Oct 282014


Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MANILA5108 2006-12-29 08:25 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Manila

DE RUEHML #5108/01 3630825
O 290825Z DEC 06



E.O. 12958: N/A

¶1. A warm welcome to the Philippines! We are developing
a dynamic program for your January 23-25 visit, to include a
tour of the Regional Printing Center and Regional Training
Center on the Mission’s Seafront Compound, an ICASS Council
Meeting and events with Mission personnel at the Chancery,
and interesting stops at the American Cemetery and a USAID
partner energy project in Makati.

Mission Operations

¶2. Embassy Manila is home to 255 USDH and over 1170 LES.
The Management Section has undertaken a number of initiatives to
advance the President’s Management Agenda. To name a few:

— Focusing on ICASS Performance: The Management Section
opened FY 07 by identifying, examining, and planning
improvements within each service category following a series
of in-house workshops and sessions that identified benchmarks,
introduced performance measurements and focus groups
and trained employees on process mapping. LES are
enthusiastically involved in the process, and many made
presentations at our last performance focus session;

— Competitive Sourcing: The Management Section hosts over 120
full-time embedded contractors in the performance of repairs,
cleaning, gardening, alarm maintenance, warehousing, pesticide
use management, travel and packing services, and construction.
Manila continues to evaluate the potential for shifting
non-governmental functions to the private sector. A competitive
sourcing study currently underway is examining the potential
for further outsourcing shuttle services, vehicle maintenance,
property disposal, admin supply, and residential make-readies.
The results of this study are expected Spring of 2007;

— A-76 Competition Programs: The Regional Printing Center (RPC) in
Manila recently won an A-76 printing competition for the provision
of worldwide media services to the Department of State. To increase
its competitiveness prior to the solicitation, RPC Manila increased
productivity, achieved ISO 9001 certification, and refocused
services by introducing business practices;

— Service Automation: Post is developing software to automate
procurement management and bidding. The software will automate
interaction with local vendors while increasing the speed of
local procurement, expand Post’s vendor base, and improve
procurement analysis capabilities. In addition, Post has
expanded use of ONE, Blackberries, and VOIP to key officers for work
throughout the 7,000 islands of the Philippines, and across the

— Supporting Service Dependents: Post continues to assist
DOS families on Separate Maintenance Allowance in the
Philippines through outreach and consular services. In the
coming year, Post will extend housing, transportation and
employment benefits to three Mission families with
spouses heading to Iraq. These families join hundreds of
U.S. Defense Department dependents in the Philippines with
spouses serving unaccompanied tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Counterterrorism Efforts

¶3. The Philippine Government is a committed counterterrorism
partner. The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), supported
by the U.S. Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines
(JSOTF-P) continues operations against senior Abu Sayyaf Group
and Jemaah Islamiyah leaders on the island of Jolo.

¶4. USAID devotes nearly 60 percent of its $70 million
FY06 assistance budget to Mindanao, where it is focused on
reintegrating former combatants, promoting economic growth
and business opportunities, education, health and local
governance. After the Moro National Liberation Front signed
a peace deal with the government in 1996, USAID carried out a
range of highly successful programs, including “Arms to
Farms,” which reintegrated over 28,000 former fighters back
into civil society as successful farmers.

Philippine Defense and Police Reform

¶5. The Department of the National Defense and Armed Forces
Chief of Staff strongly support joint Philippine-U.S.
Philippine Defense Reform programs. The Philippine Government
deposited $17.53 million into a Foreign Military Sales holding
account in 2004. There are now 11 U.S. Subject Matter Experts on
the ground, and more may be added in the near future. In addition
to long-term

institutional changes, the multi-year Capability Upgrade
Program will modernize 72 Philippine Army and 12 Philippine
Marine Corps battalions over the next six years. The
Battalion Retraining component will focus on better training,
personnel and logistics programs, while the longer term
Battalions of Excellence concept will introduce new personnel
policies, new equipment, and better training capabilities.

¶6. A new INL-funded U.S. senior law enforcement advisor will
support the similar Transformational Program of the Philippine
National Police, a key partner on counter-terrorism, IPR protection,
trafficking in persons, etc.

Human Rights: Concern Over Unlawful Killings

¶7. Unlawful killings of local leftists and journalists, a
problem here as in many countries with weak rule of
law, have recently attracted public attention. Leaders of leftist
political groups linked to the Communist Party of the
Philippines/New People’s Army blame the military and police, while
some in the government assert that the killings are the result of
internal purges within the Communist Party of the Philippines/New
People’s Army. Few of the cases have been resolved, prompting
President Arroyo to set up a high-level independent commission and a
special national police task force to investigate the killings. The
government and armed forces have strongly condemned such killings
and pledged to bring perpetrators to justice.

Economy Hobbled by Massive Debt

¶8. The U.S. remains the Philippines largest trading partner,
with over $16 billion in two-way merchandise trade. Major
U.S. exports include electronics and agriculture. The U.S.
is also the largest investor here, with over $6 billion in
assets. The large American Chamber of Commerce in Manila is
proud of its history as the first American Chamber of
Commerce abroad.

¶9. Over the last year, the Philippines has averted serious
economic instability and made significant progress on
reducing its massive government debt, still about 90 percent
of GDP. Low levels of government infrastructure investment
and public spending present serious challenges to poverty
alleviation. The Philippines is a participant in the
Millennium Challenge Corporation’s (MCC) Threshold Program
Funds. The government’s plan will intensify anticorruption efforts.
The USG assists in economic development, anti-corruption,
environmental protection, and poverty alleviation programs
through our USAID programs, USDA programs, and through the
efforts of an active Peace Corps program.

¶9. Please visit our intranet and SIPRNet sites for additional
into Mission activities.




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