Oct 242014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2006/10/06MANILA4203.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MANILA4203 2006-10-03 08:52 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Manila
VZCZCXRO7674
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #4203/01 2760852
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 030852Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3263
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA IMMEDIATE 9431
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC//OSD/ISA/AP// IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 004203

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR S/CT, PM, EAP AND EAP/MTS
USPACOM ALSO FOR FPA HUSO
SECDEF/OSD/ISA/AP (LAWLESS/TOOLAN/BAILEY)
JOINT STAFF/J5 (WILKES/ROBINSON/CLEMMONS)

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/03/2016
TAGS: PREL PINS MARR MOPS EAID RP
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR VISITS MEDCAP/GETS FIRST-HAND LOOK AT ON-GOING ANTI-TERRORISM OPERATIONS ON JOLO

REF: MANILA 3914 AND PREVIOUS

Classified By: (U) Ambassador Kristie A. Kenney
for reasons 1.4(b) and (d).

¶1. (C/REL AUS) Summary. Ambassador had a first-hand update
from ground force commanders on the Armed Forces of the
Philippines’ on-going effort to capture or kill Abu Sayyaf
Group and Jemaah Islamiyah leaders during her September 25
day-long visit to Jolo Island. The Armed Forces of the
Philippines shows no sign of giving up its pursuit, and
praised US assistance, saying it had directly contributed to
the successes thus far. A separate visit to a Philippine
medical mission in the village of Buanza, a former Abu Sayyaf
stronghold, showed a community eager for economic development
and ready to cut its ties to terrorists. End Summary.

BEGINNING TO TURN A CORNER
————————–

¶2. (SBU) Task Force Comet Commander Brigadier General Ruben
Rafael in his September 25 briefing at Camp Bautista drew
comparisons between the present effort on Jolo and earlier
operations in 2002 on the neighboring island of Basilan.
Like Basilan, civil military operations, such as engineering
projects and medical care, provided a means to physically and
psychologically separate the terrorists from the population
and complemented ongoing USAID development projects in
infrastructure, health, and education. Rafael pointed to a
September 1 resolution by Jolo community leaders denouncing
terrorism and the Abu Sayyaf Group and supporting the Armed
Forces of the Philippines’ operations as proof that the Armed
Forces of the Philippines was beginning to turn the corner in
its fight against the terrorists.

¶3. (C/REL AUS) Rafael said regular dialogue with and visits
to Moro National Liberation Front commanders had helped
defuse tensions, resulting in an informal agreement that the
Moro National Liberation Front would not interfere with Armed
Forces of the Philippines’ operations. Rafael commented that
one Moro National Liberation Front commander, Habier Malik in
Panamao, was now actively cooperating with the Armed Forces
of the Philippines, including providing information on Abu
Sayyaf Group movements. Mistrusting each other and fearful
they would be sold out, the Abu Sayyaf Group and Jemaah
Islamiyah were forced to remain constantly on the move, never
staying more than 24-48 hours in one place.

RELENTLESS PURSUIT
——————

¶4. (SBU) Since the onset of “Operation Ultimatum” on August
1, Rafael said the Armed Forces of the Philippines had kept
the terrorists on the defensive through a relentless series
of pursuit operations, including 25 separate clashes with the
Abu Sayyaf Group/Jemaah Islamiyah in which the Armed Forces
of the Philippines had suffered 14 soldiers killed and 89
others wounded. Rafael put the number of confirmed Abu
Sayyaf Group casualties at 24 killed, 14 wounded, and another
8 captured. (The actual number of Abu Sayyaf Group
casualties is believed to be far greater, but has not yet
been confirmed.) Both he and Major General Cedo, the
Commander of Western Mindanao Command, pledged to keQup the
fight until Khadaffy Janjalani, Abu Solaiman, Dulmatin, Umar
Patek, and other senior leaders were either captured or
killed.

U.S. HELP PRAISED
—————–

¶5. (C/REL AUS) Ambassador expressed her deep appreciation
for Armed Forces of the Philippines efforts, saying that the
United States was proud to help the Armed Forces of the
Philippines rid Jolo of terrorism. Both Rafael and Cedo
praised US assistance, citing specifically help with
intelligence fusion, medical evacuations, medical civic
action programs, and subject matter expert exchanges designed
to improve the combat skills of the Armed Forces of the
Philippines units. Brigadier General Juancho Sabban, the III
Marine Brigade Commander, also praised US Light Infantry
Battalion training, saying that US-provided skills had
directly contributed to the success of the current operation.
The one US-trained Marine battalion had adapted the doctrine

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and tactics it had learned to the fight on Jolo and was
providing the bulk of the troops hunting the Abu Sayyaf
Group. Calling this type of training and equipment “very,
very effective,” Sabban said, “It’s what we need,” and noted
that he hoped more such training would be possible in the
future.

PROSPERITY CEMENTS PEACE
————————

¶6. (U) The Armed Forces of the Philippines-sponsored MEDCAP
in Buanza, only two months earlier a terrorist stronghold,
showcased what Jolo could become once the terrorists are
defeated. The civilian community, many of whom came from
Moro National Liberation Front areas, warmly greeted the
Ambassador. They are eager for medical care and economic
development. Provincial Administrator Don Arbison Loong
noted the high incidence of poverty on Jolo, where life
expectancy was 20 years lower than the national average.
Peace and stability offered people a better chance at life
and the opportunity to escape from the bondage of poverty.
Observing that this was her fourth visit to Jolo, the
Ambassador said prosperity would cement peace, stressing that
the United States is seeking active ways to be a partner in
development. She pointed out that USAID spent $4 million
annually on Jolo, and had already invested nearly $1 million
in road, education, and health improvements in the area
surrounding Buanza.

Visit Embassy Manila’s Classified website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eap/manila/index. cfm
KENNEY

   

 

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