Sep 162014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2006/10/06MANILA4522.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MANILA4522 2006-10-30 06:58 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Manila
VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHML #4522/01 3030658
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 300658Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3698
INFO RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC//OSD/ISA/AP// IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNS/COMSOCPAC HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
UNCLAS MANILA 004522

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

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

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PTER MARR MASS MOPS MCAP PREL OVIP HILLEN RP
SUBJECT: SCENE SETTER FOR THE VISIT OF ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILLEN

REF: STATE 176703

¶1. (SBU) John, a warm welcome to the Philippines! I am
looking forward to seeing you. We have a packed program
ready for you, including meetings with Foreign Secretary
Romulo, Secretary of National Defense Cruz, and Armed Forces
Chief of Staff General Esperon and a trip to Jolo to see
first-hand our ongoing support for Philippine
counterterrorism operations. Before you arrive, I wanted to
share some thoughts with you on what you will see and hear.

————————
Counterterrorism Efforts
————————

¶2. (SBU) President Arroyo is a committed counterterrorism
partner. She has repeatedly demonstrated her willingness to
work closely with us on combating Islamist extremism. The
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), supported by the U.S.
Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines (JSOTF-P), is
currently in its fourteenth week of continuous operations to
capture or kill senior Abu Sayyaf Group and Jemaah Islamiyah
leaders on the island of Jolo. We have seen marked
improvements, largely through U.S. assistance, in the AFP’s
ability to sustain and conduct operations.

¶3. (SBU) Joint U.S. Military Assistance Group training in
logistics and maintenance has allowed the AFP to keep its
troops in the field, ships at sea, and planes in the air.
Joint Task Force 515 and JSOTF are fully integrated into the
Philippine Navy task force blockading Jolo and have worked
seamlessly to surveil and interdict suspect vessels. JSOTF
is providing medical support, and its liaison control
elements are at all major levels of command, including the
maneuver battalions, providing assistance with intelligence
and operational guidance.

¶4. (U) You’ll have the chance to see on the ground on Jolo
how JSOTF civil-military operations, closely integrated with
USAID projects, are working with the AFP to separate
terrorists from the population. In the town of Panamao,
you’ll visit school children who now have access to the
Internet thanks to USAID, and water and new school buildings
as a result of the Balikatan Exercise and JSOTF civil affairs
teams.

——————-
Muslim Insurgencies
——————-

¶5. (SBU) Although prospects for peace with the insurgent
Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) continue to remain
hopeful, talks recently hit a snag over the question of
ancestral domain, the historically Muslim land claimed by the
MILF. We are directly engaged with all players, including
the MILF Central Committee, to keep the peace process on
track.

¶6. (SBU) 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. USAID is ready to
implement similar programs should a peace agreement be signed
with the MILF.

————————-
Defense and Police Reform
————————-

¶7. (SBU) The Armed Forces of the Philippines remains heavily
engaged in combating internal security threats, but maintains
limited external defense capabilities. Readiness is poor and
modernization slow due to a lack of funding and commitment of
resources.

¶8. (U) Secretary of National Defense Cruz and Armed Forces
Chief of Staff General Esperon strongly support the joint
Philippine-U.S. Philippine Defense Reform program. 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.

¶9. (SBU) The Philippine National Police is plagued with many
of the same problems as the Philippine Armed Forces, yet is
critical to urban counterterrorism operations, as well as
controlling trafficking in persons, narcotics, and smuggling.
A United States Senior Law Enforcement Advisor, a former New
Mexico State Police captain, recently joined our Embassy team
to assist the Philippine Police in its transformation
efforts. One short-term intervention he is developing is a
targeted training program aimed at improving the sensitive
site exploitation and evidence handling skills of police and
security officials involved in tracking the terrorists on
Jolo.

——————————————— —–
Human Rights: Concern Over Extra-Judicial Killings
——————————————— —–

¶10. (SBU) Extrajudicial killings of local leftists, a
perennial problem here as in many countries with weak rule of
law, have recently attracted much more 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 an internal purge 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
commission is planning to issue its findings in December. We
press the government at every opportunity to resolve these
killings, and I have discussed them with President Arroyo and
key members of her cabinet, as well as the Armed Forces Chief
of Staff and the Chief of the Philippine National Police.
They all tell me they are as appalled as we are, but we
remain insistent that they must get control of this problem.

————————————
SMALL ARMS/LIGHT WEAPONS DESTRUCTION
————————————

¶11. (U) We are working closely with PM/WRA to re-start the
successful small arms/light weapons destruction program in
the Philippines, which we hope to have up and running by the
time you arrive. The aim of the program will be to destroy
weapons in AFP armories captured from insurgents and
terrorists. We have also arranged for you to visit Caballo
Island, one of the former U.S.-built fortresses guarding
Manila harbor. There you will see an extensive stockpile of
former U.S. ordnance, including shells, mines, and torpedoes,
which we hope to destroy through the small arms/light weapons
program.

—————–
MARINE CORPS BALL
—————–

¶12. (U) I’d like to invite you, Brigadier General Toolan, and
Rear Admiral Tracy to be my guests at the 231st US Marine
Corps Birthday Ball. Our Detachment Marines plan a gala
event. You’ll have the opportunity to meet the senior
leadership of the Philippine military and Department of
National Defense in a casual setting. Aside from the
stimulating conversation, I’m sure you’ll find it a lot of
fun, too.

————————
SUGGESTED TALKING POINTS
————————

¶13. (SBU) In your meetings with Secretaries Romulo and Cruz,
as well as your interaction other government officials and

the press, you may want to draw on the following talking
points.

— Armed Forces of the Philippines engaged in impressive
counterterrorism effort on Jolo.

— Glad we can support this important operation to eliminate
the Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah leadership and the threat
they pose.

— Looking forward to seeing for myself how operations are
progressing and understanding better how the “Philippine
Model” of civil-military operations can help defeat terrorism.

— Philippine Defense Reform represents a commitment to
undertake fundamental institutional change. We’re proud to
be partners in this program.

— We take the issue of extra-judicial killings seriously.
Encouraged by steps the Philippine government has taken to
try to get control of this problem.

— The Philippines, as chair of ASEAN this year and host of
key summits, has a special responsibility in promoting
regional stability and cooperation on a wide variety of
issues, including a unified response to North Korea’s nuclear
testing.

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

   

 

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