Oct 242014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2008/06/08MANILA1384.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08MANILA1384
2008-06-10 23:53
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Manila

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ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 102353Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0949
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 MANILA 001384

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/10/2018
TAGS: MARR MASS MCAP PREL RP
SUBJECT: JCS CHAIRMAN VIEWS COUNTERTERROR EFFORTS, MEETS WITH PHILIPPINE MILITARY COUNTERPART

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

¶1. (C) SUMMARY: During his visit to the Philippines June
1-2, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike
Mullen greeted U.S. Special Forces troops in the Southern
Philippines, met with his Philippine counterpart, laid a
wreath at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, spoke to
Embassy employees at a town hall meeting, and breakfasted
with all U.S. military personnel at Embassy Manila. It was
the first visit by a U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs to the
Philippines since 2002. Stopping in the Philippines after
his participation in the Shangri-La Dialogues in Singapore,
Admiral Mullen pressed the Philippine military leadership on
its commitment to improved human rights and praised their
focus on professionalizing the Philippine Armed Forces. The
Chairman reinforced the importance of the U.S.-Philippine
relationship, saying that the USG would stay engaged and
focused in the Philippines, particularly in supporting
efforts to interdict terrorists, improve border security, and
share lessons the USG has learned in other theaters. END
SUMMARY.

——————————————
ADMIRAL MULLEN VISITS SOUTHERN PHILIPPINES
——————————————

¶2. (C) U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS)
Admiral Mike Mullen visited the Philippines June 1-2, the
first visit by a JCS Chairman to the country since 2002.
Accompanied by the Ambassador and key Embassy team members
during his 20-hour visit, Admiral Mullen visited U.S. troops
of Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines (JSOTF-P)
at their facility inside the Armed Forces of the Philippines
(AFP) Western Mindanao Command Headquarters. Philippine
Armed Forces Chief of Staff Alexander Yano accompanied
Admiral Mullen for a brief office all on regional commander
Lieutenant General Nelson Allaga and his staff. General
Allaga thanked Admiral Mullen for the U.S. military’s
continued support and specifically mentioned the superb
efforts of the JSOTF-P personnel in supporting combat
operations and civil-military activities.

¶3. (C) Admiral Mullen met with an Embassy interagency team
at the JSOTF-P compound and was briefed on the mix of
military civil-military operations, USAID projects, public
affairs programming, and law enforcement activities that make
up the Embassy’s multi-faceted approach to combating
terrorism and countering insurgent movements. Responding to
Admiral Mullen’s query about the AFP’s capabilities, JSOTF-P
personnel informed the Admiral that the AFP had a strong
commitment to the mission of defeating terrorists in the
Southern Philippines but that they lacked resources,
including weapons, night vision devices, artillery systems,
and patrol boats.

——————
AFP CHIEF OF STAFF
——————

¶4. (C) In Manila, Admiral Mullen met with General Yano and
his staff at AFP General Headquarters. The two had a
wide-ranging and substantive discussion. General Yano took
the opportunity to highlight progress the Philippine Armed
Forces had made in addressing extrajudicial killings and
corruption. Yano said that although the AFP had received
criticism, there was no government policy that sanctioned
extrajudicial killings and that he had made it a priority to
boost the morale and ethical reputation of the military,
citing the recent handover to civilian authorities of an
enlisted soldier suspected in the murder of a labor leader.
Admiral Mullen praised Yano for his commitment to combating
corruption, saying Yano had a positive reputation as a leader
who promoted transparency, a reputation that was widely known
outside the Philippines. Yano acknowledged that corruption
exists in the Philippine Armed Forces and that he was taking
measures to stem it — including conducting court martial
proceedings against a Major General facing corruption charges
— but that military personnel were entitled to due process.
Admiral Mullen concurred, emphasizing that consistency in the
judicial system was key in influencing younger officers to
follow a path that respects human rights and is free of
corruption.

¶5. (C) Turning to U.S.-Philippine cooperation on

MANILA 00001384 002 OF 003

counterterrorism issues, Yano thanked the Admiral for the
sustained U.S. commitment to the Philippine Armed Forces. He
said the support of the Embassy and USG team had been
critical to the successes the Philippine government had
achieved against Abu Sayyaf Group and Jemaah Islamiyah
terrorists over the last two years. However, Yano said that
now was the time to step up efforts to interdict the
remaining high-value terrorists in the Sulu Archipelago.
Yano emphasized that civil-military operations would be
matched with more surgical strikes to reduce terrorist
support and minimize the prospect of collateral damage among
civilians, but that the AFP’s greatest challenge was
identifying the terrorists and their supporters among the
complex and interrelated social networks that typify the
Southern Philippines. Admiral Mullen acknowledged this
difficulty, saying that it is too easy to try to label
individuals as having a specific affiliation when the reality
is that one person could be allied with multiple insurgent or
terrorist groups and even have relatives in the government.

¶6. (C) Admiral Mullen emphasized to Yano that U.S.
assistance to the Philippine Armed Forces would continue,
noting that at the Shangri-La Dialogues, Secretary Gates had
stressed that U.S. engagement in the Philippines was
beneficial to both countries. U.S. forces in Afghanistan and
Iraq had learned much in the last six years, Admiral Mullen
said, particularly in how technology, intelligence, and
information have to be integrated, assessed, and utilized.
That knowledge should be shared with our Philippine allies,
so that U.S. and Philippine forces together can make the best
use of lessons we have learned in other theaters. General
Yano said that such information sharing was welcome and added
that he hoped the U.S. would continue funding for Philippine
Defense Reform and maritime border security, two areas in
which the Philippine Armed Forces was making tremendous
progress with U.S. assistance.

——————————————— —————
AMERICAN CEMETERY, TOWN HALL, AND EMBASSY MILITARY PERSONNEL
——————————————— —————

¶7. (SBU) While in Manila, Admiral Mullen breakfasted at the
Ambassador’s residence with approximately 30 members of the
U.S. military assigned to Embassy Manila. The group included
representatives of the Joint U.S. Military Assistance Group,
JSOTF-P, Defense Attach Office, Military Liaison Element,
and Marine Guard Detachment. Admiral Mullen and his staff
also visited the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, where
over 17,000 U.S. soldiers are buried, to lay a wreath at the
memorial. The Chairman concluded his visit by addressing a
town hall meeting at the U.S. Embassy, attended by more than
300 Mission employees and capped off with the promotion
ceremony of one of the Mission’s military officers. In his
comments, Admiral Mullen warmly praised the Embassy’s
interagency cooperation he had witnessed during his visit and
said it was critical to the success of U.S. counterterrorism
efforts in the Philippines.

——-
COMMENT
——-

¶8. (C) Admiral Mullen’s visit came at a key time, with
General Yano having been on the job less than a month as AFP
Chief. During his discussions with Admiral Mullen, Yano
displayed a deft conversational style that reinforces our
assessment that he is a strategic thinker. General Yano took
the opportunity to introduce his entire staff to Admiral
Mullen, and Yano’s mention of specific programs such as
Philippine Defense Reform, the Coast Watch South maritime
security initiative, and the Battalion Retraining Program
appeared to be aimed at boosting confidence among his new
team that he would champion these issues in meetings with
U.S. counterparts. At the same time, Yano took the
initiative to discuss candidly the AFP’s focus on improving
its record on human rights and corruption. This may have had
the dual purpose of reassuring USG interlocutors that these
are front-burner issues, while sending a message to Yano’s
staff that he is serious about tackling extrajudicial
killings and corruption. Admiral Mullen said the visit of
President Arroyo to Washington this month for a meeting with
President Bush was reflective of the strength of our
bilateral relationship and that the Philippines will continue
to be a priority for the United States.

MANILA 00001384 003 OF 003

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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