Oct 282014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/10/07MANILA3299.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MANILA3299
2007-10-03 06:01
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXRO4948
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #3299/01 2760601
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 030601Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8463
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK IMMEDIATE 0227
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 003299

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/01/2017
TAGS: KDEM PGOV PHUM PREL RP BM
SUBJECT: PHILIPPINES: KEEPING PRESSURE ON BURMA

REF: A. STATE 137644

¶B. MANILA 3263
¶C. MANILA 3268

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

¶1. (C) SUMMARY: The ongoing crisis in Burma continues to
command high-level interest in Philippine government and
media circles. President Arroyo repeated calls for
restoration of democracy and the release of opposition leader
Aung San Suu Kyi, while condemning the junta’s harsh,
repressive measures. Philippine legislators also condemned
the junta’s repression and called for Burma’s
democratization. The Embassy remains closely engaged with
Philippine interlocutors in urging further Philippine
government action, both unilateral and via the auspices of
ASEAN. END SUMMARY.

¶2. (SBU) Following ASEAN’s initial condemnation, on the
margins of UN meetings in New York, of Burma’s violent
crackdown on peaceful protesters, President Arroyo on
September 29 reiterated her earlier call for Burma to restore
democracy and release all political prisoners including Aung
San Suu Kyi. Several Philippine legislators introduced
resolutions on Burma in the Philippine Congress. Resolution
260, introduced by Representatives Hontiveros-Baraquel,
Tanada, and Climaco, condemned the violent dispersal and
arrest of peaceful pro-democracy protesters, and called for
Burma’s democratization. Similar sentiments were echoed in
Resolution 262, submitted by Representatives Ocampo, Casino,
and others. These followed a resolution introduced by Senate
Minority Leader Sen. Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. and passed by
the Philippines Senate, urging the United Nations Security
Council, European Union, and ASEAN to influence the junta to
end its brutal repression and institute democratic
governance; Pimentel’s resolution also called for the
suspension of Burma’s ASEAN membership and, if necessary, its
expulsion from the organization.

¶3. (SBU) Notwithstanding several high-profile local scandals
that have drawn widespread media attention, events in Burma
continue to attract significant coverage in Philippine media.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer, the Philippine Star, as well
as other leading dailies and broadcast media have featured
strongly-worded editorials; an October 2 Inquirer editorial
cartoon portrayed the Burmese junta as an ugly and violent
dragon, strangling human rights while trampling protesters.
Philippine Star columnist Alex Magno wrote October 2 that
China must take a more active role in what he characterized
as the “endgame” developing on the streets of Burma.

¶4. (U) In October 2 remarks at the School for Advanced
International Studies, former Philippine President Fidel
Ramos (1992-1998) dispensed with his prepared text and spoke
extemporaneously about Burma. Ramos conceded that ASEAN’s
policy of constructive engagement has been less than
successful, but that in any event ASEAN’s status as a
non-binding forum of equals offered little real leverage to
influence events in Burma. Ramos went on to opine that the
military leadership would have to be included along with
civil society in any new system of government, and that the
economic well-being of its citizens was key to longterm
stability in Burma.

¶5. (U) The few Burmese nationals residing in the Philippines
support the efforts of the Philippine government in
pressuring the Burmese junta to refrain from violence and
implement democratic reforms. Spokesman Egoy Bans of the
Free Burma Coalition-Philippines (FBC), a loose-knit group of
pro-democracy individuals and nongovernmental organizations,
explained that most Burmese in the Philippines preferred to
keep a low profile out of fear of reprisals against family
members still in Burma. Group members have held daily
protests in front of the Burmese Embassy, but avoided having
their faces shown on camera. Burmese FBC members have spoken
publicly of the inspiration provided by Buddhist monks, and
the appreciation they felt at the Philippine government’s
proactive and vocal stance in advocating for democracy in
Burma. Activists belonging to the Asia Pacific Solidarity
Coalition (APSOC) demonstrated October 1 in front of the
Japanese consulate in Davao, Mindanao, lighting incense while
burning Burmese flags and photos of junta strongman Gen. Than
Shwe.

¶6. (C) The Ambassador has used several opportunities to
speak publicly on Burma, and remained in close contact with
Malacanang Palace, keeping our Philippine interlocutors
informed of U.S. moves to tighten financial and other
sanctions against regime leaders, and underscoring the need
for a strong and unified stance on the part of the

MANILA 00003299 002 OF 002

international community. In an October 3 breakfast with
newly-arrived Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Makoto
Katsura, Ambassador Kenney underscored U.S. concern at events
in Burma, and urged Katsura to press for greater Japanese
engagement on Burma in his discussions with Filipino
officials.

¶7. (C) COMMENT: The Philippine government’s proactive
stance with regard to the Burma crisis no doubt springs in
part from the Philippines’ own experience with the 1986
“People Power” movement that deposed President Ferdinand
Marcos. Post will continue to urge our host-country
counterparts to press for a democratic and nonviolent outcome
in Burma.
KENNEY

   

 

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.