Oct 222014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2006/11/06MANILA4836.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MANILA4836 2006-11-29 00:57 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Manila
VZCZCXRO0786
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #4836/01 3330057
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 290057Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4090
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF 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 004836

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/23/2016
TAGS: PREL PINS KISL MY RP
SUBJECT: GOVERNMENT OFFERS MILF “SELF-DETERMINATION” INSTEAD OF NEW TERRITORY

REF: A. MANILA 4802

¶B. MANILA 4656

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

¶1. (C) Summary. At President Arroyo’s direction following
her POTUS meeting on the margins of APEC, Chief GRP
negotiator Secretary Afable briefed us November 22 on the
government’s new offer to the MILF to allow the Muslims of
Mindanao to establish their own form of government in Muslim
majority territories of Mindanao. The proposal side-steps
the MILF demand for “ancestral domain” over non-Muslim
majority territory by offering extensive self-government,
including police powers, in Muslim territories, in sharp
contrast to the heavily negotiated powersharing arrangements
of the MNLF’s 1996 peace agreement. Afable explained that
“self-determination” was always the stated goal of MNLF and
MILF leaders, and would be difficult for MILF leaders to
reject. The proposal would force leaders of Muslim factions
to unite, or at least cohabitate, instead of each seeking a
better deal from Manila. “Self-Determination” had always
been anathema to Manila, but the Administration now believed
that Congress and local Christian leaders in Mindanao would
agree to let the Muslims govern themselves as they choose.
The proposal’s risks include a slide towards independence and
reducing central government control over terrorist havens,
but Afable underscored that the Philippine Armed Forces would
retain jurisdiction over a potentially more politically
peaceful Muslim territory. If the MILF accepts the proposal,
Afable said the government would place it squarely in the
2007 election congressional election campaign, hoping that
newly elected congressmen would promise to support the
proposal with a framework law. A transitional council in the
current territory of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao
would be responsible for convening delegates to draft a new
charter for Muslim Mindanao, under which new leaders would be
elected in 2010. The MILF has yet to respond to this
dramatic new proposal. End Summary.

——————————–
Self-Determination and its Risks
——————————–

¶2. (C) GRP Peace Panel Chief Secretary Silvestre Afable told
Deputy Chief of Mission on November 22 that the government
had offered the MILF “self-determination” in a Bangsamoro
Juridical Entity (BJE) covering the six provinces of the
Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), and possibly
some additional Muslim majority geographic areas contiguous
to the ARMM. Given the long-standing call by Muslim leaders
for self-determination, Secretary Afable believed the MILF
would find it difficult to reject the proposal, even though
it would mean dropping their claims to non-Muslim majority
territories to become part of BJE under the concept of
“ancestral domain.” Rejecting such an offer for
self-determination would be difficult for the MILF Central
Committee to explain to the Muslim populace in Mindanao,
according to Afable.

¶3. (C) Afable said President Arroyo and her cabinet had
approved the proposal, though some cabinet members were
initially concerned that self-determination could mean a
slide towards independence, encouraging the MNLF to renew its
claims to Sabah, Malaysia. Afable believed that the concept
of independence was no longer a danger, after many years of
negotiations on the basis of autonomy. He acknowledged that
MNLF leader Nur Misuari, whom he knows well, continues to
hope to reclaim Sabah, but believed that problem was
manageable. Other cabinet members raised concerns over the
central government’s ability to enforce law in the Muslim
entity. Afable acknowledged this risk, but believed that
Muslim leaders could be very effective with their own police
force against terrorists and drug traffickers. In any event,
he pointed out, the Armed Forces of the Philippines will
continue to exercise jurisdiction in the new entity.

———————————-
Local Government Leaders Receptive
———————————-

¶4. (C) Afable said that Presidential Peace Advisor “Jess”
Dureza had quietly sought the views of some of Mindanao’s
Christian leaders, who have been highly concerned that their
localities would be handed to a new Muslim entity in a peace
agreement. They were receptive to Muslim self government,
including Zamboanga City Mayor Celso Lobregat, as long as
their own municipalities were not included in the Muslim
entity, according to Afable.

MANILA 00004836 002 OF 002

——————————————— —
Moro Self-Determination to Become Election Issue
——————————————— —

¶5. (C) Afable noted the Arroyo Administration’s plan to
mobilize support for the new proposal among political
candidates in the May 2007 elections. Passage of a law
regarding the framework for the new Muslim entity would be
placed on the agenda of the new Congress after the elections,
according to Afable. Upon the expiration of ARMM Governor
Zaldy Ampatuan’s term of office in 2008, President Arroyo
intends to form a transitional council that would convene
delegates to a convention to draft a new governing structure
for their entity. After years of negotiating with Muslim
leaders on institutional arrangements, Afable said he had
concluded that political systems emphasizing overt contests
between those in power and an opposition were not suited to
the more consensus-oriented Muslim culture. He believed the
Muslims themselves could establish more appropriate governing
mechanisms than could be established in negotiations with the
central government. He did not predict any difficulties over
central government control of foreign affairs, national
defense, and national monetary policy.

——-
Comment
——-

¶6. (C) The government’s new proposal is a creative effort to
break the impasse in the negotiations over MILF claims to
non-Muslim majority territory. It may turn the tables on the
MILF, MNLF, the Ampatuan clan and others who seem more
interested in negotiating separately with Manila than
coordinating among themselves. However, Mindanao is full of
factions vying for power who have no current intention of
sharing power in a Muslim entity. The MILF has said that it
is carefully studying the new proposal.

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

   

 

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