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Jun 14, 2017

Emil Guillermo: Podcast—Philippine Consul General of San Francisco, Henry Bensurto, Jr. PART TWO: My frank conversation about the rise of Nationalism,  EJK, Violence in the Philippines, Duterte’s Trump Invite, and more on Independence Day.

San Francisco’s “ConGen,” Henry Bensurto, Jr. continued our conversation on the podcast.

Bensurto, the official voice of the Philippines for San Francisco and most of the West, spoke to the irony of the Independence Day celebration taking place in San Francisco’s Union Square, home of a monument that represents the polar opposite of Philippine Independence.

Indeed, the monument, is the negation of the spirit of independence.

While the people do the Tinikling on temporary stages, a monument looks down on the proceedings from on high honoring Admiral George Dewey and President William McKinley.

Dewey you’ll recall won the victory of Manila Bay that led to the victory of the Spanish American War, which led to the colonization of the Philippines by the U.S.

McKinley? He was the guy who pressed for an Imperial America.

So on the day we honor Emilio Aguinaldo, who established the First Philippine Republic, and led to the Philippine-U.S. war and its immoral number of Filipino casualties, we must ask this question: Is Union Square really the right place to celebrate this day?

Who would turn more  in their graves at the thought of the revelers at Union Square? Freedom loving Aguinaldo, or the statue’s imperial  honorees, Dewey or McKinley?

Benurto was a true diplomat.

Listen to Bensurto’s answer on the podcast.
We also talked about the importance of Independence Day here, and how we should view what is clearly a move toward a more nationalistic Philippines.

I then  asked Bensurto  how Filipinos in America should view the extrajudicial killings, and the acts of violence which polls say people in the Philippines fear. I asked him if any families here have contacted him about families there.

We end up talking about Duterte and the possibility of a Trump visit here. And how the Consulate has established Ambassador tours to increase American Filipinos awareness of what is happening “back home.”

The interview was conducted before martial law was declared in Mindanao.