Sunday, June 29, 2008


Sixty-two years ago, on July 4, 1946, the United States of America granted independence to the Philippines. The euphoria of flying our own flag and governing our own land did not exactly mean we were free and independent from American control. The Laurel-Langley Treaty, which granted the Americans the same proprietary rights as Filipinos, continued until its expiration in 1974. An then, there were the US military bases in RP, the biggest of which were in Subic and in Clark, and they would have continued under American ownership and control for 99 years, had President Marcos not ordered a reduction of the military bases' occupancy to 25 years with a review every 5 years. In addition, the US government had to pay lease/rent for the land use, and not just their handing over to us some aid, the amount, frequency and conditions of which would be determined by Washington as it pleases. They wanted Marcos booted out for this. When Cory Aquino came to power, the bases agreement was terminated and the catastrophic volcanic eruption of Mount Pinatubo sent the occupants of both bases - military personnel, civilian employees, and their families scampering under the thick darkness of the ashfall back to their homeland. But that was not the end of American military and other connections with our country. The People's Republic of China suddenly loomed in the horizon spreading its products (fake and all) across the Pacific and flooding the US mainland with just about anything than could be copied anywhere in the world. Iraq invaded Kuwait, and as a consequence, America shocked and awed that country until its present disintegration. Iran curdles with its nuclear plants under construction (or already completed). Lebanon, Israel and the rest of the Middle East face another crisis. And closer to home, Indonesia's islands shelter Islamist extremists cum terrorists, spilling over the SouthEast Asian region and infiltrating our own Muslim communities some of whom are under the control of a Moro independence movement. By the way, that pirated DVD you buy from them may well contribute to the funding of some of their questionable activities. The Philippines, as historically and geographically destined, is the most strategically located for any American base that needs to operate within the range of the Asia mainland, on to Europe, and more importantly, the Middle East. Our islands are needed more than any concern or interest for the millions of citizens, the current illegitimate president included. But our constitution prohibits any foreign base to be installed in the country. Thus, the "Balikatan" (shouldering?) exercises or whatever else one may wish to call them, under the cover of training our soldiers to fight fellow-Filipinos gone wrongly Islamist or communist, and to use hand-me-down weapons until whatever is "modern" catches up with our psyche. No bases, but check the state-of-the-art airports, the camps, the equipment, the facilities, the sea craft, aircraft, the off-shore fleets of which are all not for our use. And then, the fuss over American military aid - whether it was true that it had been cut, or not. Not so says the Palace from the Pasig. Go check with our envoys in Washington, Not true, says a press statement from Malacanang spin-doctors and apologists/fibbers. Secretary Condoleeza Rice's (aka "paella negra") powerful office has issued the criteria for the granting of US military aid to third-world countries like ours, namely peace and security, or just democratic governance and poverty reduction. Oh dear, we are flunking her criteria? Not so, says Malacanang Seafood Palace. Matter of fact, Palace spokesmen declared the tripling of American military aid this year. But we can do without it, says our AFP.
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