Bill bans lapu-lapu name for fish

Mactan Shrine with the statue of Lapu-Lapu. (KTT)

Rep. Paz Radaza (Lone District, Lapu-Lapu City) has filed a bill that prohibits the use of Lapu-Lapu’s name for a fish as it dishonors the hero of the Battle of Mactan where Filipinos first defeated Spanish colonizers.

While Filipinos value Lapu-Lapu’s heroism, Radaza said it is ironic that his name is also used to call a fish with the scientific name of Plectropomus leopardus.

“It is inappropriate, a defilement, and a violation, even if the fish could be the most sought-after, not only in the Philippines but also in Southeast Asia,” Radaza said.

He said House Bill 2223 or “An Act Rectifying the Dishonorable Use of a Great Filipino Name Lapu-Lapu to a Fish Species ‘Plectropomus leopardus,” aims to rectify, correct and give justice to the name of Lapu-Lapu as a hero.

For Plectropomus leopardus to be known, named and promoted as a delicious delicacy, Radaza said Filipinos should be encouraged to call it “pugapo” instead of lapu-lapu.

In yesteryears, Radaza said the fish Plectropomus leopardus was known in the regions of the Visayas and Mindanao as “pugapo.”

“But nowadays, it is alarming that more and more Filipinos prefer to call it lapu-lapu, a disrespect to a patriotic Filipino forebear,” she said.

The bill declares that Lapu-Lapu who resisted and defeated the Spaniards in the Battle of Mactan, should always be accorded and honored befitting of a patriot, a great ruler and a hero.

The bill further declares that as it is a defilement that his name is being used to call a fish, Plectropomus leopardus. Calling the species as Lapu-Lapu or Lapulapu shall be prohibited. The species shall instead be called and restored to its original name pugapo, the bill provides.

The bill mandates the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, together with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources of the Department of Agriculture, to take the lead role in the implementation of the Act.

Likewise, the Philippine Information Agency shall prepare advertisements and information campaign on the Act until full compliance is attained.

Local government units shall also help implement the Act by passing local ordinances and disseminating information within their areas of jurisdiction that “pugapo” should not be called lapu-Lapu.

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p: wjg