Oct 232014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2006/11/06MANILA4742.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MANILA4742 2006-11-17 09:17 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Manila
VZCZCXRO3275
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #4742/01 3210917
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 170917Z NOV 06 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3967
INFO RUEHZS/ASEAN COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNS/COMSOCPAC HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA IMMEDIATE 9475
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON IMMEDIATE 3424
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA IMMEDIATE 1142
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO IMMEDIATE 2963
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON IMMEDIATE 3380
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 MANILA 004742

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE, SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP, S/CT, PM, INR/EAP, AND EAP/MTS
USPACOM ALSO FOR FPA HUSO AND J5
SECDEF/OSD/ISA/AP (TOOLAN/BAILEY)
JOINT STAFF/J5 (WILKES/ROBINSON/CLEMMONS)
AID/W FOR ANE/EAA PHILIPPINE DESK OFFICER CALISTA DOWNEY; DAA/ANE
JAMES KUNDER; ANE/ESA DEBORAH KENNEDY-IRAHETA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PTER MOPS MCAP EAID EFIN PGOV RP
SUBJECT: SIX AMBASSADORS PITCH IN FOR MINDANAO PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT

MANILA 00004742 001.2 OF 003

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED; PLEASE HANDLE ACCORDINGLY

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SUMMARY
——–

¶1. (U) In a unique effort to demonstrate international support for
peace and development, Ambassador Kristie Kenney led a group of five
Ambassadors from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, and the
United Kingdom in a visit to the conflict-affected Mindanao
provinces of Zamboanga and Basilan. The GRP Undersecretary to the
Presidential Advisor on the Peace Process accompanied the group. The
Ambassadors expressed their collective interest to bring peace and
development in Mindanao and support the GRP-Moro Islamic Liberation
Front (MILF) peace talks. The Ambassadors discussed their ongoing
coordination and synergy among their various programs on education
and job skills enhancement, small business development, improved
healthcare, agricultural sustainability, poverty alleviation and
counter-terrorism. The Ambassadors also discussed security issues
with Western Mindanao Command (WESTMINCOM) Commander Lt. General
Eugenio Cedo and U.S. Joint Special Operations Task Force (JSOTF)
Commander. They met with Zamboanga City Mayor Celso Lobregat to
talk about partnership programs, and, on the island of Basilan,
discussed economic prospects with Basilan business leaders. The
Ambassadors also participated in ribbon-cutting ceremonies for U.S.,
Australian and Canadian government development projects in Zamboanga
and Basilan. End Summary.

——————————————
PROMOTING GREATER COORDINATION AND SYNERGY
——————————————

¶2. (U) On November 13, 2006, Ambassador Kenney together with
Ambassador Tony Hely of Australia, Ambassador Peter Sutherland of
Canada, Ambassador Ryuichiro Yamazaki of Japan, Ambassador David
Pine of New Zealand, and Ambassador Peter Beckingham of the United
Kingdom, visited Zamboanga and Basilan, two conflict-affected areas
in Mindanao. The rationale for this U.S.-led visit was to
demonstrate the group’s mutual interests in supporting peace and
development in Mindanao and the GRP-Moro Islamic Liberation Front
(MILF) peace talks. This trip also provided other opportunities.
For those ambassadors less well traveled in Mindanao, this trip
deepened their understanding of parts of Mindanao that they had not
visited due to security concerns; it was an opportunity for them to
see first hand a sampling of the development programs being
implemented in Mindanao; they heard in Basilan how economic and
social prospects there are now brighter as a result of the
transforming effect of development assistance and military action;
it was an opportunity to leverage resources from other U.S. partners
in contributing to peace and development; and, finally, it was an
opportunity to coordinate, avoid duplication and create synergy
through our respective development and military assistance efforts.
By working together as partners, the six countries are effectively
and efficiently working towards establishing zones of peace and
prosperity in Mindanao that will spur development throughout the
Philippines.

¶3. (U) The USG has adopted an integrated “3-D” (Diplomacy, Defense,
and Development) approach to supporting peace and development in
Mindanao. The three-pronged strategy utilizes diplomatic channels to
partner with and engage GRP agencies to mutually support peace
initiatives, enhances defense and security by supporting the Armed
Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to eliminate terrorist recruiting
grounds and sanctuaries, and carries out a broad spectrum of
development assistance to improve the quality of life in
conflict-affected communities in Mindanao. The approach was
successfully employed in Basilan, an island province in the Sulu
archipelago and a former Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) stronghold. USAID
development assistance provided since 1997, coupled with
civil-military and humanitarian activities with U.S.-supported AFP
operations started in 2002, enhanced security and paved the way to
transforming Basilan into a zone of peace that it is today.

MANILA 00004742 002.2 OF 003

—————–
MILITARY BRIEFING
—————–

¶4. (U) WESTMINCOM Commander Lt. General Eugenio Cedo and JSOTF
Commander briefed the five ambassadors on “Operation Ultimatum,” the
on-going military operations on the island of Jolo targeting the
senior Abu Sayyaf Group and Jemaah Islamiyah leadership. The Armed
Forces of the Philippines (AFP) military operations are more and
more successful in establishing zones of peace on the island. And
civil affairs development projects in conflict-affected villages,
including the provision of medical treatment, the building of
schools, community centers, and coordination with USAID and NGO
assistance, are contributing to overall security by winning the
hearts and minds of the residents in these communities, separating
them from terrorist groups.

—————————————-
MEETING WITH ZAMBOANGA CITY MAYOR LOBREGAT
—————————————-

¶5. (U) The Ambassadors jointly called on Zamboanga City Mayor Celso
Lobregat who recognized each of the Ambassadors for their respective
development assistance contributions to Zamboanga City. A press
conference followed, and each Ambassador took the opportunity to
share his or her perspective on the purpose of their visit to
Mindanao, i.e., the mutual interest in showing support for
Mindanao’s development and the peace process between the Moro
Islamic Liberation Front and the GRP.

—————————————
IMPROVING ECONOMIC PROSPECTS IN BASILAN
—————————————

¶6. (U) In Isabela City on the island of Basilan, the Ambassadors
met with members of Basilan’s three Chambers of Commerce and other
business leaders at the Filipino fast-food restaurant Jollibee,
itself a positive indicator of economic growth on the island.
Discussion centered on current bright business prospects in Basilan,
what a positive and dramatic change it is from the past, and that
they were now experiencing the tangible benefits that follow when
communities reject violence and choose peace and development.

¶7. (U) A vibrant woman leader, a trustee of the Autonomous Basilan
Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry, made the point that this
unique visit by six Ambassadors to Basilan was yet another sign, “a
miracle”, that shows the bright future of this island province. The
Executive Director of another chamber stated, “We are experiencing a
renaissance, especially in the business sector.” They cited
Basilan’s fertile soil and location in a typhoon-free zone as the
most attractive features for potential agricultural investments.
Major products are copra, rubber, coffee, and cassava. Businessmen
indicated that U.S. business interests present in the sixties
disappeared during the conflict years, but that several U.S. firms,
like Cargill and Coca Cola, were now present on the island. Cell
coverage is adequate and the mood of businessmen good. They are
hoping to tap into the tourism market, building hotels, and looking
in particular at developing nearby Malimaui Island as a beach
resort, initially for domestic tourism. They see the wisdom of
protecting coral reefs and have already established one marine
sanctuary. They cited the need for assistance in protecting their
coastal and fishery resources and cited dynamite fishing as a
particular problem they are working to solve. Among the constraints
to business development, they cited the high cost of power, poor
land line phone connections, and the need for more farm-to-market
roads.
¶8. (U) Some of these leaders appealed for more development
assistance, e.g., the mayor requested a fire truck. However, some of
the younger leaders made the refreshing point that they have work to
do on their own to take advantage of the opportunities which their
secure environment now offers them.

—————————————-
PROJECTS HELP IMPROVE LIVES OF RESIDENTS

MANILA 00004742 003.2 OF 003

—————————————-

¶9. (U) The Ambassadors participated in three events highlighting
U.S., Australian, and Canadian Government support to improve the
lives of Zamboanga and Basilan residents. Ambassador Kenney turned
over to the Parent-Teacher-Community Association (PTCA) of the
Islamic Institute of the Philippines, a madrasah school in Zamboanga
City, a USAID-funded Computer Literacy and Internet Connection
(CLIC) Program and an EASE Matching Grant package consisting of 14
computers, internet connection, a local area network, printers,
software, and a range of computer reference materials. The USAID’s
CLIC Program helps bridge the digital divide by partnering with
PTCAs of high schools which do not have access to the internet.
USAID has assisted 425 schools in conflict affected areas of
Mindanao, benefiting nearly 400,000 students and more than 11,000
teachers.

¶10. (U) Australian Ambassador Hely inaugurated the Australian
Agency for International Development (AUSAID)-assisted Community
Learning Center in Sabong, Basilan. The Basic Education Assistance
for Mindanao (BEAM) Project supports school age children and adults
in remote and disadvantaged groups gain access to quality formal or
non-formal school programs. The Sabong Community Learning Center
received support for the conduct of early childhood classes for
pre-school children, functional literacy and livelihood enterprise
skills training for parents, and non-formal education accreditation
and equivalency for out-of-school youth. AUSAID has assisted 60
communities in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

¶11. (U) Canadian Ambassador Sutherland handed to Basilan Governor
Wahab Akbar computer equipment to support the computerization of the
local government unit’s financial management information system.
The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)-funded Local
Governance Support Program in the Autonomous Region in Muslim
Mindanao works with the region’s 101 municipalities in supporting
the development of well-functioning local governments as catalysts
for poverty reduction and peace.

¶12. (U) Even on this relatively peaceful island there is more work
to be done. Basilan Provincial Governor stated, “The Abu Sayyaf is
not our problem. Our number one enemy is poverty; our number two
enemy is illiteracy. Once we solve these, we will have peace and
prosperity in Basilan.” The lack of opportunity for youth,
especially out-of-school youth, was also cited as a major problem.
This was apparent at one of our stops. As we participated in
celebrating the turnover of assistance in this particular community,
a group of young men stood to the side and appeared disinterested in
the event.

——–
COMMENTS
——–

¶13. (SBU) The Ambassadors’ trip to Zamboanga and Basilan, which
received considerable press here, in addition to demonstrating the
U.S., Australian, Canadian, Japanese, New Zealand, and U.K.
Governments’ collective commitment to supporting peace and
development in Mindanao, represented a conscious effort to better
harness individual donor assistance programs, in concert with the
Philippines Development Forum’s Mindanao Working Group, into a
comprehensive strategy to address development, peace and security in
the southern Philippines. The participation of the GRP’s Office of
the Presidential Advisor on the Peace Process and other local
government officials, as well as the trip logistics support provided
by the Armed Forces of the Philippines reflected our close
partnership with the GRP. Finally, this landmark travel to
conflict-affected areas of Mindanao by six Ambassadors was the
result of an impressive U.S. Country Team effort. Several of the
Ambassadors noted that the U.S. Embassy-provided briefing materials
greatly expanded their knowledge of international development and
defense programs in Mindanao.
KENNEY

   

 

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