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Cablegate: Ambassador's Final Trip to Mindanao Underscores U.S.

VZCZCXRO6470
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHML #0063 0130657
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 130657Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6222
INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE

UNCLAS MANILA 000063

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV KISL KPAO EAID RP
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR'S FINAL TRIP TO MINDANAO UNDERSCORES U.S.
COMMITMENT TO PEACE AND PROSPERITY

1. SUMMARY. During her final trip to Mindanao on January 8, the
Ambassador emphasized the long-term commitment of the U.S. to
peaceful development in the region. The Ambassador launched an
English proficiency program for seven universities in the region,
inaugurated a neighborhood footbridge, and visited a welding class
for out-of-school youth. Each event received significant media
coverage. The Ambassador's trip also provided an opportunity to
receive an update on military-related issues, host a lunch with the
local press, and bid farewell to the people of Zamboanga and
institutional partners in the region. Throughout the trip, the
Ambassador reiterated that the USG will continue to support economic
development, peace and security in Mindanao. END SUMMARY.

--------------------------------------------- ----------
Expanding Job Opportunities through English Proficiency
--------------------------------------------- ----------

2. The Ambassador launched a USG-funded Job Enabling English
Proficiency (JEEP) program for seven newly affiliated partner
colleges throughout Mindanao. The JEEP project improves the
employability of graduates of Mindanao colleges and universities by
expanding and enhancing the English language training capability of
the participating colleges. The Ambassador shared a common vision
for a stable and thriving region with the 3,000 college students in
attendance. JEEP will ultimately be implemented in 20 or more
colleges and universities in Mindanao.

--------------------------------------------- ---
Connecting Communities and Facilitating Commerce
--------------------------------------------- ---

3. The Ambassador inaugurated the Tetuan-Guiwan footbridge, which
is the 27th infrastructure project constructed by USAID's Growth
with Equity in Mindanao (GEM) program in Zamboanga City. The new
footbridge replaced a dilapidated and unsafe structure that hindered
commerce and was hazardous to students crossing the river to attend
school. The Ambassador reiterated the continuing commitment of the
U.S. government to economic growth and the peace process. USAID's
GEM program will design and construct up to 870 additional
infrastructure projects throughout the conflict-affected areas of
Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago in the next three years.

-----------------------------------------
Providing Youth with the Tools to Succeed
-----------------------------------------

4. The Ambassador spoke with out-of-school youth participating in a
USAID-sponsored arc-welding course. Through the Education Quality
and Access for Learning and Livelihood Skills (EQuALLS) project,
this program contributes to the economic well being of local
communities through technical training for disenfranchised youth.
The Ambassador thanked the training staff for their commitment to
education and exhorted the students to use this opportunity to build
successful careers.

---------------------------------------------
Supporting Security and Stability in Mindanao
---------------------------------------------

5. The Ambassador shared breakfast with members of the Joint
Special Operations Task Force - Philippines (JSOTF-P) and thanked
them for their service and their contribution to creating the
necessary conditions for peace and prosperity in Mindanao. A joint
Military Information Support Team briefing with the Armed Forces of
the Philippines (AFP) and JSOTF-P updated the Ambassador on ongoing
cooperation and underscored the positive working relationship
between the AFP and U.S. Special Forces.

--------------
Media Outreach
--------------

6. The Ambassador's visit received extensive print and broadcast
coverage. In addition to press pull-aside interviews at each event,
the Ambassador hosted a lunch for 18 members of the Zamboanga press
corps. The Ambassador reflected on the many USG-sponsored projects
in Mindanao over the past three years and recognized the press
corps' contribution to freedom and the right of the people to be
informed.

KENNEY

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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