In the disputes over the South China Sea, no country has been closer to the United States and more hostile to China than the Philippines under the recently departed President Aquino. Indeed, during Aquino’s term of office the Philippines has once more allowed the US to use military bases in the country as part of a wider military collaboration. The Philippines has also unilaterally taken its dispute with China to arbitration under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). But since the recent election of President Duterte there are signs of a shift in thinking with Duterte stressing the importance of good relations with China and other leading figures suggesting that the island disputes with China should be settled bilaterally. The column below, reprinted from the country’s leading newspaper, The Philippine Star, gives voice to this shift. – Martin Jacques
What could have changed our history?
Carmen N Pedrosa
Today, June 12, we celebrate Philippine Independence Day as it was declared by President Diosdado Macapagal. It used to be celebrated every July 4 because it was the day the Americans granted it to us. But as Macapagal reasoned “freedom and independence is not granted, it is fought for.” So why did we continue to be an American colony despite this? Here is a story that is not known to many Filipinos.
“The common story told by historians is the Americans betrayed Emilio Aguinaldo by turning against him and not granting the Philippines its independence as they had promised.