Leyte Landing equals Philippine recolonization, not liberation

Communist Party of the Philippines

Today marks the 70th anniversary of the so-called Leyte Landing, when US armed forces led by Gen. Douglas MacArthur landed on Palo Beach, Leyte, and declared “I have returned… Our forces stand again on Philippine soil.”

Apologists of US imperialism deceitfully describe the armed reinvasion of the Philippines by the US armed forces as “liberation” of the country from the Japanese colonizers. In truth, the arrival of US forces in Leyte was anything but liberation. The reinvasion of the Philippines in 1944 and the succeeding defeat and withdrawal of Japanese forces was part of the overall plan of the US imperialists to reestablish colonial power and eventually prepare the ground for semicolonial rule.

Philippine history has been largely interpreted and taught in Philippine schools from the perspective of American-educated and trained historians and academics. US soldiers are depicted as “liberators” as if the Filipinos silently suffered Japanese colonial abuses and simply waited for the Americans to fulfill their promise to return.

In truth, the Filipino people were not at all meek and silent amid Japanese colonialism. Like the valiant resistance against Spanish colonialism, the epic war against US colonialism from 1899 to 1902 and the armed rebellions and mass upheavals up to the 1930s, the Filipino people fought courageously against the Japanese invaders, at a time that the US government withdrew its military officers and forces for fear of being captured.

The Hukbong Bayan Laban sa Hapon or Hukbalahap was organized by the Communist Party of the Philippines to wage guerrilla warfare and drive away the Japanese colonizers. Through armed struggle and building their mass organizations, the Filipino people succeeded in setting up organs of political power that administered large parts of the Philippines.

By the time the US was planning to reinvade the Philippines, the Japanese could no longer afford to put up strong resistance. The Filipino revolutionary forces, together with the forces allied in the anti-Japanese united front, had succeeded in significantly weakening Japanese colonial power in the country.

Outside the Philippines, the Japanese had suffered grave defeats in China in the armed offensives waged by the Red Army. It was to suffer fatal losses in the war against the Soviet Union in the northern region of Korea, in Manchuria and Mongolia, leading to the surrender of its forces. The dropping of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki were overkill attacks by the US armed forces in a brutal assertion of dominance and dramatic claim of defeating the Japanese.

MARKING THE recolonization of the Philippines 70 years ago today is of particular significance amid the uproar against the recent brutal killing of Filipina Jennifer Laude in Olongapo City last October 12 by an American serviceman. The killing of Laude brings to fore the fact that after seven decades, the US government and its military force in the Philippines continue to exercise extraordinary privileges in violation of Philippine territorial integrity and national sovereignty.

The accused American soldier, US Marine Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton remains under the custody of the US military despite having committed a heinous crime on Philippine soil. Under existing agreements, particularly the Visiting Forces Agreement, the US has the privilege of maintaining custody and deciding whether it will accede or not to a “request” by the Philippine government to have the suspect in custody.

The Aquino regime, the 15th in the successive line of puppet regimes, created the situation for the brutal killing of Jennifer, by allowing more US warships and combat troops to enter the Philippines and establish their military presence. In signing the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) last July to allow the US military to establish bases and facilities within so-called Agreed Locations inside Philippine military camps, the US military is again set to project its presence and power.

With the EDCA and the establishment of new and more US military bases around the country, crimes such as the killing of Jennifer, are bound to happen again. The grave social costs of large-scale US military presence has long been established. Wherever US military forces establish their camps and bases or station their warships, there is a marked increase in prostitution as well as crimes against women and children.

American soldiers strut on Philippine soil in extreme contempt of Philippine sovereignty. Such arrogance is evident with the recent declaration by US imperialist chieftain Obama that “we are the indispensable nation.”

Over the past 115 years, not a single American military officer or soldier has been punished for the grave crimes committed by the US military in Philippine soil. Long before Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, US soldiers subjected Filipino “insurgents” to water cure and various forms of torture. Before the My Lai massacre in Vietnam, US officers created a “howling wilderness” in the Philippines in ordering the killing of every Filipino above the age of ten.

In remembering the 70th year of the US reinvasion of the Philippines, it is but proper for the Filipino people to make a patriotic vow to exert all effort to obtain justice for victims Jennifer, “Nicole”, “Vanessa”, 12-year old Rosemarie Baluyot as well as for the 1.5 million Filipinos killed in the brutal war of colonization.

More importantly, the Filipino people should reaffirm their struggle for national liberation in order to put an end to US economic, political and military domination and intervention and neocolonial rule in the Philippines. Only by achieving national liberation will the Filipino people be able to raise themselves from the quagmire of crisis and tread the path of democracy and national progress.