Oct 032014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2005/10/05MANILA4831.html

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
05MANILA4831
2005-10-11 08:38
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 004831

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

DEPT FOR EAP, EAP/MTS, EAP/MLS, G/TIP, EAP/RSP, INL, DRL/IL,
DRL/CRA
DEPARTMENT PLEASE PASS USAID FOR ANE/TS – L. SAULS
LABOR FOR ILAB

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM KWMN ELAB KCRM ECON SMIG RP
SUBJECT: MISSION PRESSES GRP FOR EXPEDITIOUS PROGRESS ON
TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS (TIP)

REF: A. STATE 179822

¶B. MANILA 3500
¶C. MANILA 3011
¶D. MANILA 2757

¶1. (U) This message is Sensitive but Unclassified —
Please handle accordingly.

¶2. (SBU) Summary: Mission recently held several meetings
with high-level GRP officials working to combat human
trafficking to discuss problem areas identified in the 2004
TIP Report. We stressed the seriousness of the problem
areas — most particularly the lack of convictions of
traffickers — that led to the Tier 2 Watch List re-
designation for the GRP. We also recommended key steps the
GRP should take now for progress on TIP based on guidance in
the Tier 2 Watch List Action Plan (ref A). GRP officials
were responsive to the recommendations and promised remedial
action to address the problem areas identified. Per
Mission’s TIP Working Group Meeting, we will continue to
press the need for expeditious progress in meetings with GRP
officials and NGOs planned in the next several weeks. End
Summary.

—————————————–
Mission Presses Points with GRP Officials
—————————————–

¶3. (U) Mission recently held several meetings with high-
level GRP officials involved in anti-trafficking in persons
efforts. We used the meetings to underscore the seriousness
of the trafficking problem and to propose concrete actions
to address key concerns that led to the Philippines’ Tier 2
Watch List rating in 2004. On October 1, poloff had a frank
discussion with Department of Justice Prosecutor Robert
Larga, head of the Secretariat of the Inter-Agency Council
Against Trafficking (IACAT), and Severino Gana Jr., Chairman
of the GRP’s Task Force regarding Anti-Trafficking, on the
current state of TIP prosecutions in the Philippines.
Poloff conveyed deep concern over the lack of convictions
under R.A. 9208, the Anti-Trafficking Law passed in 2003,
despite the fact that several alleged traffickers have been
arrested and several cases have been pending for long
periods. Poloff noted reports that long delays in court
cases were leading to opportunities for defendants and their
associates to bribe witnesses to recant their testimony.
There are also reports that threats are used.

¶4. (U) Larga and Gana acknowledged the seriousness of the
situation, including the need to allocate additional
government resources to prosecutions, and welcomed the
suggested actions poloff delivered in a non-paper. (Note:
See ref A for specific non-paper requests, which included
creating a more effective witness protection program;
training police, judges, and public officials; and devoting
additional law enforcement resources to fighting
trafficking. End Note.) They promised to share the points
within the DoJ and with other IACAT representatives and to
report back by November on concrete steps the GRP is taking
to address the USG’s concerns. Poloff later reinforced the
points in a meeting with Chief State Prosecutor Jovencito
Zunio on October 6. Zunio said he welcomed ways to work
with the USG on this issue.

¶5. (U) Additionally, we delivered ref A talking points to
Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Assistant Secretary
Ariel Abadilla on October 3, noting areas in which the DFA
could address the problem of trafficking, such as devoting
increased resources to protecting overseas Filipino workers
and cooperating with destination countries on repatriations.
Mission plans to hold additional high-level meetings with
GRP officials in the coming weeks as we continue to push for
stronger Philippine government action in combating TIP.

——————————————— —
TIP Working Group Works to Implement Action Plan
——————————————— —

¶6. (U) On October 4, Mission’s Inter-Agency TIP Working
Group convened to review the USG’s Tier 2 Watch List Action
Plan for the Philippines. We discussed the best way to
continue to execute the plan through the rest of the year.
Participants from across the Mission identified key contacts
throughout the GRP and NGO community to work with in
spurring concrete action to combat both internal and
external trafficking. A visiting USAID Management
Specialist based in Washington joined the meeting, sharing
practical ideas on how to engage the host government.
Mission will continue to move forward with the Action Plan
and to monitor closely the GRP’s response.

——-
Comment
——-

¶7. (SBU) Now in its second year on the Tier 2 Watch List,
the Philippines needs to show improvement on TIP or risk
falling to Tier 3. We have emphatically made this point to
high-level GRP officials who appear to understand the
gravity of the situation. Due to resource constraints and
long-standing problems with the judiciary, implementation of
anti-TIP programs remains a serious problem for the GRP,
however. The ongoing political turbulence also causes
officials to lose focus on substantive objectives. Mission
will continue to follow up at all levels within the GRP and
the NGO community to reinforce the message that the USG is
watching TIP closely and expects concrete improvements,
especially in the area of prosecutions and convictions.

   

 

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