Oct 262014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2008/04/08MANILA836.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08MANILA836
2008-04-04 07:43
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXRO3227
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #0836/01 0950743
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 040743Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0308
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 000836

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/02/2018
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL PTER EAIR RP BM
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR ENGAGES FOREIGN SECRETARY ON MCC, EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLINGS, BURMA AND PEACE PROCESS

REF: A. 07 MANILA 3881 (EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLINGS DECLINE

IN 2007)
¶B. MANILA 654 (EAP DAS: KEEP PRESSURE ON BURMA)
¶C. MANILA 706 (CIVAIR: MEETING WITH BOEING AND
AVIATION CONSULTANT)

Classified By: Ambassador Kristie A. Kenney, Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

¶1. (C) SUMMARY: In an April 2 private breakfast, the
Ambassador and Philippine Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo
discussed the need for more prosecutions and convictions of
the perpetrators of extrajudicial killings (EJKs), the
importance of crafting a comprehensive Millennium Challenge
Corporation compact, the current status of peace talks with
Muslim insurgents in Mindanao, and the need to maintain
pressure for democratic change in Burma. Progress on the
Philippines’ Civil Aviation Authority and the upcoming visit
of the hospital ship USNS Mercy were also discussed. Romulo
had just returned from having accompanied Philippine
President Arroyo to the Asian Investment Conference in Hong
Kong, where Arroyo discussed the environment for American
investors with Credit Suisse and other bankers, and met with
Philippine overseas workers. END SUMMARY.

———————————-
MCC: START OF AN IMPORTANT PROCESS
———————————-

¶2. (C) Warmly welcoming the recent announcement by the
Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) of Philippine
eligibility to conclude a compact agreement, Foreign Minister
Romulo commented that he looked forward to the arrival in May
of an MCC team to begin first steps in the important and
complex task of drawing up a well integrated, comprehensive
agreement. Noting the Philippines’ large population and wide
range of needs, the Foreign Minister said that his government
was cognizant that crafting an agreement was a long-term
enterprise that required high-level attention on the
Philippine side and a dedicated senior point of contact. He
said he would reach out to his colleague, Finance Secretary
Teves, who would be in charge of the compact process, to
reinforce that message. Noting that the prospect of a
compact agreement had already excited significant press and
public attention, Secretary Romulo acknowledged the
importance of managing expectations and making clear to the
public that the compact is still in the planning stage, and
that the arrival of an MCC delegation did not signal that a
fully funded compact was immediately at hand.

——————————————— –
COMMITMENT TO PROSECUTE EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLINGS
——————————————— –

¶3. (C) The Ambassador stressed that, while the international
community welcomed recent statistics indicating a significant
drop in the number of newly reported extrajudicial killings
in the Philippines, there was still much to do to alleviate
this tenacious human rights problem. The U.S. government,
Congress and human rights community were intensely focused on
this issue, and while a decrease in killings was essential,
the Philippine government must demonstrate zero tolerance for
any such deaths. Equally important, the Philippine
government needed to significantly increase its efforts in
prosecuting and convicting those responsible for
extrajudicial killings. The USG would continue its efforts to
assist in building the capabilities of police, prosecutors
and judges to deal with this and other pressing criminal
justice problems, but the Philippine government needed to
increase its efforts as well, such as its recent decision to
station paralegal specialists with key units in Mindanao to
give on-the-scene legal advice to commanders and combatants.
The Foreign Secretary voiced full agreement with the
Ambassador’s points, stressing that the Arroyo administration
was fully committed to achieving greater success in
prosecutions and convictions of the perpetrators of
extrajudicial killings.

——————————————-
PRESIDENT ACTIVELY ENGAGED IN PEACE PROCESS
——————————————-

¶4. (C) Noting that progress toward an agreement with the
insurgent Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on territory
and resources appeared to have hit a lull, the Ambassador
reiterated the U.S. government’s strong support for a lasting
and comprehensive peace deal that will lead to greater
stability and prosperity in Mindanao. Secretary Romulo
responded that achieving a lasting peace agreement remained
the highest priority of his government — and most especially
President Arroyo — but that some work remained to be done in

MANILA 00000836 002 OF 002

ironing out the thorny details of the territorial agreement,
including on the issues of governance, ownership of
resources, and revenue sharing. The Ambassador acknowledged
the complexities inherent in the negotiations, but also
strongly encouraged the Foreign Secretary to ensure that the
government made clear to the MILF that it remained fully
committed to negotiations and that the current temporary
delay resulted from efforts to craft a constitutionally
viable agreement.

————————-
KEEPING PRESSURE ON BURMA
————————-

¶5. (C) The Ambassador welcomed President Arroyo’s recent
strong public comments decrying the Burmese junta’s refusal
to allow UN monitors at a planned May referendum (ref B). It
was vital to keep up pressure on the junta to make concrete
moves toward democratization and allow a more open and
inclusive political process. Foreign Secretary Romulo fully
concurred with the Ambassador’s views and said bluntly that
he had work to do with his ASEAN colleagues, some of whom
were urging greater economic engagement with Burma as the
remedy for the junta’s isolation and repression. The Foreign
Secretary disagreed with this path, and pledged to stay in

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close contact with the Ambassador on this in the runup to the
May constitutional referendum.

—————————
AIRLINE SAFETY TOP PRIORITY
—————————

¶6. (C) The Ambassador characterized as an important first
step the recent passage and signing of a law creating a new
Philippine Civil Aviation Authority, but went on to express
concern that more rapid progress is needed, given that no
head of the agency has yet been named, and no movement is
discernible toward purchasing needed computer equipment or
hiring inspectors (ref C). Secretary Romulo voiced full
agreement, vowing to explore the matter further with fellow
cabinet members.

———————————
PLEDGE TO PREPARE FOR MERCY VISIT
———————————

¶7. (C) Secretary Romulo said that he looked forward to the
upcoming visit of the U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS Mercy in
late May and early June. The Ambassador and Foreign
Secretary discussed the ship’s schedule and areas to be

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visited, and resolved to work together closely through the
Department of Foreign Affairs to coordinate all the
logistical and consular details of the visit. During a
broader discussion of U.S. naval ship visits, Secretary
Romulo good-naturedly reminded the Ambassador of his keen
desire to visit an American aircraft carrier if one happened
to transit close to the Philippines.
KENNEY

   

 

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