Letter to the Editor,
By Vincent K. Pollard
2440 Campus Road
Honolulu, HI 96822-2216
Phone: 944-6479 (H) Fax: 956-2889 (W)
July 18, 2002
The Honolulu Advertiser
P.O. Box 3110
Honolulu, HI 96802
Let me I make a suggestion to improve Jim Gomez’s informative Associated Press report from the Philippines (7/16/02)? The headline refers to “English teachers” promoting values in the Philippines. Wouldn’t Ambassador calls for teachers to join new pacification team be a better headline? Gomez summarizes U.S. Ambassador Francis Ricciardone’s speech to the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines. And that speech reflects naivete about U.S.-Philippines relations.
During the Philippine-American War, the U.S. overthrew Asia’s first constitutional republic. As part of the pacification effort, teachers were exported to the Philippines 101 years ago. Before and after World War II, the U.S. continued selectively to oppose democratic forces in its former colony. For example, U.S. Presidents Nixon, Ford, Carter and Reagan supported martial law dictator Ferdinand Marcos. Undeterred, Filipinos brought a sudden end to Marcos’s twenty-year presidency in 1986.
Not surprisingly, U.S. support for the dictatorship was on the minds of Filipinos as they wrote a more democratic constitution that year. But an intelligence failure emerged in declassified U.S. Embassy Political Section reports from Manila. The diplomats expressed “surprise” at how many noncommunists among the Constitutional Commissioners of the Philippines opposed foreign military bases. Yet by an 80% “Yes” vote, Filipinos ratified the new constitution in 1987.
According to Amb. Ricciardone, American promotion of English-language teaching in the Philippines “is very, very important to promoting and strengthening democracy and defeating the forces of radicalism.” And the subheadline claims that this “Move would promote values in the Philippines”. Someone might brief the diplomat to spare him future embarrassment. As reflected in Filipino language and daily life, Filipino culture emphasizes family values and other social values. These values emphasize mutual respect, loyalty, sharing, persistence in the face of disaster, and helping out more unfortunate members in the community.
Vincent Kelly Pollard
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