Sangil: How the Americans 'won' the Philippines (1st part of a series)

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US PRESIDENT Donald J. Trump said his country will save a lot of money and he doesn't mind the scrapping of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA). The unrehearsed answer of Trump is so swiftly said as he answered a question profounded by a White House reporter. President Rodrigo Duterte threw a curb ball and Trump hit a homer. Normally, issues like the VFA, Trump should have been briefed through a national security review for a sharper foreign policy. But Trump like Duterte does rely more on his instincts.

In the meanwhile, President Duterte cannot be faulted in ordering the abrogation of the agreement. He seems he had enough. His decision came when Senator Bato dela Rosa's US visa was cancelled. And before that, Duterte wasn't comfortable on the way the US government, specifically those four Republican senators, intervene in our state affairs. We should remember that the Philippines is a sovereign nation. The Dela Rosa incident was the last nail in the coffin. It broke Digong's back.

Few times I disagree on presidential actions, but this time, I am in favor of this move of our president. Our own Senator Panfilo Lacson was quoted as saying' the abrogation of the VFA is not the smartest move of the president. Me thinks Senator Lacson is wrong. "There's a saying that the worst worries are those worries that never come."

Let's look back in 1991. June 15 of that year was the Big Bang of the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo when a huge "mushroom" dominated the sky and eclipsed the sun for several minutes. By the time that happened, the American GIs including their dependents were all gone, for they left June 10 bringing all what they can except kitchen sinks, toilet bowls and old motor vehicles. It means they abandoned us, not even lifting a finger to help the devastated communities, many of which were buried by onrushing lahar.

And that was not the first time the Americans abandoned us. My father was a war USAFFE guerrilla during world war 2nd. He fought side by side with the Americans against the Japanese invaders. He was in the death march. And when the Japanese surrendered, the military installation of Clark was re-opened. My father who was quartermaster before it was bombarded by Japanese planes applied to get back his old job but was rejected. And of course everyone knows how General Douglas MacArthur was tasked by his government to rebuild Japan but not our country which also suffered so much destruction during the war. The help we got was the leftover of the recent war. War materiel surplus.

Let's push back our history for the benefit of the millennials and for all those who have forgotten the early years. I will add my knowledge of geopolitical politics why the Americans purchased us for $20 million from the Spaniards as contained in the Treaty of Paris.

There's is a story that goes like this. Before the turn of century, a certain newspaper in America came up with a scathing editorial s

lambasting Admiral George Dewey who was reportedly hibernating in Hong Kong. As a knee jerk reaction, the story continued, Dewey rushed to the Philippines and engaged the Spanish Armada which was later known as the Battle of Manila Bay which only lasted for few hours. The Spaniards said: You won Manila and if you want to whole archipelago, pay us.

(To be continued)


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