Maboo-hey!


Saipan — During the centennial celebration of Philippine independence, a stateside professor on Guam, a.k.a. party-pooper, wrote an op-ed which reminded everyone that the Philippines actually became independent on July 4, 1946 not on June 12, 1898.

He’s right. Or wrong.

If you read early-to mid-20th century U.S. books that mentioned Philippine history, and compare them to the history written by Filipinos beginning in the 1970s, you’d think that two or even three Philippines existed at the same time.

According to the American version, the U.S. in 1898 defeated Spain in a splendid little war and, after some hesitation, acquired the P.I., a Spanish colony. But a band of mischief-makers — “bandits” — rebelled against the legally established U.S. sovereignty over the islands. So, they had to be “pacified.” (Or “humored” as President Reagan once said about Native Americans.)

What followed was, on the part of the P.I., an internship in representative democracy that was interrupted for three years by the uncalled for and totally uncool Japanese invasion. But the Americans eventually liberated the P.I. from the clutches of Japan, and granted their little brown brothers, a.k.a. Filipinos, independence on July 4, 1946 as promised by the U.S. in a federal law enacted in 1934.

Filipino historians, more or less, adhered to this version until leftist historians appeared on the Philippine academic scene beginning in the late 1950s. By the late 1960s their version was already ascendant, and by the 1970s dominant.