U.S. Aid for the Philippines
Your continued in-depth coverage of the political and economic situation in the Philippines is most welcomed by Southern California Filipinos who are still very much interested in what is happening in their native country.
As your correspondents correctly point out, the main problem that President Corazon Aquino’s administration is facing today is the country’s sick economy, left battered and prostrate by two decades of mismanagement by ex-dictator Ferdinand Marcos and his cronies.
The Communist-led insurgency has grown over the last decade as the Philippine economy deteriorated. The most effective way to combat Communist influence, in addition to a strong military establishment, is to improve the lives of the common Filipino citizens through strong economic growth.
During the final dark days of the Marcos era, the common wisdom in Washington was that Subic Bay and Clark Air Base would have to be moved to Guam and other Pacific islands in the event of a Communist take-over of the Philippines. The cost of such a move was estimated to be at least $8 billion.
With an investment of $2 billion to $4 billion (in addition to the regular economic and military aid) the Philippine economy would recover to a state where the ordinary Filipino will start to benefit from it. Not only will such aid obviate the need to transfer the U.S. bases; but its success will also be good for the image of the United States in the Third World.
If the Congress and the Reagan Administration continue to be stingy in the face of the obvious financial needs of the Aquino administration (which happened in the first place because the Republican Administration since 1980 turned a blind eye to the rape of the Philippine economy by Ferdinand Marcos and his gang), the new Philippine government will be under severe pressure from the Communist insurgents.
If inadequate help is received from abroad, the Aquino Administration will have to grant concessions to the insurgents to obtain a truce. This could lead to participation by the ultra-leftists in the new government, with unpredictable results.
Congress and the Reagan Administration will do well to contemplate what could happen in the Philippines if they continue their policy of shortsightedness. The Filipino people did their part in ridding the country of the evil genius of Ferdinand Marcos; now they need the help of the American people and government.