Oct 282014

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
2008-09-23 07:24
2011-08-30 01:44
Embassy Manila


DE RUEHML #2199/01 2670724
O 230724Z SEP 08



E.O. 12958: N/A


¶1. (U) SUMMARY: Mission Manila welcomed the visit of Peace Corps
Director Donald A Tschetter to the Philippines on August 27th. The
visit included a meeting with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo at
Malacanang Palace, a visit to Peace Corps trainees in Negros
Oriental, and a roundtable meeting with the press. Ambassador
Kenney and the Peace Corps Country Director for the Philippines
accompanied Director Tschetter to Malacanang, where the President
expressed her appreciation for the Peace Corps’ history of service
to the Philippines by saying, “Everywhere you go in the Philippines,
you find someone who knows Peace Corps volunteers.” END SUMMARY.

¶2. (SBU) President Arroyo said she was glad the director was here
and thanked him for the Peace Corps’ having helped the Philippines
for so long. Director Tschetter thanked the President for the
support and hospitality the Peace Corps has enjoyed in the
Philippines. He also expressed his deepest appreciation for the
tremendous support the government of the Philippines had given in
resolving the Julia Campbell murder case and that her family was
very grateful. Director Tschetter told the President he visited the
Philippines when Campbell was announced missing. He was very
pleased to return for a longer visit under happier circumstances.

¶3. (SBU) President Arroyo responded that because the Peace Corps
has been in the Philippines since 1961, two generations of Filipinos
have grown up knowing the Peace Corps. Director Tschetter said that
over 8,000 Peace Corps volunteers have served in the Philippines
since 1961, and he looked forward to continuing that effort into the
future. He pointed out that the number of Peace Corps volunteers
worldwide is at a 37-year high, including 69 new trainees in the
Philippines. He added that the organization’s goals are the same
today as when they were first established by President John F.
Kennedy: a) to bring needed skills to foreign countries; b) to
bring the face of America to the world; c) for the volunteers to
bring back to America the knowledge gained through their experiences
in foreign countries. He noted that in the case of the Philippines,
the volunteers have indeed been able to bring back very powerful
experiences. He explained that the Peace Corps has a new 50+
program, designed to attract retirees who have acquired significant
skills during their working careers. The oldest Peace Corps trainee
in the Philippines in the 50+ program is 81 years old.

¶4. (SBU) President Arroyo said she is looking forward to the day
when the Peace Corps could expand its programs to Mindanao after all
the obstacles to peace there had been removed. She said her
government is tracking down the Muslim insurgents who have been
sabotaging the peace process in Mindanao (reftel). Director
Tschetter said he was looking forward to hearing the President’s
views on the future and was open to ideas for new projects.
President Arroyo replied that much foreign aid has been sent to
Mindanao for the Muslim community and it is important for the
Christian community to also benefit from that assistance so they can
share in the prosperity and have a stake in the peace process. The
Ambassador added that although there are no Peace Corps volunteers
in Mindanao, the Peace Corps is assisting with development efforts
there by bringing Filipino teachers from Mindanao to other cities in
the Philippines for training. The Ambassador also pointed out
USAID’s projects throughout Mindanao that benefit peoples of all
faiths, communities, and provinces. President Arroyo concluded by
thanking the Director for all the Peace Corps has done over the
years for so many people in the Philippines.

¶5. (U) In a separate meeting with Secretary of Foreign Affairs
Alberto G. Romulo, Director Tschetter reiterated his appreciation
for the efforts of the Philippines government in investigating and
bringing to closure the Julia Campbell murder case. He lauded the
Philippines for its work in applying the law and ensuring justice
was done. Secretary Romulo responded by noting that Julia was loved
by the people of Albay, the province in which she worked. He said
the people held her in high esteem and asked that the Director
convey their sympathies and his to her family over their great loss.

¶6. (U) Director Tschetter also traveled to the province of Negros
Oriental where he met with Mayor Bentham De la Cruz of Amlan and a
delegation from the province. Mayor De la Cruz and Peace Corps
volunteer (PCV) Craig Bosman briefed the Director on a marine
sanctuary project they were working on for the coastline in Amlan.
The Mayor expressed his gratitude for the work being done by the
Peace Corps and said that local fishermen were seeing the benefits
of the marine sanctuary in the increased size of their catches in
the open waters outside the sanctuary boundaries. The Director
spoke to the delegation of the Peace Corps’ history and service in
the Philippines and how the Peace Corps could play a role in coastal
resource management, as requested by the Philippine government.

¶7. (U) The Director met with several media representatives and
answered questions regarding the Peace Corps’ presence in and
continued support for the Philippines. He explained that the murder

of Julia Campbell has not diminished Peace Corps’ enthusiasm for the
Philippines. When asked why there were no volunteers in Mindanao,
the Director explained it was due to security concerns. He went on
to share details of the USAID funded project, Tudlo Mindanao, in
which teachers from Mindanao are trained by PCVs in other locations
and then return to their classrooms in Mindanao. He said the Peace
Corps looks forward to the day when PCVs can live and work in
Mindanao again.

¶8. (U) COMMENT: The Peace Corps is enormously popular and respected
in the Philippines. The Director’s visit served to underscore the
Peace Corps’ continuing commitment to the Philippines and to
highlight publicly and for top Philippine leaders the important work
the Peace Corps does here. END COMMENT.



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