Posted by: JWP | 04/30/2010

New US Ambassador to the Philippines Harry Thomas has big shoes to fill

THE PROFILE: Harry K. Thomas Jr.

Kenney’s RP stint tough act to follow

By Jocelyn Uy

Philippine Daily Inquirer 01/07/2010

MANILA, Philippines—From feeding poor schoolchildren to meeting with Moro rebels to dancing the “Papaya” song on a prime-time TV show, outgoing US Ambassador Kristie Kenney has set a tough act to follow for diplomats posted in the Philippines.

No less than the Armed Forces of the Philippines acknowledged Kenney’s accomplishments by honoring her Wednesday in a testimonial parade traditionally given to a retiring officer or a head of state, and rarely to diplomats.

“Nobody in this country, not even the MILF or the communist rebels, will contest the now common knowledge that Ambassador Kenney is the most popular and best-liked ambassador, American or otherwise, in Philippine history,” said Gen. Victor Ibrado, AFP chief of staff.

In November, US President Barack Obama named Harry Thomas as Washington’s new envoy to Manila, replacing the media-savvy Kenney after more than three and a half years in the country.

Kenney supported Philippine efforts to end the decades long separatist insurgency in Mindanao by traveling to Camp Darapanan(map), the main base camp of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, in February 2008 and meeting with MILF chair Murad Ebrahim.

“We saw her with Filipino veterans, with schoolchildren all over the country, with ‘Wowowee’ host Willie Revillame… serving food for victims of Typhoon “Ondoy,” cheering for Manny Pacquiao … even doing the Papaya dance with Edu Manzano,” Ibrado said.

read in full…

MILF leadership has no control of its ground commanders 01/08/2010

Abu Sayyaf & Moro Islamic Liberation Front kill navy commandos in clash 12/30/09

Moro Islamic Liberation Front pushing for Mindanao self-rule 12/28/09

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