Post WWII: Shabby US Treatment of Philippines?

I’d like to thank Top Blogger Raissa Robles for provoking this blog with her comment:

  • “Philippines was treated quite shabbily by the US after WW 2”

This pertained to a complaint by another commenter about how the US favored Japan and did not do much for the Philippines.
I asked Raissa “Do you know why?”but she was unable to respond, being busy visiting with Japanese dignitaries. I asked the question because I am not familiar with post WWII activities at all. I know the U.S. was brutal in wrapping up the war in Manila, pretty much destroying the city. So I decided to brief myself up, thanks to a series of articles by:

I’ll take a few quotes from his write up, summarize other parts, and add my own interpretations.
Let’s start the lesson with how WWII ended in the Philippines.

  • MacArthur’s Allied forces landed on the island of Leyte on October 20, 1944. . . Landings then followed on the island of Mindoro and around the Lingayen Gulf on the west side of Luzon, and the push toward Manila was initiated. Fighting was fierce, particularly in the mountains of northern Luzon, where Japanese troops had retreated, and in Manila, where they put up a last-ditch resistance. Guerrilla forces rose up everywhere for the final offensive. Fighting continued until Japan’s formal surrender on September 2, 1945. The Philippines had suffered great loss of life and tremendous physical destruction by the time the war was over. An estimated 1 million Filipinos had been killed, a large proportion during the final months of the war, and Manila was extensively damaged.

In other words, the ending was violent and destructive.  The Philippines exited from the war, not in celebration, but as a demolished, demoralized nation.
The Philippines: A Nation Divided
Perhaps the most persistent difficulty the Philippines has faced since Aguinaldo formed the first Republic is infighting among Filipinos.  This was also true after World War II. The big issue: what to do about those Filipinos who had collaborated with Japan?  As Dolan cites it:

  • ” . . .collaboration became a virulent issue that split the country and poisoned political life. “

The US wanted collaborators to be punished.

  • Harold Ickes, who as United States secretary of the interior had civil authority over the islands, suggested that all officials above the rank of schoolteacher who had cooperated with the Japanese be purged and denied the right to vote in the first postwar elections. Osmeña countered that each case should be tried on its own merits.

Within the Philippines harsh lines were drawn.

  • Collaborators argued that they had gone along with the occupiers in order to shield the people from the harshest aspects of Japanese rule.  . . . Critics accused the collaborators of opportunism and of enriching themselves while the people starved. Anticollaborationist feeling, moreover, was fueled by the people’s resentment of the elite. 

The names of the key players are echoes of today’s power families:
  • Osmeña, Commonwealth President
  • Laurel, Recto, and Roxas, collaborators.
  • Quezon(before his death) told Laurel and José Vargas, mayor of Manila, that they should stay behind to deal with the Japanese but refuse to take an oath of allegiance.
Roxas actually was collaborating with the US while he was collaborating with the Japanese. He was MacArthur’s man, and after the war, MacArthur supported Roxas for the Presidency. It was a bitter election. Roxas beat an ailing Osmeña. Once in office, Roxas went against MacArther’s sentiments, declared amnesty and released all accused collaborators except those who had committed violent crimes.

So there was a measure of Philippine independence, for sure. But . . .

  • In the first years of the republic, the issue of collaboration became closely entwined with old agrarian grievances and produced violent results.

The Huk guerillas who had fought the Japanese turned against the landowner elite of the Philippines. It is a familiar story. Peasants against the landowners. The fighting was violent, from War’s end to 1951, mainly within the central provinces of Luzon: Pampanga, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, and Tarlac. In the latter years the Huk rebellion was considered a front for communism in the Philippines.

  • Beginning in 1951, however, the momentum began to slow. This was in part the result of poor training and the atrocities perpetrated by individual Huks. Their mistreatment of Negrito peoples made it almost impossible for them to use the mountain areas where these tribespeople lived, and the assassination of Aurora Quezon, President Quezon’s widow, and of her family by Huks outraged the nation. . . . Other decisive factors were the better quality of United States-trained Philippine armed forces and the more conciliatory policy adopted by the Quirino government toward the peasants.

The Philippines: A Nation Occupied
The Philippine economy was deeply tied to the United States. Large landowners, under US influence, wanted open and free trade between the two countries. The US passed The Bell Act (Philippine Trade Act) in 1946 with the provision that $620 million of aid for war damages would be released ONLY if the Philippines accepted a provision of the Act that granted Americans equal economic rights to Filipinos, and left in the American President’s hands the right to revoke all or parts of the Agreement if the Philippines did not comply.

  • The Bell Act, particularly the parity clause, was seen by critics as an inexcusable surrender of national sovereignty. The pressure of the sugar barons, particularly those of Roxas’s home region of the western Visayan Islands, and other landowner interests, however, was irresistible. 

The Philippine Congress, in a hotly contested matter, approved the Agreement in 1947. In 1955, the Agreement was significantly modified to remove onerous pro-American trade provisions.
In addition to economic interests tied to trade, the U.S. maintained a strong military presence in the Philippines after WW II.

  • The Philippines became an integral part of emerging United States security arrangements in the western Pacific upon approval of the Military Bases Agreement in March 1947. The United States retained control of twenty-three military installations, including Clark Air Base and the extensive naval facilities at Subic Bay, for a lease period of ninety-nine years. United States rather than Philippine authorities retained full jurisdiction over the territories covered by the military installations, including over collecting taxes and trying offenders, including Filipinos, in cases involving United States service personnel. Base rights remained a controversial issue in relations between the two countries into the 1990s.

Ahhh, but it was not a one-way ticket to ride:

  • The Military Assistance Agreement also was signed in March 1947. This treaty established a Joint United States Military Advisory Group to advise and train the Philippine armed forces and authorized the transfer of aid and matériel–worth some US$169 million by 1957. Between 1950 and the early 1980s, the United States funded the military education of nearly 17,000 Filipino military personnel, mostly at military schools and training facilities in the United States. 

Ramon Magsaysay was elected President by a landslide in 1953. He had ended the Huk rebellion and started to lay the groundwork to bringing farmworkers back into economic society with land reforms. His popularity was from the people, much like Aquino’s. But his reforms also caused problems:

  • The Economic Development Corps project settled some 950 families on land that the government had purchased on Mindanao. In the ensuing years, this program, in various forms, promoted the settlement of poor people from the Christian north in traditionally Muslim areas. Although it relieved population pressures in the north, it also exacerbated centuries-old MuslimChristian hostilities.

The three principle Philippine conflicts still persist today: (1) farmworker versus landowner, (2) US military presence, and (3) Muslim discontent.
Did the US treat the Philippines “shabbily” after World War II?
Yes. The US clearly dominated politics and economic activity. The attitude was perhaps not as racially discriminatory as it was in 1898 (see JoeAm’s essay “Fire WhenReady, Gridley”), but it was clear, America had a heavy hand of self-interest in just about everything. US influence did help settle the matter of “collaboration with Japan” by backing the Presidency of Roxas. But clearly, that was a meddling engagement, too.
So, yes, the US was heavy handed. Or “shabby” in its dealings. And, yet, it is not possible to say the Philippines was an unwitting or unwilling victim in this treatment. The large landowners, the elite, were able to thrive under the “undercover American occupation”. But they were not able to master the divisions within the Philippines and promote a vibrant economy. The economic heartland, Central Luzon, was at war. No middle class arose from the rubble of self-reconstruction as occurred in the US and Japan.

The Philippines has had the best military training the U.S. can provide, but it’s military remains weak, underequipped, and historically at the forefront of Filipino fractuousness (coup leadership). It is hard to blame the U.S. for this failure to make something of the training.

So I think it is fair to say that Filipinos also treated the Philippines shabbily as the empowered elite failed to articulate an economic model and laws that promoted fair employment, fair land ownership, and a deep-seated sense of the Philippines as a land of opportunity for all. It remained a land of “haves” and “have nots”.  Economic and military cohesion got lost in the divisions.
That is the Philippines today, is it not? Great wealth. A Senate awash in year-end cash, 3.3 million people admitting to being hungry, no middle class, and unending local conflicts between clans. Filled with red tape and protectionist insecurity, unable to build a rousing industrial base.
Unity is not a trademark of the Philippine nation.

What Happened in Japan?

The United States supplied military oversight in Japan from War’s end until 1952 when the San Francisco Peace Treaty took effect. There were parallels in that MacArthur was the key American military director and he relied upon the Japanese government to manage Japan. There was no direct American civil authority. The Emperor was not removed from his throne, but made a figurehead only, as democracy was established.

America had 300,000 troops stationed in Japan, so the military influence was also heavy. These troops were drawn down to join fighting in Korea in the early 1950’s. The role of remaining troops shifted from monitoring Japan to standing by to defend Japan.

The US changed its approach in Japan due to the “Red Scare”, the regional spread of communism. Direction shifted from dismantling the military establishment, installing democracy and social change to economic revitalization. The U.S. wanted to avoid a weak economy that might invite the rise of communism. The US pumped billions of aid into Japan to ensure that Japan did not succumb to the lure of communism. Japan prospered.

One material factor distinguished Japan from the Philippines, as stated by historian John W. Dower as he explained why the U.S. was quick to return authority to the Japanese:
  • Discipline, moral legitimacy, well-defined and well-articulated objectives, a clear chain of command, tolerance and flexibility in policy formulation and implementation, confidence in the ability of the state to act constructively, the ability to operate abroad free of partisan politics back home, and the existence of a stable, resilient, sophisticated civil society on the receiving end of occupation policies—these political and civic virtues helped make it possible to move decisively during the brief window of a few years when defeated Japan itself was in flux and most receptive to radical change.

Japan was orderly, compliant and not politically divided or in a state of internal revolution.

(Sources: wikipedia, US Department of State)

Different Issues, Different Approaches
Japan and the Philippines were not parallel cases. The US took a hard management role in Japan and a soft role in Philippine politics. Japan was orderly and the Philippines was engaged in bitter fighting.  Perhaps America felt more “parental” towards Japan, and the Philippines was the troublesome orphan. Japan got the lavish big-bucks, the Philippines got a pittance and that with pro-American strings tied to it.

America fought the Red Scare in Japan with economic investment and in the Philippines with Philippine troops and a dictator’s allegiance. Here is Riassa Robles commenter Parekoy’s hard-hitting view of things:

Then there was the Vietnam War. US bases in the Philippines played an important ole in the supply of American hardware as well as soldiers. So US bases needed to stay in the Philippines, by hook or by crook.
Growing and improving economy and nationalistic fervor in the Philippines in the early sixties posed a threat. Any hints of nationalism were suspect, Philippines might turn red. It was not only in the Philippines, crimson was looming all over the Latin and South American countries. In US perspective and interest, they need to check and insure that communism should not have a foothold in these countries, hence the policy changed. The icon of democracy need to be a hypocrite. They need to suppress the infant democracies of Asia as well as the Americas. US backed dictatorships mushroomed, and Banana Republics were established.
Among the countries, Philippines was screwed. We were gang banged by Marcos dictatorship, our economy went down to the toilet, the influence of the Catholic Church made us apathetic and left our destiny to God, made us even more reliant to the US economically through aids and in the defense of our sovereignty. There was no Marshall Plan in the Philippines, there was no need, they were paying Marcos peanuts he was their puppet. They did not give a f–k about human rights, freedom, and democracy. Democracy was reserved for Americans and the first world countries, Philippines can have it later depending on US timetable.
Then we have a new generation of Pilipinos who adores anything made and from America. We became Pavlov’s dogs. American policies and treatment of the Philippines set back our political and economic progress. They know that Marcos was a son of a bitch, but he was their bitch same of all the dictators they installed all over the world. When the dictators were toppled, Most of these countries were bankrupt. America tolerated the heist for even when the dictators were replaced by the so called democratically elected new leaders, one thing remains, they will still be relying on America, he was the only game in town economically.
Broad Brush Picture

Yes, the Philippines was treated shabbily by American self-interest. America was wholly consumed in fighting the beast of the “Red Scare” and was using and abusing any nation that could be deployed in the fight. It is not unlike the past twenty years in the Middle East.

The Philippines, argumentative and populated by self-dealing, was in no position to stand up for itself.

The Red Scare, communism, was pushed back into China and Russia, where it ate itself.

So America succeeded.

The gains are clear: a commercially robust world rid of all empire-builders but two, China and Iran. Infusion of democratic principles across Asia.

The costs are still being added up.

61 Responses to “Post WWII: Shabby US Treatment of Philippines?”
  1. Edgar Lores says:

    1. I think America’s treatment of friends and foes stems from the Christian tradition as encapsulated in the parables of the prodigal son and the lost sheep. The first parable also encapsulates the reaction of the Philippines and Filipinos up to this time.2. In the first parable, the father rejoices at the return of the prodigal son and celebrates by killing the fatted cow. The neglected elder son is consumed with envy, would not join the celebration and tells his father, “…thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends.”2.1 In the second parable, the shepherd is happier at finding the one lost sheep over the ninety-nine that did not wonder off.3. In line with these parables, America had the Marshall Plan for Germany and for Europe and the MacArthur plan for Japan.4. I think the more interesting reaction in this saga of two countries is the love-hate relationship exhibited by the once-colonized child. From the father, it has adopted many libertarian principles, continues to be fascinated by the father’s culture and gadgets, and although it has matured a little it still seeks to get the approval and protection of the father.5. To my mind, the child should be grateful for the lessons it has learned and the continued support it receives. However, it should stop leaning to the North, stop whining like a neglected child, develop friends with its neighbours, and rely more on itself.

  2. Nice comparison, the two brothers. I need to study MacArthur, I think. My shallow impression is that he was a big ego and jerk, rather like Patton but with a kinder presentation.Re your five, yes, I agree. Separate the past from the now and center on building the Philippines. There is no master now, and everybody starts from where they are. Not where they could have been.

  3. JosephIvo says:

    Some thoughts. 1. The difference between “independence – war – occupation – independence” and “colony – war – independence” is enormous. After the war the Americans took the Japanese for serious, the Filipinos still for gentle savages, needing guidance (the rationalization of colonization.) Today many Kanos still treat the Filipinos that way, now calling them underdeveloped instead of gentle savages. As it was frustrating for Rizal, it still is frustrating for the Philippine intelligentsia.2. De-colonization as the result of revolutionary wars were more successful in nation building than “given” independence. The Filipino war was derailed by the Americans. The old colonial ruling class kept in place, many until today. The ruling style didn’t change since the colonial times, also very frustrating for the Philippine intelligentsia.3. After 65 years and in a world that got flat, it is counterproductive to keep blaming the (external) colonisers. Understanding history is important but do not use it to see who to blame, but as an inspiration for how to do better. I love the President who is looking ahead instead of looking back.

  4. Very sharp observations. Cultural perspectives are blinders. I have discovered that myself. We look at things the way they are "supposed to be" by our standards, not recognizing that others followed a different track to get where they are.Colony – war – independence. Americans need to let go of their blinders and Filipinos need to let go of the past.Thanks for the great insights.

  5. Edgar Lores says:

    I have to add:1. The Christian forgiveness and generosity displayed in the Marshall Plan and the MacArthur Plan were unprecedented in human history. This buttresses Obama's claim that the US is different.2. This is not to say that the US is not deeply flawed. It has its own demons: racism, arrogance, militarism, war-mongering, righteousness, et al.3. The Filipino expectation of a better treatment, of handouts, is symptomatic of our mendicancy. For heaven's sake, we have no one to blame but ourselves. We have our freedom, we have our talents, we have our skills, we have a rich and beautiful land. If we can vote out the US bases, then we can vote out the oligarchs, ignore the bishops, impeach the Coronas, make laughing stock of the Eraps and the Sottos. So why don't YOU do it?

  6. Glad you added that. I was thinking when writing this piece that there is a reason that the Philippines did not become states 49 through 51 and Japan states 52 through 84.Have you been peeking at my blog for next Tuesday? It is entitled "Looking Within".

  7. Anonymous says:

    Agree with #3. It's happening. There are realignments. Look at the Lopezes publishing Enrile's memoirs. Check Peping Cojuangco hitching onto Binay's wagon. Most are waking up, mostly expats. DocB

  8. J says:

    Joe, I see that you agree that US treated PH shabbily, but you seem to be "justifying" the shabby treatment (Pinoys treated their nations shabbily too; it was for a bigger cause, the returns of which we enjoy now).One of mentors spent 40 years as a journalist, and was one time the bureau chief of AP for Southeast Asia. He said he saw documents showing that it was the policy of the US then to make Japan an economic powerhouse while the Philippines continue to be economically dependent to the US.I don't buy the claim that the Japanese were disciplined, hence they got up faster than the Philippines. The difference between the two is that, firstly, the Japanese elite's (the keiretsu, Kasumigaseki, etc) interest then coincided with the national interest; the Filipino elite's interest then, as in now, doesn't coincide with the national interest.The second factor is that American interest coincided with Japan's interest, but not with the Philippines' The US wanted Japan to re-industrialize to balance China. The Philippines, sadly, was seen only as a vassal whose role was to be dependent on the US so the US could control its economy and keep its bases.

  9. Hi, J. Not justify, really, but explain it as it seems to read, and how it even looks today. Not a unified state. More a vast collection of self interests. The US was powerful and pushing. The Philippines, in a way, got rolled militarily (destruction of Manila) and then rolled economically (the Bell Act). From the Philippine perspective, that is shabby. From the American, it is pragmatic.I also worked for the Japanese and I know they are relentlessly orderly and disciplined. It seems to me they bowed to American authority, hating it in the inimitable Japanese silent second-self way. That is a little different than the Huk rebellion and political warfare over those who helped the Japanese rule.Your last paragraph characterizes the different treatment well. I don't know about the expression "control its economy". I think control its resources is perhaps more to the point.

  10. J says:

    Pragmatic, indeed. After all, states act according to their self-interest; not on a set of moral values (although this could be changing, depending on the disposition of the people within the state, and their ability to force their government to fulfill certain mandates).Yes, of course the Japanese are orderly and disciplined. I guess the point I was trying to drive at is that sheer discipline alone didn't create the Japanese miracle. The bigger factor was the disposition of the Japanese elite.The Japanese elite bowed to American authority because it was the only way for them to survive after the war. They then created a regime that was feudal and exclusionary in nature: The government was driven not by the people's representatives but by an elite bureaucracy that descended from the mandarins and the aristocrats of the old Imperial era. This bureaucracy, in turn, protected the keiretsu, or big businesses, which was the offshoot of the zaibatsu, which in turn was the offshoot of the old feudal lords, or daimyos. The post-war Japanese regime made sure that these big businesses become profitable. It was an iron triangle of politicians, bureaucrats, and big businesses. The ordinary Japanese, being feudal in orientation, had no say. Their loyalty had been transferred from the daimyo in the feudal era, to the Emperor in the wartime era, and to the big companies they devote their lifetimes to in the postwar era.Of course, the Philippines had a similar set-up. Although the bureaucracy was far from elite, it was controlled by politicians who in turn were controlled by the oligarchs. Their policies, like the Japanese elite's policy, was to keep the elite rich. Hence they would agree to the Bell Trade Act.The difference is that the Japanese elite was daring. They thought big. They wanted to dominate the world's markets, and went into heavy capital-intensive industries. The keiretsu became MNCs. The Philippine elite, on the other hand, was parochial. They don't think big. They are not concerned with automobile and other manufacturing industries; they are more concerned with shopping malls, subdivisions, and gold courses. Or maybe processed food and beers. They don't want to dominate the world's markets; they are happy with the Philippine market, which they want to keep for themselves; hence, they would beat false nationalist drums whenever smart Filipinos are calling for the opening of the Philippine market (read: changing exclusionary policies in the Constitution).I think all Philippine presidents were just puppets of these elite or unimaginative, clueless, second-rate politicians. They lacked visions. The only presidents who had vision (aside from Quezon) were Marcos, Ramos, and, arguably, Aquino III. Marcos' vision was to remove the oligarchy and replace it with his own cronies, and turn the country into a kingdom molded in his image. Ramos opened the economy up, standing up not just to the Church but also to big business (while allegedly gaining profit through corruption at the same time), and paving the way for the economic growth Aquino III has delivered.

  11. J says:

    Also, there was a Communist revolt and political warfare in Japan during the postwar era, too. As big as those in the Philippines– ever heard of the Japanese Red Amy? But the Americans had the policy of propping up the Liberal Democratic Party– former militarists and imperialists– against the other sectors.

  12. J says:

    Ditto, Josephlvo!

  13. I greatly appreciate the elaboration. It explains the difference and I get the point now about the Japanese elite. My former bosses went on to head UFJ. One got an office window when RE crashed. One rode the wave of reconstruction to the top during merger and ressurection. Extraordinarily smart guys. Very different values.Thanks also for the clear rendition of how the Philippines was different.

  14. Attila says:

    Red Scare? You bet! Myself from a communist country I know damn well what the communist are capable of. Destroyed far more lives than even the Nazis did. The worst plague in the history of the world. The US had no choice but stop the spread of this evil. They may have done a messy job but at least they did stop it. Thank god for the USA!

  15. Attila says:

    "This is not to say that the US is not deeply flawed." The US is not deeply flawed. She is not perfect but she is destined to learn from her mistakes and better herself.She will always come out stronger than ever thanks to it's wonderful constitution and the thinking of the many citizens who have the spirit of the founding fathers.

  16. Very important point, Attila.

  17. I have a friend whose father escaped overland and across the border from Czechoslovakia into Germany when the communists entered Czech. He was arrested and thrown in jail, then let out on a mercy plea. He managed to get to Peru where he scraped out a life, and eventually got to the US. My friend, his daughter, is a very successful veterinarian handling the dogs and cats of the stars in Los Angeles. Her sister is a dentist. The entire family would agree with you. No nation does opportunity better.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Joe,Franklin Delano Roosevelt promised pay and veterans' benefits to all the Filipinos soldiers who fought against Japan. After the war, the US Congress passed the Rescission Act which was signed into law by Harry Truman. The Rescission Law took back Roosevelt's promise to the Filipinos. I think that passes for a little bit more than just shabby treatment, doesn't it? As a matter of fact I think that is one of the most shameful and despicable things America has ever done. It turned its back on a comrade in arms. -MB

  19. Yes. Horrible. This was done during the Osmeña presidency right as the war was wrapping up. The US rationalized it by paying $200 million to the Philippine Army, a short term buy-out of a long term obligation. To be fair to President Truman, he tried with some passion to correct the legislation after the fact, and had objected to the withholding of benefits for Filipino veterans when he signed the bill. Had he refused to sign the bill, the $200 million would not have gone to the Philippine army. One is inclined to wonder what happened to the $200 million, and what Osmeña had to say about the trade-off. Filipino veterans were also given the right to become US citizens if they immigrated to the US and about 10,000 did.Thanks for pointing this out. I don't think this act is highlighted in American history books and I confess I did not look into the bruhaha in 2009 regarding payment to veterans. It seems that the veterans got way too little way too late. Indeed, shabby.

  20. Jetlag807 says:

    The results of Post War Development by comparison (Japan/Philippines), in my opinion and as it was pointed out in your article, boil down to attitudes of the affected Governments and civilian population. I won't bother to restate these points. However, I can't help but be reminded of the classic Peter Sellers movie, "The Mouse That Roared". In the Movie, a small forgotten European country decides to declare war on the U.S. only to immediately surrender in order to take full advantage of Post War Development Aid. For me, that is a perfect example when comparing countries like Japan and the Philippines. Of course it is in the best interest of the United States to provide assistance to countries defeated during war so those would be the PRIORITY… I'm not saying the U.S. did not back "bad Philippine leaders", our foreign policy is full of "bad" examples, but… Blaming the U.S. for every problem in the Philippines, as many choose to do, is such a tired excuse when one considers the current Constitution has been in effect since 1987.

  21. That's a good idea, you know. The Philippine could declare war on the US, fight diligently for a few years, then surrender. But maybe a better, quicker way would be to start buying military gear from China.I think actually that the "blamers" of America have shrunk back a bit the past couple of years, with the onset of Chinese aggression in the West Philippine Sea. Only the commies and radicals cast America as a dastardly manipulator of things Filipino. Yes, there are irritants that need to be resolved: Subic cleanup, VFA imprisonment clause, but they are minor in relation to the benefits derived from hangin' close to a rich uncle.

  22. Jetlag807 says:

    I would argue that these "blamers" are active and even exist in the Philippine News Media. Case in point: Bloggers and the News Media (in the Philippines) are STILL convinced that the US Navy Target Drone, which was found drifting off Masbate, is actually a Surveillance Drone. All one has to do, if the BRIGHT ORANGE COLOR isn't enough indication, is Google it and there it is plain as day. But alas, it is far easier for them to blame the US of A then to admit (or accept) the TRUTH.

  23. Jetlag807 says:

    If I may, and knowing we are straying a bit off topic (sort of), check out this OpEd from the Manila Standard.

  24. Yes, hysterical, those reactions about the drone. I also think the Manila Standard is hysterical, as well. Putting RH on the US, thousands of foreign agents infesting the Philippines . . . why?

  25. Anonymous says:

    Truman could have vetoed the bill. Roosevelt's pledge was made to individuals. $200M to the Philippine Army does not change anything. That's like saying the money that was won by human rights victims against Marcos should go to the government and not the victims themselves. Those vets who became US citizens were not given the same benefits as US Vets and vets from other countries. That is one of the issues that the late Sen. Dan Inouye of Hawaii used to raise all the time. Filipino vets were never given a fair shake. Was it because of racism? -MB

  26. You know, I don't know. I know racism was rampant during the Philippine American War, but I don't know about WWII. The action is so out of character that I'm inclined to ask "what's the other side of the story"? So I'd like to know what MacArthur's input was, and what Osmeña's input was, and why $200 million was considered an adequate buy-out by the Congress. And why did Truman sign a bill with provision he so apparently disliked. Something was going on. I can only agree that the outcome stinks, but I'm not willing to claim racism without knowing more.

  27. Anonymous says:

    J you said it. Japan was already an advanced industrial country. Getting it up and running again only involved investing in money to rebuild factories. The Philippines was not industrialized. It was agricultural. Turning it into an industrialized country would have meant enormous investment not only in terms of money but also in time for the education and infrastructure needed for industrialization. So aid to Japan and aid to the Philippines cannot be compared as if the two were the same type of countries. The Philippines was an aircraft carrier, Japan could build aircraft carriers. One got money for maintenance and operation of the carrier as it were and the other got money to continue manufacturing them (speaking figuratively of course.) – MB

  28. Anonymous says:

    J,That explains the rise of Japan. How would you explain the fall that started in the late 80s to now? – MB

  29. MB, I like the maintenance vs. manufacturing comparison.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Joe, I only asked the racist question because why were the Filipino soldiers, including those who became US citizens, singled out, among all the other nationalities who were given veterans benefits, for that kind of treatment? Did the initiative come from the US or the Philippines? If from the US, was it a legislator prodded by the White House or was he acting on his own? What were the speeches/debates on the matter both in the US and the Philippines?I guess congressional records and presidential papers from both countries would help us understand that ugly piece of history. – MB

  31. Yes, a good doctoral thesis for someone. Ugly it was, without question.

  32. Attila says:

    Racism? Disgusting assumption! The partisans who were fighting the enemy in WWII did not get any special treatment from the USA. Why are the Filipinos crying about extra treatment. For god sake it was their own country they were fighting for. Why they feel this entitlement all the time? It is really sickening to me.We got the F*** Soviet Union after the war. The Filipinos still had the USA. STOP! Enough is Enough!

  33. Attila says:

    I have zero sympathy for the Filipinos who are just keep kicking in the the USA. What a bunch of spoiled cry babies! Yo deserve the Chinese you are asking for it!

  34. Attila says:

    Joe:I do not understand why you are letting them do it! I'm dumbfounded! You let them manipulate and black mail you. They are very good at shifting responsibility on to others They took it to and art form, It hurts me to see someone like you to be victimized by them. Stand up to the truth!!!

  35. Well, Attila, I tread my own path, not that defined by anyone else. I agree with you that many Filipinos are skilled at shifting repsonsibility, and you will see that theme repeated over and over again in my blogs. I also believe the US was decidedly racist during waging of the Philippine American War and I arrived at that conclusion on my own by reading the documents of the time. I am not willing to assign that reason to the horrific Recision act (horrific on its face, the reneging on a promise). My views align with the late Senator Inouye of Hawaii, who tried for so long to correct the misdeed. Both criticisms can hold true: Filipino failure to assume responsibility and American racisim (historical).

  36. Anonymous says:

    Actually there was a vibrant middle class in the Ilocos and Central Luzon after WWII. Most of them sympathized and supported guerrilla's notably the Hukbalahaps under Luis Taruc. I blame the US for destroying the early Filipino middle class by their cozying and meddling with internal Filipino affairs by condemning the left leaning Huks and charging them to be communists under lobbying by the powerful landed class aristocracy of Central Luzon. When the Huks won a large number of seats to the then re established Philippine Congress, they pressured Roxas to declare the part of Taruc as communists and excluded them from the post war government. Taruc before the shabby treatment of the US was never a communist, sure he was leaning left but that was becuase he favored social justice, land redistribution but most of all he believe that a new middle class of farmers can make the large tracts of land productive and enable the economy to become stable and strong. Taruc became radicalized when his party was declared communists and terrorists by the US influenced Roxas government.What is sad about it is that those of the farmers given land and those symphatize with the ideals of Taruc (after all most of the large land owners either collaborated or flee overseas) was branded as "communist sympathizers" and their land was confiscated although they tilled them during the occupation years. The new growing middle class was wiped out even those who are neutral on the conflict between the GRP and the Huks because they happened to be on the wrong place on the wrong time. This frankly destroyed the economy because of the strigent anti-Huk canpaign of the government, destroying the already devastated agriculture of Central Luzon and dragging the finances of the government because of military campaigns. In the end, the landed aristocracy got what they wanted and used vast tracts of land for sugarcane and other cash crops even though it would have been better if "poorer" farmers tilled them and strengthened democracy instead of democracy of the privileged. Also the Americans exacted the punitive "parity rights" that exploited the natural resources of the Philippines for the benefit of the American post war boom of the 50's and 60's in exchange of badly needed reconstruction credits. What really pisses me off is that the Philippines was loyal to the Americans during WWII and the Philippine Scouts and Commonwealth Army fought alongside the Yanks in Bataan and Corregeidor, walked to their deaths beside them during the death march but after the war, our country were treated as the worst of all the allied nations of the US. Heck even the belligerent nations got preferred treatment. They even destroyed the "Old Manila" for christsake!!So we as a country was used dirty and today we still feel the effects of the shabby treatment of the Yanks so do not pe surprised why some people distrust the Yanks.DaveOfBacolod

  37. Wow, Dave, thanks for the additional specifics on the "shabby" treatment. The communist threat of the 50's was rather like terrorism today, for America. Some of the threat was real, some of it imaginary. In the U.S. the McCarthy witchhunt also labeled many Americans as communist sympathizers, and it destroyed a lot of lives. I served in Viet Nam, a war of tragic proportions, 50,008 American military deaths and many hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese deaths, over the simple notion of Red Scare that proved to be fallacious. Rather like finding no WMDs. I suspect it was easy for the US Congress and the State Department in the 1950's to callously and calculatingly "play their strategic games" and destroy lives in the Philippines. After all, the new Global Sheriff was in town.Thanks for the insights.

  38. Anonymous says:

    Even Luis Taruc after his surrender in the later years distrusted the then young maoist influenced CPP but that is because the Huks were under the influence of the soviet influenced PKP and as I said he was moderate at most. And yes I know Mc Carthy and the US have to thank him for the mess of foreign policy that he left your country. Regarding Vietnam the US should have left the natural consequences of de-colonialism at work and SE would have been better today. Because of debacle in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia (I still shiver reading about the Khmer Rouge reign of terror) fell under the Communists despite the fact that before the US involvement in 'Nam those countries leans towards the west.DaveOfBacolod

  39. Debacle. Perfect choice of words.

  40. Anonymous says:

    Attila,Let's get our ducks in a row. The Philippines was still a US colony in WWII. Filipinos were fighting under the American flag. – MB

  41. Attila says:

    "the US was decidedly racist during waging of the Philippine American War." Their is an obsession about blaming the US for racism and accusing the US for treating the Philippines like a heard of cattle on the meat market when it purchased it from Spain. I have a long list of questions but I just list a few now: why aren't Spanish are not accused of selling the Philippines? They accepted money for you guys! Hello!!!! If I follow that logic than isn't selling is much worst than buying it? I never ever heard the same level of negative sentiments about the Spanish compare tho the Americans. Weren't the Spanish much much more racist? All I hear is that many Filipinos take pride in their Spanish blood an Spanish cultural inheritance. Anything American often ends up NEGATIVE! There is something about the Americans that presses the wrong button on many Filipinos. I try to figure it out what it is and why. This just so abnormal to me!

  42. Attila says:

    The USA lost the war in Vietnam but showed the world at last that it will not be passive if the communist dogs keep trying to take over the world. Without the Vietnam war (even if it was lost) probably the entire Indochina and beyond would be communist now. My Filipino friends out there, this is for you: A half-truth may not be a lie, but it is still dishonest

  43. Well, it would be equally offensive to deny that racism existed, if it indeed did exist. Somewhere there is a ground for objectivity somewhere between the extremes, most likely. And, in truth, most Filipinos here broadly respect and admire Americans. So it would be incorrect to say the complainers represent the whole of the attitude toward Americans.I am rather seeing America as the stern parent, the Philippines as the orphan child now off on his own, and there is a love/hate thing going on.

  44. Attila says:

    Without that "hated" Vietnam war there would be more of the type of Khmer Rouge reign of terror in that part of the world. The USA lost the war but also won it against the spread of Communism. The USA sowed the world again just tne way it did in Korea 10 yrs before that it will not be passive. May fails to see that!

  45. Attila says:

    "we still feel the effects of the shabby treatment of the Yanks so do not be surprised why some people distrust the Yanks."Maybe the Filipinos should have followed their great leader the "space shifter" Aguinaldo and would have become part of Japan as he intended. That makes a lot sense doesn't it. Yes just keep hate the yanks and be blinded by your own prejudice. You are heading towards China in a nice melting experience. This will release all your misery and would liberate you.

  46. If only Uncle Sam honored their word given to Uncle Ho, the US would have never interfered with Vietnam at all. The war in Vietnam is essentially the reason why the pro western governments of Cambodia and Laos fell. If the Yanks did not interfere with these countries the Viet Cong would have left them alone and even if Vietnam tried to invade those countries, nationalism still plays a heavy hand whether they are so-called "fraternal socialist brothers" will fight the Vietnamese bitterly and the US can prop up their governments with the sympathy of the world opinion behind them. As you know after the "communists" won in Vietnam, China invaded Vietnam although they bwere allies against the US. So goes for Vietnam invading Cambodia to dislodge the "communist" Khmer's. It is mostly a reaction by the Democratic administration to counter the charge that they are soft on communism. As I believe the rise of nationalism in the former colonies of the west are always targeted and branded as "communist" insurgencies/revolutions that are used to simply shield the fact that the master do not want their subjects to break free.I do not condemn the Americans, I pointed out the reasons why some Filipinos distrust the Americans because of what they did to us after the second world war. And like it or not Luis Taruc is not a red dye communist during the war, he favored social justice and land reform, most of those land owners are collaborators anyway.Lol ask Joe and I distrust the Chinese more than the US but that is because I admire individuality. You sound defensive, but the fact is that I assume you must be an American, your country treat us shabbily after WWII. My country bled for the US and in the end we were discarded and forgotten until today.Regarding your claim that the war on Vietnam contained communism, LOL what are you talking about? The fall of the pro-western governments of Laos and Cambodia did not exactly prevent the spread of communism. They are the direct consequence of the failure of American policy in Vietnam.And anyways the Soviet version of Communism is far from what real communism is, I prefer to use the term Marxist-Leninism or in case of Red China Maoist Socialism.

  47. Attila says:

    I was born and raised in a communist country. I know what communism is all about. The communist (Marxist, Leninist, Stalinist, Maoist etc.) wanted to spread it all over the world. Without the USA your country would be communist now or Maoist if you prefer. I had to participate in studying communist ideology trying to brainwash us about the superiority of the Communist ideology including the importance of the fight. I know damn well what I'm talking about when I say that the spread of communism would not have stopped at Laos and Cambodia. It would have reached down to Indonesia. Have you heard the Communist Anthem? You get an idea. Never trust a communist. They are elitist, condescending and sneaky and ruthless. They would have taken over.Stand up, damned of the EarthStand up, prisoners of starvationReason thunders in its volcanoThis is the eruption of the end.Of the past let us make a clean slateEnslaved masses, stand up, stand up.The world is about to change its foundationWe are nothing, let us be all. |: This is the final struggle Let us group together, and tomorrow The Internationale Will be the human race. 😐

  48. Attila says:

    Sure there was racism and prejudice during the war on both sides. That is the case in every war of the time anywhere in the world. When I compare how racist and prejudice the Filipinos are toward each other and compare that how they think of the USA I see hypocrisy. They are hypersensitive when it comes to the Americans but they are racist towards each other. I'm an outsider I'm not American so I look at them differently. Orphan child for you vs. adults to me.

  49. Anonymous says:

    My point is that even if Communism will spread it will still be subject to nationalist tendencies. Laos and Cambodia fell because the US intervened in their internal affairs and what is sad is that it should have been unnecessary to drag them during the Vietnam war. They were dragged during the latter stages of the conflict (Laos as late as 1972) and when the Americans decided to use them as bases against the Viet Cong, the Viet Cong helped the local communist insurgencies in both countries which the US either ignored or rendered helped ineffectively. Communism in Indonesia will never work, they are a Muslim country, same as goes for Malaysia. Here in the Philippines Marcos used (fabricated) the threat of communist insurgency to declare martial law and look what it did to us.And I suggest you read Luis Taruc before he was branded as "communist" by the US. And you do not know us Filipinos so do not presume that we will like a communist government. Hell we have difficulty today in regards with the Catholic Church, what more of other religious denominations?Lastly the US foreign policy of propping up dictatorial/anti-communist governments during the cold war is biting their asses today. If you want to read what happened to Iran, go ahead with it. Same goes for Iraq and Afghanistan. My argument is that past US foreign policy gravely affected the ability of the US today to build bridges. The past simple-mindedness labeling of the US of the world into communist/anti-communist factions disregarded the actual complexity of local, cultural and religious politics that made today's world a much more dangerous and unpredictable place to live.DaveOfBacolod

  50. Attila says:

    I respect your opinion and you maybe right in some cases but I believe that a strong nationalistic government is often not enough. Some of the most religious countries have the strongest communist movements and popularity. Italy and Greece comes to my mind and of course some of the former East Block counties and some very catholic nations like Poland that had a communist government. Same could have happened in the Philippines. Communist are good at propagate social justice and it could have won over the people in your country.

  51. Rein Luna says:

    "There is something about the Americans that presses the wrong button on many Filipinos"Culture – Quick to forgive, quick to forget. 93% are Christians and a fair amount of those are devout. It just so happened that America was the last in our series of colonizers, and was always around since then compared to the Japanese and Spaniards. their presence alone is a constant reminder, regardless of intentions. China is quickly taking the spotlight now though. Americans themselves – If you're racist, disrespectful or condescending towards others while in here, then expect news to spread and stereotypes to be redefined. What with the very cheap loads (top-ups) here and addiction to SNS. Hey, it happens everywhere and every peoples are a little racist sometimes.

  52. Rein Luna says:

    Philippine media as I've observed is biased regarding issues that may stoke nationalism. this is why I try avoiding popular Philippine news sites as much as possible, it seems they can be swayed. An example, when , P-Noy, President Aquino III went to the last 2012 ASEAN conference, important events such as his stand against Cambodia's assumptions weren't reported on a leading primetime news program. they only said he went to ASEAN despite being under the weather. What!?

  53. Rein Luna, good of you to stop by and comment. I think your comments are fair of the past in America, and certain parts of the US, but if you go to Los Angeles or New York or Seattle or Miami, you'll see a different America, the most diverse on the planet. It is hard to reconcile "racist" to a nation that welcomes to many different culture, and provides the value framework to have them live the American Dream peacefully.

  54. See my tab above entitled "Fire When Ready Gridley"

  55. Yes, I thought that was strange, too. It's like they only notice the obvious and can't put it into any social or political context. They certainly missed the opportunity to portray the Philippines as independent and standing as a peer to China. Aquino was, anyway. Cambodia was doign the Chopstic Shuffle. hawr hawr

  56. Rein Luna says:

    I've read your article and I'm keeping an open mind. What I find interesting too is how well your article fits with the common (by mouth) belief that Aguinaldo is indeed a traitor, and responsible for the death of Bonifacio. Yes, Aguinaldo is one unpopular guy. Some people , including me, even think that Bonifacio should've been the first president. this is something not taught in school. It's no wonder the roots of corruption has such a tight hold on our government – it came BEFORE the government. Makes me wish Pres. Aquino III could stay longer than 2016.these are interesting times and we need a leader with sincerity and balls of iron. ~

  57. Yes, but there are good people waiting in the wings. I tend toward Abaya, but I think Roxas might be first in line. I'm not convinced he has the required strength of following.You might find the article in the left columns of this Manila Standard of interest. I did. pages were posted on Raisa Robles' blog, for the Enrile article, also interesting.

  58. Ah, yes. Politics in journalism. Could be. Thanks.

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