July 25, 2000
The Honorable William J. Clinton
President of the United States
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President,
As you welcome to the United States the Chief Executive of the Philippines, President Joseph Estrada, may I urge you to include in your discussions the tragic situation affecting many in his country due to the toxic waste left behind at the former U.S. military bases there.
The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines has, on several occasions, brought this lamentable issue to our attention. Most recently, the bishops of the four dioceses most affected by the soil and water contamination have expressed their hope that you and President Estrada will consider seriously what our two nations can do together to clean up the deadly residue left behind, especially at the former Clark Air Base and Subic Naval Base.
I note that there are commendable efforts underway in both Houses of our Congress to seek at least a partial redress of the matter. The prospects of their eventual success will be greatly enhanced by the clear moral leadership on the issue that you and President Estrada could take. I urge you to seize the occasion of Mr. Estrada's visit to signal U.S. intention to work toward a just and generous resolution of the problems caused by the toxic waste resulting from our long military presence in the Philippines.
With thanks for your attention to this, I remain
Most Reverend Joseph A. Fiorenza
Bishop of Galveston-Houston