• Sun
  • Aug 31, 2014
  • Updated: 3:33am

‘Amerasian’ children of war face poverty and stigma in Philippines

Those fathered by American soldiers experience a lonely cycle of hardship and marginalisation without parents

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 26 June, 2014, 10:39pm
UPDATED : Friday, 27 June, 2014, 7:34pm

When the last US ship pulled out of the Philippines' Subic Bay naval base more than two decades ago, a desperate young woman's hopes of finding her father sailed away with it.

Beirut Calaguas, now 44, is among the tens of thousands of "Amerasians" fathered by US soldiers who served in the Philippines, home to the US military's biggest overseas bases until they closed down in 1992.

My heart broke. I resigned my fate to never finding my father

Like so many others, Calaguas has endured a life of discrimination and poverty, while battling the mental trauma of having been abandoned and not knowing her biological parents.

"When the Americans left, my heart broke. I resigned my fate to never finding my father," said the fair-skinned, brown-eyed Calaguas at her ramshackle home in a run-down suburb close to the former US bases.

Despite one study estimating there are as many as 250,000 Amerasians and their offspring in the Philippines, they are a largely forgotten community.

Their plight, however, is gaining fresh attention with the United States preparing to deploy thousands of soldiers back to the Philippines as part of its "pivot" to Asia.

Clark Air Base in Angeles city and the Subic naval base in nearby Olongapo - about two hours' drive north of Manila - were vital Pacific operations for the American military for half a century.

Both played crucial roles as logistics and repair hubs during the Vietnam war in the 1960s and 70s, with Clark also serving as a launch pad for bomb attacks.

Hundreds of thousands of US troops and civilian contractors rotated through the bases for work and holidays, giving rise to infamous red-light districts.

Go-go bars and massage parlours were typically the meeting places for the US servicemen and the women who would bear them unwanted or unknown children. These half-Americans were also often abandoned by their mothers.

According to a study by the Philippine Amerasian Research Centre in Angeles city, there were believed to be at least 50,000 children born to US fathers when the bases closed.

They were brought up by their mother's relatives, informally adopted by neighbours, taken care of by charity groups or abandoned completely and forced to beg. Many began adulthood as prostitutes.

The Amerasians' problems have deepened with time, according to a 2012 study by a research unit led by Peter Kutschera, head of the research centre.

Kutschera described Filipino Amerasians as "a marginalised, at risk, highly stressed population" adding they were particularly vulnerable to drug use and prostitution.

For Calaguas, life has been as brutal as it has been typical of many Filipino Amerasians.

Struggling to pay the rent, Calaguas' mother entrusted her to her landlord, pledging to one day return. She never did. Calaguas dropped out of school at 17 and, unable to find work locally, acquired fake travel documents so she could become an entertainer at clubs in Japan that also catered to US servicemen. She bore one a child. "I fell in love with a soldier, and got pregnant, so now, I also have an Amerasian son," she said.

The Philippine government is expected to seal the deal late this year to welcome US soldiers back to Subic and other bases. On the fringes of the bases, there are fears the US soldiers will plant another baby time bomb.

"Many [new Amerasians] over time will become the abandoned, forsaken offspring of soldiers and contractors," Kutschera said.


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This article is now closed to comments

The real culprit is and has always been the Philippines government who CHOOSES to keep all form of contraceptives ILLEGAL. It would be interesting to see the percentage of fatherless/motherless children there, compared with the percentage of amerasian children per US servicemen when based there. probably not much difference. Because the root of the problem is the same old one, men need to ... and without contraception there you go. The Philippino Government on the other hand needs a constant in galloping poor demography as a proportion invariably will end up working abroad and tha workforce is now the biggest revenue for the country and therefore indispensable, so welcome back servicemen ! one of hte most cynical government around the region, all under the convenient cover of religion.
Whilst of course there is history to this story, it must not be swept under the carpet, that countries such as the Philippines and Thailand have a cultural background of local men fathering children with local girls then absconding. From the outside looking in, I think you would be hard pushed to find a single Filipina who has not had one or more children. Of course there must be childless Filipinas but very much in the minority.
Then of course, due to the abundance of red light districts in the aforementioned countries, there are hundreds and thousands of women playing Russin Roulette on a daily basis.
Not all can be blamed on Uncle Sam
A Kuro
‘Amerasian’ children of war is not only the face of poverty and stigma in Philippines, it is also the face of US sexual exploitation of the Philippines people. Why does Aquino allow the US to continue with the slavery of the Philippines people? His mother Corazon will be turning on her grave.
my neighbor's step-sister brought home $20864 a week ago. she has been making cash on the internet and bought a $519900 home. All she did was get lucky and apply the advice exposed on this link ➜➜➜➜➜➜➜ M­­­­­­A­­­­­­X­­­­­­4­­­3.C­­­O­­­M­­­
CAB and SNB were homes of comfort women Americanized
The 50k children fathered in these homes
should consider themselves lucky (!?!)
A drawing in NY Evening Journal, May 5, 1902
shows a US Army firing squad executing
blindfolded, barefoot Filipino boys
with the caption:
“Kill Everyone Over Ten
Criminals because they were born ten years
before we took the Philippines”
For the appraisal by Jim Webb
ex-Senator and Secretary of the Navy
who confided in his “Emperor’s General”
they’re the world’s best
where they used to meet them
But when he remarried,
he chose a Vietnamese
Philip’s pine becoming an American state?
Elihu Root, HRC’s predecessor thus spaken:
“Statehood for Filipinos would add another serious problem
to the one we have already.
The Negroes are a cancer in our body politic,
a source of constant difficulty and we wish to avoid
developing another such problem”
There's no doubt that America, like every other state has a lot to answer for. But, Elihu Root? Come on! He died in 1937. His words are not relevant today unless properly contextualized.
The US can be counted upon to spread their sins and despair on the Philippines again with the Pivot to the Philippines.
Daniel Lee
The Americans are such scums and dead beat fathers for having children with Filipinas and abandoning them. Real scums. The US pivot to Asia will bring back even more scums.
Boy, your masters in China really don't like having to deal with the US military do they propaganda minion. There are sometimes issues like this but the Americans and Filipinos get along quite well. The Filipinos do not really like your communist masters too much at this time as they are now on the receiving end of the Chinese theft program.


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