Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #1561/01 2041042
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 231042Z JUL 09
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4710
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RHMFIUU/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 001561
STATE PLEASE PASS TO PEACE CORPS
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV KISL KPAO EAID RP
SUBJECT: VISIT TO BAGUIO CELEBRATES AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE AND PHILIPPINE-AMERICAN FRIENDSHIP DAY
¶1. SUMMARY. Ambassador July 9 and 10 visit to Baguio celebrated the
simultaneous July 4 holidays of American Independence and
Philippine-American Friendship Day. The Ambassador participated in
a ribbon-cutting ceremony with the Baguio Mayor officially opening
the Picturing America exhibit in the city’s shopping mall atrium.
In the evening the Ambassador hosted a barbeque to celebrate U.S.
Independence Day with key representatives from the community and
government of the city and Peace Corps volunteers. During a morning
television interview the Ambassador commented on current issues
affecting both the Philippines and the United States. The
Ambassador concluded her visit by hosting a breakfast for members of
the Philippine Military Academy, who appreciated the opportunity to
meet the Ambassador and officers from the Embassy’s Defense Attach
Office and Joint U.S. Military Assistance Group. END SUMMARY.
Background: The U.S. in Baguio
¶2. Americans established Baguio City, a northern town surrounded by
indigenous communities, in 1900 at the site of an Ibaloi village
known as Kafagway. It was designated by the Philippine Commission
as the Summer Capital of the Philippines on June 1, 1903, and
incorporated as a city by the Philippine Assembly on September 1,
¶1909. Modern Baguio remains an important location, serving as the
seat of government of the Cordillera Administrative Region, with a
presidential mansion, as well as Supreme Court and legislative
offices. American companies, such as Texas Instruments and Moog
Controls, have established high-tech manufacturing facilities that
both operate state-of-the-art facilities in the city and employ
thousands of employees. Peace Corps volunteers contribute in the
areas of education, youth development and environmental protection.
The U.S. Mission provides books and materials to an American Shelf
at the Baguio City Public Library, the Philippine Military Academy,
and an American Studies Resource Center at St. Louis University.
USAID supports several local environmental and health initiatives,
which our Commercial Section continues to assist American companies
in the Baguio area.
“Picturing America” Exhibit Opens in Baguio
¶3. The Ambassador invited Baguio Mayor Reinaldo Bautista, Jr. to
participate in the July 9 ribbon-cutting ceremony opening the
Picturing America exhibit, a collection of high-quality
reproductions of American artistic masterpieces and heritage. In
his remarks at the event, Mayor Bautista spoke of the positive
impact of American influence on the local and national educational
systems in Baguio beginning with the American educators known as the
Thomasites. The Ambassador expressed gratitude for the
Philippine-U.S. friendship and recognized the upcoming centennial
celebration of the city in September. She spoke of America’s
Independence Day celebration, presented the 4th of July message from
Secretary Clinton, and invited those in attendance to experience the
exhibit with her as a study of American history.
Barbeque Strengthens Ties with Key Local Figures
¶4. The Ambassador hosted a July 9 barbeque at the U.S. Embassy
Residence in Baguio to celebrate U.S. Independence Day and to
recognize Philippine-American Friendship Day. The event served as
an opportunity to strengthen relationships with key members of the
Philippine and Baguio City governments and other members of the
community. Other attendees included Peace Corps volunteers from
around the region, faculty and cadets from the Philippine Military
Academy (PMA), local business owners, and American Citizen Wardens.
Television Interview Hits Current Issues
¶5. Local talk show hosts interviewed the Ambassador for a morning
television program that is broadcast throughout the region. The
10-minute interview addressed issues ranging from the H1N1 virus to
the death of Michael Jackson. The Ambassador took advantage of the
opportunity to address the Veteran’s Bill and remind eligible
viewers to apply for benefits. Thirty-four million dollars had
already been disbursed, the Ambassador commented, while calling
attention to the many benefits already enjoyed by Filipino veterans.
Noting the global challenges presented by the H1N1 virus, the
Ambassador reminded the viewers the best safeguard against the virus
is to practice good hygiene habits.
Recruitment Down at PMA, Scholarships Requested
MANILA 00001561 002 OF 002
¶6. The Ambassador hosted a breakfast at the U.S. Embassy Residence
in Baguio with Vice Admiral Leonardo Calderon, Jr., Superintendent
of the PMA, and five other key faculty members. Also in attendance
were two representatives from DAO and one from JUSMAG. The
Superintendent expressed concern over PMA’s ability to recruit
qualified applicants as potential cadets turn to careers in
seafaring. In recent admissions seasons, a smaller percentage of
qualified applications was received than anticipated, leading PMA to
open new recruitment offices in shopping malls to attract more and
better qualified applicants. The Superintendent also requested U.S.
assistance in obtaining scholarships at U.S. universities for PMA
faculty to take advanced courses, including English, and expressed
interest in sending officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines
to graduate degree programs in the U.S. The Ambassador offered to
look at having senior U.S. Military and civilian personnel give
talks at PMA, and they discussed the possibility of posting a U.S.
Military officer on long-term assignment as a guest teacher at PMA.