Oct 292014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2008/12/08MANILA2726.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08MANILA2726
2008-12-16 05:42
2011-08-30 01:44
UNCLASSIFIED
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXRO7064
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #2726/01 3510542
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 160542Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2691
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 002726

SIPDIS

PLEASE PASS TO PEACE CORPS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV KISL KPAO EAID RP
SUBJECT: VISIT TO SUBIC BAY HIGHLIGHTS U.S. IMPORTANCE IN REGION

¶1. SUMMARY: The Deputy Chief of Mission’s December 4 visit to the
port of Subic Bay, site of the former U.S. naval base, highlighted
the continuing importance of the region to U.S. business and the
American citizen community, as the Ambassador and DCM have done on
previous visits. The DCM recognized local law enforcement officials
for their help and assistance with Naval Criminal Investigation
Service (NCIS) efforts, met with a successful U.S.-Philippines
joint-venture company, and visited with local government officials.
Additionally, the DCM heard from local Peace Corps Volunteers and
saw the positive effects of the U.S. Tropical Forest Conservation
Act of 1998 on an indigenous Filipino community. The DCM also took
advantage of national and local media interest and spoke about U.S.
interests in the region and American democracy with the upcoming
presidential inauguration. END SUMMARY.

——————————————— —
RECOGNIZING EFFORTS TO HELP U.S. VISITING FORCES
——————————————— —

¶2. The Subic Bay Economic Zone and Freeport, a U.S. naval base for
nearly 95 years until it reverted to Philippine authority in 1992,
is now a commercial and tourism destination and maritime hub that
hosts approximately 15 U.S. Navy ship visits per month.
Coordination with Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority’s Law Enforcement
Department and the Philippine National Police office in Olongapo
City is essential in providing for the safety and security of U.S.
visiting forces and protection of U.S. Navy assets in port. These
offices have been very supportive and cooperative with NCIS efforts,
helping to minimize and mitigate concerns with U.S. sailors and
marines on liberty and in addressing general force protection
requirements. As a show of the USG’s appreciation, the DCM
presented certificates of appreciation to the Subic Law Enforcement
Division Head, Subic Operations Chief, and Olongapo City Chief of
Police.

——————————–
SUBIC BAY GOOD FOR U.S. BUSINESS
——————————–

¶3. The visit by the DCM and the Senior Commercial Officer to a
U.S.-Philippine joint venture company founded in 1996 highlighted
the positive economic environment Subic Bay offers U.S. businesses.
The company is the largest heavy hauling, specialized transportation
and heavy lift rigging company in the Philippines. During the
visit, a senior company executive stated that, unlike some
international companies that try to cut corners, his company has
never had a single problem with moving cargo through Philippine
customs. Additionally, he stated that the company has not yet seen
a downturn in business due to the global economic slowdown.

——————————————— —-
LOCAL LEADERS ENCOURAGE EVEN MORE U.S. ENGAGEMENT
——————————————— —-

¶4. The DCM and the Senior Commercial Officer spoke to Subic Bay
Metropolitan Authority Chairman Feliciano Salonga, Administrator
Armand C. Arreza, and Olongapo City Mayor James Gordon. Salonga and
Arreza acknowledged that some companies are delayed in securing
credit financing because of global economic conditions, which has
delayed progress on some projects. At the same time, they noted a
delay of at least six months in FedEx’s regional hub relocation from
Subic Bay to China due to new Chinese import restrictions (e.g.,
limiting FedEx to only packages greater than 4.4 pounds). Salonga
and Arreza, along with Mayor Gordon, welcomed more U.S. ship visits,
including greater opportunities for sailors and marines while on
liberty. Mayor Gordon also encouraged more Peace Corps Volunteers
to be assigned to the area.

——————————————— –
VOLUNTEERING IS SAFE, WELCOME, AND APPRECIATED
——————————————— –

¶5. Local Peace Corps Volunteers described their community programs
that assist disadvantaged Filipino children, youth, and their
families – programs that have been very well received during their
18 months in country. Both feel secure and accepted in their
communities and have made lasting connections in the Philippines.

——————————————-
PROTECTING THE ENVIRONMENT; IMPROVING LIVES
——————————————-

¶6. The Philippine Tropical Forest Conservation Foundation was
established through bilateral agreements under the U.S. Tropical
Forest Conservation Act of 1998. The DCM visited with members of
the Kanawan Ayta indigenous community who are recipients of a
Foundation grant to rehabilitate and conserve forests in their
ancestral domain and to provide alternative livelihood options
compatible with traditional lifestyle and cultural heritage.
Additionally, a National Institutes of Health grant enabled

MANILA 00002726 002 OF 002

scientists from the University of the Philippines and Michigan State
University to study medicinal plants used by indigenous herbalists.
After years of work, the scientists identified a compound in a
particular species of rattan, Calamus ornatus, that is an effective
anti-inflammatory agent and acts to block the growth of tumors,
which is useful in fighting certain types of cancer.

——————————
CAPITALIZING ON MEDIA INTEREST
——————————

¶7. The DCM discussed the continuing U.S. commitment to Philippine
economic and social development, the importance of the Peace Corps
program, and the role of U.S. businesses as responsible economic
partners at a round table with 17 members of print, television, and
radio media during the trip. The DCM also gave a radio interview to
a Voice of America affiliate station. During both interactions with
the media, the DCM capitalized on interest in the democratic
transition of the U.S. government to stress that the U.S. and the
Philippines will continue to have close ties and excellent
relations.

KENNEY

   

 

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.