“America must be a light to the world, not just a missile.” – Nancy Pelosi
NEW YORK CITY – Families of Ilonggos living in Guam have expressed serious concern after it was reported that North Korea has threatened to launch missiles in that US territory located roughly 2,500 kilometers from Manila, Philippines.
“I worry a lot for my uncles, my sisters and their families,” remarked Lourdes Saloma-Buck of Bridgeport, Connecticut. “Where will they seek refuge just in case North Korea attacks Guam?”
Saloma-Buck, 57, grew up in Iloilo City, Philippines. She has relatives in Guam’s major cities of Dededo, Agana Heights, Talofofo, Yona, and Agat.
She said some of them also fear for their safety but are adamant to leave Guam, with a population of a little more than 162,000 “unless extremely necessary.”
She has been in constant contact with relatives ever since news broke out that Pyongyang has threatened to attack Guam, a Pacific island, as it is at loggerheads with the US over Nokor’s nuclear missile programs.
Cynthia Jaen of Brooklyn said her relatives in Santa Rita, Guam are unfazed.
Jaen, who grew up in Buntatala, Leganes, Iloilo and had also stayed for several years in Guam, said “Ilonggos in Santa Rita are confident President Donald Trump won’t allow any untoward incident to occur in Guam where the president has large followers.”
“It’s normal to fear for their safety but they aren’t panicky,” Jaen explained. “They continue to monitor the developments on TV and internet and are confident Washington will be able to handle the situation properly.”
Ilonggos from Iloilo City in the Philippines comprise the largest community in Guam, according to lawyer Pascual “Junie” Espinosa, Jr.
Espinosa’s late father, Rep. Pascual “Pat” Sr., was chiefly responsible for bringing the first batches of Ilonggo workers to Guam, destined to become the largest US military base west of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii after World War II.
Years after V-J Day, a number of significant changes occurred to the war-torn.
The highest priority was to reconstruct Guam as a strategic forward base to monitor Asian decolonization. In February 1946, the Construction Contracts Marianas, a military office designated to construct all military facilities in the Marianas, was created as a joint venture with civilian construction companies, according Guampedia’s “Filipino Migration to Guam 1945–1975”.
It added: “In addition to constructing the Apra Harbor breakwater, their task was reportedly to provide engineering services for basic infrastructure needs (water, power, road systems, and healthcare) and to rebuild the island’s capital.
“To resolve what the military believed to be a chronic shortage of labor, the US Embassy in Manila and the newly independent government of the Republic of the Philippines in May 1947 negotiated an agreement for “the recruitment and employment of Philippine citizens by the US military forces and its contractors in the Pacific, including Guam.”
“Following the 1947 agreement, Brown-Pacific-Maxon Construction Company (BPM) and Luzon Stevedoring Corporation (Luzdelco) were authorized to import Filipino labor from Manila and its surrounding provinces to provide support construction services for Andersen Air Force Base in northern Guam.
“The Guam Naval Supply Depot permitted the Marianas Stevedoring and Development Company (Masdelco) to contract employment from Iloilo and other Visayan islands of the central Philippines.
“Masdelco was a subsidiary of Luzdelco and based in the Agat-Santa Rita area of southern Guam. The initial bulk of Filipino laborers were recruited from Iloilo.
“All had to undergo rigorous clearance and background checks by the US Navy and Federal Bureau of Investigation before being admitted to Guam on a one-year labor contract subject to renewal for up to three years.”