Oct 242014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2006/05/06MANILA1886.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MANILA1886 2006-05-02 09:18 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Manila
VZCZCXRO0443
PP RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #1886/01 1220918
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 020918Z MAY 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0799
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 001886

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP, EAP/MTS, DS

E.O. 12958:N/A
TAGS: PINS ASEC RP
SUBJECT: PEACEFUL MAY DAY RALLIES

REF: A. OPS CENTER – MANILA 05/01/2006 TELCON

¶B. MANILA 1812
¶C. MANILA 1342

¶1. (SBU) Summary: Rallies in Manila and elsewhere in the
Philippines were moderate in size and largely peaceful on
the national labor day holiday of May 1. The largest
rallies, which leftist groups organized, took place in
Manila, but mainstream opposition parties also put on at
least one other rally. Security forces were very careful
not to provoke rally goers, and there were no reports of
violence, apart from some pushing and shoving. In the lead
up to May Day, government andOpposition elements had warned
that there could e serious disturbances and perhaps even a
coup atempt, none of which panned out. End Summary.

—————-
Left out in Force
—————–

¶2. (U) On the national Labor Day holiday f May 1, street
protests by leftist groups and oher Opposition elements
ended peacefully, with n serious violence. Members of
militant labor oranizations held rallies in four designated
“freedom parks” in the Metro Manila area to demand an
icrease in the minimum wage, to renew their calls for the
ouster of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, and to voice
their opposition to proposals to change the Philippine
Constitution. Police estimated the number of demonstrators
city-wide at approximately 10,000. Key rally organizers
included the leftist political organizations BAYAN, Kilusang
Mambubukid ng Pilipinas (Peasant Movement of the
Philippines), Partidong Mangagawa (Workers’ Party), as well
as the left-wing unions, Kilusang Mayo Uno (May First
Movement), and the Alliance of Progressive Labor.
Simultaneous protest rallies, held in other major cities
throughout the country, also ended peacefully, despite
isolated reports of minor scuffles.

¶3. (U) In addition to the leftist-sponsored rallies,
approximately 1,000 supporters of former president Joseph
Estrada and former presidential candidate (now deceased)
Fernando Poe Jr. staged a march in Manila to commemorate the
fifth anniversary of EDSA 3, the failed violent uprising
which sought to topple the newly installed Arroyo government
in 2001. They demanded the release of Estrada, who is
presently under house arrest while on trial for corruption
charges (ref C).

——————–
GRP Treads Carefully
——————–

¶4. (U) Amid rumors of renewed destabilization threats, the
police and the military went on full alert and set up
checkpoints along highways into Manila, as is standard
procedure on May 1. Police secured approaches to Malacanang
Palace, as well as to the EDSA Shrine — a traditional venue
of anti-government protest. The Armed Forces of the
Philippines (AFP) activated 4,000 standby troops at Camp
Aguinaldo in Manila but did not deploy them into the
streets, in an effort to maintain a low profile and avoid
provoking violent confrontations with protesters. In
accordance with Malacanang’s orders (and an April 25 Supreme
Court ruling – ref b), police exercised “maximum tolerance”
in dealing with demonstrators. At one point in the late
afternoon of May 1, labor demonstrators attempted to march
on the Mendiola Bridge near Malacanang but were blocked by
the police about a kilometer away from their destination.
After negotiations between police and rally organizers, the
demonstrators agreed to disperse peacefully.

¶5. (U) Manila Mayor Jose Atienza announced on April 29 that
the city had designated five “freedom parks” — public areas
where protesters may hold rallies without a permit — in
compliance with the latest Supreme Court decision. Several
but not all of the May 1 demonstrations took place in these
newly-designated “freedom parks.” Several cities in Metro
Manila also issued permits for rallies, while several small
protests reportedly took place peacefully even in the
absence of a permit, contrary to long-standing law also
affirmed in the Supreme Court decision.

——-
Comment
——-

MANILA 00001886 002 OF 002

¶6. (SBU) In the lead up to May Day, government and
opposition elements had warned that there could be serious
disturbances and perhaps even a coup attempt, none of which
panned out. In light of that good news, many observers are
breathing a sigh of relief. Others noted that the
opposition is seriously short of the cash to stage large-
scale protests, given the need — at a minimum — to
transport and feed participants. Any spell of relief from
the Philippines’ endemic political turbulence will be short,
however, with the Senate planning to resume hearings into
alleged cheating during the 2004 presidential elections by
President Arroyo and her associates when it comes back from
break in mid-May, as well as another expected effort at
impeachment of the President in the lower house in July.
KENNEY

   

 

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