Oct 262014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/09/07MANILA3154.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MANILA3154
2007-09-18 07:12
2011-08-30 01:44
UNCLASSIFIED
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXRO0051
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #3154/01 2610712
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 180712Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8297
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI//FPA//
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 003154

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MTS, EAP/RSP
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR ANE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL SENV SOCI RP
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR VISITS ENVIRONMENT AND HEALTH PROJECTS IN BOHOL

¶1. Summary. Ambassador traveled to the island province of Bohol on
September 6 to highlight U.S.-supported development projects that
improve children’s health and protect natural resources. Ambassador
met with the governor, a local congressman and several mayors. The
visit highlighted improvements in the region’s healthcare and the
protection of natural resources that were made possible through U.S.
partnerships with local government and non-governmental
organizations. End Summary.

Bohol
——

¶2. Bohol is the 10th largest island in the country, located in the
central Philippines approximately 50 miles southeast of Cebu City.
Bohol’s capital is Tagbilaran City. A narrow strait separates the
island of Cebu and Bohol and both share a common language, but the
people of Bohol (Boholanos) retain a conscious distinction from
their compatriots in Cebu. A number of Bohol tourism destinations
are famous throughout the Philippines and the region including: the
1,268 uniquely dome-shaped mountains known as the Chocolate Hills;
Spanish-built churches that date back to the 16th century; and the
reclusive Philippine tarsier, the world’s smallest monkey. Bohol’s
primary exported commodity is limestone. Other major exports include
rice, bananas, mangoes, cattle and hogs, fish and native products.

Protection of Bohol’s Natural Wonders
————————————-

¶3. Ambassador visited the Tarsier Conservation Center in the
municipality of Corella to observe community-based efforts to
protect the habitat of the tarsier, one of the world’s smallest
primates, an endangered species, and a Bohol tourism icon. Support
for the Center’s tarsier habitat preservation program is provided by
the Philippine Tropical Forest Conservation Foundation, an entity
created to manage a debt-relief program under the U.S. Tropical
Forest Conservation Act. The foundation funds 31 projects in the
Philippines and gave this tarsier center $29,000 for operations.
The Center’s staff showcased information displays and an orientation
video before leading the Ambassador on a short hike through a
preserve where several tarsiers of various ages were observed in
their natural habitat.

¶4. Near Carmen a professional tour guide from the Governor’s office
led the Ambassador to a scenic overlook and explained the geology of
the unique and distinctively dome-shaped Chocolate Hills. Following
the tour, the Ambassador and Mayor discussed the impact of tourism
on Carmen and ways to best preserve the area’s natural beauty for
future generations. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)
-Philippines President and USAID/Philippines environment staff
provided their insight on best practices.

¶5. Information materials that were developed with USAID assistance
were turned over to a representative of the Bilar community during a
visit to the Bohol Biodiversity Research Center and Tree Nursery.
Following the ceremony, the Center’s manager, a former Peace Corps
Volunteer, provided an overview of the Center’s waste management and
recycling efforts and led the Ambassador on a tour of the tree
nursery that comprises species native to Bohol. The Center’s staff
assisted the Ambassador and her travel companions in planting
individual trees to mark the visit.

Governor and Peace Corps Volunteers on the River
——————————————— —

¶6. The Governor hosted the Ambassador for lunch at another popular
Bohol tourist destination: the Loboc River. The Governor and
Ambassador were joined by Congressman Edgar Chatto and four Peace
Corps Volunteers assigned to Bohol. The setting, a boat ride on the
Loboc River, provided an excellent opportunity to discuss
environmentally-responsible tourism in Bohol with the Governor,
while the Peace Corps Volunteers shared their experiences supporting
improved coastal resource management and education projects.
Ambassador praised Bohol’s stunning natural beauty and the proactive
steps taken by the Governor, Congressman and other public and
private sector leaders to preserve Bohol’s natural resources.

USAID Health and Environment Ceremonies
—————————————–

¶7. At the capital city of Tagbilaran the Ambassador attended a
USAID ceremony to initiate the first province-wide Childhood
Tuberculosis (TB) Control Program in the Philippines. The
Ambassador also launched the “Going Green” toolkit for the local
tourism operators, developed by WWF-Philippines and USAID. The
events highlighted the impact of U.S. assistance to the public and
private sectors that contributes to the preservation of the natural
environment and the improvement of children’s health. Ambassador
offered praise for the initiative and commitment of local
stakeholders to protect precious natural and human resources. She

MANILA 00003154 002 OF 002

also expressed deep appreciation for the partnership that exists
between Boholanos and the American people, as exemplified through
the projects supported by USAID and Peace Corps in Bohol.

¶8. Ambassador also inaugurated a privately-operated midwife clinic,
the third such clinic established in Bohol through a partnership
between USAID and the Integrated Midwives Association of the
Philippines-Bohol (IMAP-Bohol). IMAP-Bohol seeks to improve the
quality of and expand access to maternal and child health services
in the private sector. Ambassador toured the new facility and then
joined a buntis (pregnancy) party for approximately two dozen local
women. Ambassador read questions from the clinic’s trivia cards
designed to provide accurate maternal and child health information
to expectant mothers.

Outreach through Media
———————-

¶9. Ambassador gave a live radio interview at the DYRD-AM radio
station in Tagbilaran, which was the first time an American
Ambassador had ever visited the station. The station’s programming
is mostly in the local dialect (Visayan) though most listeners also
understand English. Ambassador highlighted the natural beauty of
Bohol and U.S.-supported efforts to help harness the province’s
tourism potential while protecting the environment. She also
praised the provincial and city governments for their commitment to
children’s health through support for the USAID-funded TB Childhood
Control Program and private-sector midwife clinics. Local print
media was extremely positive and captured the Boholanos deep sense
of appreciation for ongoing U.S. assistance to improve children’s
health and preserve the natural environment.

KENNEY

   

 

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