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Patrick C.

Agonias AB CDA, LJL3

06/15/12 PHIFOCY


The Philippines and the United States of America have a so called special relationship. This is because both countries have a relationship with one another that spanned way back during the colonial era. Because of this long past history the US had profoundly influenced the Philippines, not just politically but also economically and culturally. The special relationship began when the Philippines was liberated from the grasps of the Kingdom of Spain but was ceded to the US for $20 million in the Treaty of Paris on December 1898. The Philippines tried to fight for independence again in the Philippine American War but were defeated officially in July 1902. During the occupation the Americans taught the Filipinos electoral politics, free trade, and mass education. Nevertheless, the Philippines still longed for independence from their colonial masters. The Americans promised independence and established a Commonwealth Government during the 1930s.The transition period was abruptly interrupted with the start of World War II with the Japanese invading and occupying much of South East Asia. With the combined forces of the US Army and the Filipino guerrillas the Philippines was liberated on 1945. Finally the US ceded its sovereignty on the Philippines on July 4, 1946. Despite being politically independent the Philippines is still heavily dependent on the US economy. Several laws made it possible and the most notable is the Bell Trade Act of 1946 and the Laurel Langley of 1955. This gives the Americans the privilege to exploit the Philippines natural resources and the peso is pegged to the US dollar. Also, military bases are leased for 99 years. This alliance between the US and the Philippines remained strong, especially during the Cold War. However, the Philippines started to trade with other states as well (even communist states), as a manoeuvre to become less dependent on the US economy. The political relationship however was severely strained when the leases for the military bases in Subic and Clark were not renewed and were closed down on November 1992. Despite the strain the Philippines remained under the US interests up until the 9/11 attacks. The Philippines joined the US coalition of the willing and aided the US in combating terrorists. Because of the insurgency of Islamic rebels in southern Mindanao, the US and the Philippines signed the Visiting Forces Agreement.

The Americans see South East Asia, especially the Philippines as the perfect platform in projecting their presence in the region. They know for a fact that China has the potential into becoming a superpower and that Asia has the biggest market far exceeding that of Western Europe. The influence of the US can still be felt today in the Philippines. Many of the OFWs are located in the US; becoming over time the largest Asian community eventually to surpass the Chinese. With so many Filipinos abroad we are also attached to the US emotionally. In closing, the special relationship between US and Philippines can be seen strong until the near future. However, the US forward presence in Asia can decline depending on the change of the global political atmosphere.

Almonte, J. T. (2010). World Trends and New Direction for Philippine Foreign policy 2004-2010. Philippine-American Relations , 129-135.