Posted: Dec 16, 2013 3:04 AM
Updated: Dec 16, 2013 3:05 AM
MANILA, Philippines (AP) U.S. and Philippine officials have signed an agreement allowing Washington to restore a cemetery north of Manila where the graves of thousands of American servicemen and dependents have been covered in ash since Mount Pinatubo's 1991 eruption.
Officials say that the accord signed Monday by U.S. Ambassador Philip Goldberg and Philippine official Arnel Casanova will allow the American Battle Monuments Commission to repair and maintain the Clark Veterans Cemetery. President Barack Obama has signed a law to finance the cemetery's upkeep.
The U.S. Air Force hastily abandoned Clark Air Base, where the cemetery is located, after Mount Pinatubo erupted. In 1994, U.S. veterans were shocked to find the seven-hectare (17-acre) burial ground covered in ash, weeds and overgrown grass and called it "the cemetery America forgot."