Search

 

Cablegate: Ambassador Inaugurates Infrastructure and Law Enforcement

VZCZCXRO5967
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #0474/01 0560438
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 250438Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9862
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 000474

SIPDIS

STATE PASS TO USAID
STATE FOR ECA, EAP

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL ECON EAID RP
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR INAUGURATES INFRASTRUCTURE AND LAW ENFORCEMENT
PROJECTS IN MINDANAO

REF: 06 MANILA 4126

-------
SUMMARY
-------

1. (U) The Ambassador visited several U.S.-Philippine projects and
an American business facility during a visit to General Santos City,
a thriving port city in southern Mindanao and the tuna capital of
the Philippines, on February 8. The Ambassador inaugurated a
USG-funded Maritime Intelligence Coordination Center and presented a
USAID-funded contract to Mayor Pedro Acharon to design a wastewater
treatment facility for the public market. The Ambassador also had
lunch with two governors from local provinces, visited a
DEA-sponsored anti-drug class at an elementary school, attended the
graduation of a USAID-funded livelihood training program and toured
the local Coca-Cola bottling plant. The Ambassador's visit was the
lead story on the local television news, and national media also
reported positively the visit and USG engagement in General Santos
City. End summary.

-------------------------------------
Increasing Law-Enforcement Capacities
-------------------------------------

2. (U) Ambassador Kenney, along with U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral
Paul Zukunft and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Director General
Dionisio Santiago, attended the ribbon-cutting for a new US$500,000
Maritime Intelligence Coordination Center (MICC). The MICC, funded
by the Joint Interagency Task Force West, is the third regional
center in the Philippines. It is an "intelligence fusion" center,
designed to provide a common meeting place for law enforcement
agencies involved in marine interdiction and to assist them in
building actionable legal cases involving drug trafficking and other
transnational crimes.

3. (U) Later in the day, in keeping with the anti-drug theme, the
Ambassador visited a Drug Abuse Resistance Education class at a
local school, supporting efforts to steer children away from drug
use. The Ambassador met 32 fifth and sixth graders, their teachers
and administrators, and two Philippine National Police (PNP)
officers who serve as DARE officers. She congratulated them on their
anti-drug efforts, and the children serenaded her with a musical
pledge to live healthy and productive lives.

--------------------------------------------- --
Promoting U.S. Business With A Coke And A Smile
--------------------------------------------- --

4. (U) Coca-Cola's professional basketball team greeted the
Ambassador when she arrived at the General Santos Coca-Cola bottling
plant, a U.S.-owned business with over 160 local employees.
Coca-Cola leveraged the visit of the Ambassador, a renowned
basketball fan, to raise the team's visibility, and at the same time
promote the company's products. The Ambassador's presence drew a
substantial crowd and local radio and television coverage, with one
radio station transmitting live from the event.

-------------------------------
Peace and Security with Governors
-------------------------------

5. (SBU) During lunch with Sarangani Governor Miguel Dominguez and
South Cotabato Governor Daisy Avance-Fuentes, the Ambassador sought
their assessment of the Peace Process and ways to increase
investment in the region. The governors expressed frustration at
Manila politics and said they would like to see national leaders
focus less on political maneuvering, and more on governance and
attracting businesses to underdeveloped provinces.

6. (SBU) The governors support reaching a peace agreement with the
Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Even though there is minimal
MILF activity in their provinces, both governors expressed the
belief that unrest can spill over to other areas and adversely
affects the investment climate. Governor Dominguez commented that
some Catholic bishops are concerned that majority Catholic cities
may be incorporated into Muslim areas under the proposed peace deal.
He speculated that this could turn out to be a positive development
if it increased outside oversight and enhanced transparency, thus
improving local governance.

7. (SBU) Both governors stated that the Armed Forces of the
Philippines (AFP), which has a strong local presence, is viewed
positively by local residents. They believe the New People's Army
has diminished into isolated groups of bandits as a result of the
AFP's actions. Governor Dominguez asked the Ambassador for an
update on Jolo and the role of U.S. forces there. Ambassador

MANILA 00000474 002 OF 002


explained that they share information with the AFP (particularly on
locations of leading terrorists) and assist the AFP with
humanitarian outreach.

---------------------------------------------
U.S. Engagement in General Santos' Livelihood
---------------------------------------------

8. (U) The Ambassador presented a contract to the Mayor of General
Santos for technical assistance to construct the first wastewater
treatment facility in the city during a ceremony at the bustling
public market where freshly caught fish were arrayed on tables.
USAID will fund the detailed engineering design of the plant, which
will treat 80 tons of wastewater generated by the market each day.
Currently, the water flows directly into Sarangani Bay nearby,
degrading a biodiversity-rich body of water that provides livelihood
to many city and Sarangani province residents engaged in fishing.

9. (U) Traveling to the outskirts of General Santos, the
Ambassador's party arrived at the Tinagacan neighborhood, where the
Ambassador attended the graduation for 38 students who attended a
USAID-funded livelihood training program that teaches out-of-school
youth small-engine repair and welding skills. The program is an
effort to both meet the demand for skilled laborers and create job
opportunities in a part of the country where youth unemployment
exceeds 20 percent. In her address, the Ambassador congratulated the
students for their efforts and emphasized the connection between
development and peace.

KENNEY

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC