Oct 252014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/09/07MANILA3033.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MANILA3033
2007-09-07 08:04
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXYZ0006
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHML #3033/01 2500804
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 070804Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8156
INFO RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L MANILA 003033

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/05/2017
TAGS: MARR MASS MCAP PREL RP
SUBJECT: PHILIPPINE DEFENSE SECRETARY EXPRESSES CONFIDENCE ON MILITARY EFFORTS TO AMBASSADOR

REF: A. MANILA 2777

¶B. MANILA 2238

Classified By: Ambassador Kristie A. Kenney for Reasons
1.4 (b) and (d)

¶1. (C) Summary: During the Ambassador’s initial call with
new Secretary of National Defense Gilberto Teodoro, the two
discussed the strong U.S.-Philippine relationship,
particularly joint efforts on counterterrorism and military
reform, and the need to better educate the Philippine
Congress on the importance of funding these issues. Teodoro
emphasized that the military needed resources to continue
pursuing terrorist groups in the south and he was focusing
his attention on the upcoming budget debates in Congress
September 10. Named to his position in early August, Teodoro
indicated that he had been looking at the larger picture of
defense reform in a political context and not micro-managing
the military, but that flexibility and adaptability were the
keys to success for defense reform. End Summary.

Continued Cooperation
———————

¶2. (C) The Ambassador offered support to Secretary Teodoro,
particularly in the war against terrorist groups in Mindanao,
the peace process, and defense reform. She highlighted the
number of key U.S. officials who have visited the Philippines
to observe the success of the U.S.-Philippine operations.
Teodoro noted the importance of high-level visits from both
governments.

¶3. (C) The Ambassador referred to Philippine Defense Reform
(PDR) as a visionary program that should move forward as
quickly as possible. Teodoro thanked the Ambassador and
noted that he was working hard to implement the full range of
President Arroyo’s defense policy goals and defense reform
was his top objective. He said the campaign in the southern
Philippines was going well, but that there were audiences
that are misinformed or uneducated on the relation between
military activity and the peace process, and that these
audiences must be engaged.

Flexibility and Adaptability Key to Philippine Defense Reform
——————————————— —————

¶4. (C) Teodoro commented that President Arroyo had “loaded
him up” with tasks since assuming his position. He hoped to
adjust some of the initial assumptions underlying defense
reform in response to the multiple threats facing the Armed
Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and budgetary constraints.
He emphasized, however, that defense reform was one of his
publicly stated priorities, and it had his full attention.
In addition to reviewing some basic assumptions about reform,
he said tact and diplomacy were integral to implementing the
initiative.

¶5. (C) Teodoro said the armed forces had a unique
perspective on Philippine culture by virtue of their
deployments to different geographic regions. Generally, he
said, Filipinos do not know each other that well, and while
national diversity can be a source of great strength, it can
also lead to unitary thinking and prejudice. Teodoro said
defense reform is a vehicle to leverage the military’s
understanding of the country’s different cultures, even if it
meant taking difficult steps.

Congress and the Budget
———————–

¶6. (C) Teodoro was concerned about upcoming budget hearings
in the Philippine Congress commencing September 10. He said
there was a need to expand the synergy between the Executive
branch and the Congress on development and military programs,
but Congress had to be willing to appropriate funding.
“Everyone has to shell out a little, no matter what their
strata — peace is expensive,” Teodoro said. The Secretary
said it was a “dereliction of duty” if Congress did not
properly equip or fund the armed forces in their efforts to
secure the country. Part of the problem, Teodoro said, is
that 70-80 members of Congress are new, and it will take time
before they are able to assert themselves. The Ambassador
asked when he might be able to approach them on defense
spending, to which Teodoro replied, “next year, as long as
collateral issues are not introduced.”

Peace Process/Military Efforts Against Terrorists

——————————————— —-

¶7. (C) The Ambassador asked Teodoro how he would assess
counterterrorism activities in the south and the peace
process. Teodoro said it was going well and that the
situation with Muslim insurgent groups looked stable for now,
despite isolated engagements between various factions and the
military. He emphasized that military action would continue
during Ramadan, respecting the rules of engagement as they
relate to religious issues. But, Teodoro said, given the
sacrifices of the Philippine military and the gains made, the
pressure on the terrorists had to continue. “We have to
answer not only to our generation,” he said, “but to future
generations for what we do now.” Teodoro said the Malaysian
ambassador had told him recently that Ramadan was no excuse
to suspend counterterrorism operations. On the peace
process, Teodoro said “the momentum is such that we cannot
afford a wedge in our efforts, but there is a political
solution to everything.”

Comment
——-

¶8. (C) During a subsequent private conversation with the
Ambassador, Teodoro expressed his appreciation for the USG’s
support for President Arroyo’s counter-terrorism policies.
He highlighted the USG’s positive interaction and confessed
that his natural instinct was “always toward the United
States.” Our approach continues to pay off with key
government officials like Teodoro, who recognize the need for
sustained cooperation on counterterrorism and promoting
stability and peace. Teodoro clearly welcomes a friendly
dialogue with us. Young (42), personable and bright, this
cabinet position will likely be his first of many key
positions in the future.

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

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

KENNEY

   

 

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