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Cablegate: Dcm Reaffirms U.S.-Philippine Ties at Anniversary of Wwii

VZCZCXRO6344
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #2425/01 3020902
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 280902Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2182
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 002425

SIPDIS

PLEASE PASS TO PEACE CORPS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV KISL KPAO EAID RP
SUBJECT: DCM REAFFIRMS U.S.-PHILIPPINE TIES AT ANNIVERSARY OF WWII
LEYTE GULF LANDING

1. (U) SUMMARY. During an October 20 visit to the provincial
capital city of Tacloban, Leyte Province, in the Eastern Visayas,
the Deputy Chief of Mission recognized past U.S.-Philippine
partnerships and sacrifices as the foundation for present
cooperation and projects. The DCM and Naval Attache led the U.S.
delegation to the annual commemorative program which this year
marked the 64th Anniversary of the World War II Leyte Gulf Landings
that led to the Philippines' liberation. During the program, the
DCM stressed the importance of remembering this significant
historical moment and offered a message of peace for the future.
Local officials and diplomatic representatives, as well as two local
Peace Corps Volunteers, participated in the commemorative program
and luncheon. The DCM also visited the regional Coca-Cola bottling
plant, a model of solid American business principles and corporate
social responsibility. During two live radio interviews and a taped
television interview, the DCM further promoted USG development
efforts in environment, education, and health. END SUMMARY.

--------------------------------
WE NEED TO REMEMBER THE LANDINGS
--------------------------------

2. (U) Hundreds of local residents filled the areas around the
MacArthur Landing Memorial National Park, gathered to commemorate
General MacArthur's return to the Philippines and its subsequent
liberation. To start the program, the Philippine military raised
the flags of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, and the U.S.,
while representatives from those countries, alongside local
officials, including Leyte Governor Jericho Petilla, laid wreaths at
the shrine of General MacArthur. In his remarks, the DCM stressed a
message of peace and emphasized the importance of remembering the
sacrifices made on October 20, 1944. Guest of Honor Senator Manuel
A. Roxas engaged with the crowd, encouraging Filipinos to be
inspired by the Leyte Landing heroes, so that Filipinos "...can live
lives free from want, hardship, and hunger, and are free to pursue
our best destinies in the Philippines."

3. (U) A local high school thespian club presented a play about the
liberation and the commemorative program concluded with a military
parade, meant to recreate the victory parade of the Allied Forces.
The parade was dedicated to the decreasing number of living
veterans, and their spouses and children, in the hope of rekindling
fond memories of the liberation day. According to local politician
Carlo Loreto, it was "extremely moving that both U.S. embassy and
U.S. military representatives attended the Leyte Landing event
because, in recent years, the people of Leyte think others may have
forgotten the significance of the day." He and many other Leytenos
shared how moved they were by the USG presence.

4. (U) The DCM, Naval Attache and U.S. delegation also attended the
commemorative luncheon held at the historic CAP Building, General
MacArthur's former headquarters. The luncheon, which included a
cultural dance program by a local troupe, ended with a tour of the
MacArthur museum.

-----------------------
HAVE A COKE AND A SMILE
-----------------------

5. (U) Immediately following the lunch, the DCM visited the Tacloban
Coca-Cola Bottling Plant with Coca-Cola Visayas Region Operations
Manager and Tacloban Plant Operations Manager. This plant, the
oldest in the region, is the first of its kind to adopt a new waste
water treatment technology program, combining efficient
microbiological treatment with a biologically activated waste water
treatment system. The plant has two bottling lines, both operating
on two shifts, and is a leading regional producer with daily
production of 28,240 cases, and up to 35,300 cases in the
November-December peak season. The DCM conveyed the embassy's
support of Coca-Cola's corporate social responsibility programs,
including Coca-Cola's Little Red Schoolhouse construction program
and their donation of bottled water for victims affected by Typhoon
Frank in July.

-------------------------------
TALKING TO THE EASTERN VISAYAS
-------------------------------

6. (U) During the DCM's radio and TV interviews, he connected
personally with listeners as he shared his father's experiences of
fighting in the Pacific during World War II. He also expressed
support for Philippine war veterans and emphasized the positive
impact of U.S.-sponsored environmental and humanitarian projects in
the region, such as waste water treatment, proper sanitation
awareness, composting programs, Peace Corps coastal resource
management projects, and U.S. military assistance to mudslide
victims in February 2006. The media and Leyte's public were
delighted with the U.S. delegation visit and plan to continue their
tradition of remembering the past and building close relations with

MANILA 00002425 002 OF 002


the U.S.

KENNEY

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