Oct 262014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2009/07/09MANILA1431.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09MANILA1431
2009-07-08 00:20
2011-08-30 01:44
UNCLASSIFIED
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXYZ0005
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHML #1431/01 1890020
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 080020Z JUL 09
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4572
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RHMFIUU/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
UNCLAS MANILA 001431

SIPDIS

STATE PLEASE PASS TO PEACE CORPS
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV KISL KPAO EAID RP
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR FOSTERS AMERICAN BUSINESS AND ENVIRONMENTAL PARTNERSHIPS IN VISIT TO PROVINCIAL CAPITAL

¶1. SUMMARY: The Ambassador visited Cebu City June 28 to highlight
bilateral cooperation with the Philippines in the areas of food and
agricultural trade, business development, and environmental
conservation. The Ambassador delivered opening remarks at two
events: the Second Conference of Coastal Municipalities and the
Fourth of July American Food Festival. The Ambassador also
discussed the current business climate and trade opportunities with
the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Board of Trustees, spoke with local
media, and met with Peace Corps volunteers. END SUMMARY.
Background: Cebu City and Province
———————————–
¶2. Cebu City, the capital city of the Cebu province, is the largest
city in the Central Visayas Region and the second most populous city
in the Philippines. The island of Cebu has 3 million inhabitants
with about 2 million living in Metro Cebu. Cebu City hosts a number
of domestic and international corporations. The entry of business
process outsourcing (BPO) firms has contributed to the rapid growth
of the local economy in recent years. U.S. firms are a significant
source of employment in Cebu, providing jobs to 37,000 Cebuanos.

All American Food Festival
————————–
¶3. The Ambassador launched a month-long “Fourth of July American
Food Festival” at a local resort by cutting a 10-pound hamburger
made of U.S. beef with the resort’s general manager. The event
featured numerous American dishes and wines, as well as a
performance by members of the Cebu Equestrian Club dressed in cowboy
attire. The Ambassador highlighted in her opening remarks the
strong cultural ties between the United States and the Philippines
and the economic benefits to both countries of the bilateral trade
in agricultural products. She underscored that the U.S. is the
primary consumer of the Philippines’ agricultural exports, and the
Philippines is the United States’ 13th largest export market. The
Ambassador also spoke about the USG support for programs that
promote sustainable agriculture and business skills for rural
communities in Cebu. Forty guests, including American Chamber of
Commerce members, importers and distributors of U.S. food products,
and key social and print and broadcast media personalities, attended
the Sunday Lunch Gala at the resort.

Lunch with Peace Corps Volunteers
———————————–
¶4. The Ambassador met with two Peace Corps volunteers for lunch at
a local McDonald’s restaurant, one of whom works with the local
government of Borbon on coastal resource management, and another who
develops educational programming for orphans and street children in
Toledo City with the Lingap Children’s Development Center. The
Ambassador commended them for their hard work and dedication and
assured them that their efforts contribute greatly to the U.S.
mission’s goals of promoting good governance, economic growth,
family health, and protecting the environment.

Coastal Municipalities Conference on Fisheries and Marine
Biodiversity
——————————————— —-
¶5. The Ambassador delivered a message of solidarity to hundreds of
Filipino mayors at the opening ceremony for the Second Conference of
Coastal Municipalities, held at a local hotel. The Ambassador
praised the mayors as ‘visionaries’ for making strides in coastal
management since the first conference in 1999, and emphasized their
ability to think collectively about environmental issues, which
today have global significance in terms of ongoing efforts with the
six-country Coral Triangle Initiative. The Ambassador highlighted
longstanding USG support for coastal and fisheries management
programs in the Philippines and encouraged citizens to consider
future environmental issues when deciding their votes in upcoming
elections. The conference, convened by the League of Municipalities
of the Philippines through its Movement for Responsible Fisheries
(Morefish) program, with financial and technical support from
Fisheries Improved for Sustainable Harvest (FISH) Project of USAID
is the second conference of its kind in the world, and is unique in
Asia. This year’s conference resulted to concrete resolutions and
proposals on how mayors could facilitate the implementation of
sustainable fishery laws and sectoral reforms, while considering the
effects of fisheries and coastal management on climate change and
food security.

Roundtable: U.S. Chamber of Commerce Board of Trustees
——————————————— —-
¶6. The Ambassador met with the Board of Trustees of the American
Chamber of Commerce Cebu in the Cebu Consular Agency to learn about
the local business climate and discuss opportunities for trade and
investment. The 10 largest U.S. companies have over $600m in annual
sales in the fields of manufacturing, business process outsourcing
(BPO), software and technology development, and food processing.
Participants in the Chamber of Commerce Roundtable included the
President of Lexmark Philippines, General Managers of the Cebu City
Marriott and Marco Polo hotels, as well as the General Manager of
East Asia Utilities Corporation. The construction of Radisson and
Crowne Plaza hotels and expansion of call centers in Cebu serve as

evidence of optimistic hospitality and BPO industries, which have
been largely unaffected by the global economic crisis. The
roundtable discussion also highlighted the decline in software and
technology revenues due to deferred technology-related purchases,
which has prompted the closure of the Cebu-based Canadian
electronics manufacturing firm, Celestica Inc.

Media Interaction Highlights Bilateral Relationship
——————————————— —-
¶9. During pull-aside interviews with local media and a live, on-air
interview with a local FM radio station, the Ambassador emphasized
continued U.S. support for the protection of marine ecosystems,
highlighted the importance of bilateral business and trade
relations, and discussed the many ties between the U.S. and the
Philippines in the context of the upcoming July 4 holiday, which is
also celebrated as Filipino-American Friendship Day.
KENNEY

   

 

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