Oct 242014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/02/07MANILA608.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MANILA608 2007-02-23 06:34 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Manila
VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHML #0608/01 0540634
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 230634Z FEB 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5398
INFO RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA IMMEDIATE 2494
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RUEHIN/AIT TAIPEI IMMEDIATE 1420
UNCLAS MANILA 000608

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OREP EINV BEXP PREL MCAP RP
SUBJECT: CONGRESSMAN CHABOT HELPS KICK OFF BALIKATAN 07 EXERCISE

REF: MANILA 560

¶1. (U) Summary. During his February 18-20 visit to the
Philippines, U.S. Congressman Steve Chabot (R-OH) joined
Ambassador, Philippine Secretary of National Defense Ebdane,
and high ranking U.S. and Philippine military officials at
the Opening Ceremony of Balikatan 2007, the annual
U.S.-Philippines joint military exercise. Congressman Chabot
also toured the facilities of two major Ohio-based companies
– a Procter & Gamble plant in Cabuyao and a Convergys call
center in Manila. He separately met with the Philippine
Speaker of the House Jose De Venecia and toured the American
Military Cemetery in Manila. His visit was another symbol of
the strong partnership and close friendship between our two
countries, and Embassy would welcome additional Congressional
visitors. End Summary.

———————————-
AFP: Transforming While Performing
———————————-

¶2. (U) U.S. Congressman Steve Chabot (R-OH) joined
Ambassador, Philippine Secretary of National Defense
Hermogenes Ebdane, and high ranking U.S. and Philippine
military officials at the opening ceremony of Balikatan 2007,
the major annual joint exercise involving Armed Forces of the
Philippines (AFP) and U.S. military units. The ceremony
received widespread coverage in the local media, including
photos of the Congressman with the other dignitaries.

¶3. (U) After the ceremony, the Congressman and Ambassador
met privately with Secretary Ebdane and AFP Chief of Staff
General Hermogenes Esperon. Secretary Ebdane and General
Esperon briefed the Congressman on the ongoing Philippine
Defense Reform program jointly funded by our two governments,
stressing that the AFP has “come a long way” since the
inception of the program. General Esperon explained that the
first phase focuses on internal security operations and
strives to achieve “quick wins” by producing tangible results
for soldiers in terms of equipment and training. He pointed
out that the AFP is in the process of devising “performance
measures” to “make sure there will be no backsliding.” With
the AFP currently engaged in fighting terrorists and
communist insurgents, General Esperon added that “while
transforming, we must be performing.”

¶4. (U) Congressman Chabot commended the U.S.-Philippine
partnership and lauded the Philippines for its efforts in the
war on terror. General Esperon asked Congressman Chabot “to
thank Congress for U.S. support, especially the
intelligence,” adding that “none of the operations would
succeed without it.”

——————————
Procter & Gamble Factory Visit
——————————

¶5. (U) The Congressman traveled outside of Metro-Manila to
visit the Procter & Gamble plant in the town of Cabuyao. P&G
– a Cincinnati-based company – first established its presence
in the Philippines in 1935 and, except during the Japanese
occupation in World War II, has operated successfully here
ever since. P&G manufactures a wide-range of products in the
Philippines, including detergents and various paper hygiene
products. Plant managers stated that 85% of the goods
produced at the Cabuyao plant are for local sale and that the
Philippines ranks among the top 12 markets for P&G. The
company employs approximately 1,000 people nation-wide.

———————
Convergys Call Center
———————

¶6. (U) Congressman Chabot also toured the call center
facilities of another Cincinnati company, Convergys.
Convergys has grown at a prodigious rate in the Philippines
since beginning operations here in 2003. Today, the company
employs over 10,000 people at seven locations throughout the
country, providing call center services to the American
market in customer care, accounts receivable management,
finance and accounting, information management and human
resources.

¶7. (U) According to the operations manager, the Philippine
call center industry has a leg-up on foreign competition
particularly because of the Filipino familiarity with
American culture and the “neutral” accent of Filipino
English. Nevertheless, company officials expressed concern
that English language proficiency in the Philippines is far
from optimal. With the stupendous growth of Philippine BPO
sector (the Philippine Board of Investment forecasts an
annual growth rate of 100%), competition for talent is
fierce. Moreover, due to sub-par language skills of the
hiring pool, the company hires on average only five out of
every 100 applicants. To fill the call center seats, the
Convergys has resorted to what it calls “interventions” for
near-hire applicants. Presently, Convergys is providing
language training directly to some 700 students, and, in
partnership with the government, is training English teachers
as well.

¶8. (U) The Congressman, who is the ranking Republican
member of the House Small Business Committee, also met with
representatives of the U.S. Commercial Service and Foreign
Agricultural Service at the Embassy’s Makati-based American
Business Center for a discussion of the Mission’s support to
other U.S. firms, including the successes in the market of
several small Ohio companies.

————————–
Call on Speaker De Venecia
————————–

¶9. (SBU) Congressman Chabot called on Philippine Speaker of
the House Jose De Venecia at the Speaker’s home. Congressman
Chabot thanked Speaker De Venecia for his country’s efforts
to combat terrorism, and congratulated the Speaker on the
anti-terrorism bill passed by the Philippine legislature in a
special session the day before (reftel). Congressman Chabot
expressed concern about extrajudicial killings (EJKs) in the
Philippines. The Speaker opined that most of these killings
were due to internal purges within the ranks of the left as
well as revenge killings by families of slain soldiers.
Congressman Chabot also encouraged the Speaker to rein in
corruption, a step which he said would attract U.S.
businesses and investment.

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

KENNEY

   

 

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