2000 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: Fri, 3 Mar 2000 16:42:29 -0800 (PST)
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] 26 Arrested Protesting Military Pollution in Philippines
[This was posted to the list by Arc Ecology, arc@igc.org]

Once again, thanks to CPEO for the continued posting of these accounts.  
Saul Bloom for the US Working Group for Philippine Bases Cleanup


Manila/Washington, D.C. March 3, 2000: Twenty-six Greenpeace activists 
were arrested today in Manila after they delivered to the US Embassy a 
container filled with poisonous industrial chemical waste (PCBs) 
collected from residential areas near Clark Air Base. The activists 
demanded that the United States clean up contamination at its former 
military bases in the Philippines. After being taken to the police 
station, the activists were soon released without charges. 

"We were delivering this toxic cargo back to its rightful owner. The US 
government should take immediate custody of this hazardous material and 
accept responsibility to clean-up the contamination at Clark and Subic, 
"said Von Hernandez, Greenpeace Toxics campaigner in the Philippines.

Using a forklift truck driven by Peter Willcox, Captain of Greenpeace's 
flagship the Rainbow Warrior, the environmental group delivered and 
dropped a 6 by 9 foot shipping container of contaminated waste and 
pieces of equipment collected from near the Clark Air Base earlier this 
week. The truck with the container was later taken by the police and 
Willcox charged with driving without a full Philippine forklift truck 

A container labeled "Danger - Toxic: Property of the United States" held 
some 40 litre of liquid PCB (polychlorinated biphenyls), contaminated 
soil and 12 pieces of disassembled PCB-leaking transformer wrapped in 
plastic. The waste was packed fufilling proper hazardous materials 
handling and transport requirements. 

"This is not symbolic cargo, it is the real stuff. The material has been 
lying around in communities surrounding Clark for at least the last five 
years. We are reminding the US government of its moral duty and 
obligation to clean up the mess its military left behind in the 
Philippines," said Willcox. 

A Greenpeace survey of the area surrounding the bases show this waste 
load represents just the tip of the toxic iceberg at Clark and Subic 
Bay. The US military withdrew from the Philippines in 1992 leaving their 
bases in their present state. The local communities surrounding these 
bases have for many years suffered from mysterious deaths and health 
complaints including cancer, nervous system disorders, and reproductive 

Greenpeace called on the Philippine President Joseph Estrada to demand a 
commitment from President Bill Clinton to clean-up the former bases and 
compensate the victims of its toxic legacy in the Philippines when the 
two presidents meet in April in Washington, D.C. 

"The United States has committed to cleaning up contamination caused by 
its bases in rich countries in Europe and Japan but has walked out on 
the Philippines. This is a clear double standard and a grave 
environmental injustice, " stressed Hernandez. 

For more information: 

In the Philippines:

Von Hernandez, Greenpeace, +63-917-5263050

Jack Weinberg, Greenpeace advisor, +63-918-9038687

Athena Ronquillo-Ballesteros, Greenpeace media, +63-917-813156; 

In the US:

Lisa Finaldi, Greenpeace, +1-919-828-5202

Video footage available on request. 

Pictures will be available from Greenpeace's picture desk website: 

For background information including results of Greeenpeace survey of 
contamination surrounding the bases, follow Greenpeace's Toxic Free Asia 
Tour on the web: 


Notes to the editors: 

PCBs are persistent toxic chemicals. Once released, they remain in the 
environment for many years. They can contaminate not only the local 
environment, but travel via air currents to colder climates. PCBs have 
been short listed by the United Nations Environment Programme as one of 
the 12 Persistent Organic Pollutants slated for action under a global 
treaty being negotiated by over 100 governments. The next negotiating 
meeting begins on March 20 in Bonn, Germany. It will address, among 
other issues, commitments to provide technical and financial assistance 
to countries that otherwise would not have the capacity to eliminate 
these persistent poisons. 

Greenpeace's flagship, the Rainbow Warrior, is in the Philippines until 
the 8th of March on the third leg of its Toxic Free Asia Tour. The tour 
includes India, Thailand, Philippines, Hong Kong and Japan. 

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