Oct 192014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2009/03/09MANILA459.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09MANILA459
2009-03-04 04:07
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXRO8624
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHPB
DE RUEHML #0459/01 0630407
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 040407Z MAR 09
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3380
INFO RUCNARF/ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM IMMEDIATE
RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 000459

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MTS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/04/2018
TAGS: PGOV EAID PINR PREL PHUM KISL RP
SUBJECT: PHILIPPINES MOVING FORWARD WITH ARF EXERCISE PREPARATION

Classified By: Amb. Kristie A. Kenney, reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

¶1. (C) SUMMARY: The Philippines has made significant
progress in preparations for the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF)
Voluntary Demonstration of Response on Disaster Relief and
are poised to host a successful event in early May. Fifteen
ARF member countries attended the January initial planning
conference in Manila, and eight nations have agreed to
participate, with the European Union and others sending
observers. Senior levels of the Philippine government,
including the Secretary of National Defense, have been
promoting the exercise and the Department of Foreign Affairs
continues to press ASEAN and ARF partners to take part in
this groundbreaking event. Preparations for the exercise
will continue March 7-14 with multilateral site surveys and
meetings in the Philippines. The Mission believes that the
strong commitment to the exercise by the Philippines, coupled
with consistent USG support, has set the stage for a
well-coordinated event, and we will provide updates and
further information as it develops. END SUMMARY.

¶2. (SBU) As the host of the first ASEAN Regional Forum
Voluntary Demonstration of Response on Disaster Relief (ARF
VDR), the Philippines is working closely with the USG,
co-sponsor of the exercise, and multilateral participants to
maximize the impact of the event as a clear illustration of
international civilian-led, military-supported cooperation.
The Final Planning Conference will be held in the Philippines
March 7-14, after which the Philippine National Disaster
Coordinating Council and Office of Civil Defense will conduct
a media briefing to promote awareness of the event.

¶3. (SBU) The primary goal of this civilian-led and
military-supported exercise, as conceived by U.S. and
Philippine planners, is to demonstrate ARF nation
capabilities in response to an affected nation’s request for
assistance following a major natural disaster, such as a
typhoon or earthquake. The exercise will build regional
assistance capacity within ASEAN by working with ARF partners
to effect multinational relief operations as requested by
governments in times of crises.

¶4. (SBU) During the initial planning conference held in
Manila in January 2009, representatives from 15 ARF nations
discussed the exercise and conducted initial site surveys in
Central Luzon. Specific demonstrations of capability by
participating nations will include land, air, and maritime
search and rescue; medical assistance and evacuation; and
reconstruction of infrastructure. In addition to improving
operational capability of disaster relief teams, the local
communities in the area of the exercise will benefit from
much needed engineering assistance. Infrastructure projects
will include repairing a school building, providing potable
drinking water, and building a bridge in a flood prone area.
To date, eight countries have committed to participate by
contributing civilian experts, military personnel, or
specific equipment or logistical capability : Australia,
Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Singapore,
the United States, and the Philippines.

¶5. (C) The first-ever ARF multilateral exercise will also
test the Philippine National Disaster Coordinating
Council-United Nations Clusters Coordination mechanism in
humanitarian assistance through a tabletop exercise. The
European Union will contribute a technical support team and
observers, and Sri Lanka will send disaster-relief planning
personnel as observers. Other members of the 27-nation ARF
are considering sending observers to the event, and Thailand
officials recently confirmed their interest to the Philippine
government, but have not decided whether to participate or
observe. In an effort to further broaden participation, the
Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs engaged and
encouraged counterparts in China, Malaysia, and the Republic
of Korea to participate in the exercise and is awaiting
responses from their governments.

¶6. (SBU) Embassy Manila has been in close coordination with
the various Philippine and USG agencies taking part in the
exercise to ensure a robust public affairs plan is in place
and that the event garners accurate media coverage. The
opening demonstration, a maritime rescue simulation in Manila
Bay, is expected to attract ambassadors and top-level
attendance from participating countries as well as thousands
of Manila residents. Post will continue to monitor
preparations within the Philippine interagency as planning
for the exercise progresses.

MANILA 00000459 002 OF 002

KENNEY

   

 

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