Oct 242014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2009/03/09MANILA611.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09MANILA611
2009-03-18 10:06
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Manila

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DE RUEHML #0611/01 0771006
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 181006Z MAR 09
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3580
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CINCPACFLT PEARL HARBOR HI IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUENAAA/SECNAV WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 000611

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/18/2019
TAGS: MARR MOPS PINS PREL RP
SUBJECT: ADMIRAL WILLARD’S VISIT ENHANCES U.S.-PHILIPPINE MILITARY TIES

REF: A. MANILA 563: BRUTAL MURDER INVESTIGATED AS EJK
¶B. MANILA 549: PREPARATIONS FOR BK’09 ON-TRACK

Classified By: Ambassador Kristie A. Kenney; for reasons 1.4 (b) & (d)

¶1. (C) SUMMARY: During his four-day visit to the Philippines
March 11-14, Commander of the Pacific Fleet, Admiral Robert
Willard, accompanied by the Ambassador, met with Philippine
Secretary of National Defense Gilbert Teodoro and Philippine
Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Alexander Yano and
discussed topics ranging from human rights to strengthening
the U.S.-Philippine military relationship. Admiral Willard
and the Ambassador highlighted the importance of our
continued military to military relationship and reemphasized
the need for the Philippine military to respect human rights.
Both Secretary Teodoro and General Yano agreed for the need
to continue and strengthen our bilateral military engagement
and adamantly expressed their horror over the kidnapping and
murder of the daughter of a New People’s Army insurgent
leader earlier this month (REF A). Admiral Willard also
discussed up-coming bilateral military exercises and
complimented the Philippines on their continued successes
against terrorist groups operating in the southern
Philippines. Teodoro echoed these topics, thanking Admiral
Willard and the Ambassador for continued USG support against
these terrorist groups, and stressing that continued USG
support for the Coast Watch South initiative was vital to
combating the twin scourges of transnational crime and
terrorism. Teodoro also commented that the Philippines must
honor the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and that the Arroyo
Administration was committed to meeting their bilateral
obligations. END SUMMARY.

¶2. (C) Pacific Fleet Commander Admiral Robert Willard visited
the Philippines March 11-14 and joined the Ambassador to meet
with Philippine Secretary of National Defense Gilbert Teodoro
and Philippine Armed Forces Chief Staff General Alexander
Yano. Admiral Willard and the Ambassador spoke about the
continued strong ties of our military to military
relationship, highlighting the upcoming Balikatan and
Combined Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) bilateral
military exercises. Yano agreed with the need for such
continued bilateral military exercises and subject matter
exchanges, but aired his frustration at Philippine fringe
elements who have waged a noisy propaganda campaign against
this year’s Balikatan exercise scheduled for April (REF B).

UNDERSCORING HUMAN RIGHTS
————————-

¶3. (C) Admiral Willard and the Ambassador were frank in their
emphasis that the Philippine military must respect human
rights. The Ambassador emphasized the importance of ensuring
that Philippine security forces not tolerate or condone
extrajudicial killings. She urged Secretary Teodoro and
General Yano to ensure the military understands that respect
for human rights is indicative of a disciplined and
well-trained military. Responding to this theme, both
Teodoro and Yano clearly expressed their revulsion over the
kidnapping and brutal murder of the daughter of New People’s
Army insurgent leader last month (REF A), a crime for which
the NPA has blamed the Philippine military. Yano said that
the military would cooperate fully with the investigation,
although Teodoro cautioned that since the military has been
accused of participating in this crime, they cannot lead the
investigation.

FINISH THE FIGHT AGAINST TERROR
——————————-

¶4. (C) Complimenting them on their ongoing success against
terrorist groups hiding in the southern Philippines, Admiral
Willard assured Secretary Teodoro and General Yano of the
USG’s continued support. Teodoro expressed his appreciation
to Admiral Willard and the Ambassador for U.S. cooperation
and hoped that the U.S. would help them “finish the fight”
against terrorists, particularly in Jolo area of southern
Philippines. Continuing with this topic, Teodoro expressed
frustration with the military’s “small budget to deal with
huge needs,” saying that he thought the situation in Mindanao
would only be resolved when an increased number of troops
were deployed to the region. Commenting on the Philippine
military’s need for a larger special forces capability,
Teodoro admitted that despite their past proclivity toward
“adventurism” — a reference to past participation by members
of Philippine special forces in attempted coups against the

MANILA 00000611 002 OF 002

government — increased numbers of special forces troops are
needed.

FLESHING OUT COAST WATCH SOUTH
——————————

¶5. (C) Referring to Coast Watch South, the Philippine
integrated maritime security program, as “a skeleton that
needed meat,” Secretary Teodoro thanked Admiral Willard and
the Ambassador for continued USG support. Describing Coast
Watch South as vital to combating both transnational crime
and terrorism, Teodoro confirmed his intention to make this
command more effective and less bureaucratic by reducing the
numbers of agency representatives with decisionmaking
authority and giving greater responsibility to the Philippine
Navy.

HONORING THE VFA
—————-

¶6. (C) With regards to the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA),
Secretary Teodoro firmly stated that the Philippines must
honor the VFA and meet its bilateral obligations. He
candidly admitted that the Philippines needs to develop and
implement a proactive public affairs campaign that highlights
the benefits of the VFA to the Philippines. Teodoro told the
Ambassador that the Philippine government would honor it
obligations under the VFA to avoid problems in future
negotiations with other countries. Reflecting on the high
number of U.S. military officers who have recently visited
the Philippines, Teodoro suggested to the Ambassador that it
would be beneficial for both countries if U.S. Secretary of
Defense Robert Gates could visit the Philippines in the near
future.

¶7. (C) Accompanied by the Philippine Navy Flag Officer in
Command, Admiral Ferdinand Golez, Admiral Willard concluded
his visit to the Philippines with a trip to Zamboanga, where
he met with senior Philippine military officers from Western
Mindanao Command, participated in an equipment turn-over
ceremony, attended a USAID sponsored book distribution event,
and received a briefing from the Joint Special Operations
Task Force-Philippines.

¶8. (C) COMMENT: Admiral Willard’s visit did much to
strengthen our relationship with the Philippines, as his
meetings with senior Philippine defense and military
officials reinforced our bilateral partnership. Senior
Philippine officials were keenly aware of Admiral Willard’s
role as Pacific Fleet Commander, as such, his meetings were
substantive and covered a wide range of topics. While
Admiral Willard and the Ambassador used their meetings to
clearly convey USG thinking on key issues, they also provided
senior Philippine officials the opportunity for further
discussions about sensitive issues vital to the continued
U.S.-Philippine partnership. END COMMENT.

¶9. (U) Admiral Willard did not clear this cable prior to his
departure.
KENNEY

   

 

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