Saturday, September 03, 2005

MANILA, May 29, 2004 (STAR)
By Col (Ret) Frank B. Quesada, Former Senate Committee Secretary, Veterans and Military Pensions; Associate, PMA ‘44

(Foreword This is an ungenial treatise based on reality. It will not please the thin skinned and the Pharisees, so to speak) But the truth must be told.

The history of Philippine-American relations has been described as a sham, so to speak. While such relationship “withstood our sacrifices in World War II and the generosities of peace” thereafter, in truth is but synthetic. Such “truth has an underside and roughness.”

In reality dependence on the U.S. self-seeking interests is quite abundant. No one could better describe such cognation than Gen. (Ret.) Carlos P. Romulo, who was a respected diplomat, a fellow WW-II veteran, and was in the general staff of Gen D.. McArthur in the USAFFE, and later became the first Secretary General of the United Nations.

Distinct Discrimination
Up until the time he passed away, Gen. Romulo, was among the distinct victims of discrimination in the military. Why? His name does not appear in the roster of Fil-Am World War II veterans. (See: Roster of Veterans) He was a top honcho in the USAFFE. Facts show that Filipinos were mistreated by the U.S. Army as “second class soldier” in the USAFFE and as subordinate war veterans after they have fought for the U.S. flag, and American interests, although Filipinos fought with valor just as any of his white comrade foxhole buddies who equally suffered in the face of the enemy in World War II.

America, have spoken before the society of nations in language of equal liberty and justice – and equal rights. But here is a glaring example of duplicity and double talk. However, members of the USAFFE believed that no one has ever deceive the whole world, nor the whole world have deceived anyone. They suffered from it, and learned the meaning of an empty pleasure by the authorities to deceive the hapless.

In their shameful and un-conditional surrender to the Japanese Forces, have made themselves indomitable. They celebrate the Fall of Bataan and Corregidor each year in the Philippines - not in defeat but triumph over morality and truculence. Against a foreign enemy, and within. Lessons they learned in that war – has been wealth to the have-nots, wisdom to the youths, and great solace and comfort to themselves who saw the face of God in sacrifice.

Scourge of Racism
Racism was, and still is indeed the rust that corrodes the steel of Democracy, that smash a forsaken nation which veterans bled for and died for in a covetous war. What a paradox?
Taksil na ingrato pa !

When I was Senate Committee Secretary of the Senate Committee on Veterans and Military Pensions, I discovered and noted that Gen. Romulo was not listed in the roster of veterans of the USAFFE, and was a “deleted” war veteran - along with genuine Filipino WW-II veterans like Gen. Ernesto Mata, who held the island of Negros for almost four years as guerrilla leader against the Japanese invaders.

Unbelievably, there are thousands of Filipino heroes of WW-II who were also victims of the army’s carelessness and differentiation like former ambassadors, namely: Amelito Mutuc, Oscar Ledesma, Salvador P. Lopez who wrote world-renown master-piece, “Bataan Has Fallen” in the humid tunnel of Corregidor shortly before the American surrender of Bataan. Other ambassadors deleted from the roster were:Ambassadors: Agustin Mangila, Emilio Bejasa, Pacifico Evangelista, and Roberto Benedicto. They all fought with honor but disgraced by the omission. ( See: RRGR).

There were also two associate justices of the Supreme Court whose names were also barefacedly deleted: Querube Macalintal, and Fred Ruiz Castro. And one senator, Gerardo Roxas. All of them were bonafide U.S. servicemen but whose honorable military service in WW-II in the Philippines were recklessly unrecognized. They are only a minute fraction of the total number of 404,796 veterans unrecognized after they honorably rendered military service in the U.S. Army. And there were 121,000 names of these heroes unjustly deleted in the roster of the Army by the AFWESPAC for either racial and economic discrimination.

Distinct Asperity
This is a distinct example of the roughness off Fil-Am relations (for half a century uncorrected by the authorities) which have resulted to uneasiness and disappointment among Filipinos [as American nationals] who were conscripted - by Pres. F. Roosevelt under an un-numbered Military Order, dated July 26, l941.They were made to fight a war not of their own but of a war of United States against Japan. (See: U.S. Supreme Court decisions on Insular cases). And afterwards rashly betrayed by Congress in 1946, when they passed the notorious Rescission Act that took away their wartime-earned compensation and benefits without justification.

Alay sa mistulang Alipin
In the frontlines and bloody battles in Bataan and Corregidor, their pay were lower than their American fox-hole buddies which was no less a slave pay. And after the guns of war became silent - these intrepid heroes were further mistreated by Congress by talking away their GI Bill of Rights benefits under the dastardly passed “rider” in the First Surplus Appropriation Rescission Act of 1946, under a “racist policy” of the 79th Congress.

This critical perception - was no less a vile act that defected the will of the decent American people. Decent Americans taxpayers have disfavored such injustice. And which has been repeated and paralleled the sloven virulence perpetrated against the Negro and other minorities since the last 200 hundred years under the white-man’s burden.

Human Rights for Whom?
The scourge of barefaced discrimination in a country that beats the drum, and shamelessly imposed human rights and justice as a world constable – have spawned more opponents and enemies that hated high-handed arrogance. What terrorism against the U.S. we see today is a product of yesterday’s arrogance of power.

“The conviction of the justification of using even most brutal weapons is always dependent on the presence of a fanatical belief in the necessity of the victory of a revolutionary new order on this globe.” Said A. Hitler. In public discussions and in schools, “they confront whether such American ideals are best for the whole world and if they are such an arrogant for other nations to trust our sincerity and goodwill.”

Concerned citizens doubt whether those political or moral values are best for other countries. Jalmar Pfeifer, of late, stated that “America tries to impress the rest of the world. But when it makes other people that their country is not as good, it upsets other people and they hate America for it.”

He upset some Americans by the use of the word “arrogant” to describe Americans. However. Pfeifer stressed that “ Americans should be cognizant that other people – even those nations that support the U.S. – do not believe that the U.S. should impose its values on other countries or cultures.” One other American said, “There are untold axes to grind and we have to stop it. We have to look at it with human eyes toward human rights, not imposing American ideals.” said Nicolas Grainger.

Harvest of What was Sown
A great number of citizens, however agreed that one major hurdle toward acceptance of U.S. goodwill is that parents of some Middle East nations teach their children early on to hate the U.S. and Israel , and that by being a suicide bomber is heroic. This, however, is an offset of a myopic foreign policy. of the past now a harvest what has been recklessly sown in the past

This would take years to fix because it involved winning the hearts and minds of those whom were hurt. The real goal of war in Iraq in the eyes of war veterans – winning the hearts and minds of the Iraqis, Not through bullets but with adroit and assiduous governance. The lone voice of realistic and practical diplomacy by Sec. C. Powell was rescinded by a so-called foreign relations gang of yes-men of the powers that be. He truly knows the ravages and consequences of war as a soldier. But he was overwhelmed by a myopic unsparing gang of cowboys.

It was the hypocrisy which was the artifice of foreign policy of his peers in government what vices fed misconceived morality. There’s no shelter to self-confession but felo de se and self-ruin is admission of guilt. False pride noblesse oblige, precedes destruction. Today’s battle against terrorism world over was the fruit of yesteryears of blind self-importance and presumptuous imperialism.

“Pride that dines on vanity sups up on contempt.” said B. Franklin. We are now paying the high price for yesterday’s intolerance and formalism that have murdered religion. Likewise frightens the clodhopper with his spectre.

Misplaced Chastice
Not contented with inequality, instead of correcting inequity in pay and allowance of the UAFFE, Congress unjustly authorized payment of benefits at a “baratillo” rate of fifty cents [1/2] to the dollar, which again placed the Fil-Am veterans in the category of a “second class,” trashy and valueless war-veteran of the U.S. Army, while their comrades continued to enjoy full benefits. Thus, such situation provided proof of a subtle “caste” system” here in America, worse than that in India. Instead of correcting this travesty of justice , more insult followed by offering to pay only one half (1/2) of the entitled pay and allowances to the Filipino soldiers.

What kind of minacity was it? Avidity and fear of nescience. Wealth alone has never been possible without the cooperation of everyone on this world. It has no price for it but life. No nation, hence has no premium for haughtiness and corrupt of power. After all, money can not buy divine faith in God of any decent citizen. And peace.

Unending Oppression
And in the following 40 years after WW-II, these hapless, aging and sickly veterans were acutely made to wait years while most of them died - for their trifling naturalization - but only as a consequence of guilt and rue to placate veteran’s ruffled feelings that had spread with the conspicuous effect it had in the national security of both countries. Up until now, over half a century of truculent mistreatment, the nagging issue of payment of the unsettled claims for unpaid benefits now totaling no less than $3.2 billion - has been the object of suitable amnesia under a white man’s burden.

Retarding Payment - Troublesome
Delaying payment of these veteran’s rightful wartime earned compensation and benefits have saved billions of dollars – which could have settled to pay the country’s constitutional debt. But to no avail, and shamelessness out of the 200,000 conscripts by Pres. F. Roosevelt in 1941, only less than 30,000 survivors are dying of disease, age and want. They continue as victims of exclusionary legislations by segregationists in Congress. Veterans die with umbrage in their hearts for having been deceived and defrauded by a supposed ally that made then fight a war not of their own. The pain of their wounds from combat and the demise – was less grievous than the perfidy of a comrade.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, an American sage - said to wit: “A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere. Before him I may thin aloud.” Gen. Carlos Romulo viewed it this way: to wit: “To his kind of friendship, particularly in Filipino folklore , there is a significance larger than that involved in the sincerity that illuminates and inspires it. Because we have a saying in Tagalog: ‘Ang pagsasabi ng tapat Ay pagsasamang maluat; or translated into contemporary idiom: 'A sincere dialogue Guarantees a long association'.

“As you will see, The Filipino mind not only associates sincerity with friendship but also with continuity of friendship. The value of friendship, is not the immediacy or its presentness; on the contrary, that value is in the longevity in its ability to challenge time.” To the American mind, appears the opposite. It has been an acrimonious practice and policy for them to pay off any mistake with the almighty U.S. dollar, Such “cash register diplomacy,” disregarding the hurt and injury caused by such mistake and barefaced intentional discrimination. ( See: Fil-Am Relations; Golay)

The Almighty Dollar
The dollar is grudgingly used to butter up and remove the pain and suffering. But has been absent in the case of the Fil-Am veteran’s exclusion from their rightfully earned benefits and property right to compensation for actual services rendered. In contrast, Filipinos have regarded Fil-Am relationship valuable not in terms of dollars and cents. They recognize the past American tutelage in self-government and democratic ideals, more specifically about equality, which was concretely learned from Americans during the Commonwealth era. And as a loyal ally in the Second World War. All these were understood and held exegetic, secure in the context of history as a true friend.

Sapul pa, mababa na ang tingin at turing ng Amerikano sa Pilipino

As a colonizer, have exploited the Philippines and its people. American politicians has been singing a discordant tune. Such irritants have caused the post-war Filipinos critical of the Fil-Am relations, after seeing especially how the Filipino veterans had been truculently betrayed and mistreated. In my generation, along with Gen. Romulo “were inclined to look with impatience on America’s pointless misconduct which we can not overlook.”

“My generation has had the closest contact with America was not without memories, and discern the contrast between our present and in the 1900s, and the past 1800s was so remarkable that the tyranny it knew in the earlier Spanish regime increased in cruelty, in retrospect and, in that, in direct proportion to the opportunities in freedom that the country then began to enjoy.

“And our sons and daughters [the new breed], learned to discover for themselves the new face of insolent America after World War II. They learned that the freedom Filipinos won in 1946 had not been as ungrudgingly awarded by America as they were made to believe .

“They were to know the in plenteous detail that independence for Filipinos was an idea that had strong and influential opponents in America. That President Manuel L. Quezon, rose to power precisely because he could unify the country against that opposition. And that Gen. L. Wood was an excellent champion of American interest likewise was a staunch enemy of Philippine autonomy. “And that history gave a lie to all the America propaganda as we all know .How long could Bataan have held against the Japanese without the Filipino soldier - in strength, nearly a hundred thousand of them as against America’s alongside six thousand men.”

Abject Lesson Learned
What did our sons and daughters learn from that? The abhor insolence since the time of Spanish colonization. And also under the American regime that have also been a precursor of haughtiness. The gospel truth unfolded in 1941, when the Japanese invaded the Philippines. American propaganda was unmasked. They saw the myth of American invincibility utterly destroyed; saw the American flag hurled down by the enemy. They saw the American shameful and ignominious surrender to the under-rated but obdurate Japanese invader that proved shadowy.

“And the historical logic of which was already evident when the first shot was fired in 1941 -- American ships in Philippine waters were ordered by Washington to proceed to Java, thus abandoning the Philippines to its fate.”

The much-bruited about 8-mile convoy of supplies from the U.S. mainland for the USAFFE defenders in Bataan and Corregidor was diverted to American white cousins in Europe. And it was reported at the suggestion of the then, Col. D. Eisenhower to sacrifice the Philippines in World War II to the Japanese. Consequently, leaving the USAFEE defenders to fend for themselves after surrender under the iron heels of the obdurate enemy.

One million Filipinos needlessly died from this American misadventure in the Philippines. This abandonment of the Philippines brought out that famous doggerel, :the “Battling Bastards of Bataan” which was in every lips of the forlorn Filipino-American USAFFE defenders orphaned by the U.S. authorities in favor of their American cousins in Europe. which ran this way, to wit: “We’re the batting bastards of Bataan. No papa, no mama, no Uncle Sam. No aunts, no nieces, no cousins. No pills, no planes, no artillery pieces. And no body gives a damn!”

President Manuel Quezon, in his frustrating moments candidly told Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt and Gen. Douglas McArthur, upon seeing the Filipino-American soldiers and civilians without proper protection because of American inability to support the USAFFE – with much anguish emotionally said, and I quote: “The fate of a distant cousin (meaning Europe) to be saved by America, came first, while a daughter (meaning the Philippines) is being raped in the backroom.!" emphatically said Quezon.

Verity of Quezon’s statement caught Roosevelt and McArthur off-guard. It unfolded Europe as the white-aired boy over the Far East. Justice, it was said – has been no virtue that is quite great, and God’s gift to man. But in this case, it was not the sum of moral duty of Roosevelt. It was cloudy. Quezon was then quite right - but was invincible in defeat.

The Philippines was sacrificed, and the USAFFE withered in the vine in Bataan and Corregidor His defeat, in such case, under Roosevelt, in our eyes was more triumphant than victory. He died as a great patriot – it was a pity that he could die only once to serve his countrymen even in exile in Saranak Lake in the U.S. before the liberation of the Philippines in 1945. Quezon died fighting the war and tuberculosis.

Orphaned and Abandoned
“Thus, anything - during the Japanese occupation was, in the context, the Filipino’s ordeal during the liberation [1945] did not conceal the fact that the Filipinos, in a crisis, could take care of itself and its leaders could stand against insurmountable obstacles to defend the interest of its people.” During the siege of Bataan by the overwhelming Japanese troops of Gen. Masaru Homma – the USAFFE’s gallant defense was doomed for a shameful defeat. However, they vowed to fight to the last man, without America’s succour.

Phantasmagoria of Dreams
It could be said at this juncture that only rumors sustained the morale of the helpless USAFFEs for weeks in the soggy foxholes of Bataan as well as the humid tunnels of Corregidor, until the gradually realized that their existence was more of a mirage that made their lives bearable. “That much-bandied 8-mile convoy of equipment and war supplies expected had been made of dreams ships. What we did talk about by day – we dreamed about by night. “And in moments of respite from the fighting there were said to have bared their souls. Romance is stronger disease and hunger.” said Gen. Carlos P. Romulo, the last man off Corregidor before the shameless unconditional surrender of the USAFFE by the U.S. Army. The USAFFE therefore was a wretched pawn of America in the Far East. And the Filipino people were expendable in favor of Europeans.

Foreign Meddling in State Affairs
“The initial severity with which the entire issue of enemy collaboration with the enemy was handled by the Americans after the war, viewed now after many years, was utterly out of proportion to the manner which Washington treated those soldier who defended American honor in Bataan. They appeared nothing but like any expendable PX item worthy for the trash bin.

Prisoners-of-War Accused of Collaboration
In my stint, as Senate Committee Secretary, Veterans and Military Pension, I have seen and had enough of the insolent, lordly outgrowth of outré. Fellow veterans came to me with tears welled in the eyes, bellowing their hurt of being accused of treason as prisoners-of-war, albeit coerced by the enemy as forced laborers. Some sorrowfully offered to commit suicide rather than live with a label and stain of collaboration which was untrue.

Man’s inhumanity against fellow man makes thousands mourn. But in reality, injury inflicted has been much sooner forgotten than the sharp insult . Their pay and benefits were effaced and withdrawn without due process. Such endless pursue was the non-captivating molestation of a vulnerable and prostrate soldier suffering from their wounds of war they were made to fight under “involuntary servitude” (sans paying them due compensation) no less demoted as a slave.

Equity has no Meaning.
Ask any “Battling Bastard of Bataan” and the Filipino guerrillas who fought shoulder-to-shoulder with these intrepid Filipino soldiers. And they will tell you that there was no atheist in any fox-hole. Both Filipino and American soldiers were just but the same target of the Japanese son of the Bushido that showed no mercy or compassion to all of them. There in Bataan they (both Filipino and Americans) were all equals in the face of the enemy. But after the guns of war was silent, and peace was won – the Filipino soldier was reduced to a lowly peon, undeserving of full compensation and rightful benefits. Why?

Ugly Head of Discrimination
As long as they are indentured and without equity, the were treated as cannon fodders. (peons), explicitly forbidden under the Amendments to the Constitution. These are the fathers, uncles, cousins and brothers of the new generation who discovered how their parents were mistreated after the war - therefore have nursed grievances against recreant and inexonerable nation who feigned to be a friend and ally.

New Breed Devoid of Gratitude
In every age and regime, there are vile specimens of human character , such a demagogues found in society. Over a half a century of barefaced parody - the travesty of justice marches on under a misogynistic dereliction in the halls of Congress, whose members were elected and sworn by the taxpayers, to provide justice and liberty for all its citizens, and nationals. Gratitude is a duty which ought to be paid, which the recipient have the right to expect.

“What is more hard to bear than the reverse of fortune It is the baseness ingratitude of man and government.” said Napoleon I. Most of them, after many years of peace, most politicians have found the license and personal franchise and to excesses in hugging the slippery pork which they could keep for their own disposal, disregarding the nation’s constitutional debt to the Fil-Am U.S. Army veterans.

Peacetime Hunger of Power
Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts without bounds. And greater the power, the more dangerous is its abuse. The ugly head as a favorite pastime of snobbery once more showed potency above morality. For fraud has always been the ready minister of injustice. In a type of democracy we have, society prepares the sin, and the politicians simply commits it with impunity. These breed have discovered the House a haven for excess power. and of rascals. In reality - have shamelessly been raiding the national treasury of pork they keep for themselves. American taxpayers are helplessly wide awake to this fleecing of the nation.

Will of the Decent People.
Frustrated Americans only rely on divine intervention can seemingly end this madness. “Inequality dwells in the upper class in society, and vulgarizes the lower class, lastly brutalizes the lower class.” according to M. Arnold. The End Time is just around the corner, and careless politicians have not yet learned the meaning of thanklessness and gratitude to fellowmen who sacrificed their lives and property for the flag – so others may live in freedom and fairness.
God save America ! # # #

No comments :