Sep 152014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/09/07MANILA3193.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MANILA3193
2007-09-20 10:05
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Manila

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ZNY CCCCC ZZH
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FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8344
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 003193

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/20/2017
TAGS: PREL PINS KISL RP
SUBJECT: MUSLIM INSURGENTS MULL GOVERNMENT TERRITORIAL OFFER

REF: A. MANILA 3050
¶B. MANILA 2852
¶C. MANILA 2838

Classified By: DCM Paul W. Jones for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

¶1. (C) Summary: The Philippine government hopes to end the
impasse in peace talks with Muslim insurgents by offering a
territorial compromise that tracks closely with the areas
that the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) had hoped to
include in a new Muslim political entity. The presidential
peace office in charge of negotiations has begun an advocacy
campaign to build Congressional support for the territorial
offer. Revenue sharing from natural resources is a potential
bargaining chip that could advance the peace talks, and
neutralize opposition from indigenous groups who might
otherwise oppose having their communities included in the new
political entity. There have been no military skirmishes
since August between MILF and government security forces on
Basilan island as local MILF leaders make way for the
government to pursue Abu Sayyaf terrorist. End Summary.

————————-
Territorial Offer to MILF
————————-

¶2. (C) After much debate, and in an effort to accelerate
Malaysian-hosted peace talks, key Cabinet security officials
have agreed on a territorial offer to the Moro Islamic
Liberation Front (MILF) for a Muslim political entity in
Mindanao. According to Ryan Sullivan, executive director of
the government’s peace negotiations panel, the Muslim
insurgent MILF is currently reviewing the government’s
proposal to expand the current Muslim autonomous region first
created in 1989. Under this new territorial offer, the
original Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) — the
six provinces of Basilan, Sulu, Tawi Tawi, Shariff Kabunsuan,
Maguindanao, and Lanao Del Sur Provinces — would be expanded
to include Isabela and Cotabato cities; Sultan Kudarat
Province (except the municipalities of Tacurong and Isulan);
portions of North Cotabato Province, including the
municipalities of Pikit, Carmen, and Muslim-dominated segment
of Midsayap; and six municipalities in Lanao Del Norte
Province contiguous to the ARMM.

¶3. (C) Since the government’s offer largely parallels the
MILF’s most recent proposal on territory, Sullivan expressed
cautious optimism that the government and Muslims would soon
be able to hold an informal executive session — and perhaps
even broader exploratory talks — on the territorial issue in
Kuala Lumpur.

————————————–
Critical Period for Peace Negotiations
————————————–

¶4. (C) Malaysian Prime Minister Badawi and President
Arroyo’s discussions at the September 8 Asia-Pacific Economic
Conference (APEC), and Arroyo’s “limited window” for sealing
a final MILF peace pact before the expiration of her term as
president in 2010, were identified by Sullivan as key factors
behind the government’s territorial offer to the MILF. While
noting that Arroyo would actually begin winding down her
presidency in 2009, Sullivan described the period from late
2007 through 2008 as “critical” for the peace negotiations.

———————
Overcoming Opposition
———————

¶5. (C) Government peace panel members have begun briefing
members of Congress on the MILF peace talks to build support
for the creation of a new Muslim political entity, according
to Sullivan. Discussions are also being held between Cabinet
members and local government leaders within municipalities
pinpointed for inclusion in a Muslim homeland.

¶6. (C) Sullivan said that the strong opposition of a key
congressman to placing Sultan Kudarat Province under a new
Muslim political entity could be overcome through “horse
trading.” According to Sullivan, Congressman Pax Mangudadatu
has long aspired to be ARMM regional governor — a position
that is up for election in 2008. In return for assistance in
achieving his political goal, Sullivan predicted that
Mangudadatu would ultimately support the government’s offer
to include Sultan Kudarat Province in the new Muslim
political entity.

¶7. (C) Congressman Abdullah “Bobby” Dimaporo is another
politician opposed to placing municipalities from his native

MANILA 00003193 002 OF 002

province of Lanao Del Norte under a new Muslim political
entity. As an ally of President Arroyo, Dimaporo’s support
will be gained through “political carrots,” Sullivan
suggested.

———————————————
Revenue Sharing and Indigenous Peoples Issues
———————————————

¶8. (C) While a majority of indigenous communities in
Mindanao are opposed to placing their ancestral lands under a
Muslim political entity, the MILF has attempted to gain the
cooperation of indigenous peoples through promises of more
revenue from natural resources after a final peace agreement
is signed, according to Janette Serrano, the head of the
national commission on indigenous peoples.

¶9. (C) While the government has offered the MILF a
“substantial share” of revenue from natural resources,
Sullivan said the specifics of revenue sharing would not be
fleshed out until the final peace talks. According to
Serrano, the MILF has already proposed that 85 percent of
future revenue from petroleum and natural gas deposits under
the Sulu Sea and Liguasan Marsh belongs to the prospective
Muslim political entity. Serrano viewed revenue sharing as a
potentially useful bargaining chip in the MILF peace talks,
though acknowledged that powerful “financial figures” in the
government and private sector were following this issue very
closely.

——————————————— ————
MILF To Make Way For Anti-Terrorism Operations on Basilan
——————————————— ————

¶10. (C) Sullivan said there have been no skirmishes since
August between government security forces and MILF insurgents
on Basilan. Local MILF leaders on the island have agreed to
make way for armed forces operations against the terrorist
Abu Sayyaf Group by temporarily moving MILF forces out of
their camps, but have also insisted that the military present
strong evidence that Abu Sayyaf Group members are hiding
nearby, that the Malaysia-led International Monitoring Team
have a role in the temporary moves, and that the MILF be
allowed to return immediately after cessation of the
government’s punitive action.

——————————-
New IMT Head of Mission Arrives
——————————-

¶11. (C) Sullivan noted that the International Monitoring
Team’s new head of mission — Malaysian Major-General Datuk
Mat Yasin bin Nat Daud — reported for duty in the
Philippines September 16. Major-General Daud was described
by Sullivan as a “no-nonsense and level-headed man” with
strong leadership skills.

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http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eap/manila/index. cfm

You can also access this site through the State Department’s
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http://www.state.sgov.gov/
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