Sunday, July 7, 2013

Phil-US Military Exercises for Peace

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 7): Phil-US Military Exercises for Peace

The military exercises of the Philippines and the United States in Philippine territories is not an act of belligerence, much less warmongering.It is a peaceful way of keeping national sovereignty – and peace in the region.

It’s a fact – America is still the policeman of the world.

If there are bullies – even just one bully – in the neighborhood, who won’t feel safe to be America’s “little brother”?

Accept it. There will always be nations bullying smaller nations.

Because it is a historical fact – might is right. Bertrand Russell, in his anatomy of power, made the point quite clear.

Genghis Khan and later his grandson Kublai Khan, Alexander of Macedonia, Napoleon and, down to the 20h century, Hitler – all are worshippers of power.Who won’t be tempted to join the club of the world’s strongmen?

The Philippines is puny – but not a pushover. Diplomatic but won’t kowtow to a foreign aggressor. That’s why the so-called militants rallying against the on-going Philippine-US military exercises can pause and reflect.

To keep sovereignty the Philippines need partnership with America and fellow members of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Even with its erstwhile conqueror in World War II – Japan.

The Philippines and America had shown to the world that partnership between a big nation and the little brother could enhance sovereignty –even dignity. Go back 68 years ago in Bessang Pass, a little known place in Northern Luzon.

US-Philippine partnership hastened the formal surrender of Gen. Tomayuki Yamashita, the overall commander of the Japanese Imperial Forces in the Pacific.

Yamashita the “Tiger of Malaya” who had the reputation of capturing Southeast Asia at the initial stages of the war in only 14 days, was tamed by all-Filipino soldiers and guerrillas in the battle of Bessang Pass and then in Kiangan, Ifugao.

For more than three years , the Northern Luzon guerrillas – a ragtag Filipino fighters -- survivors of the Bataan Death March, escaped POWS, young college students and the native bolo men – were pushed back in their countless attempts to take Yamashita’s mountain fortress.

Most prominent leader of the Filipino freedom fighters of the North was Gen. Simeon Marcos Valdez, whose two nephews became Philippine Presidents – Ferdinand E. Marcos and Fidel V. Ramos.

More than 26,000 Filipino guerrillas participated in the Northern Luzon battles. More than 70,000 Japanese troops under Gen Yamashita surrendered at the end of the war.

The final assault of Bessang Pass was participated only by less than 100 all-Filipino ground forces. The battle of Bessang Pass lasted two weeks from June 1-14, 1945.

Victory was not possible without America, who provided air bombardment and field artillery support. US armament and ammunition secretly landed by US U-Boat from a US submarine doomed Yamashita’s forces. The bolos were replaced by powerful US armenents.

Gen. Douglas MacArthur, the U.S.Supreme Commander in the Pacific, recognized the sheer contribution of the Filipino guerillas with a glowing tribute by saying, “The work of the Northern Luzon guerrillas alone was equal to a front line division.”

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