“In the Hands of the Whites…”
On February 21, 1899, the U.S. gunboat Petrel docked near Fort San Pedro, signaling the American occupation in Cebu. The following day, the American flag was raised at the fort as the city’s republican forces led by Luis Flores, Julio Llorente and Leoncio Alburo, capitulated and surrendered the city “under protest”. “Is this a sign of a new beginning or just the end of the first misery?” was one of the many questions in the minds of the Filipinos of that time. The Americans were demonstrative of their intentions to us that Filipinos felt a huge relief though it was inevitable to realize that we were still called the “colonized”. One of the most significant contributions of the Americans during their regime here in the Philippines is the introduction of the Philippine educational system. United States President McKinley’s non-traditional policy of "Benevolent Assimilation" set the tone for the development in the Philippines of an educational infrastructure that included educational programs which "shall be free to all and which shall tend to fit the people for the duties of citizenship and for the ordinary avocation of a civilized community". This summary of the early beginnings of the American educational policies and programs in the Philippines soon after the Spanish American war will focus on educational contributions in the Visayan Islands. Educational reforms were initially implemented by members of the American military who started their educational practice in Luzon, and soon after, expanded to the rest of the islands. The “Thomasites”
On July 23, 1901,365 male and 165 female teachers left San Francisco, California on board the USS Thomas to begin teaching careers in the Philippines, arriving on August 19 that year. A few of them were then assigned to Cebu. Although American teachers had already come to the new colony the year before and after this, all 1,065 American teachers who came to the new colony were...
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