Oct 232014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2006/07/06MANILA2994.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MANILA2994 2006-07-18 07:42 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Manila
VZCZCXRO1656
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #2994/01 1990742
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 180742Z JUL 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2047
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 002994

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/18/2016
TAGS: MOPS PINS KISL RP
SUBJECT: UNEASY TRUCE IN MAGUINDANAO

REF: A. MANILA 2833
¶B. MANILA 740

Classified By: Pol/C Scott Bellard for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

¶1. (C) Summary. A week-old truce brokered by GRP officials
between the Maguindanao Provincial Governor and local
commanders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)
appears to be holding, with thousands of displaced persons
now returning to their homes. The Malaysian-led
International Monitoring Team (IMT) has been frustrated not
to have been able to play a more active role, but is now
present and helpful. The GRP and MILF Coordinating
Committees for the Cessation of Hostilities were directly
involved in the negotiations and the current truce. Further
outbreaks of violence from the long-standing rido (feud)
between the Ampatuan clan and elements of the MILF remain a
strong possibility, underscoring the need for a strengthened
mandate for the IMT and the potential pitfalls of the peace
process ahead. DCM will meet with local officials and IMT
leaders in Cotabato City during the week of July 24. End
Summary.

—————
Peace, of sorts
—————

¶2. (C) Following the personal involvement of Presidential
Advisor for the Peace Process Jesus “Jess” Dureza (ref A),
Maguindanao Provincial Governor Andal Ampatuan and the MILF’s
Coordinating Committee for the Cessation of Hostilities
(CCCH) Chairman Von Al Haq signed a truce agreement on July
11, setting up a demilitarized buffer zone with monitoring
posts in the municipalities of Shariff Aguak, Unsay Ampatuan,
Datu Saudi Ampatuan, and Mamasapano to prevent further
clashes between Ampatuan’s militia and the MILF 105th Base
Command. Also signing the agreement were Von Al Haq’s
GRP/CCCH counterpart, Chairman Ramon Santos, and the Armed
Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) 6th Infantry Division Chief
Rodolfo Obaniana, with IMT Chief-of-Mission Dato Pahlawan
Soheimi Bin Abbas as a witness.

¶3. (C) Although the GRP/CCCH had sought the establishment of
a “no firearms zone,” the two sides could not agree on this.
Instead, MILF members who are actual residents in the
conflict affected areas may still keep their firearms, but
may not display them in public. However, the agreement
stipulated that any MILF forces who are not actual residents
in these areas must leave (with their weapons).

¶4. (U) Since the signing of the agreement, between 15,000
and 20,000 displaced persons (4000 families) have begun to
leave evacuation centers to return home. However, at least
two hundred houses were destroyed or damaged during the
fighting. Many of the displaced now face the prospect of
having to rebuild or to seek refuge with family or friends as
their lives return to “normal.” IMT troops are now present
in key areas to ensure that both sides respect the agreement.

—————————
Stronger Mandate for the IMT
—————————-

¶5. (C) According to Executive Director of the GRP Peace
Panel Secretariat Ryan Sullivan, IMT Chief-of-Mission Dato
Pahlawan Soheimi Bin Abbas and his team were frustrated and
disappointed over the following developments:

— the alleged failure of the Armed Forces of the
Philippines (AFP) 6th Infantry Division to act decisively on
joint IMT-CCCH recommendations quickly to diffuse the armed
conflict that began on June 28;

— the inability of the IMT to gain entry into conflict
affected areas until July 7; and,

— deliveries of Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM)
Department of Social Welfare and Development relief
assistance to organizations affiliated with Governor Ampatuan
rather than directly to the general populace in conflict
affected areas.

¶6. (C) IMT and GRP officials have separately commented that
the conflict underscored the need to strengthen the IMT’s
mandate to address conflicts between the MILF and traditional
elites such as the Ampatuans. The IMT Secretariat, GRP/CCCH,
and MILF/CCCH intend to discuss this issue further.

————————-
Partition of Maguindanao?

MANILA 00002994 002 OF 002

————————-

¶7. (C) According to one Malacanang contact, the proposed
creation of a Bangsamoro Juridical Entity in the wake of an
eventual peace accord might threaten Governor Ampatuan’s
power base and economic interests, particularly in the second
district of Maguindanao, where there are untapped deposits of
petroleum and natural gas (ref B). While most of the current
mayors within the second district are immediate family
members/relatives of Governor Ampatuan, two MILF camps
legally recognized by the GRP are also in the area — Camp
Bader and Camp Omar. The latter of these camps houses the
MILF 105th Base Command.

¶8. (C) Governor Ampatuan has reportedly initiated a proposal
to divide Maguindanao province into two, which the ARMM
Regional Assembly discussed a week before the June 23 bomb
blast. Observers have predicted that, in the event of a
GRP-MILF peace agreement, the Ampatuan-dominated province
would opt out of a Bangsamoro Juridical Entity in the
eventual plebiscite.

——–
Comment:
——–

¶9. (C) DCM and poloff will travel to the area on July 24 and
meet with the IMT and local officials in Cotabato City to
assess the current situation. Clearly, the long-standing
rido (feud) between the Ampatuan clan and elements of the
MILF is far from over, despite the current truce. As the
GRP-MILF peace process moves forward, it will likely become
ever more critical to have an IMT on-the-ground with a
stronger mandate to address conflicts between the MILF and
traditional ruling elite over land and natural resources.

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

You can also access this site through the State Department’s
Classified SIPRNET website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/

Kenney

   

 

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