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Cablegate: Philippine Response to Arf Disaster Relief

VZCZCXRO3824
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHPB
DE RUEHML #1491 1720542
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 200542Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1064
INFO RUCNARF/ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM IMMEDIATE
RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE

UNCLAS MANILA 001491

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL ARF EAID ASEAN RP
SUBJECT: PHILIPPINE RESPONSE TO ARF DISASTER RELIEF
STATEMENT AND EXERCISES

REF: STATE 61440

ARF DISASTER RELIEF STATEMENT
-----------------------------

1. (U) The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on
June 17 welcomed the U.S. non-paper (reftel) that encourages
an ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Statement on Regional Disaster
Preparedness. DFA Undersecretary for Policy Principal
Assistant Leah Carada Rodriguez said that interest in her
office was high, given recent disasters in China and Burma.
However, Carada Rodriguez said that principal officers
engaged in ARF matters were in Singapore and would not be
able to provide meaningful feedback on the non-paper until
next week at the soonest.

ARF DISASTER RELIEF EXERCISE
----------------------------

2. (SBU) Post also shared the reftel non-paper, including
paragraph 7, with the DFA American Affairs Office Principal
Assistant Michelle Eduarte. Eduarte explained to poloff June
17 that the Philippines' political commitment to hosting a
disaster relief exercise is "firm," but that "interagency
consultations" are necessary because the Philippines holds a
Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with the U.S., but not with
other countries. Eduarte said that consultations were
"progressing positively" but that a final outcome would hinge
upon whether the Philippine Department of Justice viewed as
constitutional the exercises and presence of foreign troops.
She added that a final determination would not be possible
until after July 2, when President Arroyo returns from the
U.S. (President Arroyo departs June 21.) As a result, the
mid-late June response deadline (reftel) for a definitive
answer may not be feasible.

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/
GIBBONS

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