A STATEMENT FROM:
UNITED FILIPINOS IN HONG KONG (UNIFIL-HK)
The Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Government Renews its Vows “Under the Protectorate of the Benevolent United States of America”
June 12, 2002
On the 104th Philippine “Independence” Day
The government’s celebration of Independence Day is a sham.
As the Philippine government gears itself in celebrating the 104th “Independence Day” of the Republic, the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo government is readying to purchase more US military armaments, to request for more US military troops and to grant an extension to the Balikatan US-RP Joint Military Exercises. Such is the true state of our freedom and independence. At times like these, we ask where our independence truly is. Who are we independent from?
Where is our independence if 2,600 Filipinos are leaving daily to work abroad in exchange for their families’ survival? Where is our independence if only few people, the likes of Danding Cojuangco, own most of the tillable lands while the great majority of the peasantry remains landless? Where is our independence if workers are not receiving enough wages for their living while businesses are raking huge profits?
Where is our independence if government-owned hospitals, schools and corporations including oil, water and electricity are privatized and are now owned by foreign companies? Where is our independence if even our educational curriculum serves the interest of the US and their self-styled globalized economy? Where is our independence if US military vessels patrol our shores, their aircrafts patrol our skies and their troops patrol our lands, abuse our women and children and aid in killing Filipinos who are fighting for genuine freedom and democracy?
While Filipinos should remember our independence from Spain as a result of the 1896 Philippine revolution, we should not forget that it was also the start of the US colonization of the Philippines. In fact, it was Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo who first betrayed his puppetry to US powers when he tied our declaration of independence in Kawit, Cavite “under the protectorate of the benevolent United States of America”. In 1898, President William McKinley declared the U.S. mission in the Philippines as one of “benevolent assimilation.” But within weeks of McKinley’s remarks, American troops embarked on a bloody campaign to stamp out an indigenous independence movement that would ultimately cost somewhere between 200,000 and a half-million Filipino lives.
Filipino Nationalist historians rightly point out that the U.S. gift of “independence” in 1946 came with numerous strings attached. The U.S. retained sovereignty and ownership over dozens of military bases, lands, property and trade privileges. Laws were passed to ensure that their economic interests in the Philippines would be untouched and that foreign control remains. Since then, our country has been a virtual economic ward of the United States.
To date, we can say that the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo government is not a champion of Philippine independence. Their celebration is but a renewal of vows in a wicked marriage of self-serving interests of master and puppet. And the same is true even to the governments that ruled even after July 4, 1946.
Right now, the Filipino people are still struggling against poverty, against unemployment, against landlessness and against injustice. We are still fighting for genuine freedom and democracy. And in our victory, only then can we truly claim our liberation.
Oppose U.S. domination in the Philippines!
No to US troops in the country!
End Foreign Control in the Philippines!
Fight for Genuine Independence!
11 June 2002
United Filipinos in Hong Kong (UNIFIL-HK)
2/F., New Hall, St. John’s Cathedral,
Garden Road, Central, Hong Kong SAR
Tel : (852) 2810-4379 Fax : (852) 2526-2894
The date posted here is due to our website rebuild, it does not reflect the original date this article was posted.This article was originally posted in Yonip in 2002