Oct 282014

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
2005-12-15 10:20
2011-08-30 01:44
Embassy Manila

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 005847



E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/15/2015


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

¶1. (C) Summary. Senator Christopher S. Bond visited the
Philippines December 7-10, meeting with Philippine government
and military officials and local American business leaders.
Senator Bond spoke with President Arroyo the possibility of
developing regional structures along the lines of the
Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe; he also
encouraged her to visit the U.S. In other meetings with GRP
officials, he discussed the GRP’s current assessment of
terrorist threats to the Philippines, difficulties in passing
anti-terrorism legislation, and current state of Philippine
Defense reform. On a trip to Zamboanga, he was briefed by
Philippine generals on recent operations in Mindanao. The
American chamber of Commerce of the Philippines provided
Senator Bond with an assessment of the major problems facing
U.S. commercial investors in the country. Senator Bond’s
visit contributed immensely to our efforts to focus the GRP’s
Executive branch and Congress on our substantive agenda, led
off by the Global War on Terrorism. End Summary.

Regional Architecture

¶2. (C) Reftel reports on Senator Bond’s December 9
discussion with President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on
intelligence cooperation, terrorism, efforts to encourage
reforms in Burma, and foreign investment and trade issues.
Senator Bond also queried President Arroyo about
strengthening the Asian-Pacific regional architecture, such
as developing structures along the lines of the Organization
for Security and Co-operation in Europe. President Arroyo
noted that APEC had expanded its role considerably after
September 11, 2001, attacks on the U.S. and now addressed a
range of multilateral issues. Senator Bond also warmly
encouraged President Arroyo to visit the U.S. President
Arroyo said she had no immediate plans for such a visit, but
she always enjoys her time in America and hopes to be back

National Security

¶3. (C) On December 8, Senator Bond met with National
Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) Director Cesar
Garcia, who provided NICA’s most recent assessment of
terrorist threats in the Philippines, focusing almost
exclusively on the activities of Jemaah Islamiah (JI).
Garcia described religiously-motivated terrorism in the
Philippines as increasing, while economically-motivated
terrorism was in decline. Garcia noted that much of JI’s
funding came from individuals in Saudi Arabia, although some
Saudi funding also was for legitimate purposes. He suggested
that JI’s training of locals had a financial dimension in
that it created an incipient “bombing for hire” industry.
When asked about the prospect for counterterrorist efforts in
the southern Philippines, Garcia said that the ongoing peace
process between the GRP and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front
(MILF) was crucial, since it would drive a wedge between
secularists and more extreme groups. He added that the
activities of the JI and the Abu Sayyaf Group would suffer
greatly from the capture of their leaders, while the MILF was
an organization that could better withstand a loss of
individual leaders.

¶4. (C) Senator Bond separately met on December 8 with
National Security Advisor Norberto Gonzales. Gonzales
assured Senator Bond that the ongoing difficulty in passing
proposed anti-terror legislation was due to the efforts of “a
few unique people” and was not reflective of broader popular
opinion. In response to Senator Bond’s inquiries regarding
bilateral cooperation in the Global War on Terror, Gonzales
stated the GRP appreciated that there are dimensions of the
GWOT that the GRP cannot handle unilaterally. He further
asserted that the GRP clearly needed the USG as a partner in
the GWOT, and that those Filipinos who object to such an
arrangement represented only a “narrow spectrum” of
Philippine popular opinion.

Visiting the troops

¶5. (C) Senator Bond and party flew on December 9 to
Zamboanga to observe Joint Special Operations Task Force –
Pacific (JSOTF-P) operations and meet U.S. troops. The
senator called on Lieutenant General Edilberto Adan,
Commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Southern
Command, who expressed his appreciation for the support of
JSOTF in humanitarian operations and intelligence support.
General Adan and Marine General Alleo, who commanded AFP
forces in Sulu during recent fighting, provided a briefing on
recent operations. The generals supported applying the
“Basilan model” to Sulu, but noted that the presence of the
local Tausugs and the history of U.S. involvement on Sulu
made the environment more difficult than Basilan. After the
briefing, Senator Bond and General Adan spoke with television
and print journalists about the close cooperation between
U.S. and AFP forces in Mindanao in the fight against
terrorists. The press event produced a front page picture in
the “Philippine Star” and coverage on the TV news.

Discussions with Congressional Colleagues

¶6. (C) At a dinner on December 8, Senator Bond had the
opportunity to discuss key issues with his counterparts in
the Philippine Congress. Drawing on his own experience
championing the Patriot Act, Senator Bond made a strong pitch
for the passage of the anti-terrorism legislation pending in
the Philippines. Representative Roilo Golez, a former
supporter of President Arroyo and current member of the
Opposition, agreed that the legislation was important, and
suggested that the current difficulty in passing it was due
to a fear that its provisions would be used by the government
against political opponents as well as suspected terrorists.
Senator Bond also praised Philippine Defense Reform
initiatives, and received an update on these from
Representative Jose Solis, chairman of the House National
defense and Security committee.

Economic/Commercial Issues

¶6. (U) Senator Bond met with board members of the American
Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (AmCham) on December
¶8. AmCham members drew the Senator’s attention to the need
for increased anti-corruption efforts, a reliable legal and
regulatory framework for investing, trade liberalization, and
a more foreigner-friendly immigration policy as necessary
preconditions to drawing more foreign direct investment to
the Philippines. AmCham members also pointed to the
Philippines’ relatively low spending on education and its
high birth rate as two internal factors that put the country
at a disadvantage in drawing FDI, especially in comparison to
other countries in the region.


¶7. (C) Senator Bond’s visit contributed immensely to our
efforts to focus the GRP’s Executive branch and Congress on
our substantive agenda, led off by the Global War on
Terrorism. President Arroyo’s desire to build on her
relationship with Washington offers opportunities to advance
our substantive agenda. She has recently contributed to
progress on anti-trafficking and intellectual property
rights, in addition to maintaining strong support for the
GWOT. High-level visits help to keep the government steady
and on track despite the continuing political turmoil here.

¶8. (U) Senator Bond did not have the opportunity to review
this message.

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