". He advised studying the dynamics of intellectual colonization in all its aspects to find out how the colonial attitude became a generalized condition, as well as to discover and develop the means of overcoming it. "The examination of our colonial consciousness and our eventual liberation from its control," he averred, "must be attended by the evolution and dissemination of a counter-consciousness." 
Outside of the few particular variances earlier mentioned as to what manifests a colonial attitude and what does not, the popular nationalism that Hedman/Sidel have discerned could very well fit into Constantino´s category of "counter-consciousness". Viewed through the "consciousness versus counter-consciousness" framework, the main difference between Constantino´s and Hedman/Sidel´s positions would be that while the former beheld colonial consciousness as still very much dominant in the Filipino psyche, the latter perceive the nationalist counter-consciousness as already having risen to predominance.
Hedman/Sidel present a refreshingly new - and for nationalists, hopeful - perspective on the development of nationalism in the Philippines. However, whether the nationalist counter-consciousness has indeed gained dominance over the colonial mind or still is an upcoming force that promises to be the wave of the future remains debatable. Whichever the case may be, there is no denying that the manifestations of the colonial mind are still very much around and that the process of cultural decolonization still needs to be vigorously pursued. Moreover, Hedman/Sidel have not presented any evidence that the "resurgent" popular ("Filipino") nationalism encompasses Muslim "Filipinos".
Several times over the past decade or so, many Filipinos, especially "Filipino nationalists", have raised a great hue and cry over the derogatory use by Westerners - or what were viewed to be such - of the word Filipino. Filipinos strongly protested when the words Filipino, Filipina and Filipineza were defined in several Western dictionaries as "a domestic helper" or "a maid". Filipinos were again in uproar when a packet of cookies produced in Spain and marketed in Europe carried the brand name Filipinos. Defining Filipino as a domestic helper is indeed an ugly, racist slur. On the other hand, the use of Filipinos as a name for cookies which are not made by Filipinos themselves may be as innocuous as Canton and Alaska in pancit Canton and Alaska milk, which are not products of the Cantonese and the Alaskans themselves. The common Filipino expression lutong Macao and the use of Double Dutch as the name for an ice cream being sold in Filipino supermarkets are perhaps much more politically incorrect.
But come to think of it, Filipino has for a long time - or even always - had either a pejorative or a discriminatory connotation to it. For over 300 years, the peninsular Spaniards used it to refer pejoratively to the insular Spaniards. When the mestizos and ilustrados adopted the name, they first made it an exclusive preserve for the insulares and for themselves, and excluded the lower-class indios. During the American colonial period, Filipino tended to be used only for "civilized" Christians and to discriminate against non-Christian "savages". From the very beginning, Philippines and Filipino have always had a colonial ring to them, but most Filipinos have chosen to just gloss over this. The Muslims in southern Philippines have always been conscious of, and protested against, the colonial-ness of Philippines and Filipino, but the dominant ethnie has ignored them and are dragging them into its colonial-mindedness.
(It seems apt to make a few asides here. First, since the Spaniards invented the term filipino and were the first filipinos, why shouldn´t they put it on their cookies? Second, what an irony that an appellation like filipino (or Filipino) that was once reserved for the elite in the Philippines during the Spanish period is now taken to mean a domestic helper! And third, again what an irony that the Filipinos in Europe today suffer from what the original moros - i.e., the Moors - experienced there centuries ago: In sixteenth-century Spain and Portugal, and in Naples and Venice, the Moors were stereotyped as servants. )
It is time to discard the name Philippines and together with it the appellation Filipino. They are utterly colonial names, manifesting the internalization and epidermalization of inferiority of the Filipinos. They are, in fact, doubly colonial in that they identify not just with the foreign monarch who ordered the country´s colonization, but also with the white criollos who were among the indios´ direct oppressors. According to George, prolonged usage of Philippines and Filipino have no doubt dulled the Filipinos´ awareness of their incongruity and colonial character.  But the colonial stigma remains. Far from diminishing or erasing the colonial stigma, prolonged usage of Philippines and Filipino has in fact heightened and accentuated it: the longer the usage, the deeper has been the internalization of inferiority - to the point that one takes these terms for granted and does not think about them anymore. The colonial names have to go all the more if Filipinos take to heart what Recto himself once declared: "[T]he independence of countries such as ours cannot be complete until the last traces of colonialism have been eradicated". 
Apart from being colonial, Philippines and Filipino have for long periods been associated with racial, class, ethnic/national and religious discrimination. As symbols of the ethnocentric prejudices of the country´s dominant ethnie and the ethnocratic tendencies of the Philippine state, Philippines and Filipino have not served as true emblems of the nation - or the constellation of nations or ethnic groups that are supposed to comprise the present Philippines - and of national identity. Rather, they have been a factor for continuing dissension and disunity. Christian Filipinos cannot afford to keep ignoring the objections of the Muslims to Philippines and Filipino, because, as Alastair Davidson has pointed out, nations simply cannot be made as they were in the past 200 years: it is no longer acceptable for a formally democratic country to forge national unity by mercilessly erasing cultural differences and making people "forget" their own, different pre-national histories. 
If given a good start, a new move to change the country´s name - on the basis of the arguments cited - could easily spark off a national debate, one that would draw people of all classes and ethnic origins into lively, heated and even impassioned discussion. Certainly a much livelier and more heated disputation than that over a packet of cookies. In the course of the discussion and debate, the country would be transformed into one big public forum or classroom on such questions as nationalism, colonial mentality, ethnicity and ethnocentrism.
The process of changing the name Philippines should help give further impetus to the much broader process of cultural decolonization and to the development of a more thoroughly anti-colonial and much more inclusive and popular nationalism. And it should help in rectifying historical injustices done to Muslims and other non-Christian communities, in rebuilding a truly multi-ethnic and multicultural national identity and in resolving the protracted armed conflict in Mindanao. In other words, the process would be a consciousness-raising and counter-consciousness-making exercise, vis-à-vis not just colonial but also ethnocentric thinking.
The new person that could emerge from the counter-consciousness-making would be one who has learned from, and come to terms with, his colonial past and not one who tries to gloss over it or gets bogged down ruing over it. In place of the subservience, the fawning and the self-bashing, there would be more of the assertiveness, the pride and perhaps the ironic, self-deprecatory humor. Apart from being decolonized, the new person would be more sensitive to other ethnic communities and groups, and more cognizant, tolerant and appreciative of ethnic and cultural diversity.
Since the roots of the Mindanao conflict are much more complex than terminological issues, changing the names Philippines and Filipino should only be a part of a much broader peace process involving meaningful political, economic, social and cultural changes. If not accompanied by these, name-changing would amount to nothing more than tokenism. Filipinism would change in name, but not in substance.
Even if Philippines has been the name of the islands for nearly half a millennium, replacing it may not be as difficult as it may first seem. For one, the Philippine Constitution does specifically provide a mechanism for changing the country´s name. Article XVI, Section 2 states:
The Congress may, by law, adopt a new name for the country, a national anthem, or a national seal, which shall be truly reflective and symbolic of the ideals, history, and traditions of the people. Such law shall take effect only upon its ratification by the people in a national referendum. 
In finding a new name, there should be a lot of choices far better than names or terms that connote an ego-tripping dictator, a fictitious guerrilla unit or a big phallus. Jose B. Abletez has come up with the very worthy suggestions on how to pick a new name, based on his study of various countries´ names, to wit:
- To honor heroes, real or mythical, e.g., Bolivia (in honor of South American liberator Simon Bolivar)
- To convey love for freedom and independence, e.g., Thailand ("land of the free")
- To denote cultural or racial origins or national pride, e.g., Iran.
- To preserve the names of old nations or territories that have been merged, e.g., Tanzania (the merger of Tanganyika and Zanzibar)
- In memory of old places like villages, e.g., Canada (derived from Kanatta, the name of an ancient Indian village)
- To do away with old colonial stigma or insult to national pride, e.g., Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia, which was named after British colonizer Cecil Rhodes)
- To indicate popularity of local forestry resources or mineral products, e.g., Ghana ("gold") and Brazil (a special hardwood product). 
In the light of the multi-ethnic character of the Philippines, the case of Burkina Faso, whose citizens are called Burkinabé, may be particularly instructive. Burkina Faso has many ethnolinguistic communities, the biggest of which are the Mossi, the Peul and the Bobo. Burkina comes from the Mossis´ word for "justice" or "uprightness". Faso is the Bobos´ term for "land". And the bé in Burkinabé comes from the Peuls´ word for "people". Burkina Faso thus translates as "land of the upright people". 
To foster greater unity among Christians, Muslims and non-Christian ethnic communities, Tiu has advocated for "reimagining" the Philippines as a national community,  while Arnold Azurin has proposed "reinventing the Filipino" (or more precisely, "reinventing the Filipino sense of being and becoming").  Perhaps the first step in reimagining the Philippines is to change Philippines into an un-colonial and much more inclusively representative name. And perhaps the first step in reinventing the Filipino is to change Filipino.
Constantino once declared that "the only true Filipino is the decolonized Filipino."  But producing a decolonized Filipino is perhaps an impossible task. Even more than "Filipino nationalism", "decolonized Filipino" is a contradiction in terms.