Monday, February 27, 2017

Observations on Filipinos from 1906

In 1906 the United States Congress was debating the "Philippine Tariff Bill" which would have reduced tariffs on imports or granted free trade exclusively.  Ultimately the bill was killed.

https://www.unz.org/Pub/LiteraryDigest-1906jan06-00007

In the course of the debate over the "Philippine Tariff Bill" House member Nicholas Longworth, recently returned from a trip to the Philippines, spoke before the House and gave his opinion on the Philippines and the Filipino people.

His remarks were recorded in the New York Times edition of January 13, 1906.


Washington, Jan. 12 - The Philippine tariff debate in the House today was enlivened by the appearance asa speaker of Representative Nicholas Longworth of Ohio, the fiancé of Miss Alice Roosevelt. Mr. Longworth gave the result of his observations of the Filipinos on the celebrated trip colloquially known as the “Taft matrimonial excursion,” whereon he wooed and won the President’s daughter. 
“I liked the Filipino better when I had read of him than I do now that I have seen him,” he remarked. “I like him the better in the abstract than I do in the concrete.”
Everybody listened to Mr. Longworth with a profound attention not often granted to speakers as little eloquent as he is. 
“I differ with my colleague Gen. Grosvenor,” he began, “as to the brilliant future before the Philippines and the noble character of the Filipino people. I cannot believe there is any brilliant future for them and with the exception of their love for family and home I cannot find anything noble in their character. I for one am not in favour of holding the islands a moment anger than we absolutely have to. [Applause on both sides of the Chamber.] I am in favour of turning them over to the Philippine nation at the first moment they prove to us they are capable of governing themselves, and the sooner the better.” 
The applause was a little premature, for Mr. Longworth next proceeded to show the Filipinos up as hopeless cases. 
“There are two prime characteristics of the Filipinos” he said, “which today render them absolutely unfit for self-government. The average Filipino mind can form no conception of the duty of officials to the people, and it can form no conception of the dignity of labor. The very fact that the Filipino is so shiftless, so worthless, so untrustworthy, and so helpless is all the more reason this Nation should reach out the helping hand to him.”

So has much changed since 1906? No it hasn't. Especially the observation that the "average Filipino mind can form no conception of the duty of officials to the people." The rampant corruption at every level of government from barangay to Malcañang Palace testifies to this.

See also the post titled "A Damaged Culture."

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