AMIDST THE NEOLIBERAL OFFENSIVE, IT IS THE PATRIOTIC RESPONSIBILITY OF EVERY FILIPINO TO STRUGGLE FOR GENUINE INDEPENDENCE
Philippine Independence was declared by Filipino revolutionary forces on June 12, 1898 in Kawit, Cavite, asserting sovereignty and independence of the Philippines islands from the colonial rule of Spain. But this was not recognized by United States Of America (USA) and ironically a line in the declaration of independence states the country as “under the protection of a mighty and humane North American nation”.
This declaration was not also recognized by Spain. Later, Spain ceded the Philippines to the United States in the 1898 Treaty of Paris that ended the Spanish-American War.
Our ancestors persisted in struggle for freedom and independence. The Philippine-American War, also known as the Philippine War of Independence, broke-out and lasted from 1899 until1902. The superior and nascent imperialist power USA won the war. It is estimated that some 34,000 Filipino soldiers lost their lives and that as many as 200,000 civilians may have died directly or indirectly as a result of the war, most due to a major cholera epidemic that broke out near its end.
The Philippines became a US neo-colony from 1902 until presently. Americans directly ruled the Philippines until 1941. There was a three-year interregnum when the Philippines was under Japanese occupation (1942-1945). On July 4, 1946, as provided for by the Tydings-McDuffie Act, the US granted “independence” to the Philippines after it signed a Treaty of General Relations. Under the treaty, the US relinquished its sovereignty over the whole archipelago to the Republic of the Philippines except over the US military bases and military reservations. This was a bogus independence. There were other conditions that undermined national sovereignty and patrimony concretely expressed in the constitutional amendment granting Americans “parity or equal rights” as the Filipinos in the exploitation of land, water and mineral resources of the Philippines.
Corollary to this, all those elected into positions of power from President Manuel Roxas to President Benigno “ Noynoy “ Aquino are chief political representatives of the ruling class and guardians of the decadent and oppressive social system.
They are entrusted with the duty to ensure the smooth operation of a type of system tailored to suit the needs of the US, to the detriment of the Filipino people – a neo-colonial, semi-feudal borne out of a long history of colonization.
The current neo-liberal paradigm merely exacerbates the inherent problems of a neo-colonial, semi-feudal system in the country. This time around, the subjugation is total and mendicancy is institutionalized.
A Development Model that Reduces the People as Paupers
Pnoy has declared that “transparency and good governance” are vital in creating the a good investment climate, this in turn would be ‘decisive’ in uplifting the quality of life of the people.
Correspondingly, the Aquino government has anchored the improvement of people’s lives on big private investments, now renamed as public-private partnership (PPP). The relation between private and the government is also known as Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT), Build-Lease Transfer, and Build Transfer. This will create jobs and raise incomes.
From electric cooperatives and water districts, to government institutions rendering social services like state educational institutions, public hospitals and medical institutions are set to be privatized. As a result, utility public companies rendering vital basic social services will be sold and transferred to the private sector and consequently, will be highly commercialized.
Meanwhile, crude prices rise and fall at the whim of the oil cartels; and commodity prices continue to rise. Local food producers go bankrupt (including our hog, poultry, and fish production and vegetable farms) due to the deluge of imported cheap food stuffs.
Though the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) reached 7.8%, the highest growth rate in the Aquino administration, the current neo-liberal paradigm has led to the “ever increasing misery” of Filipinos in their own homeland.
Latest figures from the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) show that poverty incidence remain largely unchanged since 2006-- from 10.8 percent in 2006, 10.0 percent in 2009 and 10.0 percent in 2012. A Filipino family of five needs P5, 458 to meet basic food needs every month. Families earning such amount are considered to be living in “extreme poverty” and these amounts to ten percent of total? Filipino families.
A New Type of Base
Harping on the slogan of defending the Philippine territories, PNoy has accommodated the US track of gradually transforming the whole nation into a base through the Joint Special Operations Task Force – Philippines (JSOTF-P), the “Cooperative Security Locations” (CSLs), the continuing deployment of US troops in the country in the guise of “training” or other exercises, regular arrival of US military warships and their temporary but regular stationing in various ports all over the country (51 ports of call in 2010, 55 in 2011, 70 in 2012 and as frequent as one visit per week in 2013), and full access to the country’s air, and water bodies.
Worse, US troops in Mindanao have been already involved in killing and maiming scores of civilians especially in the island provinces of Western Mindanao since 2002.
The Wall Street Journal cited that the US is indeed negotiating for basing rights in the Philippines and this would possibly be settled by the end of the year.
Learn Lessons from History
With 43 years of direct American rule and 67 years of indirect rule, a substantial section of the Filipino people are being made to believe a big lie: that US interests mirror our own national interests, that the Philippines is helpless without US aid and that the world is a safer place if American warships and nuclear weapons are allowed free reign.
The 110 years under American rule and influence was a relationship between a master and a slave - the Philippines playing as a surrogate and a pawn to US global designs and wars of aggression.
At this particular juncture of our country’s history, we as a people need to stoke the fires of our nationalist fervor by revisiting the revolutionary legacy of our forefathers and reaffirm a few truths of our own—that a fully and truly free people living in a sovereign nation is possible and love of country means standing up against the US as an international sucker and a global bully.
Let us struggle for a future without the claws of American eagle piercing our nation’s life and bleeding us to death. ####