Oct 262014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/08/07MANILA2925.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MANILA2925
2007-08-29 01:31
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXYZ0310
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHML #2925/01 2410131
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 290131Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8045
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L MANILA 002925

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MTS
USPACOM ALSO FOR FPA
SECDEF/OSD/ISA/AP FOR TOOLAN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/24/2017
TAGS: MARR MOPS PINS PREL PTER RP
SUBJECT: SCENESETTER FOR ADMIRAL OLSON’S VISIT TO THE PHILIPPINES

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

¶1. (SBU) Summary: Admiral Olson, welcome to the
Philippines! You are coming to the Philippines at an
important time. The Armed Forces of the Philippines is
demonstrating impressive combat prowess in ongoing operations
against terrorists on the island of Jolo. Under the
leadership of Philippines Chief of Staff General Esperon, the
Armed Forces is fully committed to the Defense Reform and
Battalion Retraining Programs. US Special Operations Command
is an essential partner in our efforts to defeat terrorism
and help the Philippine military reform itself. The Joint
Special Operations Task Force-Philippines operating here are
key partners in assisting the Philippine military defeat the
terrorists. During your visit you will have a chance to meet
key Philippine civilian and military leaders and to see on
the ground in Jolo the impact of USAID’s and
JSOTF-Philippines’ civil-military operations. End Summary.

POLITICAL-MILITARY RELATIONS
——————————————— —

¶2. (C) President Arroyo appears determined to press ahead
with key priorities until the end of her term in 2010, which
include sustaining momentum in peace talks with the Moro
Islamic Liberation Front, seeking additional counterterrorism
successes against High Value Terrorist Targets, maintaining
solid economic growth and investment, and continuing the
historic Philippine Defense Reform initiative. Mid-term
elections in May 2007 gave her coalition parties a large
majority in the House of Representatives and in provincial
governments, but led to a solid Opposition victory in the
Senate, thereby complicating her ability to push her
legislative agenda.

¶3. (C) Despite an abortive coup attempt and week-long
“State of National Emergency” in February 2006 and failed
impeachment efforts in Congress in 2005 and 2006, President
Arroyo currently appears in a stable and strong political
position. She has worked especially hard to ensure good
relations with the military, and is keen to obtain additional
military equipment to modernize the Armed Forces of the
Philippines. New Secretary of National Defense Gilberto
Teodoro is a Harvard law graduate, brings a new enthusiasm to
the defense department and is an ally of President Arroyo.
Initial indications are Secretary Teodoro will stay the
course with respect to Philippine Defense Reform. The Chief
of Staff General Hermogenes “Jun” Esperon is a strong
supporter of Defense Reform and a reliable partner in our
counterterrorism efforts. Of some concern within the
military, however, was the election to the Senate in 2007 of
a junior army officer still detained and on trial for
leadership of a mutiny to effect change in soldier’s basic
entitlements in 2003.

SECURITY AND INSURGENCIES
——————————————–

¶4. (C) President Arroyo is a committed counterterrorism
partner, and has repeatedly demonstrated her willingness to
work closely with us on combating Islamist extremism.
Military and law enforcement forces scored several major
victories in the counterterrorism fight over the past year,
including the deaths in military operations of Abu Solaiman,
Khadaffy Janjalani, and Jundam Jamalul (“Black Killer”) of
the notorious terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group. Recent payouts of
$10 million by our Rewards for Justice program for these
deaths will likely lead to additional captures or killings in
military operations by the Philippine Armed Forces of wanted
Jemaah Islamiyah and Abu Sayyaf terrorists, notably “Bali
bombers” Dulmatin and Patek. In recent military operations,
Philippine troops killed two significant local Abu Sayyaf
commanders in Basilan suspected of involvement in several
terrorist attacks, including an October 2002 bombing that
killed a U.S. serviceman.

¶5. (C) Prospects for peace with the Muslim Insurgency
remain favorable. We are directly engaged with all players,
including the insurgency’s leadership to ensure the severing
of any remaining ties to the terrorists. The Malaysian-led
International Monitoring Team has greatly contributed
stability to the four-year ceasefire between the Philippine
government and the Muslim Insurgents. Peace talks under

Malaysian auspices offer signs that the two parties may work
out a deal that addresses the key issue of Muslim territory
and self-determination.

¶6. (C) The Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s
Army insurgency remains a virulent nationwide threat. While
its ideology and tactics hold little appeal for the
overwhelming majority of Filipinos, the movement is fueled by
poverty, insufficient government services, and discontent
with the corruption that permeates the political system. The
US and European Union designations of the New Peoples Army as
a terrorist organization in August 2002 set back its overseas
fundraising efforts. Philippine Armed Forces leaders hope to
redirect assets against the New Peoples Army after they have
successfully concluded an agreement with Muslim insurgents.

THE ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES
——————————————— ————–

¶7. (C) The Philippine Armed Forces remains heavily engaged
in combating internal security threats but maintains limited
external defense capabilities. The Philippine government
plans to spend about US$100 million per year between 2006 and
2012 to fund Defense Reform, the Capability Upgrade Program,
and the Battalion retraining program.

¶8. (U) The Armed Forces of the Philippines are already
beginning to see the positive effects of the Maintenance
Mobility Program. Three C-130’s are now operational and a
fourth is awaiting depot maintenance. Several efforts are
coming together that will eventually bring a total of 46
UH-1H helicopters to the Philippines. They purchased 20
reconditioned Hueys from Singapore, all of which have now
been delivered. In June of this year, we turned over the
first 10 of 20 UH-1Hs promised by President Bush during
President Arroyo’s May 2003 State Visit to Washington. We
also delivered an additional six Excess Defense Article
UH-1Hs refurbished with national funds.

PHILIPPINE DEFENSE REFORM
——————————————— –

¶9. (U) There are now 13 US Subject Matter Experts on the
ground to implement Philippine Defense Reform, which will
transform the AFP into a more transparent, accountable, and
modern fighting force and counterterrorism partner. In
addition to long term institutional changes, the multi-year
Capability Upgrade Program will upgrade and 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 introducing new personnel policies, and new
equipment.

UNLAWFUL/EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLINGS
——————————————— ———–

¶10. (SBU) Allegations continue to surface of involvement by
military and police elements in the deaths of leftist
activists and journalists. President Arroyo and senior
military and police officials have forcefully made clear that
any such killings violate State policy and that all culprits
must face justice, regardless of who they are. A special
police task force is investigating all such killings, while
special courts will handle the expeditious processing of
these cases. Both the armed forces and the police have set
up new human rights offices to assist in the investigations,
working with the Philippine Commission on Human Rights.

¶11. (U) The Embassy carefully vets all proposed military
and law enforcement personnel about to receive U.S.-funded
training both internally and with relevant Philippine
authorities to comply with the terms of the Leahy Amendments.

THEMES:
KEEP UP THE COUNTERTERRORISM FIGHT, PDR, AND RULE OF LAW
——————————————— —————

¶13. (C) In your meetings, I suggest you stress the following
themes:
— The Philippines is a strong and valued partner in
counterterrorism efforts;
— Our condolences to the Armed Forces of the Philippines
and the families of the soldiers who recently lost their

lives in Mindanao;
— Congratulations on recent successes in the fight against
terrorists, and commendations to those brave Filipinos who
provided information leading to these successful military
operations;
— Unlawful or extrajudicial killings undermine confidence
in the rule of law and in the armed forces. We appreciate
that the Philippines takes the issue seriously. It is
important to apprehend suspects in these killings and provide
a fair judicial process;
— Philippine Defense Reform is an important and successful
tool in transforming the Armed Forces into a more
transparent, accountable, and effective institution, and we
will continue to assist in your efforts, along with your
modernization drive and additional training;
— We hope that the Philippines will soon agree to
participate in the new Global Peacekeeping Operations
Initiative, especially in light of the important roles your
military and police personnel already play in UN peacekeeping
operations around the world.

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

   

 

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