Oct 202014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2010/01/10MANILA132.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
10MANILA132
2010-01-22 07:23
2011-08-30 01:44
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXRO4776
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #0132/01 0220723
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 220723Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6333
RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
INFO RHHMUNA/USPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK IMMEDIATE 0367
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS IMMEDIATE
RUEHRO/USMISSION UN ROME IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHPU/AMEMBASSY PORT AU PRINCE 0001
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 000132

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MLS, HAITI TASK FORCE ONE
BANGKOK FOR USAID /OFDA REGIONAL ADVISOR A. DWYER
USAID FOR DCHA/OFDA R. THAYER
USAID W/ FOR ANE/AA AND DCHA/FPP
USUN FOR OFDA REP
BRUSSELS FOR P. BROWN
SECDEF FOR SOLIC
NSC FOR P. MARCHAM

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID SOCI PREL PGOV KPAO HA RP
SUBJECT: TFHA01: PHILIPPINES SENDS DISASTER RELIEF FUNDS, PERSONNEL TO HAITI

REFTELS: A) State 4854 B) State 4208

¶1. (SBU) Summary. The Philippines offered monetary assistance and
disaster relief expertise to earthquake-stricken Haiti this week,
with President Arroyo and the Philippine National Red Cross each
approving USD 50,000 for humanitarian assistance. A team of 21
government doctors, nurses and engineers will join the almost 200
United Nations Filipino peacekeepers already engaged in relief
efforts there. The Philippine press has covered the disaster
accurately and extensively, and the Ambassador is using her farewell
calls on media and senior public figures to discuss international
humanitarian efforts in Haiti. End Summary.
————————————-
Philippines Sends Funds and Expertise
————————————-

¶2. (U) Tapping a deep well of empathy for victims of natural
disasters while demonstrating solidarity with international relief
efforts, the Philippines this week offered civilian expertise and
monetary assistance to help Haiti cope with the aftermath of the
January 12 earthquake. A team of 21 Department of Health (DoH)
doctors, nurses, and engineers known as the ‘Philippine Humanitarian
Team for Haiti’ will begin departing January 25 for Port au Prince.
Post issued expedited transit visas to these team members, for whom
Philippine Airlines is providing complimentary air travel. Air
express firm DHL is providing free shipping for 120 boxes of the
team’s supplies and equipment. The DoH’s Dr. Carmencita Banatin
told us the government is coordinating specific aspects of the
team’s mission with the U.N. Office for the Coordination of
Humanitarian Affairs and the World Health Organization. President
Arroyo this week approved the release of $50,000 to support Haiti
relief efforts, while Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) Chairman
and presidential candidate Senator Richard Gordon announced that the
organization would donate $50,000 for rescue operations. Senator
Gordon told us the PNRC has yet to decide whether to donate the
funds to the U.S. Red Cross, the International Federation of Red
Cross and Red Crescent Societies, or the Haiti Red Cross.

—————————————
President Conveys Empathy and Gratitude
—————————————

¶3. (U) President Arroyo on January 20 hosted a gathering of the
diplomatic corps at Malacanang Palace to welcome the new year. At
the start of her formal remarks, Arroyo said her thoughts and
prayers were with the Haitian people as they worked to recover from
the devastating earthquake, and she hoped the countries of the world
would all work together to help Haiti heal. She said Filipinos knew
how the Haitians felt because of the storms of late 2009, after
which the international community came together to help Filipinos in
a time of need. She asked that the diplomatic representatives
present convey to their governments and international organizations
that Filipinos were deeply grateful for the civilian and military
assistance that helped the Philippines get back on its feet. She
hoped that our combined efforts in Haiti would have the same effect
there. In a private aside following Arroyo’s remarks, the
Ambassador expressed appreciation for Philippine contributions to
Haiti. The President thanked the Ambassador “for what America is
doing in Haiti” and said Filipinos “are proud to play our small
part.”

¶4. (U) Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Assistant Secretary for
American Affairs Lourdes Yparraguirre told the Deputy Chief of
Mission on January 20 that the Humanitarian Team (referenced above)
would transit San Francisco and Santo Domingo and then convoy into
Haiti under UN auspices. The Philippine Ambassador to Cuba, who
also covers Haiti, is already in Santo Domingo. The Haitian and
Dominican honorary consuls in Manila have provided visas to both the
Philippine and an Indonesian relief team. Yparraguirre noted that,
in addition to the GRP and Philippine Red Cross donations, many
churches were doing “second collections” for Haiti. The DCM

MANILA 00000132 002 OF 002

discussed USG military relief efforts in the Philippines following
the 2009 storms and emphasized the benefits to all concerned if the
Philippines were to make a public statement about the value of such
efforts. Yparraguirre agreed with the point but did not commit to a
public statement.

——————————————— –
Philippine Peacekeepers Already on the Ground
——————————————— –

¶5. (U) The Philippines has a significant force serving with the
United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). Made up
of 155 military, 15 police, and 2 military observers, they serve in
the 10th Philippine Peacekeeping Contingent, which is assigned to
the UN’s Force Headquarters Security Unit in Port-au-Prince. More
than 1,500 Philippine troops have served in Haiti since first being
deployed in 2005. On January 3, Ambassador Hedi Annabi, the head of
MINUSTAH (who died in the earthquake), presented the Philippine
troops with the United Nations Peacekeeping Medal. Annabi made
special mention of six humanitarian projects the troops had
undertaken outside of their normal responsibilities.

¶6. (U) The Philippines is now mourning four of its nationals killed
in the earthquake while serving in MINUSTAH. Eustacio Bermudes Jr.,
Pearlie Panangui, and Janice Arocena were uniformed members of the
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), while Jerome Yap was a
civilian working for the peacekeeping mission. Meanwhile, the AFP
is preparing to respond to the UN’s call for additional peacekeepers
to deploy to Haiti. AFP Spokesman Lt. Col. Romeo Brawner told
Pol-Mil Chief that, in anticipation of a final decision by the UN
and Philippine Government to send the troops, the 11th Philippine
Peacekeeping Contingent is engaged in typical preparations involving
equipment, medical checks, and other administrative arrangements.
——————————————— ——
Accurate and Extensive Haiti Coverage by Local Media
——————————————— ——-
¶7. (U) The Philippine press has accurately and extensively covered
the disaster in Haiti, with no unfavorable mention of America’s role
and intentions there. As of January 20, local newspapers continued
to print large above-the-fold photographs of conditions in
Port-au-Prince. While the media has reported on conditions facing
the Haitian population, it also has focused on the fate of Filipinos
in Haiti, including the deaths noted above and efforts to account
for all Philippine citizens (three of whom remain missing). Media
commentators have written frequently since the Haitian earthquake
that the Philippines is earthquake-prone, and they have speculated
about their own country’s preparedness for a similar disaster. The
Ambassador is using her farewell calls on media and senior public
figures, including the major daily Philippine Star and President
Arroyo, to discuss international humanitarian efforts in Haiti, and
the strong coalition of international partners working with the USG
to help people in need.
Kenney

   

 

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