Monday, August 04, 2008

Can the Philippines join the Commonwealth?

Talk about historical trivia and a glaring Wikipedia error. President Manuel Quezon once considered the possibility of the Philippines joining the Commonwealth of Nations. Quezon was apparently disconcerted by how the Americans were planning for the Philippines' political future. So he dropped hints with a ranking British expat. The Americans got wind of this and the slippery Quezon denied everything.

Ambeth Ocampo had this to say

"In 1933, Quezon was preoccupied with rumors that the United States was finally leaving. He then expressed the view to a British resident in the Philippines, Lt. Col. Frank Hodsoll, that since Britain treated her colonies better than Spain and the U.S., he was 'prepared to go to London and in the name of fourteen million inhabitants of the islands ask for admission to the British Commonwealth of nations."

MLQ thought of Handing RP Over to England. Bonifacio's Bolo. Ambeth Ocampo. Anvil Publishing Inc. 1997. page 57

Later on Quezon's ego was dissed by the Americans. Douglas Macarthur promised him a 21 gun salute at his inaugural but President Roosevelt said no. He wasn't allowed to attend George VI's coronation by the US State Department partly due to the fact that the Brits didn't know what precedence he should receive. In diplomatic receptions, Quezon always got precedence over the US High Commissioner. This irritated the highest American official in the land.

Quezon's political moves are described by John Gunter in this 1938 essay.

Anyway, Wikipedia doesn't list the Philippines as eligible for Commonwealth membership. Strangely, the US is listed as an eligible member. This is a glaring historical error. The Philippines was for a few years a British possession.

An eligible country should recognise the Queen as Head of the Commonwealth. English should be widely used. The people should give the thumbs up to membership.

Obviously Pinoys could go gaga over British Royalty. (Remember the Diana funeral?). English is widely spoken here. And if people are given the propaganda that Commonwealth membership will result in more nursing jobs in the UK, the people will give the thumbs up!

But if I am not mistaken, the Ramos administration seriously considered applying for membership.

But what are the benefits? I could only think of one. There are a lot of scholarships in the UK, Canada and Australia open only to Commonwealth citizens. If we do join, then competition for American grants may be lessened. Also when Singaporeans, Malaysians, Canadians, Aussies,Kiwis, Belizians, Indians, Papua New Guineans, Bahamians, Ghanians, Zimbabwegians, Nigerian are placed in the same room against their will, they have something to talk about, Cricket. Best of all, the English language styles are more or less the same in these nations. The only exceptions are words particular to a country. The Commonwealth according to Minister Mentor Lee of S'pore, may have its disagreements but it is really a sort of family. England can't disown her ex-colonies. That's why suspended members get readmitted.

America has none like that for us. When America and Islas Filipinas have a spat, military bases are thrown out, America doesn't want to deal with the Philippines anymore. The US President won't visit the country unless extremely necessary.

But why can't America join? The French considered joining. Eh wot?

The reason why Americans can't join is that they don't play cricket! This is even if they always go gaga over the Royals. One of Claro M Recto's early and satirical essays in English is "Is America a Monarchy?" Recto observed how the Americans went gaga over the Prince of Wales. (Later when he was king, he would trade his kingdom for the woman he loved.)

America is just one of two nations to have given the British a bloody nose and defeated them on the battlefield.

The second is the Philippines or more accurately the Kapampangans. In a taste of guerilla warfare, we gave the British their bloody nose 13 years before the Thirteen colonies gave the Redcoats theirs! Draper had to surrender Manila in 1764.

So why play cricket and break for tea?

That's why we and our dear Americans don't play cricket!


mlq3 said...

ambeth was being careless. in 1933 the question was already under what circumstances the us was leaving: that was the year of the osrox vs quaqal split. the question was whether the americans would terminate negotiations for independence and simply evacuate, leaving the philippines wide open to intervention by say, the japanese, etc. at the same time since what was desired by the political leadership at the time was a transition period with full autonomy and assurances of military protection, the only colonial power that had a similar model was the uk, with canada, south africa, and australia at the time (they have since evolved since) basically still in a subordinate but for all intents and purposes independent at home, though tied to britain abroad, position: which is how the leaders at the time envisioned the commonwealth they wanted established. at the time, too, there weren't questions yet as to the capacity of britain to defend its empire or the value of its expansion of its naval base in singapore.

the ramos era exploration of the commonwealth of nations would have been for the purpose of entry into the commercial aspects of the commonwealth.

Jego said...

Dont forget the Afghans. Everytime the Brits tried to conquer them, they got their asses kicked. :-D

blackshama said...


But Afghanistan has a cricket team!

Jego said...

Haha. That's probably because they saw the Pakistanis having so much fun.