[c. 550 words]
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[Letter from the Chairman published by the Filipino Reporter, January 27, 1984. Tho the content is of course dated, the essence that anyone highly placed in the Philippine Government should work to bring the Philippines into the United States holds. If anything, the passing of 25 more years of failed independence, with massive poverty and socioeconomic injustice in the archipelago, makes this appeal more urgent today than it was in 1984]
[Tho some things have changed since this letter was written, the basic arguments remain valid. If anything, the death of then-President Marcos in exile makes more poignant our point about the legacy he might have left. The reference to "one" state was the headline placed by the Filipino Reporter's editors; we advocate three states, not one.]
To the Editor:
It should be clear by now that in 1946 the Philippines made a very big mistake when it accepted independence instead of demanding a change of status from unincorporated territory to State of the United States. Had the latter been done, the people of the Philippines would today enjoy much the same economic and political blessings as Hawaiians do. Hawaii and the Philippines both began their association with the United States in 1898, but they have come down very different roads to very different ends as a consequence of misguided nationalism on the part of Filipinos and misguided generosity (at best) or short-sighted racism (at worst) on the part of the United States.
Fortunately, there is little in politics that cannot be undone. It's time for everyone who cares about the people of the Philippines and their beautiful islands to unite to chart a new course. It's time for Filipinos to petition the United States to admit the Philippines to the Union as at least one and preferably two or three States.
President Marcos and the leaders of all other political factions that hope to prevent suffering and violence in the Philippines' future should take the lead in renewing the severed ties between the United States and Philippines. Everyone who wants a secure and prosperous future for the children of the Philippines, and a wider and wiser world view for the United States, should put aside their differences, and join together to ask the United States to take a great leap westward and reannex the Philippines not as a colony this time but as a state or states of the Union, with all the rights granted States and their citizen under the U.S. Constitution.
Monument to José Rizal, Filipino nationalist executed by Spain in 1896; Rizal Park, Manila
President Marcos can do best for his people by leading them into a Union that will secure their best interests forever. What better legacy can any politician leave than to make life better for all his people long after his death? And what more exalted place in history is there than that occupied by leaders who recognize the hopelessness and danger of the course they find themselves committed to so break with the past to secure the future? Statehood for the Philippines must not, however, become a matter of pro- or anti-Marcos jockeying for political advantage. The people of the Philippines face very serious problems that independence cannot likely solve. If statehood is the only future certain to secure peaceful progress for the people of the Philippines, and I believe it is, then all factions have an obligation, by virtue of the sacred trust which is political dedication, to work together and with all necessary energy to bring the Philippines into the Union. If the present leaders of the Philippines do not take that responsibility seriously enough, then new leaders and the unorganized populace must express themselves to urge statehood forcefully until it is achieved, for everybody's good.
Let the politicians think of this: statehood today can mean high U.S. office for Filipinos tomorrow, and who among them would not like to be the first Filipino President of the United States?
Take a poll on whether the Philippines should join the Union, at the Philippines page of our allied site, United States International.
[XP home page] ["Private Action for Philippine-U.S. Union"] [Chairman's speech to a Fil-Am group][California Examiner letter.]