Last night while browsing Facebook, I was extremely bothered by the comments of our kababayans regarding continued occupation and construction of China in the disputed Spratlys Islands at the West Philippine sea. Majority of people who commented in the article wanted the Philippines to be formally colonized by the US–whether they were serious or joking, the idea of being a colony again and its ramifications sadly seems to be heavily underestimated and misunderstood. I wanted to post more about my thoughts in Facebook but the paranoid in me decided against it—I might have watched too many conspiracy theory movies that I have imagined CIA agents busting through my door. I don’t think they would do it though because it would too suspicious to do that. Anyway, I will be writing my thoughts on the issue here and hopefully someone could understand the points I will be discussing despite being unpopular, because it is at least in some ways grounded in facts and reality.
My main point is that conflict between the US and China because of the Spratlys—is almost impossible. As the largest economy in the world, China is also the world’s largest recipient of internal foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2012, amounting to $253 billion (OECD). Relating to the US, in 2009, it owned approximately $1.6 trillion of US securities, which, put simply, makes China an important economic asset to the US. For example, despite the negative image associated with China manufacturing counterfeit goods, it is actually an attractive option to many American brands primarily due to cheap labor and production costs. Hence, it is quite absurd for both countries to pursue conflict in the name of Spratlys. There is a large possibility that this is just a moro-moro staged by both countries to make the Filipinos look up to the US as a “savior” and consequently make colonialism an acceptable option.
If you attempt to see this issue in this light, it actually makes sense. The Philippines is rich in natural resources and its location is very strategic in terms of controlling countries within its vicinity in Asia. Our long-standing “friendly” relations with the US dates way back to the end of the Spanish period, where we were sold off to them for $20 million dollars, through the Treaty of Paris in 1898. It was only in 1946, after the Japanese were defeated, that we were free again after being recognized as independent by the US.
However, American influence lingered and is still very much felt today—in the way we speak, dress, up to our dreams and aspirations. We are still a colony of the US—but a neocolony. And the recent comments by our fellow Filipinos horrify me because I think this is what the US have always intended to do, and patiently orchestrated—a sufficient justification for re-colonization of the Philippines. Thousands of lives have already been lost during our fight for independence and all our heroes would’ve died in vain if we are to mindlessly entertain the idea of colonialism again.
If there is anything I would like to implore to all Filipinos out there—please do not forget that our country’s history was built on blood and struggle. We are making a huge disrespect to the people who sacrificed themselves for our country. Remember them and try not to be fooled by disguise. Do not simply accept things at face value, but constantly think and ask questions.