PHIL-AM FRIENDSHIP DAY: RENEWING BOND OF FREEDOM AND DEVELOPMENT

Manila, July 4, 2003 (STAR) The relationship between the Philippines and the United States began at the end of the 19th century, during the Spanish-American war, in which Filipino revolutionaries and American forces fought together to liberate the Philippines from colonial domination.

After Admiral George Dewey defeated the Spanish fleet in the Battle of Manila Bay in 1898, Spain agreed to cede the Philippines to the United States under the terms of the Treaty of Paris. Such cession, however, was not acknowledged by Filipino nationalists led by General Emilio F. Aguinaldo, President of the First Philippine Republic. As a result, the Philippine-American War ensued, lasting from 1898 to 1902, and ended with the establishment of American sovereignty over the Philippines.

The wounds of the war were almost immediately overcome by Filipinos and Americans as civilian government, under American tutelage, was established in 1907. In the succeeding years, the role of the Filipinos in that government expanded so that in 1916, through the Philippine Autonomy Act, known as the Jones Law, the Philippines was given considerable home rule and promised independence after the establishment of a stable government. Pursuant to the Tydings-McDuffie Act of 1934, the Philippines became a fully self-governing Commonwealth in 1935 in preparation for complete independence after ten years.

Though the outbreak of World War II interrupted the progress towards complete freedom for the Philippines, the country obtained its formal independence from the United States on July 4, 1946, a day which has been memorialized as Philippine-American Friendship Day. As the two countries stood as allies during the World War II, the alliance has extended well beyond the confines of political and military agreements, to other dimensions of exchange economic, cultural, and social.

Today, the Philippines and the United States have developed a relationship that is mature and mutually beneficial. In the recent visit of President Gloria Macapa-gal Arroyo to the United States, she and American President George W. Bush reiterated the commitment of each country to pursue common ideals or causes freedom, development, and democracy.

Mabuhay ang pagkakaibigan ng Pilipinas at ng America!


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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