Greenpeace slams proposed US-RP statement on environment

Urges Estrada to present bases contamination issue before the American public instead

Press release - July 19, 2000
The international environmental group Greenpeace today denounced the farcical nature of the proposed joint statement on environmental cooperation to be signed by Presidents Joseph Estrada and William Clinton when the former makes a working visit to the US on July 24- Aug.3, describing the proposed non-binding agreement as an 6utterly meaningless document which flies in the face of the ongoing toxic disasters in Clark and Subic.

The international environmental group Greenpeace today denounced the farcical nature of the proposed joint statement on environmental cooperation to be signed by Presidents Joseph Estrada and William Clinton when the former makes a working visit to the US on July 24- Aug.3, describing the proposed non-binding agreement as an 6utterly meaningless document which flies in the face of the ongoing toxic disasters in Clark and Subic.

The joint statement which focuses on broad issues surrounding environmental cooperation evades the issue of US responsibility for the clean-up of its former bases in the Philippines. The US government has time and again maintained that it has no legal responsibility to clean-up the toxic wastes its military left behind in the country.

"While the proposed agreement talks about motherhood environmental concerns, it conveniently sidesteps and ignores the urgent question of US accountability for the toxic legacies in the former bases. President Estrada should take this matter up strongly with the US government in Washington D.C. and take the cudgels for Filipinos now suffering from the miasma of poisons left behind by the Americans," said Von Hernandez, campaigns director for Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

"Instead of using the opportunity provided by the President's US visit to urge the US to take responsibility for this mess, the framers of this so-called agreement have only created a virtual smokescreen for the US military's environmental sins in the Philippines," added Hernandez.

It is also ironic that while the agreement celebrates the 61ong and proud history of friendship and cooperation between the two countries and underscores the need for environmental cooperation to prevent environmental problems, it is unbearably silent on the compelling and present toxic threats facing communities around the former bases.

"President Estrada should not miss the historic opportunity provided by his US visit to bring our case boldly to the American people. President Estrada should know that the US has done extensive remediation of contaminated sites in its bases in Europe and Japan in the past. Why should Filipinos be treated differently?" added Hernandez.

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