Oct 282014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/06/07MANILA1947.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MANILA1947
2007-06-13 06:25
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXRO3508
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #1947/01 1640625
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 130625Z JUN 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6922
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 001947

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR PM, EAP, EAP/RSP, AND EAP/MTS
USPACOM ALSO FOR FPO HUSO
JOINT STAFF J5 (WILKES/ROBINSON/CLEMMONS)
SECDEF OSD/ISA/AP (TOOLAN/REDMON)

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/12/2012
TAGS: PREL EAID MASS MCAP PTER PINS RP
SUBJECT: PM A/A/S MULL’S VISIT UNDERSCORES COOPERATION WITH
THE PHILIPPINES

REF: A. MANILA 01930

¶B. MANILA 01881

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

¶1. (C) Summary: Acting Assistant Secretary for
Political-Military Affairs Stephen Mull met with top
Philippine civilian and military leaders during his June 6-8
visit to the Philippines. He also traveled with the
Ambassador to Jolo to attend a major Rewards for Justice
ceremony (ref a). In his Manila meetings, A/A/S Mull
discussed ongoing counterterrorism operations in the southern
Philippines, Philippine Defense Reform, and the Philippine
National Police Transformation Program. A/A/S Mull solicited
Philippine participation in the Global Peacekeeping
Operations Initiative and complimented his Philippine
interlocutors on recent counterterrorism successes. End
summary.

———————————
A Billion Dollar Upgrade for AFP?
———————————

¶2. (C) National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA)
officials provided A/A/S Mull with an intelligence briefing
on domestic and international terrorist activities in the
Philippines, notably by the Abu Sayyaf Group and Jemaah
Islamiyyah. Separate briefings focused on the threat posed
by the New People’s Army (NPA) and on the status of peace
talks between the Philippine Government and the Moro Islamic
Liberation Front (MILF). National Security Advisor Norberto
Gonzales characterized as “disturbing” a recent Supreme Court
ruling that dismissed rebellion charges against six leftist
Members of Congress (ref b). He also expressed concern that
the new anti-terror law (the “Human Security Act of 2007”)
would be ineffective against the NPA.

¶3. (C) Gonzales described the Philippine government’s US$1
billion plan to upgrade the Armed Forces of the Philippines
(AFP). Gonzales noted that procurements would rely on
Philippine national funds, adding that he hoped to buy the
majority of equipment via Foreign Military Sales (FMS).
Gonzales said that FMS procurement would ensure compatibility
with existing equipment, which is largely of U.S. origin, and
spare the AFP from allegations of waste and corruption. He
added that a strong AFP is crucial to national security and
observed that a radical upgrade of the military would show
the world that the Philippines is “serious about security.”
Gonzales claimed that the FMS proposal is “under discussion
in the government.”

—————————————
Humanitarian Assistance Turned the Tide
—————————————

¶4. (C) A/A/S Mull complimented the AFP on its ongoing
defense reform program and recent operational successes in
Jolo during a meeting with Undersecretary of Defense Antonio
Santos and AFP Chief of Staff General Hermogenes Esperon.
Santos acknowledged that U.S. assistance was essential to
these accomplishments. Recognizing that the Philippines is a
major contributor to peacekeeping operations worldwide, A/A/S
Mull solicited AFP participation in the Global Peacekeeping
Operations Initiative, which he noted President Bush and the
G-8 had launched. U/S Santos and General Esperon expressed
interest, adding that plans are under consideration for the
creation of a dedicated Filipino peacekeeping unit.

¶5. (C) General Esperon lauded the effectiveness of
combining a soft and hard approach to counterterrorism,
noting that “humanitarian assistance turned the tide” in
operations on the southern Philippine islands of Jolo and
Basilan. He commented on the necessity of providing
“practical civil projects,” such as cold storage facilities
for fishermen, to enable local residents to earn a living by
legitimate means. General Esperon also cited the example of
a USAID-funded road project on Jolo that had reduced travel
time between the towns of Patikul and Jolo City from 6 days
to 45 minutes. Santos agreed that post-conflict development
is an important component of the counterterrorism effort,
observing that, in the past, the AFP might have “declared
victory and withdrawn its forces too early.”

—————————————

MANILA 00001947 002 OF 002

President Arroyo “Strong and Confident”
—————————————

¶6. (C) Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita and A/A/S Mull
discussed the ramifications of the mid-term elections.
Ermita commented that national media was “needling” him by
focusing inordinately on opposition victories in the Senate.
Ermita noted that the lower House remained solidly
pro-Administration and that opposition victories are a sign
of “democracy in action.” Ermita highlighted positive trends
in the economy, and wondered aloud about the negative nature
of media coverage. He added that President Arroyo’s current
trip abroad, during the usually sensitive post-election
period, demonstrates that the President is “strong and
confident.”

¶7. (C) Turning to the Mindanao peace process, Ermita
observed that, after signing of a peace agreement with the
MILF, former insurgents could integrate into civilian life
and even run for public office. Ermita expressed hope that
the Southern Philippine Development Authority (SPDA) would
coordinate more in the future with USAID. (Note: while the
Embassy has contact with the SPDA, our principal counterpart
on assistance in Mindanao remains the Mindanao Economic
Development Council under the office of the Presidential
Advisor on the Peace Process. End note.)

——————————
Police Reform and Peacekeeping
——————————

¶8. (C) Philippine National Police (PNP) Deputy Director
General Antonio Billones and other senior PNP officials
described ongoing police reform in a separate meeting with
A/A/S Mull. According to Billones, the lack of manpower is a
primary concern, underscoring that the PNP needs an
additional 50 – 70,000 officers to reach the appropriate
police-to-population ratio. The PNP currently plans to hire
an additional 6,000 officers above attrition on an annual
basis over the next five years.

¶9. (C) Billones expressed optimism that the PNP would
participate in the Global Peacekeeping Operations Initiative
once it begins. Billones gratefully acknowledged the value
of ICITAP, ILEA and ATA law enforcement training courses,
which many PNP officers have already attended.

¶10. (U) A/A/S Mull has cleared this message.

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

   

 

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