Oct 212014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2006/11/06MANILA4834.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MANILA4834 2006-11-28 08:58 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Manila
VZCZCXRO9934
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #4834/01 3320858
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 280858Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4087
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 004834

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/21/2016
TAGS: PREL PINS KISL RP
SUBJECT: AMPATUAN CLAN CLAIMS SUPPORT FOR PEACE PROCESS, BUT VIES WITH MILF

REF: A. MANILA 4802
¶B. MANILA 4656
¶C. MANILA 4221

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

¶1. (C) Summary. During a meeting with dozens of leaders of
one of Central Mindanao’s most powerful clans, Governors
Andal and Zaldy Ampatuan told DCM and Embassy delegation that
they support the MILF peace process and want to work closely
with the USG. The Governors blamed the MILF for sporadic
local fighting, including assassination attempts against the
Ampatuans, and for harboring terrorists. They were highly
appreciative of US assistance, and requested that
US-Philippines Balikatan military exercises and
civil-military operations take place in their Central
Mindanao provinces. They supported consultations among the
government, MILF, and local leaders to improve security,
while maintaining that local armed militia continued to be
necessary to protect the people. (Note: these Civil Volunteer
Organizations are viewed by some, including the lead
government negotiator, as destabilizing.) The Ampatuans and
certain MILF local commanders remain engaged in a feud/land
dispute, which leaves key parts of Central Mindanao prone to
local fighting. Their larger contest is for political
control of Muslim Mindanao, which the Ampatuans currently
have and do not want to relinquish to the MILF as part of the
peace process. Our meeting took place in the opulent,
near-complete provincial capitol building in Shariff Aguak,
Maguindanao, which presides over an agriculturally rich and
conflicted region. End Summary.

——————————————— —
Ampatuans Want Peace, Security, and Development
——————————————— —

¶2. (SBU) Deputy Chief of Mission, Political Counselor, and
Poloff discussed peace, security, and development with the
patriarch of the Ampatuan Clan — Maguindanao Provincial
Governor Andal Ampatuan — and ARMM Governor Zaldy Ampatuan
at the Maguindanao capital of Shariff Aguak on November 17.
Present with the Ampatuans in a spacious conference room
within the provincial capital building were the appointed
governor of the newly created ARMM province of Shariff
Kabunsuan — Bimbo Q. Sinsuat (the son-in-law of Andal
Ampatuan) — and over 15 other regional, provincial, and
municipal level officials.

¶3. (C) Maguindanao Governor Ampatuan and his son ARMM
Governor Zaldy Ampatuan expressed support for the GRP-MILF
peace process and the resumption of GRP-MILF peace talks in
Kuala Lumpur. They particularly welcomed DCM’s remarks
regarding USAID’s assistance programs in conflict affected
areas of Mindanao.

———————
MILF Viewed as Threat
———————

¶4. (C) In his comments, which were supplemented by a
one-page written document handed to Emboffs, Maguindanao
Governor Ampatuan blamed the MILF for all of the outbreaks of
sporadic fighting in Maguindanao. Ampatuan also accused the
MILF of supporting JI members and other terrorists noting
that no foreign individuals could remain in MILF controlled
territories without the knowledge of MILF members.

¶5. (C) The one-page document described the Ampatuan Clan as
the “last bastion” of pro-GRP supporters in Maguindanao
Province, and among the only Muslim political and clan
leaders consistently trusted by Presidents of the
Philippines, including Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. The document
also asserted that the MILF considered the Ampatuan Clan as
its most prominent political enemy, in addition to a
stumbling block to all anti-GRP activities of the MILF and
other rebel groups.

¶6. (C) Provincial Administrator Unas claimed that the MILF
and “other armed enemies of the GRP” were responsible for six
bombings, ambushes, and other assassination attempts against
Maguindanao Governor Ampatuan and members of the Ampatuan
family, including the December 24, 2002, bombing that killed
the Governor’s son, Saudie Ampatuan. Unas also mentioned the
two explosions from mortar attacks that occurred outside of
the Shariff Kabunsuan Complex in Cotabato City while ARMM
Governor Zaldy Ampatuan delivered his second State of the
Region Address on November 13.

MANILA 00004834 002 OF 002

———–
Help Wanted
———–

¶7. (C) ARMM Governor Ampatuan was deeply appreciative of US
assistance, and requested consideration of additional U.S.
development assistance for elementary and secondary
education, medical outreach, road infrastructure, and
livelihood programs. He requested that US-Philippine
Balikatan exercises and civil-military operations be held in
Maguindanao and Shariff Kabunsuan Provinces to improve the
security situation in central Mindanao.

¶8. (C) Governor Ampatuan appealed for the U.S. Embassy to
use its influence with Malacanang to bring about
consultations between the GRP, MILF, ARMM Regional
Government, and local governments regarding the GRP-MILF
peace process. There has been growing frustration at the
grassroots level, particularly among local governments, over
being left behind in the peace process, according to
Ampatuan.

————————
CVOs Needed For Security
————————

¶9. (C) Governor Ampatuan expressed support for armed
Civilian Volunteer Organizations (CVOs) as security forces.
Ampatuan claimed that CVOs — which have been criticized in
the past for serving as private armies for local politicians
— were under the operational and administrative control of
the Philippine National Police, and remained a major
component for security within the region.

———————————–
Local Flashpoint for Armed Conflict
———————————–

¶10. (C) International Monitoring Team (IMT) Head of Mission
Major General Dato Md Ismael Bin Ahmad Khan told DCM and
Poloff on November 17 that the GRP-MILF ceasefire continued
to hold and that the primary remaining “flashpoint” for armed
conflict in central Mindanao was Maguindanao. Although the
MILF 105th Base Command was replaced by the MILF 104th Base
Command in parts of this area, sporadic clashes continued to
occur between the MILF and CVOs/Armed Forces of the
Philippines. Eliminating the potential for violence near
Shariff Aguak would remain a challenge, according to IMT Head
Khan, until the feud/land dispute between the Ampatuans and
elements of the MILF could be resolved.

¶11. (C) IMT Head Khan welcomed the recent addition of a
Japanese development expert to the IMT Headquarters in
Cotabato City, and he hoped for future deployment of several
representatives from Sweden to the IMT. He also welcomed a
greater U.S. role in the peace process, including U.S.
development assistance for conflict affected areas in
Mindanao.

——–
Comment:
——–

¶12. (C) The Ampatuan Clan, which controls governors and
mayors in key parts of Central Mindanao, is a formidable
factor in the peace process. The Ampatuans wrested political
control of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao from the
MNLF, which had received that control via its 1996 peace
agreement with the government. The Ampatuans do not want to
relinquish their political control to the MILF in its peace
process. Their feud/land dispute with local MILF commanders
is a manifestation of this power-contest, which will continue
to require the management by the Philippine Armed Forces and
the International Monitoring Team.
Visit Embassy Manila’s Classified SIPRNET website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eap/manila/index. cfm

You can also access this site through the State Department’s
Classified SIPRNET website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/

KENNEY

   

 

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.