Disinterest and failed promises

By : RAI Bollozos Sanchez Mindanao Today/08:42:37pm 08/03/2021


THE Philippine-United States relationship is like a “cha-cha.” Dancing “to and fro” and “back and forth.”

However, when President Rodrigo Roa Duterte sat as the principal diplomat, he sat on hot waters.

He played “hard to get” with the Americans. Asking me how is another column to tell.

This reminds me of the coming of the Americans in the Philippines, right on the verge of the Spanish-American War.

Were the Americans interested in the Philippines? Personally, I do not think so.

The Philippines was never an option to the Americans. Among all the Spanish colonies, Cuba caught the eye of capitalist Americans.

In fact, the U.S. became dependent on sugar, and its biggest importer was Cuba.

In 1884, an economic crisis forced Spain to open Cuba's “natural market” for trade to the United States.

Nevertheless, Cuba exported less than the United States as it imported more to the Spanish colony.

By 1890, an increased import from the United States to Cuba causes the latter on bad terms from its colonizer.

American interests in Cuba become more and more bound to the fate of the territory.

In 1895, Cuba started their war for independence, and the Americans became entangled with; (1) allow the Cuban rebellion to flourish, (2) support the revolution and force Spain to cede the island, (3) support the independence of Cuba, or (4) take Cuba as a territory.

Through constant pressure from the American press and industrialist politicians, the United States and Spain conflict was overstretched.

There was a need for intervention as the tension in Cuba against its mother colony heightened.

The battleship U.S.S. Maine was dispatched in the Havana Harbor for humanitarian reasons – possibly not to escalate the tensions but to oversee the conditions of the Spanish colony.

Nevertheless, the killing and mortally wounded 262 Americans; however, 89 men survived while U.S.S. Maine settled into the harbor within minutes.

The sinking of Maine signaled the start of the Spanish-American war on April 21, 1898.

The Philippines was far from behind in the interest of the Americans.

After the sinking of Maine, undersecretary of the United States Naval Department, Theodore Roosevelt, cabled Admiral George Dewey, the leader of the Asiatic Squadron, on February 25, 1898.

The decree was to station his fleet in Hong Kong to intervene in Spanish naval reinforcement coming from the Philippines.

Sensing that the Americans are in Hong Kong and the willingness to lead another revolution to the Spaniards, Spencer Pratt cabled Dewey in Hong Kong regarding Aguinaldo.

Pratt arranged for Aguinaldo's departure on April 26. Still, when the latter arrived in Hong Kong, Dewey was already in Manila Bay when Aguinaldo arrived.

The rebellion of Aguinaldo against Spain was an opportunity for the American expansionists.

American colonization is different from Spain's conquest – the Philippines achieved a measure of corporeality that is far beyond its geographic definition.

After Dewey's demolition of Montojo's fleet in Manila Bay on May 1, 1898, American designs to the Philippines were unclear.

However, American expansionists pressure Democrat President William McKinley, especially the enigmatic republican and the United States Naval Undersecretary Theodore Roosevelt.

Theodore Roosevelt confided his plans to his friend Gen. Leonard Wood. He said, “In the Philippines, we still seem to be having ugly work, but if only a few tens of thousands of reinforcements there, we will have the islands pacified once and for all in a short time. I most earnestly pray that there will be no backing out.”

Further, the unstable condition of Aguinaldo's insurrection against Spain was an opportunity for the Americans to colonize the Philippines.

For Theodore Roosevelt, Aguinaldo's rebellion against Spain was an opportunity to occupy the Philippines.

On the other hand, and perhaps unknowingly cuddling with the American's promise of recognizing Philippine Independence, Aguinaldo declared independence on June 12, 1898.

To validate the declaration, Aguinaldo issued a decree on June 18 for the administration of elections to establish the local government.

Another order was published on June 20 to serve as the administrative decree for local officials to both provinces and pueblos.

Eventually, in the following days, local governments were inaugurated, and seven months later, Cagayan de Misamis established theirs.

Again, I raise the question, “were we really independent?”

Share this Article