Oct 262014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2008/12/08MANILA2655.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08MANILA2655
2008-12-05 04:15
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Manila

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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 MANILA 002655

SIPDIS

DEPT OF NAVY FOR ADMIRAL ROUGHEAD FROM AMBASSADOR KENNEY

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/04/2018
TAGS: MARR MOPS PINS PREL PTER RP
SUBJECT: YOUR DISCUSSIONS WITH PHILIPPINE NAVY CHIEF ADMIRAL GOLEZ

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

¶1. (C) SUMMARY: Admiral Roughead, greetings from Manila! In
advance of your meeting with Philippine Navy Chief Admiral
Ferdinand Golez, I wanted to update you on some of the key
issues we are working here in the Philippines regarding their
Navy and the Philippine Armed Forces. Recently, I hosted
Admiral Golez and his staff for breakfast, and we had
interesting discussions on a variety of topics. Our broad
strategic engagement with the Philippine Armed Forces has
contributed significantly to standing up their Coast Watch
South initiative, and we continue to achieve successes
against terrorists in the southern Philippines. Coupled with
increasing border security, we are assisting the Philippine
Navy with efforts to modernize its fleet and professionalize
its personnel, two areas that Admiral Golez has made his top
priorities. Over the last three years, the number of U.S.
ship visits to the Philippines has increased, topping 100
this year. The goodwill generated by the visits and the
increase in capability achieved in joint exercises, such as
CARAT, have helped strengthen our overall bilateral
relationship with the Philippines. However, we have more to
do, particularly in encouraging the Armed Forces to address
human rights concerns, and we believe the U.S. Navy can play
an integral role in that area through the close relationship
you enjoy with the Philippine Navy. In addition to his
office call with you and attending the Army-Navy football
game, Admiral Golez will visit the Naval War College during
his visit, where he will give a speech on counterterrorism
operations in Mindanao. END SUMMARY.

————————–
COUNTERTERRORISM SUCCESSES
————————–

¶2. (C) The U.S. continues to support Philippine military
forces and law enforcement officials counterterrorism
operations in the southern Philippines, with eight key
terrorist leaders and over 200 other terrorism suspects
killed or captured in the Philippines in the last two years.
Most recently, top Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) facilitator
Hajiruddin Dansalan was captured November 2 in Mindanao as
the result of a combined Philippine operation supported by
U.S. personnel, and Bangladeshi JI member Muhammad Alpariz
was apprehended on December 2 in Mindanao. The operations
were clear examples of the gains the Philippine forces have
made over the last six years in utilizing the various assets
of different security agencies to interdict terrorists,
including the Philippine Navy.

———————————-
HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE INVALUABLE
———————————-

¶3. (C) The U.S. is promoting a counterterrorism strategy
that focuses on offering development opportunities in areas
where the population is prone to terrorist recruitment, while
separating the small numbers of terrorists primarily
associated with the Abu Sayyaf Group and Jemaah Islamiyah
from Muslim insurgents in the southern Philippines. Ship
visits have been particularly effective at reaching isolated
areas with community relations projects and the hugely
successful USNS Mercy mission this past June brought
much-needed medical treatment to more than 25,000 Philippine
residents in some of the poorest areas of the country. Just
a month later, the Reagan Strike Group provided relief to
thousands of people who were impacted when a massive typhoon
tore through the central Philippines. Clearly, the U.S. Navy
has played a tremendous role in providing humanitarian
assistance, and we believe this is an area that could be
expanded in the future.

——————————————— —
BORDER SECURITY, MODERNIZATION — TOP PRIORITIES
——————————————— —

¶4. (C) Admiral Golez is committed to increasing the
Philippines ability to secure its borders, particularly in
the porous southern region where the Philippines, Indonesia,
and Malaysia struggle to monitor traffic along their maritime
boundaries. Through 1206 funding, we have contributed over
$27 million in equipment over the last two years to assist
the Philippines in standing up their Coast Watch South
initiative, a system of radars, patrol craft, and
communications equipment that will enable them to better
secure the southern Philippines against illicit activities

MANILA 00002655 002 OF 003

and terrorists. Approximately $28 million is proposed in the
FY 09 1206 budget to further advance the operational
capability of the Coast Watch System. The Philippines is
improving its cooperation with Indonesia and Malaysia and,
with U.S. facilitation, has begun to conduct some joint
workshops and exercises to boost information sharing about
the key tri-border region. While the Philippine government
has come a long way in a short time with regard to
establishing a system to improve border security, more USG
assistance will be necessary in the coming years to fully
operationalize the Coast Watch South system and expand it
into a national network.

¶5. (C) Secretary of National Defense Gilberto Teodoro is a
staunch advocate of rapid reform (the Philippines spent
nearly $250 million on Philippine Defense Reform last year),
and has taken a hands-on approach to managing the
modernization program. Philippine defense purchases from the
U.S. include more than 8,000 Harris radios, upgrades to
existing helicopters, radar stations, patrol boats, weapons,
and night-vision devices. In addition to implementing
retraining of 82 battalions, the Armed Forces have undertaken
a comprehensive restructuring of their personnel, logistics,
and administration systems. Admiral Golez envisions the
Philippine Navy as the key service in protecting the
territorial integrity of the Philippine Archipelago. To
accomplish this, Golez believes the Navy has to be comprised
of well educated, well equipped, and highly motivated sailors
who staff a fleet of modern and mission-appropriate ships.
He is a strong advocate of continued and expanded U.S.
military relations, recognizing the benefits that the
partnership provides both countries through joint training
and exercises such as CARAT.

——————————————— —-
CONTINUED SENSITIVITY OVER U.S. MILITARY PRESENCE
——————————————— —-

¶6. (C) The United States enjoys strong military-military
relations with the Philippines, but our presence here is
under constant scrutiny. The Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA)
was the subject of a joint hearing by the Congressional VFA
oversight committee in September to investigate allegations
that U.S. military forces in Mindanao were violating the VFA.
At the September hearing and during an October follow-up
visit to talk with U.S. forces in Zamboanga, key Philippine
officials from every branch of government strongly rebutted
the allegations and underscored the value of significant U.S.
security and development assistance their areas receive. The
intense focus on the VFA, along with media articles that
routinely surface and contend that the U.S. seeks a permanent
military presence here — or even an independent Mindanao —
underscore the sensitivity surrounding the U.S.-Philippine
military relationship, and these issues will continue to
resurface at regular intervals. We continue to emphasize
both in high-level discussions and public comments that the
U.S. has no interest in bases or a permanent military
presence in the Philippines.

——————————————— —
HUMAN RIGHTS: COMBATING EXTRA-JUDICIAL KILLINGS
——————————————— —

¶7. (C) President Arroyo consistently has expressed her
commitment to resolving the complex and long-standing problem
of extrajudicial killings and has taken steps in this
direction. With increased Philippine government attention,
spurred by domestic and international pressure, the number of
extrajudicial killings decreased dramatically in 2007 and
2008, but more still needs to be done, and the Embassy
continues to press the issue at the highest levels of the
Philippine government. While many of these deaths and
disappearances are more likely attributable to local disputes
than to military or police action, it is clear that the
government needs to do more to ensure that these crimes are
fully investigated and that responsible parties — whether or
not they are connected to military or police — are brought
to justice. A strong and consistent USG message on the need
to fully respect human rights and stop all extrajudicial
killings is essential. I personally have met with top level
Philippine officials to make this point, and the Mission
constantly is engaging our Philippine counterparts on this
highly sensitive issue.

————————
ADMIRAL GOLEZ’S SCHEDULE

MANILA 00002655 003 OF 003

————————

¶8. (U) Admiral Golez departs the Philippines December 5 and
will arrive in the United States in time to attend the
Army-Navy game as your guest on Saturday, December 6. The
next day, he plans to visit his son, who lives in New Jersey,
and then attend a reception with RADM Wisecup at the Naval
War College in Newport, Rhode Island. On December 8, Admiral
Golez will have a day of briefings and deliver a speech at
the Naval War College. He will travel December 9 to
Washington, D.C., where he will visit the Coast Guard
headquarters and have an office call with you in the
afternoon. Admiral Golez departs Washington on December 10.
KENNEY

   

 

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