Oct 282014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2006/08/06MANILA3491.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MANILA3491 2006-08-22 04:28 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Manila
VZCZCXRO6901
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #3491/01 2340428
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 220428Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2580
INFO RHMFIUU/VA CENTRAL OFC WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEHZS/ASEAN COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING IMMEDIATE 5845
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEHLMC/MCC WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC//OSD/ISA/AP IMMEDIATE
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 003491

SIPDIS

Sensitive
SIPDIS

STATE FOR H, EAP, EAP/MTS, EXIM, OPIC, AND USTR
MCC FOR VP BRENT

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PREL OREP ECON EINV ETRD PTER MARR PGOV RP
SUBJECT: SENATOR INOUYE’S VISIT: OVERVIEW

REF: MANILA 3472

Sensitive but Unclassified – Not for Internet – Protect
Accordingly.

MANILA 00003491 001.2 OF 002

¶1. Summary. During Senator Daniel K. Inouye’s August 11 – 15 visit
to the Philippines, he traveled to Zamboanga and dined with
President Arroyo (see Reftel); met U.S. business leaders; and,
called on the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House, and
Defense Secretary Cruz. Given the Senator’s work on behalf of
Filipino veterans and long contact with the Philippines (his first
visit was in 1962), Senator Inouye’s visit was a sensation. He
received achievement awards from President Arroyo (Order of
Lakandula), Speaker of the House de Venecia (Congressional Medal of
Achievement), and Secretary of National Defense Cruz (Outstanding
Achievement Medal). End Summary.

———————–
U.S. BUSINESS LEADERS
———————–

¶2. (U) Senator Inouye discussed opportunities and challenges for
business in the Philippines during a luncheon meeting with selected
members of the local American Chamber of Commerce. Business leaders
commented on positive factors impacting their local operations
including the country’s steady economic growth of more than 5%, the
strong flow of remittances from Filipinos living abroad, the
expansion of tourism by 20% per year, the proliferation of call
centers throughout the country, and the resurgence of the mineral
extraction industry. Participants raised concerns about the
sluggish and unpredictable judicial system and its inability to
impose swift convictions on corrupt officials, as well as cumbersome
government regulations and legislation that stifle business
expansion. The business leaders noted, however, that Finance
Secretary Favila had requested a list of “red tape” inhibitors to

SIPDIS
business in the wake of the President’s State of the Nation Address
that focused on economic development. They are busy compiling
responses and hope for swift Philippine government action.

————————–
U.S. – FILIPINO FRIENDSHIP
————————–

¶3. (U) Senator Inouye and his staff attended a gala dinner hosted
by former Philippines Ambassador to the U.S. Albert Del Rosario.
Here and on other occasions, Senator Inouye pledged to try to
resolve the long-standing veterans’ benefits issue. (Note:
Filipino veterans who fought under the U.S. flag in WW II are not
eligible for the full compliment of VA benefits. Their most notable
cause is to change the current USG law which provides benefits to
qualified Filipino Veterans residing in the Philippines at a rate of
fifty cents on the dollar. End Note.) Senator Inouye described the
joint U.S.-Philippines civil-military counter-terrorism efforts he
had observed in Mindanao. He told participants of the effusive
welcome he had received from Muslim youth, and the sight of Muslims
and Christians, Filipinos and Americans united in an effort to bring
peace to that region; this experience filled him with hope and
optimism for a secure and prosperous future. Among those attending
were Majority Leader Senator Pangalinan, former Senate President
Drilon, Senator Recto, Senator Biazon, House Speaker de Venecia,
Energy Secretary Lotilla, Defense Undersecretary Carolina, and
representatives from the private sector.

———————-
VETERANS AT RECEPTION
———————-

¶4. Senator Inouye was the guest of honor at a well-attended
reception hosted by Charge for Filipino and U.S. veterans, senior
Philippine government, military, and congressional leaders, and U.S.
and Filipino business representatives. After many poignant personal
interactions with veterans and old friends, Senator Inouye spoke
movingly of his commitment to Philippine-American friendship and our
alliance, as well as continuing to work on benefits for Filipino
veterans who served with the U.S. Armed Forces during WW II.

————————–
SENATE PRESIDENT VILLAR
————————–

¶5. (SBU) Senator Inouye and his staff met with Senate President

MANILA 00003491 002.2 OF 002

Villar on August 14, together with the Charge. Senator Inouye said
he was inspired by the Philippines efforts to combat terrorism
through the linkage of military and civil programs, and proud of
U.S. assistance to these efforts. The Senators discussed a variety
of issues, including the new China-U.S. Inter-parliamentary
Congress, the move toward Charter Change in the Philippines and the
pros and cons of unicameral and bicameral systems. They also
discussed the Philippines’ pending Anti-Terrorism Bill, Philippine
Defense Reform, and the current state of the economy.

————————-
DEFENSE SECRETARY CRUZ
————————-

¶6. (SBU) Senator Inouye and Charge met with the Secretary of
National Defense Avelino Cruz on August 14. Secretary Cruz led a
briefing on Philippine Defense Reform, explaining that defense
reform was gaining traction on the ground, with junior and mid-grade
officers realizing that their input could bring about real change
and improve systems. Senator Inouye remarked that he was extremely
pleased and impressed by GRP progress on defense reform and
congratulated Secretary Cruz for his leadership.

¶7. (U) At the conclusion of Senator Inouye’s visit to the
Department of National Defense, Secretary Cruz awarded him the
Outstanding Achievement Medal, in recognition of his support for
veterans’ benefits for Filipinos who fought with U.S. forces during
WW II.

—————————
HOUSE SPEAKER DE VENECIA
—————————

¶8. (U) Senator Inouye and Charge met with, and then attended a
lunch hosted by, Speaker de Venecia on August 15. De Venecia lauded
Inouye’s long time support of the Philippine-U.S. partnership. He
said his current priorities were a U.S.-Philippine Free Trade
Agreement and a global or regional anti-terrorism summit, in the
wake of the London aircraft bombing plot, which might coincide with
the December 2006 ASEAN summit in Cebu.

¶9. (U) Speaker de Venecia presented Senator Inouye with the
Congressional Award of Achievement in recognition of his unrelenting
support of Filipino Veterans and his efforts to nurture the
relationship between U.S. and Filipino legislatures. Senator Inouye
remarked he was deeply moved by the award and reiterated that he
would continue to fight for full benefits for Filipino Veterans.
Many high-ranking officials such as former President Ramos,
Executive Secretary Ermita, Ombudsman Gutierrez, Central Bank
Governor Tetangco and Secretary of Justice Gonzalez attended the
award ceremony and luncheon to honor the Senator.

¶10. (U) Senator Inouye did not have the opportunity to clear this
message.

JONES

   

 

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