Oct 262014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2010/01/10MANILA125.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
10MANILA125
2010-01-21 08:55
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Manila

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O 210855Z JAN 10
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RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 000125

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/21/2020
TAGS: PREL PGOV RP
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR’S FAREWELL CALL ON PRESIDENT ARROYO

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

¶1. (C) Summary: The Ambassador paid her farewell call on
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo at Malacanang Palace
January 21. The President praised the excellent state of
U.S.-Philippine bilateral relations, and lauded U.S.
leadership in organizing an “excellent” aid effort for Haiti.
She said a Philippine medical team would arrive in Haiti
January 25 to join the disaster response. The President
voiced deep appreciation for the success of our joint
counterterrorism efforts in Mindanao, citing in particular
the importance of the “hard/soft power” paradigm that joined
development assistance with military efforts to deny
safehaven to extremists. The Ambassador praised President
Arroyo’s efforts to improve bilateral ties, her strengthening
of key economic sectors and the development of a “nautical
highway” to link the Philippine archipelago. She urged the
President to continue pursuing a comprehensive peace accord
with Muslim insurgents, and not to let up on counterterrorism
efforts even as her presidential term winds down. Following
the meeting, the President conferred upon the Ambassador the
Order of Sikatuna (Gold Grand Cross), the highest honor
conferred by the Philippines for contributions to diplomatic
affairs. End Summary.

¶2. (U) President Arroyo was accompanied by Secretary of
Foreign Affairs Alberto Romulo, Executive Secretary Eduardo
Ermita, Secretary of National Defense Norberto Gonzales and
Department of Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Lourdes
Yparraguirre. The Ambassador was accompanied by the DCM,
USAID Acting Mission Director, JUSMAG Chief and Political
Counselor.

BILATERAL TIES STRENGTHENED
—————————

¶3. (C) President Arroyo opened by congratulating the
Ambassador for her successful outreach to the Philippine
people over the course of nearly four years. Few Ambassadors
had achieved such popularity, the President noted. She
voiced deep appreciation for the growing strength and depth
of U.S.-Philippine bilateral ties, which had clearly
rebounded from the difficult years after the closing of U.S.
bases in the early 1990’s. That improvement had been aided
by the many high-level visits arranged during the
Ambassador’s tenure, both at the Presidential level at the
White House and Malacanang, as well as through many
Cabinet-level meetings and visits. The high level of
contacts and discussions manifested the importance and
strength of our relationship.

EXCELLENT U.S. RESPONSE FOR HAITI
———————————

¶4. (C) Turning to the recent earthquake in Haiti, President
Arroyo congratulated the United States on leading an
“excellent response” to the massive disaster. Noting that
this was a team effort by an array of nations and
international organizations, Arroyo said that the Philippines
was determined to do its part to help repay the extraordinary
help her country had received from a U.S.-led assistance
effort following damaging storms last fall.

¶5. (C) President Arroyo said a 21-member Philippine medical
team would arrive in Haiti January 25 to supplement the
efforts of the large Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)
peacekeeping contingent already in place. The Philippine
government was also planning to send additional police forces
to augment their peacekeepers in Haiti, as requested by the
UN. The President noted that Philippine Marine Major General
Natalio Ecarma had recently been confirmed as the head of the
UN peacekeeping operation in the Golan Heights, and that this
was just one of eight peacekeeping operations in which the
Philippines was participating. The Ambassador welcomed the
Philippine contributions to Haitian relief, and praised the
unstinting efforts of Filipino peacekeepers in Haiti and
other UN missions around the world.

IMPROVED MILITARY, STRONGER ECONOMY
———————————–

¶6. (C) The Ambassador welcomed the Philippines planned
expansion of its peacekeeping efforts, and said the AFP’s
excellent peacekeeping record was indicative of the growing
professionalization and capability of the armed forces
evident in the nearly four years she had served as
Ambassador. That positive trend had been matched on the

MANILA 00000125 002 OF 002

diplomatic front by the Philippines, important role in ASEAN
as a voice for democratization and human rights in Burma and
throughout the region, its leadership in the Nonproliferation
Treaty Review Conference, and its continuing success in
moving toward a Millennium Challenge Corporation compact.
Economically, there was good news in the massive growth in
call centers and other business process outsourcing
companies, many with U.S. ties, as well as the President’s
development of a &nautical highway8 of roll-on/roll-off
container ports to improve business and economic potential
throughout the Philippine archipelago ) though the issue of
maritime safety remained a major concern.

BUT MUST CONTINUE EFFORTS FOR PEACE, JUSTICE
——————————————–

¶7. (C) While noting the many positive achievements in the
Philippines in recent years, the Ambassador also stressed
that there was still much to be done during the remaining
months of the Arroyo administration. Key among these was
achieving a comprehensive peace agreement with the insurgent
Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Mindanao, as well as
bringing to justice those responsible for the tragic massacre
in Maguindanao province in November. The MILF peace talks
were showing slow but steady progress, the Ambassador said,
and a ceasefire was back in place and many internally
displaced persons had returned home. The Ambassador pledged
that the U.S. would continue to provide both military and
humanitarian development assistance to help counter
extremists in Mindanao, and was also developing plans to help
improve governance and health care in Maguindanao, which was
still under emergency rule.

HARD AND SOFT POWER PAY DIVIDENDS
———————————

¶8. (C) President Arroyo concurred on the need to continue
pressing for peace in Mindanao. She praised the paradigm of
“hard and soft power” that the U.S. and Philippines had
developed in the impoverished region, joining intensive
development assistance and livelihood programs with
aggressive military counterterrorism efforts to eliminate
extremist safehavens and create alternatives to taking up
arms. The President welcomed especially the intensive
efforts of USAID in the region, including the expansion of
Jolo airport, and other key infrastructure projects.

ORDER OF SIKATUNA
—————–

¶9. (U) Following the meeting, the President conferred upon
the Ambassador the Order of Sikatuna (Gold Grand Cross), the
highest honor conferred by the Philippines for contributions
to diplomatic affairs.

¶10. (U) The text of the citation follows. Begin text:

Be it known to all men by these presents that I, Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo, President of the Philippines by virtue of
the powers vested in me by law have caused to be inscribed in
the roster of the Order of Sikatuna the name of her
Excellency Kristie Anne Kenney, Ambassador Extraordinary and
Plenipotentiary of the United States of America, with the
rank of datu (gold distinction). Done in the City of Manila
this 21ST day of January in the year of our Lord two thousand
and ten.

End text.
KENNEY

   

 

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