Are Filipinos Latino / Hispanic or Asian? ... or something else? (last name, French, Germany) - Genealogy - Historical records, genetic analysis, sharing data, locating family - Page 16 - City-Data Forum

On August 28, 1958 the National Economic Council passed Resolution # 204 promulgating the "Filipino First" Policy. Filipino First meant that the government would adopt measures giving Filipinos preferential treatment in their own country. The government wanted to help Filipino businessmen to have a bigger share of the economy than foreigners. If Filipinos needed dollars to buy machines to set up new enterprises, the government would give them dollar allocations to them than non-Filipinos. If a Filipino wanted to enter a business field controlled by foreigners, the government would give him all the necessary help.

This government assistance together with import controls which prevented many foreign goods from entering the country encouraged many Filipinos to establish new industrial enterprises. By 1960, Filipino businessmen were doing well in food, wood, pharmaceutical, cement, fluor, textile, paint, paper, glass, chemical, fertilizer, appliances, electronics, plastic, fuel refinery, intermediate steel, shipbuilding, motor vehicle, machine parts , engineering and other industries. Even though some of these industries were only assembly plants for imported parts, at least the ownership was Filipino and it was a good beginning.

Other Filipinos took up the Filipino First idea and urged that Filipinos should be given preference in the development of our resources. Educators likewise began to demand freedom to design our own pattern of education more responsive to our own needs. Of course, since the Americans had "parity" rights, they could set up their own subsidiaries in the Philippines (Colgate-Palmolive, Reynolds Aluminum, Mead Johnson, Union Carbide, Mobil Oil, Esso, etc.) and enjoy the same protection as Filipino businesses.

The American Chamber of Commerce joined Chinese and other foreign sectors in Filipino First condemning. They called it an insane policy, a fascist slogan. "Why should Filipinos threaten the hard-earned wealth of foreigners just because they are Filipinos?" they asked They [foreigners] were used to controlling our government and that they reacted with anger when President Carlos Garcia began to assert our right to formulate policies favoring our own citizens.

The Americans began to pressure Garcia to abandon his Filipino First policy. The American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) began funding Garcia's opponents and a plot to stage a coup d'etat was discovered.

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The Americans did not want Garcia to be re-elected because as a who could no longer run for a third-term, could afford to be more independent. They wanted the Filipino First policy dismantled. They wanted the import and exchange controls abolished. They supported Diosdado Macapagal {Gloria Arroyo's dad] because Macapagal agreed to lift import and exchange controls, abolish Filipino First and open the doors to foreign investments.

Macapagal won. I have lifted the import and exchange controls. The peso was devalued and went down to P3.90 for $ 1.00. What were the effects of these [reversal of] policies? With decontrol, Filipino businessmen were no longer protected. On the other hand, American corporations could now remit their profits which had not been allowed to go out under exchange controls. American corporations alone immediately remitted US $ 300 million [or Y2004 equivalent to P18 billion].

Then they began to borrow pesos from local banks to finance their operations so that Filipino businessmen found it harder to borrow money for their own ventures. Tight credit and diminished sales due to the "buy stateside" mentality of Filipino consumers made it difficult for businessmen to compete with foreign corporations.

This advantage, plus tax and other incentives given by the Macapagal administration, plus availability of local credit, plus the colonial mentality of Filipino consumers, meant high profits for foreign corporations and bankruptcy for many local manufacturers especially the new ones who had established their businesses under import and exchange controls. Many closed down or sold out to their foreign competitors.

Unlimited repatriation of profits and unlimited imports rapidly depleted dollar reserves. The government had to apply for loans from the World Bank and other international financial institutions. These institutions then imposed conditions favorable to foreign transnational corporations (TNCs) and the result was further depletion of reserves, larger loans, and more foreign control of our country's economy.

  • Adam Floyd