12 June 2023
This year, the Philippines is commemorating its 125th Independence Day in a situation that highlights the country’s fake independence.
This is the first Independence Day that the country’s president is Ferdinand Marcos Jr, who seeks approval from, and is sucking up to, both the US and China, the leading superpowers in the world, to strengthen his regime and deodorize his family’s inglorious name. With his government’s actions, Marcos Jr is following the footsteps of the hacienderos and caciques who first declared the country’s so-called independence under the protection of the US.
At the same time, the US and China are locked in a rivalry globally and in the Asia-Pacific region. The US wants to assert its global hegemony and ward off its nearest competitor, China. The Asian superpower, meanwhile, wants to assert its sovereignty over what it considers as its backyard. The result: violations of the Philippines’ sovereignty and territorial integrity in the form of China’s greater military presence in the West Philippine Sea, and the US’ military bases in the Philippines. The Filipino migrants and people stand for genuine independence and sovereignty, and say no to both superpowers.
The US remains the foremost neocolonial power in the Philippines. Despite Rodrigo Duterte’s pivot to China, the US still showered the Philippines with the biggest military assistance in the Asia Pacific region, sending more than USD 1.14 billion since 2015. This has kept the military, the police, and the militaristic government subservient to the US. The US, in short, has empowered fascists in the Philippines to suppress the people’s assertion of their rights, and attack even the limited elite democracy in the country.
Both the US and China seek to strengthen control over the Philippine economy. Under Duterte, China expanded its Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator or POGO operations and has forced the country to sign the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership or RCEP agreement, which it dominates. The US has enjoyed unparalleled control over the country’s economy — preventing genuine land reform and national industrialization, and promoting a service economy dependent on forced labor migration. As such, unemployment, landlessness and poverty continue to worsen.
US imperialism, the main enemy of the Filipino people’s struggle for independence, is the world’s No. 1 terrorist. Aside from being the only country to use nuclear weapons in a war, it remains the world’s foremost economic and geopolitical power, subordinating many countries to its interests. It has consistently opposed and repressed people’s struggles for genuine freedom and democracy in their countries. It has ousted many democratically elected governments and installed and propped up dictators of all kinds.
On the country’s 125th Independence Day, we Overseas Filipino Workers or OFWs and Filipino migrants condemn the US and China for violating the country’s sovereignty, supporting fascists in the Philippines, and controlling the country’s anti-people economy. We condemn Filipino elites, currently led by Marcos Jr, for kowtowing to superpower dictates. We vow to remain united with the Filipino people in fighting for genuine freedom and democracy, which is the Filipino people’s only chance of attaining genuine development, in which Filipinos are not forced to leave the country to work abroad.###