Saturday, September 22, 2007

Socialistic Philippines!

Why present day Philippines tend socialistic even with American influence of freedom, self-reliance and limited government.

Present day Filipinos are influence by Roosevelt's New Deal. Much like today's US Democratic party who believe in government big role in our individual lives - social security benefits, medicare, medicaid.

But a limited US army research in 1980's shed a little light ...

It required 2 major changes to the post-war status quo for the Philippine govt to defeat the Huks. 1st, US had to recognize the severity of the insurgency and provide appropriate amounts of advice and military and economic assistance to help counter it. Luckily, this American advice was sound and well received by an enlightened Filipino leader; Magsaysay. 2nd; a government victory required an administration in Manila that was more concerned with improving the quality of life for its citizens than with self-enrichment. Ramon Magsaysay provided the latter when he accepted the position of Secretary of National Defense and later won the office of President.
What attributes made this former Zambales resident and son of a village school teacher so successful in winning his fellow Filipinos' loyalty? Certainly his well-known honesty helped him achieve his position in the Congress. But it was his deep and sincere concern for his fellows that brought him to national attention and paved the way for his becoming the Secretary of National Defense. He was a man dedicated to duty and blessed with a personality that blended persistance and charisma with an ability to listen to those around him. Perhaps his greatest attribute, an attribute certainly reinforced by his own war-time experience as a guerrilla leader, was his ability to see the Huk guerrilla movement as symptomatic of greater diseases that were threatening his country -- poverty, rising social expectations, and an uncaring and corrupt central government.
These were the targets that Magsaysay set his sights on. He combined military operations with civic-action projects to form his grand strategy, a strategy that, if successful, would improve Philippine living conditions and remove the base of guerrilla strength - popular support. He demanded that each soldier, regardless of rank, be dedicated first to the people, then, to killing the guerrillas. He changed the basic tactics used by the Philippine military and fostered unconventional operations, while concurrently developing a more professional and competent armed forces. The military and the government had first to win the respect of the people before their anti-Huk campaign could ever produce tangible results. Military abuses ceased and soldiers or policemen implicated in abusing civilians were dealt with swiftly and harshly. Without the people's support, whatever gains the military made would vanish as soon as the last trooper returned to his garrison. Without the people's support, Huks would be unable to move freely or sustain themselves in the field.
With American assistance and the fortune of having Edward Lansdale's advice, counsel, and friendship, Magsaysay's strategy proved a resounding success. EDCOR provided land for reformed guerrillas. Other tracts of government land were sold to the people, schools were established, transportation and communication networks were repaired and improved and, for the first time, the armed forces worked side by side with the people to secure their mutual future.
As an epilogue to his remarkable life, Ramon Magsaysay was honored with a commemorative stamp issued by the United States shortly after his death in 1957. At the ceremony accompanying the stamp's issue, President Eisenhower eulogized this progressive leader and his contribution to Philippine democracy.
If we are ready to do our full part in combating communism, we must as a unit stand not only ready, as Magsaysay did, to bare his chest to the bayonet, if it comes to that, but to work day by day for the betterment - the spiritual, moral, intellectual, and material betterment -- of the people who live under freedom, so that not only may they venerate it but they can support it. This Magsaysay did, and in this I believe is his true greatness, the kind of greatness that will be remembered long after any words we can speak here will have been forgotten.
United States Support
Without American economic and military assistance to the Philippine governments after 1950, the Huks might well have succeeded in their rebellion. But, before we applaud the U.S. effort too quickly, perhaps we should consider that U.S. neglect and short sighted helped put the government in jeopardy. Before 1950, U.S. policy makers concentrated their attentions on Europe, were tired of war in the Pacific, and seemed blind to the many problems that tore at the islands. The land-tenure question had been present since the days the nation became an American protectorate and very little had been done to ease its burden on the Filipino farmer. Although land-tenure was a major factor in the years preceding WWII, after the war, U.S. policy ignored it and was intent on divestiture of responsibility for the islands. Economic aid was made available to the government after the war but the programs were poorly managed and did little other than increase the size of many Filipino elite's bank balances. Other programs, such as the various economic trade acts and the issue of collaboration served only to widen the gap between the people and their government. American foreign policy makers simply did not understand Filipino concerns and aspirations and therefore chose to ignore them. Many incisive and worthwhile reports on conditions in the Philippines (such as Bell Mission) went unheeded until the government in Manila nearly fell in 1950.
Luckily, once the American government realized how close to collapse the Quirino administration was in 1950, Washington reacted. JUSMAG reports, long ignored or given only summary attention, suddenly gained new respect and concern. The JUSMAG was expanded, aid began to flow in, and opinions expressed by some of the JUSMAG's exceptional advisors began to receive attention. Thanks in great measure to the Korean War that was attracting the lion's share of attention in Washington, advisors found themselves with great latitude and were able to develop comprehensive assistance programs that worked hand-in-hand with Magsaysay's objectives for integrating the armed forces with social reforms. Although the Philippines received large amounts of military aid and equipment from the United States during this period, most of it came from surplus WWII stocks. The equipment was simple to use and maintain, and allowed the AFP to adapt quickly to it and keep it operational. One should remember that the vast preponderance of newer equipment was committed elsewhere, Europe and Korea. Another result of the Korean War was that no U.S. troops were readily available for deployment to the Philippines and, with very few exceptions, American advisors were prohibited from taking the field with their Filipino counterparts until the latter stages of the insurgency. This was perhaps one of our greatest contributions to the Philippines during this period. Without foreign troops to assist them, the Philippine military was forced to develop on its own, under its own leaders, and fight to protect its own land and people. Once the Army became convinced that they were fighting to protect their countrymen, and not as an occupation force trying to subdue an unruly foreign
population, they began to receive the people's support. As already described, the alliance of the military with the villagers, and in turn the villagers reliance on the government, spelled the end for the Huk movement.
JUSMAG advisors did all they could to foster a sense of Filipino self-reliance. Whenever possible, they assumed back-row seats for themselves so that govt officials could look good and receive the credit for successful operations. Even when programs succeeded as direct results of American efforts, the advisors played down their own role and let a Filipino become the moment's hero. This built pride and self-esteem in both the officials involved and, more importantly, in the Filipino people. They saw themselves succeeding where others had failed and they tried to continue the pattern. When advice was given, it was given directly to the Filipino leader who needed it, as low in the organization as possible, and given by an advisor who the recipient knew and trusted. And how did they develop this trust? General Lansdale put it quite simply - treat them as equals, treat them fairly and honestly, never lie to them, and prove your intentions by displaying courage and willingly accepting the same hardships and inconveniences that they do. In essence then, you must demonstrate that you consider them as good as yourself and that you trust and respect them as much as you want them to trust and respect you.
By following these guides US helped the Philippine government solve its internal insurgency. The American government provided most of the material with which the Philippine military fought, provided the money that paid them, and provided advice when it was needed. But, it was Filipinos who fought the battles and defeated the guerrillas under the leadership of an unusual man endowed with the insight to see the larger problem that fostered the resistance, and a leader who aggressively sought to remove the causes for internal unrest in the future.

Except for soldiers pension program in early 1776, there was no social security assistance for anybody in United States until President Roosevelt’s great society expenditure in 1935.
Roosevelt's New Deal has been debunk by many economist including economist at Mises Institute.

Philippine was granted independence in 1946 by US legislators.
The first Filipino president after the independence was Manuel Roxas. Last president before dictatorship was Diosdado Macapagal, the father of today's president. Father and daughter have economic background, academically but not in capitalistic practice.

Capitalism in the Philippines for years is a dirty word.

Spanish influence is socialistic.

In the beginning, US influence was benignly competitive, literate capitalism.

Filipinos know in their heart, the American way is better for themselves. Educate oneself to help yourself, then help others. Many Filipinos, my parents included, went to school taught by Americans or fluent English speaking Filipinos taught by Americans, in provincial capital schools, then went back and taught in their towns and barrios.

Something went haywire as the years go by. Filipinos are independent, self reliant, literate but never became entrepreneurs in business sense.

I have not talk to or met a literate Filipino who have read or heard of Adam Smith, my University of Visayas educated cpa/auditor hubby included.

No comments: