Another irritant in the relationship between the Philippines and the U.S. is the treatment of the Filipino World War II veterans by the U.S. Congress. Prior to the outbreak of WW II, there was a law providing standard pay for U.S. servicemen called into duty. It did not matter if the servicemen were U.S. citizens or not. There were soldiers from 66 nations, including Filipinos, who joined the U.S. Army Forces of the Far East during WW II.
When the war was about to end, the U.S. Congress passed the Rescission Acts of 1946 in violation of an ex-post facto law. This Act reduced the war pay of Filipino soldiers by half and deprived them from enjoying the G.I. bill which granted scholarship benefits to the surviving war veterans.
Still another irritant that must be investigated was the sugar subsidy for the Philippines that financed WW II. The Philippines, which was then a U.S. Commonwealth, was receiving a subsidy from the U.S. in exchange of raw sugar cane exported to the U.S. Some members of U.S. Congress, in connivance with Philippine Sugar Regulatory Commissioner Elizalde, agreed to use the sugar subsidy as expenses for the war effort. But to this day, there was no record showing that the Philippine government was reimbursed of the expenses from the sugar subsidy during the war. Duterte should call for an investigation of this mess.
Also, the Philippine government should be allowed to sue the U.S. Navy Captain of USS Guardian who, ignoring warnings by Tubbataha marine park rangers, insisted that the rangers should “raise their complaint with the U.S. Embassy.” When British Petroleum spilled oil in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 in what is considered the worst environmental disaster in American history, President Obama ordered the filing of charges against BP. In July 2015, BP agreed to pay $18.7 billion in fines, the largest corporate settlement in U.S. history.
In this connection, the Philippine government should be allowed the sue the U.S. Navy captain, who intentionally, knowingly and recklessly damaged the Tubbataha Reef.
In the case of the Sabah issue, Duterte can ask the United Kingdom, which was still a part of the European Union as we wrote this piece, to show proof that it has basis to grant ownership rights of North Borneo to Malaysia, which to this date is still paying rent to the heirs of the Philippine Sultan of Sulu.
Suing another country is not new. Only last week, the U.S. Congress allowed victims of 9/11 attack to sue Saudi Arabia. In 1951, Germany paid more than 102 billion marks, about US$90 billion in current value, in federal government reparation payments to Israel and Third Reich victims. And Germany paid out billions more in private and other public funds, including 75 million marks (US$71 million) by German firms in compensation to wartime forced laborers.
I’m sure other issues that cause irritants between the Philippines and other countries.
But the Philippine Congress should protect the whistle blowers by strengthening the Whistle Blower Act to give incentives to the people, who can come up with evidence that can put closure to these irritants.