Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Filipino group calls on Obama administration to clean up U.S. bases overseas

Since 1992, a Filipino group called the People’s Task Force for Bases Cleanup has been petitioning the U.S. government to clean up environmental contamination at former U.S. bases in Central Luzon, working with the group’s U.S. partner, the Filipino-American Coalition for Environmental Solution. Officials with the organization have high hopes that the Obama administration will be receptive to their concerns about the environmental damage and public health threat posed by contamination at the former military bases.

The Philippine government has used these sites as economic free ports since 1991, but the government failed to remove the asbestos, radioactive waste and toxic chemicals that remained behind after nearly a century of U.S. military activities.

Previous congressional resolutions and executive promises to act have not born fruit. Neither did action come when the Philippine’s Dominican Order lobbied the U.N. Commission on Human Rights to pressure the U.S. to clean up the bases. At that time, in 2004, the Dominicans reported to the Human Rights Commission that at least 375 people, including 282 children, died of leukemia around the former Subic Naval Base. Tens of thousands of workers have been exposed to toxins while working at these sites, producing a variety of cancers in this population. mesotheliomanews

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