The videos trace the development of the United States’ colonial policy in the Philippines. It all started with helping a disaster-stricken young republic in creating a democratic society. In order to do that, the Philippines welcomed U.S. intervention. The U.S. was their hope to be freed from the Japanese and to rid their label of being the “sick man of Asia”. Of course, U.S. aid came with extensive stipulations requiring amendment of the Philippine Constitution. Americans suddenly now had almost a full set of rights in the Philippines. Many Filipinos soon resented this, as it was a major threat to the sovereignty of the Philippines that they so dreamed of having.
. Beginning in 1900, America has had a great influence in the Philippines. U.S. politics dictated the course of events of the islands. Many Filipinos sought after total sovereignty from the U.S. Philippine independence was granted, reserving military and Naval bases for the U.S,. Military and imposing tariffs on Philippine exports. The Philippine commonwealth was independent with supervision by the U.S.
With this new republic, the Philippines faced many problems including economic deficiency and much internal strife. Namely, the Huks, a communist led guerilla group, began an extensive rebel movement against the Philippine government requesting that the government put an end to the feudalistic farm system in the rural parts of the Philippine Islands. During a democratic election in 1953, Ramon Magsaysay was elected President. He was known as a populist leader who understood the needs of the peasant farmers. The U.S. gave Magsaysay extensive aid in hopes of ridding the rebel movement. In March of 1957, Magsaysay was killed in an “accidental plane crash”.
Ferdinand Marcos was elected President in 1961 and was re-elected in 1969, wherein the Philippines was stricken with civil unrest caused in part by Marcos’ support of U.S. Vietnam policy. In the early 1970’s, a guerilla uprising plagued the Philippines by a communist group and a Muslim separatist group. The many uprisings led Marcos to declare Martial Law in 1972. Opposition leaders were arrested and heavy censorship set in. Among those arrested was Ninoy Aquino who was later assassinated by the Philippine military under Marcos.
The Marcos regime was a very lavish one. Imelda Marcos hosted many expensive parties and filled her palace with many luxuries. However, many say that the Marcos regime completely ignored the needs of the poor. Although Marcos promised reform, he lead the country to bankruptcy. As a result, there was an unprecedented Communist insurgence throughout the countryside in the Philippines with poorly trained, poorly armed and poorly paid soldiers. By 1984, protests against Marcos intensify as the Communist groups control large areas neglected by the government.
In order to prove Marcos’ legitimacy, he announces an election. The people of the Philippines were obviously not happy with Marcos and it was apparent to most that he would have to cheat in order to win. His running mate was none other than the wife of the murdered Ninoy Aquino, Cory Aquino. The election was closely watched by some U.S. delegates who came to oversee the ballots, and Marcos came out with a victory that many claim was falsified. Aquino’s concession was a peaceful demonstration against the corruption of Marcos. Cory Aquino had an overwhelming number of supporters that eventually outnumbers those of Marcos. It was soon apparent that the Marcos regime had come to an end and transition was desperately needed.
The aftermath of the Marcos regime was a catastrophe. He had led the country into such enormous economic chaos and social injustice, a black hole that is extremely difficult to climb out of. Cory Aquino did receive some $30 billion in U.S. aid to help her country. However, the “feudalism” of the countryside still existed and the peasants wanted results faster than C. Aquino could deliver. Her land reform was simply not sufficient enough. Guerilla warfare followed. Army troops destroyed villages looking for guerilla leaders. C. Aquino found it hard to control the military. There were a total of five coupe attempts against C. Aquino during the first 18 months of Aquino’s presidency. A new Constitution was drafted and elections were held in an attempt to restore democracy.
The Philippines has often been compared to a volcano; always rumbling and sometimes erupting. There have been many eruptions in the 20th Century. With three-fourths of the population under the poverty level, social injustice is inevitable. The Philippines has a history of power hungry politicians with scandal after scandal. It seems that the adage “money is power” is true to word in Filipino politics. And yet, the foundation for Democracy carries on.