After the long and bloody fight between the revolutionary Filipino forces against Spain, the Filipinos faced yet another brutal enemy which is the United States. On December 10, 1898, the Philippines was sold to the United States by Spain for 20 million dollars through the Treaty of Paris. Months later, President McKinley issued the Benevolent Assimilation Proclamation which later on triggered the Philippine-American War when the United States refused to recognize the legitimacy of the Philippine government and after three Filipino soldiers were brutally murdered. The war cost 20 thousand Filipino troops and 200 thousand civilians lives as a result of the combat, hunger, and disease.
In the eruption of World War 2, the country was caught in between the conflict of Japan and the United States. The ruling elites were divided into two and so the United States left the Philippines to its own demise with the infamous “I shall return.” line of General McArthur. After the effort and blood that was waged by Philippine Guerrillas such as the HukBaLaHap and the Philippine Army to weaken the Japanese forces. Thus, the United States returned, bombed the entirety of Manila, putting the country into massive and overwhelming debt, and then installed a puppet regime to indirectly rule the country by using the local ruling elites as compradors or economic agents.
Until now, the United States has so deeply encroached in our society that they have massive influence when it comes to our economic and military policies. They continue to bury us in debt, force us to enact neoliberal policies, and to cater to foreign troops who would garrison their troops on our own land, and test their war machinery using the taxpayer’s money.
There’s no such thing as Filipino-American friendship, the United States ever since has indirectly ruled the Philippines and all of its ambitions were never for the interest of the Filipino people. This doesn’t mean however that we should condemn the American people, we stand in solidarity with their struggles such as the Black Lives Matter who are vigorous in fighting for their emancipation from institutional racism and for equal rights. Along with the demand for accountability with countless deaths of the police institutions whose mandate is to serve and protect. We unite with the age-long struggle of the American people for liberation.
It is clear that the United States has the Philippines at its claws and under the Duterte regime, China is entrenching its talons. We must resist these foreign invaders vying to take away the sovereignty and national identity of our country.
Art by Ayessa Agustin