Do We Really Have to Celebrate?
by Erick San Juan
September 16, 1991 to 2011, marks the 20th year of the RP-US bases treaty rejection. Many people were thought to believe that today is the day to celebrate and be proud that the Americans were forced by the "Magnificent 12" namely Senators- Juan Ponce Enrile, Butch Aquino, Joseph Estrada, Tito Guingona, Sotero Laurel, Orly Mercado, Ernie Maceda, Nene Pimentel, Victor Ziga, Rene Saguisag and then Senate President Jovito Salonga to leave Clark Air Base and the Subic Naval Base.
There is a celebration today at the Club Filipino dubbed as "Kasarinlan Ipaglaban" organized by the Jose W. Diokno Foundation, Lorenzo Tanada Foundation, Constantino Foundation in cooperation with people's organization. Despite the make believe that our honorable senators were convinced allegedly by the overwhelming anti-bases demonstrations and anti-imperialist sentiments; activists consistent mass actions and struggle, these senators were a mixture of 'pro' and anti American.
Many of our activists up to now wondered why the American government accepted the verdict with ease. Was it providential that after the American military left the bases, the Mount Pinatubo exploded that its tremendous ash falls were felt worldwide? Or, was the timing perfect? What a coincidence that this week, a declassified U.S. State Department Memo said, the late President Ferdinand Marcos knew of nuclear weapons stockpiled in the American bases during his watch. It was released by a non-government research institute and library at the George Washington University called the "Archive". It's an online group who publishes declassified documents obtained through the U.S. Freedom of Information Act. The 1969 memo was reportedly written by Robert McClintock, a US diplomat at the State Department addressed to the US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
This information was also shared to me by the late President Marcos in one of my trips to his Makiki residence in Hawaii. He gave me photo copies of the project which was inspired by then Secretary Alex Melchor in cooperation with the US Department of Defense. One of the missiles installed was actually named 'BONGBONG' by the president with the approval of the Pentagon.
What was not completely told was the study on the possible eruption of Mount Pinatubo done by expert volcanologist, Dr. Kelvin Rodolfo. Although he's based in the US, he comes home once in a while. He made a research confirming that Mount Pinatubo was in a critical condition and will surely explode in a year or two which could irreparably damage the nuclear arsenals of the US in several secret fortresses nearby. It's sad that the information was shared only with the American government and we were all kept in the dark about it. Up to now the nuclear wastes of the American military have not been cleaned despite our government request.
What went wrong? After the Pinatubo explosion, both bases and the nearby towns were rehabilitated. Eight years later, on May 27, 1999 during the presidency of Joseph Estrada, (one of the "Magnificent 12"), a new basing right was signed named the "Visiting Forces Agreement". With the new agreement, pundits said that the people's victory was lost. What victory are we talking about? We are always hostage to the American dictates. We are at their mercy as long as we will not change our attitude, our colonial mentality and unite. How can we struggle in solidarity when we don't seem to understand that our enemy is from within? It's us!
Even our 'nationalists' are not all for 'real'. Some of them are even accepting US grants, scholarships, and jobs in the US local conduits like the PRRM, EMERGE,etc. Don't get me wrong, the Americans are good people per se but it's us who doesn't have self-respect and dis-united. Reason the carpetbaggers and opportunists among them manipulate some of our leaders who are gullible to their carrot and stick operation.
When are we going to learn and change our attitude for the better? God bless the Philippines!