Sep 162014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2005/10/05MANILA4905.html

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
05MANILA4905
2005-10-16 10:11
2011-08-30 01:44
SECRET//NOFORN
Embassy Manila

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 MANILA 004905

SIPDIS

NOFORN

STATE FOR S/CT(MMILLER) AND EAP/MTS
STATE ALSO FOR DS/T/ATA AND DS/ICI/RFJ
SECDEF/OSD/ISA/AP FOR ALLEN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/17/2015
TAGS: PTER PREL ASEC PINS MOPS EAID KCRM RP
SUBJECT: SCENESETTER FOR S/CT AMBASSADOR CRUMPTON

REF: A. STATE 182130
¶B. MANILA 1614
¶C. STATE 151998
¶D. MANILA 2434
¶E. MANILA 2991

Classified By: (U) Charge d’Affaires, a.i., Paul Jones
for reasons 1.4(b) and (d).

¶1. (C) Summary. Embassy Manila’s comprehensive
counterterrorism efforts — ranging from the
military to humanitarian to public diplomacy
— are deliberately integrated to meet the
ever-present terrorism threat in the Philippines.
You will see all major players during your visit:
Executive Secretary Ermita; Ambassador-at-large for
Counterterrorism Defensor; Defense Secretary Cruz;
Interior Secretary Reyes; Armed Force of the
Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Senga; Philippine
National Police (PNP) Chief Lomibao; and National
Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) Director Garcia.
You should use your meetings to push for
interagency cooperation, institutional reform, and
anti-terrorism legislation. You’ll want to convey our
confidence in the constitutional framework for resolving
political differences, and our opposition to martial law,
which would undermine the fight against terrorism.
End Summary.

BACKGROUND
———-

¶2. (C) The terrorism threat here is real. Porous borders,
weak institutions, fragile government, a long-running
Muslim insurgency, and ever-present corruption make the
Philippines highly vulnerable. Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) and
Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) terrorists continue to elude
government forces in Mindanao, while the Communist Party
of the Philippines/New Peoples’ Army maintains a
country-wide presence bent on destabilization. The Rajah
Solaiman Movement (RSM) represents a growing worry because
of its ties to foreign financing and the ability of its
members — Christian converts to Islam — to “blend in.”
The Philippines has a recent history of terrorist attacks
on its own territory. The February 28, 2004, bombing of
Superferry 14, which killed over one hundred Filipinos,
was the second worst terrorist attack in Asia after the
October 2002 Bali bombings, while the February 14, 2005,
“Valentine’s Day” bombs in Manila and Mindanao devastated
crowds of shoppers and commuters.

¶3. (C) Amid these challenges, President Arroyo is fighting
for her political life, as she struggles to cope with
allegations she engaged in cheating to win the 2004
presidential election. The government’s political woes
have not yet had a significant impact on the AFP and the
PNP — our two principal counterterrorism partners, but
could have an effect over time. Either a declaration of
martial law or a coup attempt would prove disastrous to
either institution.

COMPREHENSIVE ENGAGEMENT EFFORTS:
USAID – ECONOMY AND LIVELIHOOD
———————————

¶4. (SBU) Our counterterrorism engagement in the
Philippines ranges from humanitarian relief and
development to the military and public diplomacy.
USAID’s Livelihood Enhancement and Peace (LEAP) program
has reintegrated over 28,000 former Moro National
Liberation Front (MNLF) combatants into productive
society as successful farmers, and stands poised —
should a peace agreement be signed with the Moro Islamic
National Liberation Front (MILF) — to provide similar
assistance to the MILF. USAID’s broad spectrum of
development programs (in infrastructure, education,
governance, health, economic growth, environment,
and energy) in conflict-affected areas of Mindanao have
made a positive impact in communities otherwise vulnerable
to exploitation by bad elements.

JUSMAG – TRAINING AND REFORM
—————————-

¶5. (C) Joint US Military Assistance Group-Philippines
(JUSMAG-P) plays a vital role in our efforts to improve
Philippine capabilities. The US-trained and equipped
Light Reaction Companies (LRCs) and Light Infantry
Battalions (LIBs) are the tip of the spear in the
counterterrorism fight. Although the AFP failed to
capture Janjalani during Operation Layas Pagad this
summer, it did, as a direct result of US support and
training, conduct sustained combat operations in the
field for over 60 days. Over the longer term, JUSMAG-P
support for the Philippine Defense Reform (PDR) program
will prove key to the GRP’s ability to stand alone
without US assistance, capable of meeting the needs of
the Philippine people and serving as a reliable
coalition partner.

JSOTF – INTELLIGENCE FUSION AND CIVIL MILITARY OPERATIONS
——————————————— ————

¶6. (C) In addition to helping the AFP fuse intelligence
with operations in the hunt for wanted terrorists, Joint
Special Operations Task Force-Philippines (JSOTF-P) has
broadened its scope to include civil-military operations
in Mindanao. This approach, coupled with USAID’s
longer-term programs, attacks the environment in which the
terrorists thrive. JSOTF-P’s efforts in support of the AFP
will initially focus on the island of Jolo in the Sulu
Archipelago, an established ASG stronghold, with the goal
of changing perceptions of the AFP and Philippine
government among the citizens of Mindanao.

PUBLIC DIPLOMACY – GETTING THE STORY OUT
—————————————-

¶7. (SBU) The Philippines is an exuberant media
environment. Much of our effort ends up devoted
to ensuring that journalists get their facts
straight. However, we also take every opportunity
to get our side of the story out. Initiatives,
such as our recently published “Muslim Life
in the Philippines,” have found a ready audience, and we
have in the works a film chronicling the successful joint
US-AFP effort to defeat the ASG on Basilan. PAS works
hand-in-glove with both USAID and JSOTF-P to ensure that
perceptions of our efforts on every front are positive.

REWARDS PROGRAMS – SYNERGIES
—————————-

¶8. (S) Our rewards effort builds upon the synergies
between the State and DoD programs to attack the web of
social, religious, and cultural ties upon which the
terrorists have relied for their safety and freedom.
The promise of a reward encouraged individuals to step
forward to help the AFP get ASG leader Hamsiraji Sali,
JI operative Zaki, and the USG has paid out rewards for
numerous other terrorists. We anticipate the recently
announced reward of $10 million under Rewards for
Justice for Dulmatin will help bring him to justice.

RMAS – CRITICAL SUPPORT
———————–

¶9. (S/NF) RMAS support and direction of the PNP’s
Intelligence Group (IG), Task Force Sanglahi, and the
Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines
(ISAFP) has proven critical to the capture of a number of
terrorists and the disruption of operations directed against
US interests.

THEMES:
ENGAGEMENT WITH
THE PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE
AND THE ANTI-TERRORISM TASK FORCE
———————————

¶10. (SBU) S/CT’s Counterterrorism Engagement Funds are
helping us address critical deficiencies in the Philippine
corrections system — one of the principal recommendations
of the June 20-July 7 RP-US assessment of the Philippine
National Police (PNP). Engagement Funds and Global War on
Terrorism Partnership Funds can also help respond to other
critical needs identified in the assessment, such as
improving cooperation between prosecutors and police and
supporting the PNP’s fledgling reform efforts. S/CT and
the Office of Anti-Terrorism Assistance (ATA) are
currently evaluating Post’s proposal for sustained
engagement with the interagency Anti-Terrorism Task
Force (ATTF) that would create a dedicated
team of police investigators, analysts, and prosecutors,
who would serve as GRP’s national-level response unit
for terrorist attacks. In your meetings with Executive
Secretary Ermita, Ambassador-at-large for Counterterrorism

SIPDIS
Benjamin Defensor, Interior Secretary Reyes, Defense
Secretary Cruz, AFP Chief of Staff Senga, and PNP Chief

SIPDIS
Lomibao you should stress our support for effective
interagency counterterrorism cooperation and police reform.

PUSHING ANTI-TERRORISM LEGISLATION
———————————-

¶11. (SBU) The Philippine House has consolidated its
efforts behind one anti-terrorism bill, which is now out of
Committee for consideration by the full House. However,
there are five different bills pending in the Senate,
three of them filed by the Opposition. Nominally
pro-Arroyo Senator Manuel Villar is moving to consolidate
these drafts into one bill. In your interactions with all
your interlocutors and the press you should stress the
need to pass effective anti-terrorism legislation
that will give law enforcement agencies the tools
to fight and defeat terrorism.

CONSISTENT MESSAGE – “RULE OF LAW, NOT MARTIAL LAW”
——————————————— ——

¶12. (C) Rumors continue to abound about Government planning
to impose emergency rule or martial law. If there is any
issue that would mobilize widespread opposition to Arroyo
this is it. Martial law would splinter the AFP and PNP,
undermine the nascent reform efforts currently underway,
intensify economic problems, fuel the Communist insurgency,
and plunge the country into turmoil. You should stress in
each of your meetings the USG’s confidence in the
constitutional process in the Philippines, and opposition
to any extraordinary measures.

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

   

 

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