Sep 192014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2009/07/09MANILA1462.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09MANILA1462
2009-07-10 09:23
2011-08-30 01:44
UNCLASSIFIED
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXYZ0008
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHML #1462/01 1910923
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 100923Z JUL 09
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4608
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
UNCLAS MANILA 001462

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV KISL KPAO EAID RP
SUBJECT: BUILDING BRIDGES TO PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT IN ZAMBOANGA

¶1. Summary. During a July 7 visit to Zamboanga City, the
Ambassador highlighted the depth and longevity of U.S. commitment to
peace and prosperity in Mindanao. The Ambassador spoke at the
inaugurations of three USG-sponsored projects, including a
commercial wireless internet broadband (WiMax) service for the city,
a Job Enabling English Proficiency project, and a neighborhood
footbridge. The Ambassador also reached out through radio and
television interviews, and stopped in for a visit at the local
American Corner. Local residents enthusiastically welcomed the
Ambassador, emphasizing their vision of Zamboanga at the center of a
forward-leaning Mindanao. End Summary.

—————————
Background: Zamboanga City
—————————

¶2. Zamboanga City is a multicultural city in the Southern
Philippines region of Mindanao, and is located at an important
crossroads for regional trade and economic activity. It also faces
peace and security challenges given its proximity to
conflict-affected areas of Mindanao and Sulu. The U.S. has a range
of development and security-related cooperation activities within
Zamboanga City. U.S. Joint Special Operations Task
Force-Philippines (JSOTF-P) is located at the Armed Forces of the
Philippines (AFP) Western Mindanao Command in Zamboanga City,
advising and assisting the AFP in a non-combat role.

——————————————— —-
USG Partnerships Lay Groundwork, Train Workers for Economic
Development
——————————————— —-

¶3. Over the past several years, Zamboanga City has attempted to
attract investments from the business process outsourcing firms that
employ tens of thousands across the Philippine archipelago. A lack
of sufficient information and communication technology
infrastructure to ensure fast and uninterrupted internet connections
has been a common concern of interested companies. In cooperation
with Globe Telecom, the Ambassador launched a cutting-edge
commercial internet service called WiMax that covers all of
Zamboanga City and aims to benefit not only enterprise but also
health and education sectors. Uniting the themes of peace and
development, the Ambassador expressed sadness at the previous day’s
deadly bombing attacks in Cotabato City and called for a return of
all sides to peace and reconciliation talks.

¶4. Building on new business, health, and education opportunities
provided by commercial WiMax service, the Ambassador also launched
USG-funded Job Enabling English Proficiency (JEEP) Projects at
Western Mindanao State University (WMSU) and Zamboanga State College
of Marine Science and Technology. The JEEP Project aims to improve
the employability of graduates of Mindanao colleges and universities
by expanding and enhancing English language training capabilities,
with particular focus on business process outsourcing, nursing, and
other job fields important to the Philippine economy. Of special
significance to the several hundred students and faculty in
attendance was the memorable detail that the USG provided funding
for the 1915-era grand social hall at WMSU where the event was
held.

——————————————— —-
Infrastructure Projects Bridge the Gap in Village Commerce and
Reconciliation
——————————————— —-

¶5. Under the Growth with Equity in Mindanao (GEM) Program, USAID
has financed 26 infrastructure projects in Zamboanga and more than
900 across Mindanao and Sulu, with 1,000 more planned in the next
four years. In leading the turnover of Tugbungan Footbridge to
local government officials, the Ambassador demonstrated the
importance of economic growth to sustainable peace, and the
continuing commitment of both the Philippine and U.S. governments to
the peace process.

———————-
A Legacy of Engagement
———————-

¶6. The residents of Zamboanga are not forgetful. In thanking the
Ambassador for USG investment in the JEEP Project, the President of
WMSU also recalled that much of the university infrastructure was
constructed with USG assistance dating back generations before.
Similarly, when the Ambassador paid a visit to the American Corner
at Ateneo de Zamboanga University, she was directed to a plaque
thanking the United States for its earlier 1987 investment for the
larger library where the American Corner is housed. Just as the
United States consistently encourages peace and development in
Mindanao, the President of Ateneo said his greatest challenge in
governing a university is not the education of students but rather
the advancement of peace and order.

————–
Media Outreach
————–

¶7. The Ambassador’s visit received extensive regional print and
broadcast coverage, as well as national print media coverage. In
addition to media asides at each event, the Ambassador also gave a
live interview to Radio Mindanao and a recorded interview to a local
television station. The Ambassador reached out to the diverse and
talented population of Zamboanga, highlighting U.S. assistance in
the region and encouraging a focus on peace and reconciliation as
Mindanao searches for sustained economic prosperity and development.
Thanking Zamboanguenos for welcoming her as an adopted daughter of
the city, the Ambassador took the opportunity to reaffirm
Zamboanga’s importance as a regional trade center and a leading city
of Mindanao.

KENNEY

   

 

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