Note: This entry is about an abusive partnership and why this break up will only be for the better.
“The State shall pursue an independent foreign policy. In its relations with other states, the paramount consideration shall be national sovereignty, territorial integrity, national interest, and the right to self-determination.” Article 2, Section 7 of the Philippine Constitution.”
There has been much hoolabaloo about Rodrigo Duterte’s recent pronouncement to “separate” from the United States. This pronouncement has struck fear and uncertainty in the hearts of many, with even some claiming that the Filipino people will starve if he pushes through with this plan.
The Philippines has been a colony of the United States ever since the latter acquired the former from Spain for USD 20 million in 1898. The succeeding Philippine-American war claimed the lives of between 200,000 and 1.5 million Filipinos (out of a total population of just a little over six million), depending on whose statistics you use. Majority of this number were women and children. The viciousness of US conduct in the war can best be illustrated in the events following the Balangiga Massacre, when US General Jacob B. Smith, may he be eternally damned, ordered his forces to kill every man, woman and child more than ten years old and to turn the countryside of Samar island into a howling wilderness, devoid of any semblance of (Filipino) life.
The US and the Philippines have “enjoyed” a master-slave relationship since then. Though the US supposedly “granted” the Philippines independence in 1945, this peculiar relationship continued. Leaders of the Philippines continued to pander to the wishes of the US government, entering treaties and signing agreements that were more beneficial to the US than to the Filipino people. Policies were defined by how it will affect the US-Philippine relationship, and not by how it will affect the lives of Filipinos. The US encouraged this attitude of Filipino politicians as well as the elite, and this attitude permeated to the lower levels of Philippine society. The willingness of the elite to be subservient to US interests continues until today.
But I digress. The point I am trying to make is that this relationship of the Philippines with the US has been, at all times, mostly detrimental to the welfare of the Filipino people. To say that we would not have evolved and developed as a nation without the US is to say that the Filipino people are stupid, which we are definitely not. To say that the Filipino people would never have advanced without US aid is to to admit that the Filipino people are talentless, which we have proven false throughout history.
Duterte’s pronouncement to break up with the US can only lead to the betterment of the lives of the Filipino people, but only if the government does more than just release sound bites about this issue.
Will the Filipino people go hungry? Only if the government does not implement agrarian reform and do away with the landlord class who only serve to perpetuate US rule in the country. The Filipino people can no longer buy and enjoy products that we have right now, many say. Yes, initially, but if the government pushes through with national industrialization, soon enough we will be producing these products, machines, cars and what have you. If the US closes down opportunities for Filipinos to work in the US, all the more that the government must ensure that jobs are created here in the country so that Filipinos no longer need to go to abroad to find work. Opportunities to study in the best schools in the US, and the world, will be lost to Filipinos due to this break up, many from the middle class say. Then by all means the government should provide greater state subsidy to public schools and improve the quality of education in the Philippines in order for Filipinos to obtain the best education here.
I can go on all day, but you probably get my drift. Just like any break up, this will definitely be painful at first. Heart wrenching, even. Yet to not push through with this break up would be more painful for the Filipino nation as a whole. We have suffered enough violence from this relationship. Lives, blood and sweat have been sacrificed by so many of our people in order for us to be able to stand on our own two feet.
This relationship has been a sickening, abusive and violent one. It is time to part ways. It is time to move on.