Oct 272014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2005/04/05MANILA1955.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
05MANILA1955 2005-04-29 08:53 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Manila
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 001955

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

DEPARTMENT FOR EAP/PMBS,INR/EAP, USIP – SOLOMON
USAID FOR INFO PHILIPPINE DESK OFFICER CALISTA DOWNEY,
ANE/DAA DEBBIE KENNEDY-IRAHETA, ANE/EAA KAY FREEMAN, DAA
WALTER NORTH
NSC FOR GREEN
SEOUL FOR ERIC JOHN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PTER KISL PGOV PHUM PINS PREL MOPS RP
SUBJECT: JOLO LOCALS WELCOME US ATTENTION

REF: A. MANILA 835
¶B. 04 MANILA 5628
¶C. 04 MANILA 3817
¶D. 04 MANILA 3939

¶1. (SBU) Summary. Ambassador’s April 22 visit to Jolo Town,
the capital of Sulu Province, centered on handover ceremonies
for several USAID-funded assistance programs including road
projects, village electrification, and Internet-linked
computers for an elementary school. USAID Manila Mission
Director, visiting SOCPAC Commander, and the Italian
Ambassador accompanied local politicians and military
commanders who warmly responded to US military proposals to
assess local humanitarian needs in cooperation with the Armed
Forces of the Philippines (AFP). End Summary.

Local Appreciation
——————

¶2. (SBU) Ambassador’s delegation to Jolo included Italian
Ambassador to the Philippines Umberto Colesanti, Autonomous
Region In Muslim Mindanao Governor Parouk Hussin, Sulu
Governor Benjamin Loong, USAID-P Mission Director Dr. Michael
Yates, US Defense Attache Colonel Terry Cook, and visiting
BGen David Fridovich, the Commanding Officer of Special
Operations Command – Pacific (SOCPAC).

¶3. (SBU) The April 22 tour of the city showcased the range
of USAID programs in the island province, which is located
570 miles south of Manila. USAID’s road improvement projects
link key towns outside of Jolo — an important transportation
development, according to one local, who noted that it was
previously easier to travel between coastal towns by sea
rather than by using the dilapidated road. Parents,
teachers, and students were grateful for Internet-linked
computers from USAID that now provide almost 10,000 students
in Sulu Province internet and computer literacy training. To
date, USAID has also electrified 18 remote villages on Jolo,
with 70 more to follow.

US JSOTF-P To Assess Community Needs
————————————

¶4. (SBU) In a private meeting, Ambassador and BGen Fridovich
sounded out Governors Loong and Hussin as well as LtGen
Alberto Braganza — Commander, Philippine Southern Command —
about a proposed Joint Special Operations Task
Force-Philippines (JSOTF-P) assessment team that could
potentially set the stage for US civil-military activities on
the island. Loong, Hussin, and Braganza expressed eagerness
for such an assessment and confidence that local inhabitants
would welcome the team. However, Governor Hussin cautioned
that the inhabitants of Jolo are known for their combative
nature. While eager for US attention and development
assistance, whether from civilian or military sources, local
communities would react to any appearance that US soldiers
were there to “conduct operations against them.”

¶5. (SBU) BG Fridovich stressed that a small JSOTF team would
conduct their assessment transparently and in a short time.
They would come only if and when they are welcomed by the
local communities. They would seek an open exchange of ideas
and intentions with all players, building on Governor Loong’s
projects that supplement the University of the Philippines
water survey, and USAID’s experience. US soldiers also would
work with AFP counterparts, not unilaterally, in their
assessments and any resulting civil affairs projects. BG
Fridovich acknowledged Governor Loong’s assertion that
potable water was a priority, and saw such engineering
projects as a distinct possibility for US cooperation with
AFP engineers. He was careful to repeat that JSOTF-P could
make no promises for specific projects in advance of the
survey, and reminded the Governors to avoid raising community
expectations.

¶6. (SBU) At a later roundtable with local Muslim clerics,
one 80-year old imam appeared thrilled at the prospect of
foreign — particularly US — assistance. Speaking in front
of a room full of fellow Muslims and national media at the
Jolo Islamic Library, he stressed to the Ambassador: “We are
products of American teachers of decades ago, and we are
trying to pass on to our young people here what Americans
taught us, even as we teach the true meaning of our Faith.
We tell them to support the good and reject the bad., We
welcome Americans here. You bring only good things. Manila
gives us nothing, and is fully corrupt.”

Comment: A Neglected Outpost Welcomes US Attention
——————————————— —–

¶7. (SBU) Sulu is one of the Philippines’ poorest provinces.
USAID projects there have already made some headway in
addressing some of the area’s basic needs, and have
established a strong popular welcome for more such US
assistance. Through our development assistance projects, we
have come to know many local leaders who have made a choice
in favor of peace and stability. US military support to
improve AFP civil affairs programs could help move relations
between government and people toward normalcy in this
conflict-affected area. At the national level, to a man and
woman, all Cabinet-level leaders involved in Mindanao peace,
security, and development issues have welcomed the prospect
of greater US assistance and visibility in Jolo, explicitly
including a careful JSOTF-P assessment of community civil
affairs needs as related to the security situation.

¶8. (SBU) Brigadier General Fridovich did not have the
opportunity to clear this message.

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You can also access this site through the State Department’s
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