Oct 262014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2009/05/09MANILA977.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09MANILA977
2009-05-07 03:27
2011-08-30 01:44
UNCLASSIFIED
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHML #0977/01 1270327
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 070327Z MAY 09
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4035
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
UNCLAS MANILA 000977

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV KISL KPAO RP
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR STRENGTHENS U.S.-PHILIPPINE TIES DURING ALBAY VISIT

¶1. SUMMARY. During an April 28 visit to Albay province, the
Ambassador reaffirmed the importance of the U.S.-Philippine
bilateral military partnership where she dedicated a 3.2 kilometer
road improvement project completed by a team of U.S. and Philippine
military members during the annual Balikatan activities. She was
accompanied on the trip by the joint commanders of Balikatan 2009,
U.S. Brigadier General Ronald Bailey (USMC) and Commodore Ramon
Espera, Jr., of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. The trip
included a visit to a medical civic action project (MEDCAP)
highlighting the humanitarian assistance provided by the joint U.S.
and Philippine military forces during Balikatan. The Ambassador also
visited a Disaster Preparedness Summer Camp sponsored by the U.S.
Agency for International Development (USAID) that showcased the
training received by local primary school teachers and children to
prepare for natural disasters. Large crowds of local residents and
the local government officials present warmly welcomed the
Ambassador at all the events. The Ambassador also met with members
of the U.S. Armed Forces participating in the Balikatan exercise in
the Bicol region. Through a live radio interview, she spoke directly
to residents of Albay province about Balikatan 2009 and the ongoing
U.S. government assistance to the region. END SUMMARY.

——————————————–
BALIKATAN: MILITARY TRAINING AND HUMANITARIAN CIVIC ASSISTANCE
——————————————–

¶2. Balikatan, an annual bilateral military training event that
includes numerous humanitarian civic assistance projects, allows
U.S. and Philippine armed forces to work, train, and provide
assistance together to the greatest possible number of people in
need. Improving the ability of U.S. and Philippine forces to work
together as one team on joint projects is one of the many benefits
of Balikatan. The emphasis for Balikatan 2009 was humanitarian
assistance to several communities in the Bicol region. This
assistance included 28 humanitarian projects with direct costs of
$428,000 for materials, medication, and supplies. Of these 28
projects, 22 were medical and dental missions and six were
engineering projects including water-wells, two-room school houses,
and road projects. The medical missions treated more than 21,000
patients. Treatments consisted of general medicine, pediatrics,
optometry, dentistry, and veterinary services. No military exercises
were conducted in the Bicol region during Balikatan 2009.

———————————-
NEW ROAD DEDICATION SHOWS STRONG PARTNERSHIP
———————————-

¶3. At a ceremony in Pio Duran to dedicate the completion of a 3.2
kilometer road project, the Ambassador emphasized the value of the
U.S.-Philippine bilateral military partnership for humanitarian
assistance and training. The project succeeded in linking two road
sections together to create a 50 kilometer stretch of road. A
combined team of 56 U.S. and Philippine service members worked
together to complete the road improvements, with expenditures of
$103,000 on construction supplies. The road now connects two local
communities, allowing students easier access to their school and
farmers easier transport of their products to the port in Pio Duran.
The importance of the event for bilateral relations was evidenced by
the number of distinguished Filipino visitors, including the
Secretary of National Defense, a congressman, and two governors. The
Ambassador stressed in her remarks that the United States and the
Philippines have been friends and allies for a long time, and that
they will continue to work together to not only make the world
safer, but also to provide a peaceful, prosperous future.

———————————–
MEDCAP EVENT PROVIDES HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE
———————————–

¶4. The Ambassador visited with the U.S. and Philippine 40-member
medical assistance team in Malipo that was providing free medical
treatment to the local communities. The MEDCAP served an area with
over 10,000 people spread out over six surrounding communities. This
entire area normally is only served by a single medical clinic with
only one physician and a health worker. Pharmaceuticals and medical
supplies worth $5,000 were allocated for this mission. The medical
team included family practice physicians, radiologists,
pediatricians, optometrists, dentists, pharmacists, and
veterinarians. Over 1200 patients were served during this one-day
mission.

————————————-
DISASTER PREPAREDNESS SUMMER CAMP SHOWCASES VITAL USAID TRAINING
————————————-

¶5. The Ambassador attended a Disaster Preparedness Summer Camp for
primary school children and teachers in Guinobatan Municipality.
This three-day camp, sponsored by USAID and implemented through Save
the Children, is part of a two-year project that provides disaster
preparedness activities, as well as non-food items, food security,
and livelihood support to people affected by Typhoon Reming
(international name Durian) that struck the Bicol region in November

¶2006. The ongoing project trains teachers on disaster preparedness
who then incorporate this training into their classroom activities.
The students presented a “disaster preparedness dance,” and the
Ambassador participated in a disaster drill involving not only the
teachers and students, but also a municipal emergency response team.
The Ambassador expressed admiration for the efficient drill response
and gave her enthusiastic support for this life-saving training.

———————————
MEDIA OPPORTUNITIES
———————————

¶6. The Ambassador addressed media at the Pio Duran, Malipo and
Guinobatan events. She emphasized the close historical relationship
between the United States and the Bicol region and highlighted the
Balikatan and USAID humanitarian projects that have taken place in
the region. She stressed that joint U.S. and Philippine
humanitarian assistance and training activities lead to improved
cooperation, coordination, and goodwill. Through a live radio
interview in Legazpi City, the Ambassador, together with U.S.
Brigadier General Ronald Bailey and Commodore Ramon Espera of the
Armed Forces of the Philippines, reached a regional audience with a
positive message of sustained partnership. The Ambassador emphasized
the extensive benefits provided by the annual humanitarian missions
of Balikatan and sustained U.S government assistance in the region
through USAID and the Peace Corps. The Ambassador stressed that the
United States is proud to work together with our Philippine
partners, not only during Balikatan but throughout the year, to
improve the lives of the people of Bicol.

KENNEY

   

 

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