Apr 082013
 

PRINCESS CAROLINE LOBBIES FOR TOXIC VICTIMS

by

Tonette Orejas

PDI Central Luzon Desk

(Philippine Daily Inquirer, Oct. 1, 2002, p. 14)

Princess Caroline of Monaco took the cudgels for Filipino toxic waste victims and residents of communities outside former United States military bases in the Philippines, according to a group helping toxic waste victims.

Princess Caroline, in a letter to US President George W. Bush, urged the latter to start the “prompt instigation of procedures to remedy the dangerous condition in which they (Filipino toxic waste victims) are forced to live.”

The Princess is the president of the Association Mondiale des Amis de l’Enfance (AMADE or World Association of Children’s Friends) founded by her late mother, Princess Grace.

She lamented the “tragic failure” of the American military to rid the former Clark Air Base in Pampanga and Subic Naval Base in Zambales of hazardous waste before it left in 1991.

Philippine senators, voting 12-11 to reject a new bases treaty in 1991, ordered Clark and Subic closed, as well as five support facilities in various parts of Luzon.

The military bases in the Philippines were used by the US for almost a century . Clark and Subic, the biggest outside the US mainland, were used for the US wars in Korea, Vietnam and Iraq.

Princess Caroline sent the letter to Bush on August 2. She also encouraged Bush to “expedite the necessary counter-measures to redress this critical and life-threatening situation.”

Almost 200 children and adults who had lived or worked in the former bases had died of various ailments, many through various types of cancer.

Two government-sponsored studies, privately funded examination of the soil and water sources, and a report by the General Accounting Office, the investigating arms of the US Congress, have confirmed the presence of hazardous chemicals and the pollution of soil, water and air in the former US military bases.

Princess Caroline asked Bush to “provide much needed humanitarian aid and compensation to the victims and their families.”

In a letter in April, Lawyer Eric Mallonga, AMADE Philippines president presented to Princess Caroline a compilation of photographs of disabled and sick residents, mostly children, and various documents and studies confirming the existence of toxic wastes in the former bases.

Files on “child toxic waste warrior” Crizel Valencia and the campaign for a toxic waste-free environment that she waged months before her death in 2000, formed part of the briefing materials given to the Princess.

In a letter released by AMADE Philippines on Tuesday, Princess Caroline told Bush that ” Hundreds of thousands of children will die within the next decade as a result of this exposure.”

She reminded Bush that retired US Admiral Eugene Carroll had testified in an international forum that his command, the USS Midway, dumped the ship’s waste at Subic Bay and land within the former naval base.

She said she was aware that US Secretary of State Colin Powell had “admitted moral responsibility for his alarming state of affairs.”

In a statement, Mallonga lamented the double-standard policy of the US. The US, he said, has sites intended for radioactive, chemical and nuclear wastes. These, he noted, are known as “National Sacrifice Zones.”

“The US has sacrificed its territorial lands. But here in the Philippines, the US has sacrificed not just our lands but our people and our children,” Mallonga said.

“They have sacrificed the future of our children with their own selfish national interests as the paramount consideration and not the interests of our children.”

Mallonga said Princess Caroline was considering an official state visit to the Philippines, possibly next year, “to visit, listen to and inspire the victims.”

The date posted here is due to our website rebuild, it does not reflect the original date this article was posted. This article was originally posted in Yonip in 2012

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