Complicating matters, all the publicity surrounding ABMC taking over operations at the cemetery has made it harder for Gilbert to get money from donors for the cemetery’s upkeep.
“The assumption is they’ve done it, so I go to raise money and people say, ‘Well, why am I giving you money to maintain the cemetery, ABMC is doing it?’” Gilbert said.
AMBC spokesman Tim Nosal said the commission is ready to fulfill its obligation to restore and maintain the cemetery as soon as the U.S. and Philippine governments reach the required agreement.
“That territory was ceded back to the government of the Philippines when the Department of Defense left, back in 1992,” Nosal said. “The agreement basically needs to be that the government of the Philippines says, ‘Yes, the U.S. government can go ahead and work this land.’”
Negotiations with the Philippine government are being conducted by the State Department, he said.
Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who introduced a bill last year to have the AMBC assume responsibility for the cemetery, wrote an Aug. 2 letter to Secretary of State John Kerry asking the State Department to complete its agreement with the Philippines.
“Clark Veterans Cemetery is sacred ground and we have a solemn duty as a nation to ensure that the brave Americans buried there have the dignified and well maintained final resting place that they deserve,” Ayotte wrote.
Kerry will respond to Ayotte’s note “shortly,” a department official said.
“The Secretary believes that the courageous Americans buried at Clark Veterans Cemetery deserve a dignified and well-maintained resting place,” the official said in an email. “To ensure that this is the case, the U.S. and Philippine governments are continuing discussions on an agreement that would enable the American Battle Monuments Commission to restore, maintain and operate the cemetery.”
Perhaps the Department of Tourism could get involved as it would be a tourist site of interest.
That would encourage the Philippine Authorities to push this through!
Just as with our so-called Tricare for Life” administration here, our government has turned out to be a deadbeat liar. As former examples of governmental crime and fraud go her, the money has probably been re-distributed into various bank accounts.
In discussing events or non-events here, 2 factrors emerge. One is that most veteransd here don’t vote, so they have no channel to a congressman. Even if they did, most congressmen ignore the complaints.
Another factor is that many recently arrived retirees and veterans make it abundently apparent that they are not intersted in connection with anything military, unless it directly benefits them personally,
It just proves what Military Retirees and Veterans have realized for years that our government does not even go by laws that are signed by the President. Military retirees and veterans are not respected by those in DC and where are the Veteran and Military retiree organizations to ensure the US Government do what they commited themselves to do.
Just another unfilled promise from our leaders in DC who show disdain towards Veterans and Military Retirees on a daily basis
The US never should have left without bringing all those soldiers home to cemetaries in the US. We should not have to pay the Phillipine Govt. a dime to keep them up. I say the best long term solution is to relocate the whole thing back to the US. As is the case with many former alies who depended on our troops to secure their freedom, now they only want our money.
To Randy no money goes to the Philippine Govt for the Clark Veterans Cemetery. All funding raised by the VFW Post goes to individuals paid by donations the VFW post receives to maintain the Clark US Veteran Cemetery.