Subic, Philippines – A leaked document from the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs has revealed secret negotiatons between the United States and the Philippines that could lead to this Southeast Asian country becoming the 51st U.S. state.
The statehood movement, which is not new, stalled in 1992 when street protests by Filipinos eventually led to the closure of all U.S. military bases in the country.
The leak comes in the wake of a recent request from the U.S. government for an expanded military role in the Philippines under the guise of protecting Philippine interests in its ongoing territorial conflict with China. The request would allow American forces to stay in the Philippines for longer periods of time and be stationed at Philippine military bases. Critics have immediately protested the request saying, “The American military forces are already enjoying a tourist visa, now they also want a working visa?”
On the other side of the coin, supporters of the statehood movement say that it only makes sense that the Philippines become the 51st U.S. state, citing the facts that Filipinos already speak English, value the dollar more than the peso (as evidenced by foreign exchange centers in malls and street corners, are addicted to Hollywood movies, and already observe American special days like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. They also pointed out that Filipinos are everywhere around the globe. This, they said, would further boost America’s presence on the world stage.
In a statement from the U.S. Embassy in Manila, it was also pointed out that making the Philippines the 51st U.S. state would significantly reduce the embassy’s workload in processing tourist, work and immigrant visas for Filipinos.