Courtesy Reuters

The Philippines: Where Did We Fail?

AMERICANS who have assumed that in the Philippines we did a model job of starting a colonial people toward independence and prosperity are now experiencing a rude shock, and there are others to come. Less than five years after the establishment of the new Asian nation, our hopes--and those of the Filipino people--have been met with the emergence of something acceptable neither to us nor to them.

It is now evident that the Philippines do not have an adequate foundation for developing democracy under their own leadership and with their own resources. Mismanagement, corruption and failure to enforce needed reforms have destroyed public confidence in the Government and contributed to a breakdown in administration and economic life. Possibly more than anywhere else in the Far East, society in the Philippines is coming apart at the seams. Internal developments in the Islands make it unrealistic to think of the Philippines as a secure military base for the United States and its allies at this time. In view of the need for a viable American position in the Pacific and Asia we now are being forced to improvise answers to these fundamental problems.

The Communist-led Hukbalahaps are the most dramatic symptom of the social disease that affects all levels of life in the Philippines. These guerrillas have set aside government authority in some of the richest rice-growing areas on the main island of Luzon. Their strength now is expanding rapidly on the smaller southern islands. The major Huk attacks have been carefully timed and well coördinated. From their mountain bases they have struck simultaneously at widely separated Constabulary posts. Wherever they succeeded in killing or dispersing the defending garrison, they usually looted government offices for money and documents and seized all arms. They also made off with medical supplies commandeered from hospitals and stores. During such raids the guerrillas have killed a number of wealthy landowners and suspected police informers.

In retaliation the Philippine Constabulary has wiped out entire villages and sometimes

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