U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE, December 17, 2013 – The U.S. and Philippine governments have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to enable the American Battle Monuments Commission, an agency of the U.S. government, to operate Clark Veterans Cemetery, the final resting place of thousands of American soldiers, Filipinos who served in the U.S. Armed Forces, and their dependents.
The cemetery, located 60 miles north of Manila, was established in 1948 to inter remains from four earlier American military cemeteries that were being closed following the end of World War II. In the decades that followed, thousands of additional burials occurred at the site, involving members of the U.S. Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard, as well as the Philippine Scouts. New burials continue to occur.
The cemetery, which sits on a 20-acre site, fell into a state of disrepair following the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo, which covered gravesites with ash. The need to improve conditions at the cemetery rallied veterans, Members of Congress, and the Obama Administration. To improve conditions at the cemetery, President Obama signed into law the Dignified Burial and Other Veterans’ Benefits Improvement Act of 2012, which authorized the American Battle Monuments Commission to restore, operate and maintain the cemetery, once an arrangement to this effect was reached between the United States and the Philippines.
Ambassador Philip Goldberg signed the MOU on December 16, 2013. Ambassador Goldberg expressed appreciation to Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2485, for performing upkeep of the cemetery, and to U.S. Embassy Manila employees, for repeatedly volunteering to help clean and maintain the cemetery.