US owes entire Filipino nation, not only WWII vets | Inquirer Opinion

US owes entire Filipino nation, not only WWII vets

12:18 AM December 06, 2014

This is in reaction to the editorial titled “Too little, too late” (Opinion, 11/26/14).

It seems Filipinos have bought hook, line and sinker the “World War II Filipino veterans issue.” First and foremost, the whole idea of their unjust and unfair treatment, although true, diverts attention from what America really owes the Filipino nation, not just a segment of our society. It may be true that our independence was already in “political” discussions during the Commonwealth period, but the war only gave the United States the opportunity to officially relinquish the Philippines after the country was in ruin due to the war.

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Rubbing salt into the wound, the United States made its European

allies—and even the Axis powers—beneficiaries of its Marshall Plan to jumpstart their economies, while the Philippines, the only American

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territory during the war, was given a mere pittance or next to nothing. Our government was not even allowed to sue Japan for reparations. We have to remember that after Warsaw, Manila is on record the most devastated city at the end of World War II.

My heart breaks when the Philippines is ignored in such World War II commemorations, like the Pearl Harbor attack, and treated as a nonentity.

When the war broke out, Hawaii was only a possession, while the Philippines was a full-fledged colony. In Pearl Harbor, more than 2,400 died, mostly combat personnel; in the Philippines, aside from nearly a

million Filipinos (American subjects at the time) who died, 17,206 Americans perished (the number of Americans buried in the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, mostly after a slow, agonizing death).

—JOSE SANTAMARIA,

[email protected]

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TAGS: Filipino veterans, United States, War, World War II
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