From a letter to President Reagan from Sen. Alan Cranston (D-Calif.), Rep. Stephen Solarz (D-N.Y.), Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) and Rep. Jack Kemp (R-N.Y.):
The United States has a major interest in assisting the Philippine government meet the serious challenges now confronting it. There is far more at stake than just continued access to military bases at Subic Bay and Clark Air Field, as important as those bases may be.
At stake in the Philippines is a far more important principle: that peaceful democratic change can succeed in the Third World. The People Power revolution of February 1986 was an inspiration to others yearning for democracy across the world. The failure of the revolution would be a crushing blow to untold millions who seek democracy in their own countries.
The problems in the Philippines are well known. The economy, ravaged by the crony capitalism of the Marcos years, is staggering under a $29 billion foreign debt. In 1986, the Philippines paid over $1 billion more in debt service to foreign creditors than it received in new assistance. In a country where almost 70 percent of the people live below the poverty line and per capita income is less than $2 a day, this net transfer of capital out of the country is a significant impediment to a sustained economic recovery. Unless the promise of democracy can be translated into tangible improvement in the lives of Filipino people, the future of democracy will be in jeopardy.
We believe, therefore, that the time has come for the United States and the rest of the international donor community to act. We urge you to take the lead in putting together a multinational, multiyear "Marshall Plan" for the Philippines.