PAGO PAGO, American Samoa – (The Adobo Chronicles) – While an online petition seeking to make the Philippines the 51st U.S. state has generated thousands of signatures, a slightly different kind of movement is gaining ground in Guam and American Samoa. Both islands in the Pacific want to be annexed to the Philippines.
Both Guam and American Samoa are territories of the U.S., but neither have the same full rights as the 50 states. American Samoans, by virtue of antiquated Supreme Court decisions, are not automatically considered U.S. citizens. On the other hand, those born in Guam are U.S. citizens but unless they move to and reside in one of the 50 states, they cannot vote for the president of the United States. Guam does not have an electoral college and as such does not have a say on who is elected president.
Because of growing frustration regarding this inequality and lack of fairness, citizens of Guam and American Samoa have started a movement that would hopefully make them Filipino citizens and their territories officially annexed to the Republic of the Philippines. They feel that they will be better off exercising their citizenship rights under the government of the Philippines. They also noted that culturally and geographically, their islands are closer to the Philippines than to America.
The annexation movement could complicate the petition to make the Philippines a U.S. state, especially if, indeed, Guam and American Samoa succeed in dropping off from American jurisdiction.
Both The White House and Malacanang (the Philippines’ presidential palace) have declined to comment on either movement.
If the Philippine statehood petition and the Guam-American Samoa annexation movement drag on and will not be resolved soon, both could be major political issues in 2016 when the U.S. and the Philippines will hold their respective next presidential elections.