Oct 292014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/01/07MANILA299.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MANILA299 2007-01-29 00:29 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Manila
VZCZCXRO0819
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #0299/01 0290029
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 290029Z JAN 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4904
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING IMMEDIATE 5976
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA IMMEDIATE 9526
RUEHGZ/AMCONSUL GUANGZHOU IMMEDIATE 4295
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG IMMEDIATE 4525
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 000299

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E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/29/2017
TAGS: PREL PTER EAID ECON KPAO RP
SUBJECT: U/S HUGHES CONGRATULATES PRESIDENT ARROYO ON COUNTERTERRORISM SUCCESSES

Classified By: Ambassador Kristie A. Kenney, reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

¶1. (C) Summary. U/S Hughes voiced U.S. praise for recent
Philippine counterterrorism successes to President Arroyo,
who vowed to continue these operations as well as defense
modernization and reform. President Arroyo called on the
U.S. to sign ASEAN’s Treaty of Amity and Cooperation this
year. President Arroyo commented that her government’s tough
decisions on taxes and other measures were paying off with
fiscal improvements and jobs creation, and offered thanks to
the U.S. for its assistance, including MCC, Peace Corps, and
USAID. While on a winning streak, she showed every
intention of robustly maintaining the Philippines’ ongoing
progress and leadership, fully recognizing the importance of
the U.S. partnership. End Summary.

Getting the bad guys
——————–

¶2. (C) In a dinner in her honor at Malacanang Palace on
January 24, U/S Karen Hughes expressed to President Gloria
Macapagal Arroyo the appreciation of President Bush and the
American people for recent success in the Philippines’
ongoing counterterrorism operations, including the killings
of wanted terrorist leaders Khadaffy Janjalani and Abu
Solaiman of the Abu Sayyaf Group. Both at the dinner and
during subsequent remarks to hundreds of Philippine troops in
Malacanang’s Heroes’ Hall, President Arroyo thanked President
Bush and the American people for the “extraordinary
assistance” they continue to provide to the Philippines in
these efforts. She vowed to continue counterterrorism
operations, and offered special praise for the U.S. troops
providing advice and assistance on Jolo Island, where other
High Value Targets remain. In a moving ceremony with the
troops, she presented awards and promotions to individual
soldiers engaged in the assault that led to Khadaffy
Janjalani’s death in September 2006, and offered casualty
payments to the widows of men killed in the offensive. A new
video produced for the Philippine troops by their government
highlighted these recent successes, prominently featuring
words of congratulations and praise from Ambassador Kenney.

¶3. (C) President Arroyo noted the value of the Rewards For
Justice program in obtaining information that led to
successful attacks on wanted terrorists. Ambassador Kenney
assured her that the Embassy was moving quickly to identify
the appropriate civilian recipients and would ensure that the
State Department quickly approved these recommendations in
order to ensure timely payouts. Executive Secretary Ermita
(a former Defense Secretary and retired General) and current
Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines General
Esperon noted that Philippine troops did not expect or want
rewards other than the recognition of their President, as
they received at the ceremony that evening. The President,
who is concurrently Defense Secretary, described her
ambitious procurement efforts to ensure that the armed forces
had the equipment needed to fight and win these battles
against terrorism. She pledged also to continue progress
under the Philippine Defense Reform initiative launched by
Presidents Bush and Arroyo during the exchange of state
visits in 2003.

Summitry
——–

¶4. (C) U/S Hughes offered President Arroyo her
congratulations on the substantive and logistical successes
of the recent ASEAN-related summits in Cebu. President
Arroyo emphasized that she had used her chairmanship to issue
statements after the various summits that directly addressed
the problems of Burma and North Korea and the need for the
region to remain united in dealing with these situations.
She called for the U.S. to accede to ASEAN’s Treaty of Amity
and Cooperation, noting that she had raised this at the APEC
Leaders’ Summit with President Bush. She suggested that the
senior U.S. representative to the ASEAN Post-Ministerial
Conference and ASEAN Regional Forum this summer in the
Philippines sign the treaty.

Tough decisions
—————

¶5. (C) President Arroyo outlined some of the difficult but
worthwhile decisions she had made to provide a stronger

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economic base for the Philippine future, notably raising the
value added tax in 2005. She said that the government as a
result now had additional revenues to invest in
infrastructure, education, health, and other key sectors.
She underscored her government’s interest in becoming a
Millennium Challenge Corporation compact country, while
describing progress on the ongoing MCC Threshold Country
program. Finance Secretary Teves noted that MCC had
initially relied on inaccurate statistics regarding the
Philippine record on investing in people and that the
Philippine government had now provided more accurate
information. USAID-P Director Lindborg highlighted the
unique and “unprecedented” $20 million matching contribution
the Philippine government had made to support the threshold
program.

¶6. (C) President Arroyo complimented the important role the
U.S. continued to play in assisting Philippine development,
including work of the 100 Peace Corp volunteers and the many
programs of USAID. She said that she had already mandated a
return to English as the language of instruction in
Philippine schools, another area in which the U.S. was able
to play a helpful role.

¶7. (C) Job creation had been another major success of her
Administration, President Arroyo explained, while admitting
some criticism that most of the business process outsourcing
(i.e. call centers) sector jobs were high end only. Finance
Secretary Teves countered this misimpression, explaining that

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even these sectors employed a large number of support
personnel, so the ripple effect was greater than many
Filipinos realized. President Arroyo described some
difficulties in getting out her messages due to opposition
from some elements in the media, and said that the Philippine
media had learned both good and bad lessons from the
extensive ties with the U.S. over the past 100 years. She
noted that she, like U/S Hughes, had granted an interview to
al-Jazeera. U/S Hughes said that she planned to give the
first-ever U.S. interview to the Philippine radio channel
targeting Overseas Filipino Workers. President Arroyo noted
that now about 3.5 million Filipinos lived in the U.S.,
making this the largest concentration of Overseas Filipinos
Workers anywhere in the world.

Comment
——-

¶8. (C) President Arroyo was noticeably elated at the recent
counterterrorism successes and the Cebu Summits, and was in a
warm, outgoing mood, aided in part by the playful presence of
one of her young granddaughters. She effusively welcomed U/S
Hughes and was unstinting in her appreciation for President
Bush’s support and the assistance from the U.S. Government in
a variety of important programs. Her rapport with her own
senior advisors demonstrated clear reliance on and high
comfort level with Executive Secretary Ermita and General
Esperon in particular. While on a winning streak, she showed
every intention of robustly maintaining the Philippines’
ongoing progress and leadership on counterterrorism, regional
stability, economic reform, job creation, anti-corruption,
and other key themes.

¶9. (U) U/S Hughes did not have an opportunity to review this
message before departing post.

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

   

 

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