Friday, April 20, 2012

The American Complicity for the sex industry in the Philippines

The Philippine Islands will ever be a land of beautiful beaches, sunsets, and people. The Filipino culture is admirably accepting of others and filled with smiles and laughter. At one time, they were an Island peoples living in communal settings and experiencing the paradise of a fruitful land. This tranquil life was disrupted by the gradual effects of empire and globalization.

The first expansionist power to grasp at controlling the resources of the Philippines was the Spanish. From 1565 – 1898 the Philippines was a Spanish Colony. When the USS Maine was sunk and 260 men died, America’s war with Spain began. Initially, their war effort against the Spanish was to remove them from Cuba, but On August 13th 1898, 12,000 American troops had arrived in Manila and the Spanish governor, Fermin Jaudenes surrendered the Philippines. The first attack on the Spanish fleet in the Philippines had brought an end to the Spanish rule in the Philippines. However, America’s ultimate interest was obatainin the Spanish empire’s holding of the Philippines. The defeat of the Spanish left the Philippines open to other nations like Britain, France, Japan and Germany. The U.S. feared the loss of trade in the Asian region to these other contending powers. Each of these countries had acquired naval base concessions and business interests with China.

The United States and Spain negotiated a peace treaty in Paris on December 10th, 1898. The U.S. purchased the Philippines, Guam, and Puerto Rico from the Spanish government for $20,000,000. A segment of Philippine society sought independence from foreign power and the ensuing conflict with the U.S. military was the beginning of the Philippine American war. This war effort marked America’s movement towards becoming an empire. The Philippine American war began around the 23rd of January 1899 when Philippine leader Emilio Aguinaldo declared Philippine independence. The U.S. military rule of the Philippines was declared ‘over’ on July 4th 1901.

Whenever the military of any nation has stationed troops in a developing nation or conquered peoples, the systemic abuse of women has quickly followed. The unnatural world of males and violence lends to the acceptance of systemic prostitution as a right of ownership over a people. After all we had ‘bought’ the Philippines from Spain. We were supposed to be civilized and Christian, whereas they were poor natives and uncivilized. If warring constitutes civilization then I am sure being civilized is simply a way of justifying violence on a massive scale.

In 1900, U.S. President McKinley condoned the practice of sending troops to the Philippines for ‘R & R’ (rest and relaxation) under regulatory guidelines. This practice led to the development of the sex industry in the Philippines. The Philippines as an R & R destination was considered to be the cheapest place for a soldier to go and spend his money. The decimation of much of the Philippines accomplished during the Philippine American War (1899 – 1902) contributed to the oppressive conditions that facilitated the phenomenon of mass prostitution in the Philippines. Instead of bringing ‘Christianity’ and ‘Civilization’ as President McKinley had claimed, we brought oppression and injustice on a massive scale.

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