2000 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: Wed, 1 Mar 2000 14:04:00 -0800 (PST)
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Philippine Daily Inquirer Report on Greenpeace Action
[This was posted to the list by Arc Ecology, arc@igc.org]

Thank you CPEO for posting yesterday's notice, here is some additional 
information from Greenpeace and a news article on the action.  Saul 
Bloom for the US Working Group for Philippine Bases Cleanup

Dear All:

You can now find a backgrounder, yesterdays release and photos on the 
Greenpeace Asia tour site. 

Backgrounder is here:


Update with pics, link etc is here:


Lisa Finaldi
Greenpeace International Toxics Campaign
11 B Glenwood Avenue
Raleigh, North Carolina, USA 27603
1 919 828 5202 phone
1 919 832 9100 fax
email: lisa.finaldi@dialb.greenpeace.org


>From the Philippine Daily Inquirer, March 1, 2000.

HEADLINE ''Child toxic warrior'' buried; US solons coming 

By Tonette Orejas PDI Central Luzon Desk 

MABALACAT, Pampanga--US Senators Richard Lugar and Daniel Inouye will 
come to the Philippines to look into the toxic waste contamination in 
two former US-run military bases in Central Luzon. 

The visit of the American senators was confirmed by Sen. Sergio Osmeņa 
III shortly after he attended the wake of 6-year-old leukemia victim 
Crizel Jane Valencia at the Madapdap resettlement site here on Monday 

Crizel, the ''child toxic warrior'' who died on Friday, was buried 
yesterday in this town, said to be the 81st victim to have died from the 
toxic brew of chemicals that were found in their water supply. 

There should be no more Crizels, according to Osmeņa. 

''I hope this will not happen anymore to anybody,'' he said. ''But there 
are more victims. I know it will inevitably happen again.'' 

Crizel was buried at the Stella Maris Memorial Park at the Madapdap 
resettlement site.

Her parents Alex and Herundina, wailing in grief, were consoled by about 
10 women whose children did not see the light of day because of 
spontaneous abortions or stillbirths. 

White and red balloons were attached to Crizel's hearse. Hundreds of 
children and adults at Madapdap resettlement site lined the streets as 
the funeral group passed by. 

On the day Crizel was buried, environmental activists removed from 
residential areas in Angeles City and in Mabalacat two 400-kilovolt 
transformers that contained ''extremely toxic industrial chemicals.''  
The People's Task Force for Bases Cleanup and government doctors had 
traced Crizel's leukemia to the mercury and nitrate that seeped into the 
wells of the Clark Air Base Command (Cabcom) evacuation center, where 
residents got their drinking water. 

Crizel and her family lived in the 12-hectare evacuation center for five 
years, together with about 20,000 other families, after they were 
displaced by the lahar flows from Mt. Pinatubo's eruptions. 

Osmeņa said he has been lobbying with the US Senate for a cleanup of the 
former Clark Air Base in this province and the former Subic Naval Base 
in Zambales. 

Osmeņa is also one of the many Inquirer readers who helped pay for 
Crizel's hospitalization and medical treatment. 

Crizel's case was among those Osmeņa cited to Lugar and Inouye as 
evidence of the military toxic wastes and the need for a comprehensive 
cleanup of the former bases. 

Osmeņa said he began to lobby in October 1999 by making a side trip from 
an international toxic waste summit in Washington D.C. to apprise the 
two senators and several congressmen on the toxic waste problem.

Steady refusal 

''I told them their government has steadfastly refused to own up to any 
legal or moral responsibility for the toxic and hazardous wastes they 
have left behind,'' Osmeņa recalled telling the two senators. 

He said Lugar and Inouye would call him this week to inform him of the 
schedule of their visit. 

Lugar headed the US observers' team that came to Manila during the 1986 
snap elections. He was the former chair of the US Senate committee on 
foreign relations. 

Inouye has a big Filipino-American constituency in Hawaii. He was 
Hawaii's first congressman and the first American of Japanese descent to 
serve in Congress. 

Inouye lost his right arm in Italy during World War II. 

Osmeņa said the US state and defense departments have consistently 
declared that the US government has no legal responsibility for the 
toxic waste problem. 

''Our people are dying and the US government says it has no legal 
responsibility,'' Osmeņa said. ''But what about moral responsibility?'' 

More than 40 sites 

Clark was extensively used by the 13th US Air Force and Subic was used 
by the US Seventh Fleet for nearly a century until 1991 when the 
Philippine Senate rejected the extension of the bases treaty. 

The US General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of the US 
Congress, had confirmed ''serious contamination'' in the former bases 
right after the pullout of the Americans, according to documents 
obtained by the bases cleanup task force. 

Two foreign-funded studies completed in 1998 had found more than 40 
sites in Clark and Subic to be in various states of contamination, said 
the task force. 

Osmeņa said President Estrada had assured him that he was 
''sympathetic'' about the issue. The senator, however, assailed the 
Estrada administration for ''not doing anything'' on behalf of hundreds 
of residents who have turned ill or died because of the toxic 

Dying artist 

Even when she was already very sick, Crizel had created cheerful crayon 
drawings, some of which were used in greeting cards that were then sold 
to raise funds for the medical treatment of victims of toxic waste, 
including herself. 

She fought leukemia for a year, undergoing chemotherapy and blood 
transfusions paid for by known and unknown benefactors, including 
Inquirer readers who bought her greeting cards or donated money. 

She died on Friday while touring, together with 50 other victims, the 
Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior at Pier 15 in Manila. 

More people are stepping forward to claim that their ailments are the 
results of long years of exposure to toxic substances at Cabcom, said 
Myrla Baldonado of the task force. 

Deadly transformers  

Also yesterday, local and foreign environmental activists from 
Greenpeace removed the two 400-kilovolt transformers from residential 
areas in Angeles City and Mabalacat for safe disposal. 

The transformers, measuring two meters in height, had been stolen from 
the power plant of Clark. 

A Greenpeace statement said analysis of soil samples from the area in 
Angeles City, where one transformer was found, contained polychlorinated 
biphenyls or PCBs ''up to 18 times higher than the level considered safe 
for residential areas, and up to three times the level considered 
hazardous waste.'' 

It said PCBs are industrial chemicals used mostly in electrical 
equipment. They are said to induce cancer and increase susceptibility to 

PCBs are harmful to the environment and classified by the UN Environment 
Program as a persistent global pollutant. 

The junkyard workers had removed the transformer's metal casing and put 
its oil into a plastic container that was left leaking in one corner of 
the junkyard. 

Von Hernandez, Greenpeace toxics campaigner in the Philippines, said 
more transformers could have been taken out of Clark. 

Many more leaking transformers have been seen abandoned in grassy lots 
in Mabalacat. 

--With a report from Jun Malig, PDI Central Luzon Desk 
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