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A History of U.S. Intervention in the Philippines: As Colin Powell Arrives in the Philippines, Filipino President Gloria Arroyo Calls for An Investigation of a U.S. Soldier Accused of Shooting a Suspe

August 02, 2002

Secretary of State General Colin Powell arrives in the Philippines today at the end of an eight-nation Asian tour.

On Thursday, Powell signed a sweeping "anti-terrorism" treaty with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations which calls for increased information sharing and police cooperation. The US will also increase technical and logistical so-called anti-terrorism aid. Powell claimed the treaty will not be used as a wedge to deploy more U.S. troops.

Early today, Powell emerged from a meeting with the Indonesian Foreign Minster and said he is eager to restore military ties to Indonesia. Powell also said the Bush administration plans to spend $50 million over three years on programs to help Indonesia combat terrorism. But the administration faces strong opposition from members of Congress who point out that the Indonesian military massacred civilians in East Timor.

In the Philippines, hundreds of people demonstrated outside the US Embassy, with signs saying, "U.S. imperialist, number 1 terrorist" and "Colin Powell, traitor to his race, murderer of mankind." At least a dozen people were injured in scuffles with the police.

Some one thousand U.S. troops have been stationed in the southern Philippines for the last six months. They are supposed to wrap up the military training program in the Philippines this week. But Powell will meet with President Gloria Arroyo this weekend to discuss continuing US military operations there.

Powell’s visit comes after Filipino President Gloria Arroyo has ordered an investigation into allegations that a US soldier shot a Filipino man in a remote village in the southern Philippines.

Today we are joined by a roundtable of people to talk about the history of US relations with the Philippines, and the experiences of Filipinos in the US.

But we go first to Filipino Congressman Satur Ocampo in Manila. He was at the demonstrations earlier today.


  • Representative Saturnino Ocampo, President of the Bayan Movement and a member of the Filipino House of Representatives Contact:
  • Luis Francia, author of "Eye of the Fish: A Personal Archipelago" which examines the Philippines through personal recollection. Francia was born and raised in Manila. He is the co-editor of two landmark anthologies of Filipino American literature, including the forthcoming "Vestiges of War: The Philippine-American War and the Aftermath of an Imperial Dream 1899-1999."
  • Stephen Shalom, professor of political science at William Paterson University in New Jersey. Among his publications are "Imperial Alibis: Rationalizing U.S. Intervention After the Cold War" (South End Press, 1993), "The Philippines Reader" (1987), and "Socialist Visions" (1983). He is on the editorial board of the Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars.
  • Rene Ontal, filmmaker and spokesperson for FACES, the Filipino American Coalition for Environmental Solutions, New York chapter.
  • Amanda Vender, Philippines Solidarity Movement activist who just returned from the Philippines last night. She lived in Philippines for three years and worked with Gabriela, a women’s organization. This time, the mission tried to set up a meeting with a general and visited a military base there.


  • Clip of educational film, "Savage Acts" about the history of the US intervention in the Philippines, produced by the American Social History Project.

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