Oct 262014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/02/07MANILA630.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MANILA630 2007-02-26 09:39 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Manila
VZCZCXRO7405
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #0630/01 0570939
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 260939Z FEB 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5422
INFO RUEHZS/ASEAN COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 000630

SIPDIS

STATE PASS USAID

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL MOPS EAID RP EAGR
SUBJECT: USS BLUE RIDGE VISIT HIGHLIGHTS U.S.-PHILIPPINE PARTNERSHIP IN MINDANAO

REF: MANILA 0379

¶1. SUMMARY: The USS Blue Ridge port call to General Santos City in
Mindanao on February 17 and 18 highlighted the active partnership
and long-standing USG investment in the Mindanao region and the
General Santos City area, specifically. In addition to
participating in community relations events with USS Blue Ridge
personnel, the Ambassador, accompanied by U.S. Embassy team,
officially inaugurated two USAID-constructed infrastructure
projects, met with local government and business officials, visited
U.S. businesses, and gave interviews to the media. End Summary.

———————————————
POSITIVE IMPACT OF SUSTAINED U.S. INVOLVEMENT
———————————————

¶2. General Santos City and vicinity are vibrant examples of the
benefits of sustained U.S. Government involvement in terms of both
investment and collaboration, and a model for other parts of
Mindanao on the path to peace and prosperity. Two decades of
infrastructure projects led by USG efforts have propelled this into
one of the fastest growing cities in the Philippines. The
improvement in the quality of life in the region has created an
atmosphere of optimism that is increasing stability and economic
gains. The corporate responsibility of U.S. firms toward the
community and their employees help to multiply these efforts to
improve the region. The positive impacts of these efforts include a
continued strengthening of U.S. relations with the people, the
businesses, and the governmental units.

——————————–
COMMUNITY RELATIONS PARTNERSHIPS
——————————–
¶3. During the February 17-18 visit of the USS Blue Ridge, the first
U.S. Navy ship to pay a port call to General Santos City in decades,
the crew led strong Community Relations (COMREL) activities that
were truly joint USG actions partnering with Philippine entities.
At three separate locations, personnel from the USS Blue Ridge
joined with members of local community groups, local governments,
and the Armed Forces of the Philippines in the renovation of two
buildings at one school and the complete construction of a school
building at a second school. At each location, the Ambassador and
Seventh Fleet Commander Vice Admiral Crowder presented educational
and recreational equipment. A Medical Civil Action Program (MEDCAP)
by Blue Ridge personnel along with USAID and JSOTF-P personnel
provided free treatment to over 600 patients.
——————————————— —
BONDING WITH A WIDE RANGE OF THE MINDANAO PEOPLE
——————————————— —

¶4. The Ambassador and VADM Crowder co-hosted a reception aboard the
USS Blue Ridge on the evening of February 17 attended by a wide
range of citizens from the Mindanao region, including government and
military officials, students, teachers, business leaders, U.S.
residents of the area, police, and military personnel. A number of
those in attendance had driven several hours over bad roads to
attend the reception. The Governor of Sulu came all the way from
Jolo to press his appeal for a similar ship visit to his province.
Media coverage was extremely positive.

——————————————— —–
LUNCHEON WITH LOCAL OFFICIALS AND BUSINESS LEADERS
——————————————— —–

¶5. The Governor of Sarangani province hosted the Ambassador and
VADM Crowder at a luncheon at which business leaders and local
government leaders praised the community outreach projects of the
U.S. Three provincial Governors, several Mayors, as well as the
presidential advisor on the peace process emphasized and directly
tied the continued involvement of the U.S. in the social and
economic improvement in this area to stability throughout Mindanao.

——————————————— —–
USAID BOAT LANDING PROJECT MAKING A DIFFERENCE
——————————————— —–

¶6. The Ambassador inaugurated two of the 815 community-level
infrastructural projects funded by USAID in conflict-affected areas
of Mindanao: a footbridge at a high school in General Santos City
and a USAID boat landing project in Sapu Masla, Sarangani, which
includes a sizable number of former Muslim insurgents. The latter
project will directly benefit the 7,000 residents by providing a
safe, secure docking facility for the efficient offloading of cargo.
The ceremony and project received widespread coverage in the local
and national media.

————————————–
VISIT TO GENERAL SANTOS CITY FISH PORT
————————————–

MANILA 00000630 002 OF 002

¶7. The Ambassador visited the General Santos City Fish Port complex
and received a very informative briefing from the leaders of the
Federation of Fishing and Allied Industries regarding the vibrant
tuna industry. The Philippine tuna industry ranks second in world
tuna landings and fifth in canned tuna production. Ninety percent
of the Philippine tuna industry is located in Southern Mindanao,
providing direct revenues of $400 million and 100,000 jobs. The
General Santos City tuna industry improved from a substandard rating
to full accreditation by the EU from 2004 to 2006, thanks in part to
USAID/GEM assistance. A major issue for the tuna industry is the
access to U.S. markets, the current destination of 44% of canned
exports. The Ambassador encouraged the Philippine tuna industry to
work with the Philippine government toward a Free Trade Agreement
proposal with the U.S., instead of hoping for preferential access to
the U.S. market.

—————————————-
VISIT TO CARGILL COPRA PROCESSING PLANT
—————————————-

¶8. Accompanied by the Embassy’s Foreign Agricultural Counselor the
Ambassador toured the Copra Crushing Plant of Cargill Philippines,
Inc. in General Santos City. The plant is one of 10 facilities owned
by Cargill Philippines and serves as a model for its safe and
healthy work environment for its employees. The plant produces
crude coconut oil and copra expeller pellets, both of which are
Philippines’ top agricultural export items to the U.S.

——————————————
INTERVIEW WITH PRINT AND TELEVISION MEDIA
——————————————

¶9. The Ambassador gave an exclusive interview to ABS-CBN TV in
addition to several on-the spot interviews during the COMREL events
and the reception aboard the USS Blue Ridge. There was excellent
coverage of all events in the local media. The Ambassador
highlighted in particular our partnership and close cooperation to
bring peace and prosperity to Mindanao.

KENNEY

   

 

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.