The America's Aid to the Philippines that Improves the Life of Every Filipinos
The American Aids to the Filipino People
By the end of the World War II, the Philippines was left dying. The Philippine economy was totally devastated. Its political institution could no longer provide social services to the Filipinos. As a whole, it got a 0% production. During the Japanese occupation to the country, the Japanese soldiers savagely fought the Filipino soldiers and their allied American troops, causing destruction of machineries, buildings, farm animals as well as the farmlands themselves, livestock and work animals, roads, bridges, water system, and most importantly, the death of thousands of Filipinos.
In addition, there were no visible job opportunities while many of the Filipinos died in diseases. The entire image of the Philippines was very pathetic and, indeed, in total need of saving. The Americans came and established the Commonwealth government for the Filipinos, and eventually, took the burden of the problems left by the Japanese invaders.
It was Sergio Osmena who was elected as the President under the Commonwealth government and the control of the Americans because it was the time when the Filipinos could not still be able to rule the country alone after its state of dependency caused by the devastation from the war. In fact, the heavy problems left were the biggest challenge of the leadership.
Filipino historians, notably Teodoro A. Agoncillo, a University of the Philippines (UP) History professor, and his foreign colleagues who were also studying Philippine history have cited some assistance provided by the American government to the Philippines that really helped the country stand up again, which is also held responsible to its current economic and political conditions.
Reorganization of Government
For the Philippines to make its government accessible to and responsive to the basic needs of the Filipino people, President Osmena by the guidance of the Americans revised the current policies and system of the government. It was part of the establishment of the Commonwealth government. The executive branch of the government that was already established in the pre-war period restored its already formed departments but added another one.
The Department of Information was formed as an additional bureaucratic force to better serve the Filipinos and as a response to the old ineffective form of governance. As represented by General MacArthur, the Americans took control of the decision-making of the legislative branch of the government by suggesting President Osmena to call the Congress and let them pass the laws designed primarily to help address the heavy problems that were suffered seriously by the Filipino people.
The Philippine Civil Affairs Unit (PCAU)
The Americans evaluated the condition of the Philippines and said that it was highly destroyed that it could not rehabilitate itself to recovery. Filipino historians mentioned the Philippine Civil Affairs Unit (PCAU) that was created by the American Army in the Philippines as an agency to extend instant or at least immediate aid to the Filipino casualties from the concluded war. As an elaboration, according to the UP History department with their book, Philippine History by Prof. Agoncillo, the agency was set up to help assist the military commanders in extending relief aid to the suffering people.
Government workers specifically municipal officials and teachers were salaried by the PCAU. The American Government provided financial assistance to the Philippine government to purchase medicine for the war victims, foods for storage and daily consumption of Filipinos, and their clothing needs. However, the money was not free and was subject for repay in the future when the country could already be self-sustaining.
Offices for relief goods distribution and donation site were established in Manila and in provinces. The Americans donated canned goods mostly sardines, rice, corn, and many more. The PCAU, on the other hand, also employed Filipino workers in some of the American military projects for the Philippines, causing the money as the payment to be circulated actively throughout the country.
Slowly by slowly, many Filipino people began selling American products and were preoccupied by earning in selling cigarettes and military clothes.
Financial Aid from the Americans
As part of their responsibility for the concluded war against Japan, the Americans promised to back up the financial needs of the Philippine government after the war. The American Government gave money to the country. After conducting social investigation about the damage and aftermath effects brought about by the war, the Congress of the United States of America deposited one hundred million dollars to the Philippine government for its recovery operation as well as social service assistance for the Filipinos.
Additionally, American Army surplus materials with a sale value of one hundred million pesos were donated to the government of the Philippines. So to speak, the American Government let the country loan sixty million dollars for reconstruction and everything for the recovery of the Philippines.
The Parity Rights
In the record of the Philippine history, dated back on October 1945, the American Congress passed a bill named the Bell Trade Relations Act that became a law later. The Act allowed a free trade activity between the US and the Philippines. The two countries made an agreement that the goods produced were tax free when delivered to one another. It was made effective during the Commonwealth government in the Philippines.
The agreement allowed both nations to dispose, develop, exploit and utilize the available resources collaboratively. After the year 1954, it was amended and became 5% in tax payment for the goods imported and exported. In 1974, it was made 100%. Nonetheless, these free trade relations really made the Philippine economy prosper and supported the Filipinos’ needs.
However, many patriotic Filipinos, contrasted the Parity Rights, but the Philippine government insisted that the Filipinos needed it to survive from hunger and sickness. It also added that it had to allow its own Constitution to legalize the Parity Rights for the country to get financial aid from the United States.
Not all invasions situate a colony into its slavery state. The American colony in the Philippines really helped the country realize its potentials. They kept providing and has continued to help the country until today in any form of assistance. By reading the full story of the Philippine history pertaining to the American entry to the country, one can learn that it would take forever to put a point about all the blessings given by the Americans to the Philippines.
No doubt that the alliance between the two countries has remained strong, and, in fact, they continue to coordinate with each other. The Philippine is morally in debt forever because of its development obtained nowadays.
Agoncillo, Teodoro A. The Fateful Years: Japan’s Adventure in the Philippines, 1941-1945. 2 vols. Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 1965.
Agoncillo, Teodoro A. A Short History of the Philippines. New York: New American Library, 1969.
Malcolm, George A. The Commonwealth of the Philippines. New York: D. Appleton-Century, 1936.