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Cablegate: Ambassador Breaks Ground On Two Shelters For

VZCZCXRO5616
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #2405/01 1990725
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 180725Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7465
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RUEAWJB/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC IMMEDIATE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 002405

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MTS, EAP/RSP, G/TIP, INL, DRL
LABOR FOR ILAB
PASS TO USAID

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM KCRM KWMN RP
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR BREAKS GROUND ON TWO SHELTERS FOR
TRAFFICKING VICTIMS

REF: MANILA 788

1. Summary. Ambassador joined NGO and government leaders in
a July 11 groundbreaking ceremony for a new shelter for
victims of trafficking in persons (TIP) at Manila's North
Harbor, the largest port in the Philippines. The shelter
will replace an earlier one built in 2001, and will be able
to accommodate a larger number of intercepted TIP victims at
the port. The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) will
construct the facility, while NGO Visayan Forum Foundation
(VFF), with assistance from the U.S. Government, will oversee
its operations when construction is completed. The PPA
announced its plans to build three additional shelters at
"hot spot" ports over the next year -- Zamboanga, Iloilo and
Surigao. The event at Manila's North Harbor came just two
months following the groundbreaking for a VFF halfway house
at Manila's International Airport. End Summary.

-------------------------------------------
Larger Shelter to be Built at Manila's Port
-------------------------------------------

2. On July 11, exactly six years after the opening of VFF's
first halfway house for trafficking victims, Ambassador, VFF
Executive Director Cecilia Flores-Oebanda, and PPA General
Manager Oscar Sevilla celebrated PPA's plans to construct a
new, larger shelter at Manila's North Harbor Port within the
next six months. Though the initial construction was already
underway, the three joined other NGO and government leaders
to bury a commemorative capsule within the building's
foundations. The capsule contained copies of the halfway
house agreements between the PPA and VFF, the architectural
plans for the new facility, and the day's newspaper to mark
the date of the ceremony. Media attendance at the event was
extensive, leading to prominent articles in major daily
newspapers and on TV news featuring the Ambassador's remarks
and detailing U.S. assistance in anti-TIP efforts in the
Philippines.

3. The partnership between VFF and the PPA dates back to 1999
when the PPA agreed to construct VFF's first halfway house
for victims and potential victims of trafficking at North
Harbor. After two years of discussions, VFF and PPA opened
the doors of the "Bahay Silungan sa Daungan" (Port Halfway
House) on July 11, 2001. Since opening the shelter's doors,
the staff of VFF North Harbor Halfway House has rescued more
than 2,400 actual and potential TIP victims. They have
trained more then 2,300 port employees, including law
enforcement officers, cargo handlers, and shipping operators,
on how to identify and intercept victims and traffickers
aboard vessels. Having outgrown the original space, the new
two-story shelter will be able to accommodate approximately
30 victims at any given time and will house a separate
conference room for VFF training at the port.

4. Following the successful partnership at the North Harbor,
the PPA has also built halfway houses at the ports of Davao,
Batangas, and Sorsogon. The four halfway houses have become
centers for information and advocacy against TIP, as well as
places of sanctuary for thousands of victims intercepted each
year.

5. At the July 11 ceremony, PPA General Manager Sevilla
announced the PPA's plans to build three new shelters within
the next year. In coordination with VFF, PPA selected three
"hot spots" in the Visayas and Mindanao where traffickers are
suspected of operating -- Zamboanga, Iloilo and Surigao. The
shelter in Zamboanga will target passengers traveling to and
from the southernmost islands of Jolo and Tawi-Tawi, as well
as the neighboring countries of Malaysia and Indonesia. The
shelters in Surigao and Iloilo will address the routes from
the Visayas to metro-Manila via land and sea.

-----------------------
From Seaport to Airport
-----------------------

6. While Philippine anti-TIP efforts at seaports have long
been regarded as an international best practice (and
highlighted in the 2005 TIP Report as such), government and
NGO focus is now being placed on Manila's airport as a key
transit point for trafficking victims, especially those
trafficked to international destinations.

7. On May 7, Ambassador, VFF Executive Director Oebanda, and

MANILA 00002405 002 OF 002


Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) General Manager
Alfonso Cusi unveiled the plans for a halfway house at
Manila's Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), the first
of its kind in the Philippines. Airport Manager Cusi and VFF
Oebanda's relationship extends back to the agreement to build
the first halfway house at Manila's North Harbor Port, when
Cusi was then the Port's General Manager. Using the PPA-VFF
partnership as a model, Cusi's MIAA is absorbing all
construction costs for the halfway house, while VFF will
manage the daily operations of the shelter when completed.
The airport halfway house is expected to be fully operational
in late 2007 or early 2008. It will augment MIAA's ongoing
law enforcement efforts through the Airport's Anti-TIP Task
Force (reftel) by providing support services to victims and
potential victims intercepted by the Task Force.


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

You can also access this site through the State Department's
Classified SIPRNET website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/

KENNEY

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