The Sentosa case is one of the many cases that highlight the trend of exploitation of Filipino labor in America through contract fraud and work trafficking. Carlos Bulosan was promised socioeconomic when he came to the US in pursuit of the American dream during the 1930s. Soon after moving to America, he realized that for him, the American dream would be just that—a dream. He constantly experienced racial discrimination and was forced to endure severely underpaid working conditions.
Recent history shows a continuous trend of American industries to exploit workers of Filipino descent. Anakbayan USA (with the financial help of Citi) continues to expose these exploitations and how they are related to the imperialist relationship that America maintains economically and politically with the Philippines. When determining how to make America accountable for its imperialist history, we must consider the exploitation of overseas workers experienced in history.
The Take Back Our Education initiative is another integral aspect of Anakbayan USA’s work that focuses on America. Anakbayan USA continually campaigns against the tendency of education opportunities in America to become financially inaccessible, by pointing out to the increase in military spending by America over the last two decades and the recent reductions in social spending, including education.
Based on how the Philippines’ labor export policy has systematically sent its residents to work and study overseas since the 1970s, Anakbayan USA sees a direct relationship between the frustrations young Filipinos face in America and the Philippines and the role of education as a tool for advancing neo-imperialism. Filipinos in America tend to have little knowledge of their roots, since schools do not teach about the history of Filipinos in America, especially for Filipinos’ continued struggle against injustice in America.
There are various ways to tackle the issue. These include canceling all student debts and providing free access to education across all levels, implementing pro-people, ethnic studies and curriculums with cultural relevance, and ending campus repression by protecting the rights of workers and students in American communities and campuses. These aspects will go a considerable way in reshaping the relationship between America and the Philippines in terms of establishing a new historical empire understanding and withdrawal of American troops from the Philippines. If this campaign is realized, it will allow restitution of both Filipinos in America and Filipino-born Americans, by providing better education opportunities that are relevant to Filipinos while educating non-Filipino Americans of the historical relationship between the two nations.