Tomorrow marks the 112th anniversary of the declaration of independence by the national independence movement of the Philippines, headed by Emilio Aguinaldo. At the event, which is celebrated below in a statement from the U.S. State Department, Aguinaldo's group declared their country's independence from colonial Spain.
The declaration, which adopted much of the rhetoric of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, specifically in order to appeal to U.S. authorities for recognition as an independent nation, was ignored by the McKinley administration.
Subsequent appeals for recognition also fell on deaf ears. American officials, over the vocal opposition from the labor movement and other democratic forces, proclaimed the need to occupy the Philippines in order to "civilize" the locals. Some even pretended that such declarations and appeals for recognition never happened and insisted that Filipinos wanted the U.S. to govern them.
When Philippines nationalists resisted and protested against military occupation, they were branded criminals, rounded up and housed in the very concentration camps the Spanish had built to imprison opponents of colonial rule. Subsequent U.S. military action led to a decade-long war against insurgents in the country. U.S. military policies included rounding up males over 11 years old as "enemy combatants." Historians estimate that at least one million Filipinos were killed in the action, in what amounted to the 20th century's first genocide.
From the U.S. State Department
Philippines Independence Day
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
June 10, 2010
A video message is available here: http://www.state.gov/video/?videoid=89604818001 & http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0SVILHbmirU
Secretary Clinton recorded the following video statement in honor of Philippines Independence Day on June 12:
On behalf of the American people, I offer congratulations to the people of the Philippines on the 112th anniversary of your declaration of independence. This is a momentous time for your country, and the United States congratulates you on your successful election last month – a testament to the strength of your democracy and a positive example for the world. We look forward to witnessing a smooth transition to the new administration in the coming weeks.
The affinity between our countries and peoples runs deep. Filipinos and Americans are connected by ties of friendship, family, and culture, and by the contributions of some four million Americans of Filipino ancestry living in the United States and 150,000 Americans living in the Philippines.
Our nations have enjoyed a long history of cooperation and collaboration. We fought side by side in defense of freedom during World War II. And this partnership continues today, whether we are working together to promote peace and development, combat extremism, or help victims of natural disasters.
The United States is grateful for our alliance with the Philippines and for the benefits it brings to both our peoples. And we look forward to working closely with your new president to continue our strong bilateral partnership. On behalf of the United States, please accept my best wishes for your continued success and prosperity on this special day. Mabuhay!