1. How will this news impact the Filipinos?
The Filipino Mindset
The Filipino has been taught to entertain, accept and highly appraise foreign imports. This has been well programmed into our consciousness and subconsciousness through our educational system.
Our public school system was a ‘gift’ from the Americans; schools from private sectors, more often than not, have also followed their schooling methods. To their credit, the Americans knew how to command and conquer a nation: start with its youth.
We learned our abc’s and our numbers in the international language. Classes were taught in english; students were to talk in english within the school’s premises and only the Filipino subject was taught in our native taught. It quickly earned the scorn of students who’d grown accustomed to their American accents.
In the same way we’ve learned to love our Babe Ruth bars and Hershey’s kisses, there’s little evidence–provided the current educational system–that the Filipino masses will exert efforts to not accept the reestablishment of American Bases in the Philippines.
To many families living within the perimeter of these bases, the arrival of foreign soldiers is a dollar sign. History will repeat itself.
As observed in the Philippines, Korea, Okinawa, mainland Japan, Hawai’i, and Puerto Rico, a rise in food and recreational sites is to be expected where the military bases are to be built.
Up until the present, the environmental damages caused by these military bases is privileged information. We’ve contented ourselves with the little and biased knowledge given by our schools and the muscle we’ve put into finding America’s true intentions for establishing these Military bases remains inconsequential.
The Filipino Media
The media, keen on the Filipino’s need for entertainment in the form of gossip will keep their eyes on the military bases: Controversies are to be expected, names are to be named and like vultures, they will circle the skies, waiting on their prey.
News, especially bad news, will sell. In the end, viewers will translate to higher ratings and higher ratings will translate into advertising opportunities which will translate into greater revenue.
The Filipino Opportunist
As mentioned before, a rise in businesses is expected where these Military bases are to be built. Filipinos will find ways to generate income from the foreigners by providing them with food, transportation, clothing, entertainment and women.
The Philippines’ Jose W. Diokno Foundation states that by grabbing at such opportunities, Filipino men, women and children turn themselves into commodities. They may be employed for legitimate labor or entertainment purposes.
In exchange for their services, the women will be payed. They will also contract diseases and will live in constant fear of harassment, crime and violence that will be committed by US Military personnel.
It is also likely that these crimes will reach the media, create a spike in ratings and slowly die down. The victims are easy to silence with US dollars.
Though we know that there will be money coming in, there is no capital investment being made. Thus, when these bases are no longer operational the surrounding folks will still be as impoverished as they were before the occupation, if not worse off.
2. How will this news impact the Philippines’ international image to other nations?
Considering that there is a chocolate called a ‘Filipino’ which is brown on the outside and white on the inside, it is general knowledge that we are the little brown brothers of America. We are so attached to our big brother that we live our every waking moment wanting to become like them.
It is Lee Kwan Yew’s opinion that we have too much democracy in our nation. An overabundance in democracy is similar to over-choice. It simply creates confusion among a people who have yet to define their identity.
The fact that our leaders have not presented a united front in handling these US Military bases communicates our innate confusion to the rest of the world. We are and will continue to be viewed as a nation with borrowed identities and confused opinions.
To the rest of the world, it will be obvious that we are easily swayed by nations whose approval we are desperate to gain.
3. What are your personal thoughts on this issue?
How our leaders behave will often affect the behavior of the masses. It is unfortunate that we’ve yet to have a leader who will hold his ground. We had one in the form of Benigno Aquino, but his adamant spirit cost him his life.
It is also unfortunate the the son–and current president–has lived too comfortably and is a stick of licorice.
Once again, we will experience leadership that holds no ground; one that continues to portray America as the savior of our nation and will continue to feed our youth with the mindset that they will always be inferior compared to these foreigners.
Our masses will bow when the president bows.
Though there will be a few of us with our torches and pitchforks, we will count for less than 1% of the Filipino population. Our sentiments will be in the blogs, in the editorial columns, in the journals and books–but, again, this will be privileged information. The rest of the nation will not care for such.
Should Manny Pacquiao and Kris Aquino become advocates of our sentiments, then there may be a sliver of hope. If they become advocates; if they can comprehend the magnitude of the notion. The idea is too lofty, like trying to pop a balloon on one of Saturn’s rings as I wade on a beach in Cebu.
I do not doubt that our president wants to please America and I have yet to find evidence of his concern for the maintenance of the Philippine environment. If such a move were to further our relations with the United States of America then our Commander-in-Chief with the rest of the government will welcome it with open arms.
Friendship will always come before environmental and societal concerns.
4. Why do you think America has decided to take on such a move towards the Philippines?
America knows that we still hold them in high regard because we’ve been educated to do so, because we still look up to them and because we are indebted to them.
Since the US Military has withdrawn its forces from the Philippines the Philippine army has been at a disadvantage. The Armed Forces of the Philippines’ ability to protect the country from threats is in question.
Former National Security Advisor Rafael Ileto warned that the presence of the US Military will cause our nations forces delegate their responsibilities on the foreign power. Such a dependence has caused a stagnation in our Armed Forces, the consequences of which are manifested in their recent flubs.
Our Navy and Air Forces are also undertrained and up to their necks in outmoded equipment. The United States of America, well aware of all this, knows that this is an offer the Philippines will find hard to refuse.
The Philippine Islands remains to be a treasure trove of resources; and it’s people have not been educated in the management of these resources. America will come for these, the same way Spain sailed into the archipelago in search of gold and spices. The presence of US Military bases in key locations within the nation will further this endeavor.
Again, because the United States is an industrial country with strict toxic waste dumping policies, it is looking for a trash bin for its waste material. Seeing that we are a nation that has failed to manage its own Payatas dump site; the dumping of toxic waste into the Philippines will not be restricted.
After all, we are a people that still holds the Americans in high regard.