Sep 152014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2006/11/06MANILA4628.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MANILA4628 2006-11-08 01:28 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Manila
VZCZCXRO2650
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #4628/01 3120128
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 080128Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3834
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 004628

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/08/2011
TAGS: PHUM PINS MOPS KCRM RP
SUBJECT: NEW EFFORTS TO COUNTER COMMUNIST INSURGENCY

REF: A. A. MANILA 4403
¶B. B. MANILA 3404
¶C. C. MANILA 3779
¶D. D. MANILA 3793

Classified By: Pol/C Scott Bellard for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

¶1. (C) Summary. A recent Executive Order 546 directed the
Philippine National Police actively to support the military
in combat operations against the Communist New People’s Army.
One already controversial provision is the arming of
civilian volunteer organizations at the local level,
beginning in Mindanao. While many support more
community-based approaches to counterinsurgency and
counterterrorism, the further proliferation of weapons in an
already highly armed society rife with extrajudicial killings
may backfire on the government. End Summary.

—————-
ARMING CIVILIANS
—————-

¶2. (C) According to Department of Interior and Local
Government (DILG) Assistant Secretary Brian Yamsuan,
Executive Order 546, which President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo
signed on July 14, directed the Philippine National Police
(PNP) to “undertake active support” to the Armed Forces of
the Philippines (AFP) in combat operations against the
Communist New People’s Army (NPA) and other security threats
to the Philippines. He explained that a key program
authorized under E.O. 546 is the vetting, training, and
arming by the PNP of existing civilian volunteer
organizations (CVOs), which currently exist throughout
Mindanao to help thwart local insurgent and terrorist
activity at the barangay (local) level.

¶3. (C) A/S Yamsuan emphasized that the government intends to
expand the CVO program nationally. He noted that CVOs are
similar to the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Units
(CAFGU) employed by the military, except that CVOs will act
under local PNP direction. A/S Yamsuan added that civilian
volunteers had previously undertaken patrols unarmed, but
with training and with arms will now be more effective in
warding off insurgent attacks as well as in gathering
information about insurgent or terrorist activity.

¶4. (C) A/S Yamsuan underscored that CVOs are funded at the
local level, while local branches of the PNP will monitor and
direct their operations in consultation with provincial and
city government officials. He highlighted that an additional
aim of the CVO program is to enhance mutual trust between
communities and local security forces. A/S Yamsuan predicted
that the combination of continued military offensives and
these community efforts would reduce the NPA from its current
level of about 7,500 combatants nationwide to about only
3-4,000.

———————
HUMAN RIGHTS CONCERNS
———————

¶5. (C) Separately, Marie Enriquez, the Secretary General of
the leftist human rights organization Karapatan, voiced
opposition of the use of CVOs to counter the NPA in a
discussion with poloff. She claimed the CVO initiative would
create a “wild west” atmosphere in the provinces. Ms.
Enriquez expressed sympathy for the NPA, saying that
conditions in the Philippines had forced people to “take up
arms or starve.”

¶6. (C) Other observers had earlier cited an alarming
reliance on CVOs by Maguindanao provincial authorities under
Governor Andal Ampatuan in skirmishes over several months
with elements of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
Officials of the GRP’s peace panel with the MILF have also
privately expressed concerns to emboffs over eliminating what
are effectively private armies under local politicians in any
eventual disarmament process affiliated with a GRP/MILF peace
accord.

————————————
CALLS FOR COMMUNITY-BASED APPROACHES
————————————

¶7. (SBU) Various national and local government leaders have
long called for a more community-based approach to
counterinsurgency and counterterrorism, led by DILG Secretary
Ronaldo Puno. At a conference in Cagayan de Oro October
18-20, Secretary Puno met with chief executives from the
Mindanao region, including North Cotabato Governor Emmanuel
Pinol and South Cotabato Governor Daisy Fuentes. National

MANILA 00004628 002 OF 002

Security Advisor Norberto Gonzales was also present.
Secretary Puno called on Mindanao political leaders to draw

SIPDIS
up “holistic” counterterrorism plans to include the use of
CVOs, which he labeled “force multipliers,” to augment PNP
efforts against the NPA and other terrorist groups. Noting
recent terrorist bombings in the region (ref a), Secretary
Puno declared “the fight against terrorism has now become an
urgent collective responsibility of all Filipinos. Our
governors and mayors should lead the way in mobilizing
communities in Mindanao to help our law enforcers combat this
threat.”

¶8. (C) In an October 30 conversation with poloff PNP Chief
of Muslim Affairs Colonel Sahiron Salim welcomed the
augmentation of CVOs in Mindanao and elsewhere, which he
characterized as “very useful.” He added that, by arming the
CVOs, the PNP will be in a better position to control their
activities.

¶9. (C) Governors Fernando V. Gonzalez of Albay and Luis R.
Villafuerte of Camarines Sur expressed support for a more
local approach in dealing with the NPA during recent
discussions with poloffs in Bicol. Governor Gonzalez
underscored that, while the NPA was not “in control” in his
province, it was nonetheless still able to “instill fear” in
Albay’s citizens, mainly through extortion tactics such as
the “revolutionary tax,” a forced payment by local residents
and businessmen to the NPA. He said insurgents must be made
“irrelevant” by building trust in local political and police
institutions. He emphasized that economic development can
more readily flourish with increased PNP — rather than AFP
— leadership. Governor Villafuerte separately noted that the
current ratio of PNP officers to people in his province was
as low as 1 to 1,000, not nearly high enough for effective
counterinsurgency measures in rural areas.

——-
COMMENT
——-

¶10. (C) At a time when the Philippine government and PNP
are grappling with a growing number of extrajudicial
killings, including by elements of the security forces, the
further proliferation of armed civilians — even under PNP
supervision — may exacerbate this problem further and
heighten the climate of violence amid impunity that has
provoked sharp local and international criticism. While the
PNP’s Task Force Usig — set up to investigate and resolve
such cases — hopes over the coming months to re-register all
weapons as one tool in identifying culprits and bringing to
justice, the expansion of the CVO program and the additional
arms provided to these individuals will make the Task Force’s
overall task more difficult, and perhaps even backfire
against the government’s commitment to cracking down on
extrajudicial killings and on the Communist insurgency, as
well as on wanted terrorists.

Visit Embassy Manila’s Classified website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eap/manila/index. cfm
KENNEY

   

 

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.