Press Release

Palace maintains hands-off stance on House speakership row

The Palace maintains that it will not interfere on the matter of speakership in the Congress following the directive of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte that the Palace will stay out of the issue in respect to the independence of the House of Representatives.

“He has left the decision on the House leadership to the individual members of the House of Representatives,” said Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque, Jr. in a press briefing held in Bataan on October 1, 2020.

More specifically, the Presidential Spokesperson quoted the Chief Executive who told him, “Stay out tayo diyan, no comment tayo diyan. That is purely internal matter of the House of Representatives.” This is with regard to the offer made by House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano to resign as speaker, which was rejected by members of the Lower House.

“Ulitin ko po ang paninindigan ng ating Presidente, yung pagpili po ng liderato ng Kamara ay isang internal matter para sa Kamara de Representante at nirerespeto naman po ng Presidente ang naging desisyon ng Kamara na ibinasura po yung pagreresign ni Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano,” said Secretary Roque.

“With what happened yesterday clearly Speaker Cayetano offered to resign, rejected, he continues to be Speaker,” added the Palace official.

On the possible effect of the speakership row on the 2021 budget, Roque said, “Ang bilin po niya (President Duterte), kinakailangan mapasa talaga ang budget [sa] lalong mabilis na panahon dahil nakapaloob po sa budget yung ating COVID-19 response.”

In the same briefing, Roque provided details on the reopening of Boracay to tourists starting today, October 1. Domestic tourists who plan to visit Boracay need to accomplish an online health declaration that can be accessed via its web page.

After filling out the required information and receiving the confirmation, the health declaration will have to be submitted to, along with a negative RT-PCR test result taken within 48 hours prior to the date of travel, a confirmed accommodation booking slip, and a proof of identification.

Processing of documents takes less than a day after receipt of complete documents, after which an email response will be sent to the tourists, including a copy of the health declaration and a tourist QR code that will be presented to screening authorities.

Also in the same media briefing, Bataan Governor Albert Garcia attributed the downward trend in the number of infection in the province to the cooperation of the people of Bataan in observing the minimum public health standards, as well as to the province’s frontliners who all contribute to ensuring that testing, contact tracing, isolation, and treatment protocols are properly and strictly enforced.

Governor Garcia also shared that QR codes will now be used, starting October 1, in checkpoints in the province’s borders to ensure the safety of the people of Bataan. He also underscored the establishment of a mega quarantine facility in the province to strengthen further Bataan’s isolation capacity. Once completed, Gov. Garcia said that the facility will provide some 300-400 isolation beds and will centralize the province’s isolation capacity, as well as personnel and logistics needed for the management of isolation facilities.

Meanwhile, Mariveles, Bataan Mayor Jocelyn Castañeda stressed the importance of coordination among local government units, the provincial government of Bataan, and other stakeholders like the Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan (AFAB) in the management of COVID-19 in the province. On the part of AFAB, Administrator Engr. Emmanuel Pineda shared the freeport’s efforts in the COVID-19 fight, including the conversion of its three 3-storey buildings originally intended as housing facility for its workers, as temporary isolation facilities to help in the provincial government’s COVID-19 response. ### OPS-PCOO