Oct 272014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/01/07MANILA104.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MANILA104 2007-01-10 09:21 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Manila
VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHML #0104/01 0100921
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 100921Z JAN 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4604
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING IMMEDIATE 5942
RUEHGZ/AMCONSUL GUANGZHOU IMMEDIATE 4291
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG IMMEDIATE 4510
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
UNCLAS MANILA 000104

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR R; EAP/PD AGRIMES; EAP/MTS; S/ES-EX

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OVIP OTRA KPAO CH RP

SUBJECT: COUNTRY CLEARANCE FOR KAREN P. HUGHES, UNDER SECRETARY FOR
PUBLIC AFFAIRS AND PUBLIC DIPLOMACY, AND HER DELEGATION TO THE
PHILIPPINES, JANUARY 24-27, 2007.

REF: (A) STATE 02899; (B) MANILA 0041

¶1. Embassy Manila warmly welcomes and grants country clearance to
Karen P. Hughes, Under Secretary for Public Affairs and Public
Diplomacy; Col. Christopher Krisinger, Senior Advisor; and Ms.
Katherine D. Balls, Special Assistant, for their January 24-27, 2007
visit to the Philippines.

¶2. Lee McClenny, Counselor for Public Affairs, will be the Control
Officer for this visit. Mr. McClenny’s contact info is as follows:
— Email: McClennyL@state.gov
— Office tel: (63-2) 523-1326
— Cell Phone: (63-918) 948-6456
— Fax: (63-2) 522-1802

¶3. Under Secretary Hughes and delegation will be met at the airport
by Embassy staff. Post will gladly fulfill lodging, tech support,
and fiscal requirements listed in Ref A.

¶4. We have made reservations for Secretary Hughes, Col. Krisinger,
and Ms. Balls at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel; tel: (63-2) 750-8888;
fax: (63-2) 817-2472. We will provide room assignment information
to Col. Krisinger.

¶5. We have sent a scenesetter for the visit in septel (Ref B).

¶6. For all visitors – Terrorism: In light of recent events, the
State Department urges all visitors to maintain a high level of
vigilance and to increase their security awareness when traveling
throughout the Philippines. All travelers are urged to review the
State Department’s most recent Public Announcement on the
Philippines. Due to the United States’ efforts in the on-going War
Against Terrorism, the potential for retaliatory acts against
Americans worldwide is real.

The terrorist threat to Americans in the Philippines remains high,
and the Embassy continues to receive reports of ongoing activities
by known terrorists groups. In view of a number of security-related
incidents and the possibility of future terrorism, and other
violence or criminal activity, Americans traveling to or residing in
the Philippines are urged to exercise great caution and maintain
heightened security awareness. The Government of the Philippines
(GRP) has been engaged on-and-off in negotiations with domestic
Communist and Muslim rebels with varying degrees of success. The
countrywide Communist Party of the Philippines (CCP) and its armed
wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), remains a force to be reckoned
with and at times represents a security concern to American citizens
and interests. Although it does not specifically target Americans,
the Mindanao-based Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has in the
past waged violent, armed struggle against the Philippine
Government, and Americans should bear this in mind if traveling to
areas where the MILF operates. Extremist groups present in
Southeast Asia, such as Jemaah Islamiyah, have demonstrated
transnational capabilities to carry out attacks against locations
where Westerners congregate. Terrorist groups do not distinguish
between official and civilian targets.

¶7. The U.S. Embassy urges visitors to avoid large crowds,
including, among other places, nightclubs and bars, and to exercise
special caution in public places or when using public
transportation. Visitors should always follow some very basic and
important security countermeasures: a) avoid establishing a pattern
or routine; b) vary travel times and routes to the extent possible
— particularly important for home to office transportation; and c)
maintain a low profile. It is also important immediately to report
any unusual activity, including possible surveillance, to the RSO.

¶8. Extortionists have kidnapped several Filipinos and foreigners,
including five American children, in recent years. Kidnappers
operating in Metro Manila and throughout the Philippines have
snatched family members of prominent local business leaders and
politicians for financial gain, to make a political statement, or as
part of business, land, or personal disputes. In January 2004, an
American businessman was abducted in the Makati commercial district
of Metro Manila and was held captive for 21 days before he was
rescued by Philippine law enforcement authorities.

¶9. Crime: Crime is a serious concern in Manila, not unlike many of
the major metropolitan areas in the United States. Common sense is
the rule of thumb. There are frequent reports of confidence games,
pick pocketing, moneychanger and credit card fraud. No one is
immune from criminal activity due to the eroding economic situation
in the Philippines. We urge all visitors to be wary of individuals
who attempt to befriend you, especially after just arriving in
country, and do not accept food or drink from strangers. There have

been a few reports of robberies involving the “date rape drug,”
locally known as Ativan. These crimes involve a well-dressed,
well-mannered stranger(s) who befriends the victim and offer
refreshments laced with Ativan; after losing consciousness, the
victim is robbed and then dumped in an isolated spot.

Avoid wearing too much jewelry and carrying large amounts of money
on your person. Visitors should take advantage of safety deposit
boxes at hotels. It is advisable to carry only what you need in
your shirt or front pants pocket. Considering Metro Manila is
teeming with nighttime activity, avoid wandering in unfamiliar areas
alone, particularly at night. Visitors who frequent lower quality
nightclubs and bars are susceptible to drugging (Ativan) and
robbery.

¶10. Travel: Before traveling to the Philippines, we urge you
to visit the State Department’s web site at www.state.gov for the
latest security and travel information. All Americans should defer
travel to isolated beach resorts and avoid personal travel to the
islands of Mindanao and Sulu Archipelago. The RSO must approve all
official travel to these islands in advance. Finally, Americans are
warned to avoid hiking or camping in the Mt. Pinatubo area.

Within the Metro Manila area, taxis are the recommended form of
public transportation and are generally safe. You should request
that the meter be used–if the driver is unwilling, wait for another
cab. We recommend that you jot down or make a mental note of the
license plate number of the taxi should problems arise. All other
forms of public transportation, such as the light rail system,
jeepneys, or public buses should be avoided for both safety and
security reasons.

If you have additional security-related questions, you may contact
the RSO either through your control officer or directly at (632)
528-6300, ext 2290, (632) 522-2337 (FAX), or at RSOmanila@state.gov
(unclassified email).

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

JONES

   

 

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