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2005-02-10 08:44:00
Embassy Manila
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 000655 



E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/09/2015

Classified By: Pol/C Scott Bellard, reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

1. (C) Summary. In a meeting with Ambassador on February
9, Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo reiterated the GRP's
commitment to combating trafficking-in-persons while working
with Japan on implementation of new regulations on
entertainers, confirmed that the de-listing as a terrorist
organization of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)
and New People's Army (NPA) will depend on "proof" of a
sincere desire to renounce terrorism, promised to raise human
rights concerns with the visiting Burmese Prime Minister
later this month, urged the USG to discuss the East Asian
Summit directly with Malaysia, and promised continued
cooperation on hostages in Iraq. Ambassador urged
coordination within the UN Security Council on a tribunal for
Sudan and other issues. Romulo hopes to visit Washington in
early April -- which Embassy supports -- and noted President
Arroyo's interest in visiting New York and Washington in
September. End Summary.



2. (C) Ambassador, accompanied by Pol/C, met with Foreign
Secretary Romulo on February 9 at Malacanang Palace (prior to

Admiral Fargo's call on President Arroyo -- septel).
Assistant Secretary for American Affairs Ariel Abadilla and
U.S. Division Director Marc de Borja joined. In response to
Ambassador's query, Romulo said he had visited Japan recently
to clarify issues related to new regulations on entertainer
visas, which he said would take effect in two phases in
mid-February and mid-March. He noted that there would be no
retroactivity, and promised that GRP agencies would work
closely with the Japanese Embassy to ensure processing of
legitimate entertainers who have the required overseas
experience and/or training. He reiterated the GRP's strong
commitment to combating trafficking-in-persons, citing the
2003 law, and said that implementation and enforcement of the
new Japanese regulations were in the interests of both the
Philippines and Japan, a position explicitly endorsed by
President Arroyo. He insisted that there had been "no
weakening or softening" of GRP position on TIP and that the
Philippines did not wish to be known as a purveyor or
supplier of trafficked persons. He welcomed Japan's
agreement to allow access for foreign health workers and care
givers, perhaps as many as 750,000, which would include



3. (C) Romulo discussed briefly his recent travels to
Europe, where he raised the CPP/NPA issue with various
governments and the EU. He confirmed the GRP position that
delisting as a foreign terrorist organization depended on a

demonstration or "proof" of sincerity by the CPP/NPA, such as
entering into a cease-fire or new peace talks. He said that
he had assured these governments that the GRP was not seeking
delisting in advance of such steps by the CPP/NPA. He cited
with particular concern the use of child soldiers.

UN and Sudan


4. (C) Ambassador underscored the importance of GRP/US
cooperation both at the UNSC and in the UNGA as well as on UN
reforms in the wake of the UN High-level Panel on "Threats,
Challenges, and Change." He urged the GRP to support the
UN/AU Tribunal for Sudan now under discussion in the UNSC, an
issue that we had already raised with the DFA. He cited the
importance of empowering African nations in this case, as
with the Rwanda tribunal. Romulo noted "three models" for
tribunals and admitted ongoing concerns about the ICC from
the Department of National Defense and the Department of
Interior and Local Government (DILG). He added that the GRP
had no plans to submit the Rome Treaty for Senate
ratification. Romulo said that he shared the objections
lodged by DILG and others.



5. (C) Pointing to the expected visit by the new Burmese
Prime Minister later this month, Ambassador called upon the
GRP to take the opportunity to urge democratization and
release of Aung San Suu Kyi, among other issues, during the
visit -- notwithstanding ASEAN's usual reluctance to press
the Burmese. Romulo assured the Ambassador that "we are not
nervous or shy about raising such issues," and cited
President Arroyo's "categorical" comments at the ASEAN Summit
in Vientiane calling for progress on the democratic roadmap
and release of ASSK and other NLD leaders, and highlighting
the importance for ASEAN credibility of these issues. Romulo
recalled with obvious pride his own meeting in Rangoon with
ASSK while he was a Senator in the mid-1990s. Then, she had
noted that she was younger than the generals, and had
wondered "how long can they last?" Romulo urged the U.S. and
Europe to continue to apply public pressure on Burma; "we
should all raise a public outcry." He noted that, during
recent budget hearings, some Senators indicated support for a
Senate resolution on ASSK's release, as well as concerns
about Burma's expected chairmanship of ASEAN in 2006.
Ambassador urged the GRP to endorse such legislative
resolutions. (Note: In a separate meeting with Pol/C,
Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Senator
Miriam Defensor Santiago cited her intention to introduce a
sense of the Senate resolution calling for the GRP to ensure
that Burma did not become ASEAN chairman in 2006. End note)


6. (C) Ambassador noted US positive views of the growing
integration of China in the region, but expressed concern
that Chinese or other efforts to exclude the U.S. from
regional groupings -- such as the proposed East Asian Summit
-- promoted rivalry rather than dialogue, integration, and
partnership. He urged the GRP to speak out in favor of
inclusiveness, particularly with respect to the proposed EAS.
Romulo recommended that the USG speak directly to Malaysia
regarding EAS, "due to their history." Ambassador noted that
we were in close touch with all our Asian friends on this
subject, and hoped in particular for GRP support.

Hostages in Iraq


7. (C) Ambassador urged that our two governments continue
close cooperation on the SATCO hostage case involving one
American and one Filipino, despite their apparent physical
separation at this point. He urged that we continue to deal
together for their joint release, and not let the hostage
takers once again divide us, as in the Angelo de la Cruz
affair last year. Romulo affirmed the importance of staying
together, and cited existing close communication between DFA
U/S Seguis in Baghdad with the Hostage Working Group, notably
with Erik Rye.



8. (C) Romulo expressed interest in visiting Washington "as
soon as possible." He offered as possible options the week
before or the week after Holy Week (March 20-27). Ambassador
noted that Ambassador Del Rosario had already indicated
Romulo's interest in an April visit, and promised to raise
this with Secretary Rice. He observed that continued GRP
support on the full range of issues they had just discussed
-- from cooperation on Sudan at the UN to solidarity on our
hostages in Iraq -- would highlight the importance of US-GRP
relations, and the usefulness of an early call by Romulo on
Secretary Rice. Romulo added that President Arroyo also

plans a working visit to the U.S. around September and hoped
to meet with the President. (We will recommend approval of
both requests in a separate message.)