Monday, April 27, 2009

On this date in 1521...

...Filipino natives led by chieftain Lapu-Lapu killed Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan and over forty Spanish soldiers at the Battle of Mactan. Lapu-Lapu is a national hero in the Philippines, where he is known as "King Kalipulako de Maktan." If Sal were here, she would want you to know this.

Forty-four years later, to the day, Conquistador Miguel López de Legazpi and 500 armed soldiers arrived at Cebu and established the first Spanish settlement in the Philippines. Eventually, in 1898 (or thereabouts), the Americans took over from the Spanish, the result of the boot-in-the-arse we gave them in the Spanish-American War. We treated the Filipinos better, which is not saying much. And yet, during World War II, thousands of Filipino Scouts fought alongside American forces to liberate their country from the Japanese. Despite serving under American auspices, they were denied veterans' compensation by the USA. The matter has only been rectified by an Act of Congress in recent weeks -- if too little, too late.

One more reason the Filipinos are the best friends the USA ever had. I say, let 'em all come here. It's the least we could do.

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