A bipartisan group of lawmakers has asked President Reagan to launch an international, five-year, multibillion-dollar "Marshall Plan" for the Philippines to help President Corazon Aquino carry out a peaceful transition to democracy there.
Their Nov. 25 letter said the United States has a major interest in helping the Aquino government meet the political and economic challenges it faces. The goals, according to the letter, are to assure continued access to the U.S. military bases at Subic Bay and Clark Air Field and to prevent the failure of democracy there.
The authors of the letter are Sen. Alan Cranston (D-Calif.), chairman of the Senate subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific affairs, and his House counterpart, Rep. Stephen J. Solarz (D-N.Y.). In addition, two Republicans, Sen. Richard G. Lugar (Ind.) and Rep. Jack Kemp (N.Y.), signed the letter.
"The time has come for the United States and the rest of the international donor community to act," the letter said. "We urge you to take the lead in putting together a multinational, multiyear 'Marshall Plan' for the Philippines."
The initial Marshall Plan, named after the late Secretary of State George C. Marshall, was launched in 1947 to help Western Europe recover from World War II.
The four lawmakers said the objective should be to increase worldwide foreign assistance to the Philippines by $1 billion a year for five years starting in 1988. In addition, they proposed that more aid be given on a grant basis and that Philippine exports receive preferential treatment.
The legislators also called upon Reagan to urge Japan and other Asian nations to increase dramatically their aid to the Philippines, noting that U.S. bases in the Philippines play an important role in enabling the United States to fulfill its defense commitments to them.
The four indicated that they are aware that some in Congress would regard such a major increase in aid as "not realistic in the current budgetary environment."
"However, we strongly believe that with your leadership and in the context of a presidential initiative in which you make clear your determination to implement this plan, coupled with a willingness by other countries and international financial institutions to join with us in this effort, it could be done," the letter said.