Oct 092014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2006/08/06MANILA3472.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MANILA3472 2006-08-18 07:58 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Manila
VZCZCXRO4016
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #3472/01 2300758
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 180758Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2558
INFO RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 003472

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

STATE FOR H, EAP/MTS, EB/CIP
STATE PASS USTR
USDOC FOR 4430 ITA/MAC/ASIA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETRD EAID PREL SCUL OREP KPAO RP
SUBJECT: CODEL HYDE DISCUSSES ECONOMY AND COUNTER-TERRORISM ASSISTANCE WITH PRESIDENT ARROYO

REF: MANILA 03401

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED – NOT FOR INTERNET DISTRIBUTION – PROTECT
ACCORDINGLY

¶1. (SBU) Summary. Chairman of the House International Relations
Committee Henry Hyde and members of his delegation met with
President Arroyo and senior GRP officials over dinner August 12.
They discussed the improving economy; a potential U.S.-Philippine
FTA; plans for the Philippine chairmanship of ASEAN; a Philippine
suggestion for a counter-terrorism summit at APEC; and, Burma.
President Arroyo expressed deep appreciation for ongoing U.S.
development, humanitarian, and military assistance to fight
terrorism in Mindanao. Philippine House Speaker de Venecia noted
that the Philippines was making no new requests for assistance, now
that President Arroyo had put the government on a sound financial
footing. President Arroyo said the Philippines only sought a strong
partnership with the U.S. End Summary.

¶2. (U) Chairman of the House International Relations Committee
Henry Hyde and Congressmen Dana Rohrabacher, Eni Faleomavaega,
Melvin Watt, and Jeff Flake, accompanied by Mrs. Watt, Mrs. Flake,
Congressional staff, Charge and Emboff, met with President Gloria
Macapagal Arroyo over dinner at Malacanang Palace on August 12.
Joining the President were Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, House
Speaker Jose de Venecia, Secretary of Defense Avelino Cruz, Acting
Secretary of Foreign Affairs Franklin Ebdalin, and DFA Assistant

SIPDIS
Secretary for the Americas Rey Carandang.

SIPDIS

—————————–
Appreciation for U.S. Support
—————————–

¶3. (SBU) President Arroyo expressed her government’s deep
appreciation for U.S. support, particularly for the programs
implemented by the Joint Special Operations Task Force and USAID in
Mindanao, as well as for Philippine defense reform. With U.S.
assistance, economic development is underway even in conflict areas
such as Jolo and Basilan islands, she remarked, and the joint
U.S.-Philippine Balikatan training exercises are resounding
successes (REFTEL). Praising the enormously positive impact of the
visit of the U.S. Hospital ship Mercy, the President added that she
is looking for a way to convert her Presidential yacht for medical
missions to Mindanao.

———————
ASEAN and APEC Issues
———————

¶4. (SBU) President Arroyo described the Philippines’ new role as
chair of ASEAN and host of the next ASEAN+3 meeting, East Asia
Summit, and the ASEAN summit meeting in Cebu this December.
Congressman Rohrabacher expressed concerns about engaging in free
trade with countries with non-democratic regimes and human rights
issues, including China, Burma, and Vietnam. The President said
that as the oldest democratic ally of the U.S. in Asia, the
Philippines would support democratic reform in these countries. The
President and Speaker de Venecia noted that the ASEAN+3 meeting
could be an opportunity to bring China, Japan, and Korea together to
discuss trade and human rights. President Arroyo proposed a broad
counter-terrorism summit of Asian leaders, which could perhaps
coincide with the next APEC meeting.

¶5. (SBU) Congressman Rohrabacher expressed concern that Burma’s
military regime would use the ongoing visit of Philippine Secretary
of Foreign Affairs Alberto Romulo as an opportunity to gain
credibility. President Arroyo recounted how she broke with ASEAN to
support reporting Burma to the UN Security Council, and assured the
Congressmen that Romulo would take a tough line with Burma, pushing
for democratic reform and the release of Aung San Suu Kyi.

—————————-
Philippine Economy Improving
—————————-

¶6. (SBU) In a lively presentation, President Arroyo explained how
her fiscal reforms are allowing the GRP to repay its debt early,
balance its budget by 2008, and invest in critical infrastructure to
boost the economy. Speaker de Venecia noted that the Philippines
was not requesting additional assistance from the USG due to the
President’s successful economic reforms. The President said that
the Philippines only sought a strong partnership with the U.S. as a
treaty ally and number one partner in trade, investment and

MANILA 00003472 002 OF 002

assistance.

¶7. (SBU) Speaker de Venecia noted that the Philippines is near
completion of a free trade arrangement with Japan. He asked if the
United States would negotiate a Free Trade Agreement with the
Philippines. The Congressmen stated that a Free Trade Agreement
would be worth considering, but noted that Presidential Trade
Authority is unlikely to be renewed. President Arroyo said she
believed it was important to get started on an FTA with the U.S.,
even if it takes time to complete.

¶8. (SBU) Regarding trade, President Arroyo remarked that, since the
expiration of the U.S. textile quota system in 2003, the Philippines
garment industry has suffered great losses due to competition with
China, particularly in exporting low-cost goods to the U.S. Over
the past year, however, the garment industry recovered from these
losses by shifting to production of high-end clothing. The
President said the GRP is concerned about competition from Vietnam,
now that U.S. markets are open to Vietnamese goods.

———————————————
Plans to Improve English Language Proficiency
———————————————

¶9. (SBU) President Arroyo explained that English language
proficiency had decreased markedly in the Philippines since Tagalog
became the primary medium of instruction in a period of post-Marcos
nationalism in the late 1980’s. She directed the Education
Department to return to English as the primary medium of instruction
in schools, but admitted the government did not have sufficient
funds fully to implement the program. She had recently selected
Congressman Jesli Lapus as the new Secretary of Education due to his
proven record spearheading the country’s economic reforms. Now that
he is in charge of the department with the largest budget, the
President predicted that he would be able to implement her
English-language policy, which would create more economic
opportunities for Filipinos, at home and abroad. The President
added that she was particularly grateful for the ongoing support of
the Peace Corps in English language programs, including those in
Mindanao.

¶10. CODEL Hyde did not have the opportunity to clear this cable.

JONES

   

 

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