Sep 162014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/08/07MANILA2732.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MANILA2732
2007-08-13 09:56
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXRO8588
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #2732/01 2250956
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 130956Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7833
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF 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 SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 002732

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/14/2017
TAGS: PTER MOPS PINS RP
SUBJECT: PRESIDENT ORDERS MAJOR OFFENSIVE AGAINST ABU SAYYAF, REASSERTS DESIRE FOR PEACE

REF: MANILA

Classified By: Charge Paul W. Jones for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

¶1. (C) Summary. In a tough response to August 7-9 clashes
on Jolo that left 26 Philippine soldiers and 27 militants
dead, President Arroyo ordered a stepped-up offensive against
Abu Sayyaf terrorists on the island and directed her Army
chief to the front lines to oversee the campaign. Stressing
her commitment to the peace process, she insisted the
offensive was not an act of vengeance but “a strategy to win
the peace” and pledged to “seek peace with those with
peaceful intentions.” The armed forces chief of staff and
the President’s top negotiator echoed Arroyo’s comments,
stating that intensified operations would only focus on
“rogue elements” of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF)
cooperating with Abu Sayyaf and other terrorists. MNLF
leaders blamed last week’s clashes on the Philippine military
and appealed for peace talks and the activation of a joint
monitoring committee. Newly appointed Defense Secretary
Gilbert Teodoro has ordered regional and provincial disaster
coordinating councils in affected areas to step up relief and
evacuation operations for over 10,000 persons displaced by
the fighting. Charge plans to meet with the defense secretary
Tuesday to discuss the current situation as well as broader
plans for the military. End Summary.

——————————————— —
Arroyo Transfers Army Headquarters to Zamboanga
——————————————— —

¶2. (C) In response to the August 7-9 armed clashes on Jolo
that left 26 Philippine soldiers and 27 militants dead,
President Arroyo Sunday ordered the temporary transfer of the
Philippine Army headquarters in Manila to Zamboanga City to
support a major offensive against the Abu Sayyaf Group. “We
cannot allow terrorists to hold the South hostage to their
agenda of mayhem and blood sport,” announced Arroyo. Arroyo
also issued an August 11 directive for Army commander General
Tolentino to oversee the military campaign from the front
line in Mindanao. “The military offensive against the Abu
Sayyaf Group must continue,” said Arroyo. She called on the
army “not just to orchestrate punitive actions against those
who wantonly maim and kill, but also to evaluate peaceful
overtures of those who will demonstrate remorse.” Philippine
military forces in Sulu and Basilan provinces now number some
4,000 troops.

——————————
Closed-Door Command Conference
——————————

¶3. (C) Newly appointed Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro
assessed the August 7-9 clashes on Jolo and the security
situation within Mindanao during an August 12 closed door
command conference with armed forces chief of staff General
Esperon, Tolentino, and other top military officers in
Mindanao. Esperon told Teodoro that all road networks and
major communications lines are secured, and that “hot pursuit
operations against terrorists would continue without let up.”

————————————–
MNLF Claims Responsibility for Attacks
————————————–

¶4. (C) The MNLF chairman’s chief spokesman, Alamarin Tillah,
told poloff August 13 that six MNLF members were killed and
three wounded during the August 7-9 armed clashes in Indanan,
Parang, and Maimbung. Tillah attributed the outbreak of
violence to the intrusion of Philippine military forces into
MNLF territory without prior coordination. If such
intrusions do not stop, said Tillah, “all hell will break
loose.” To prevent further violence, Tillah recommended
activation of a government-MNLF joint monitoring committee,
and convening of the tripartite conference in Jeddah, Saudi
Arabia, to review implementation of the 1996 final peace
agreement. Tillah noted that a 7-person MNLF delegation
would travel to Jakarta August 15 to discuss the venue of the
conference with senior Indonesian officials.

¶5. (C) According to Presidential Advisor on the Peace
Process Jesus Dureza and armed forces chief Esperon, the
Philippine military offensive will not be directed at the
MNLF as an organization, but only toward those “rogue
elements” who are cooperating with the ASG and other
terrorists.

——————————————— —
Relief Assistance Underway for Displaced Persons

MANILA 00002732 002 OF 002

——————————————— —

¶6. (C) Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan estimated that over
10,000 persons were displaced during the recent fighting on
Jolo. Defense Secretary Teodoro ordered regional and
provincial disaster coordinating councils in affected areas
to step up relief and evacuation operations. Nongovernmental
organizations, the Red Cross, and government social workers
are currently providing food and other supplies to displaced
persons in four evacuation centers in Indanan, Parang, and
Maimbung. Governor Tan prohibited the use of classrooms for
evacuees to avoid disruptions in educational services.

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/

JONES

   

 

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