Press Briefing

Press Briefing of Cabinet Secretary and Acting Presidential Spokesperson Karlo Nograles


SEC. NOGRALES: Magandang tanghali po sa ating mga kababayan at sa mga miyembro ng Malacañang Press Corps. Mula po dito sa PTV Davao, maayong udto sa atong mga kigsunan dikan diri sa Davao.

Humarap kagabi si Pangulong Rodrigo Roa Duterte sa taumbayan sa kaniyang lingguhang Talk to the People Address. Idineklara ng Pangulo ang state of calamity sa mga lugar na naapektuhan ng Bagyong Odette, kasama rito ang Regions IV-B, VI, VII, VIII, X and XIII. Ito ay para mapabilis ang rescue, relief and rehabilitation efforts ng pamahalaan at sa sinumang gustong tumulong. Isa rin itong mabisang mekanismo para makontrol ang presyo ng mga bilihin sa mga nasabing lugar.

Ipinag-utos din ng Pangulo ang pag-release ng pondo para tulungan ang mga taong naapektuhan ng Bagyong Odette.

Mamaya ay makakasama natin ang ating mga panauhin, si Civil Defense Deputy Administrator for Operations Assistant Secretary Casiano Monilla at Department of Budget and Management OIC Secretary Tina Rose Canda para magbigay ng detalye at iba pang mga bagay tungkol sa state of calamity.

Mamayang hapon ay inaasahan natin ang Pangulo na ipagpatuloy ang pagbisita sa mga lugar na sinalanta ng Bagyong Odette. Later, he is scheduled to visit Siargao and the Dinagat Islands; update regarding his visit to these areas will be issued right after.

Sa gitna ng trahedya, nakita natin na buhay na buhay ang Bayanihan spirit. Nagpapasalamat kami sa Metro Manila mayors who approved a supplemental budget sa pamamagitan ng isang resolusyon na nagkakahalaga ng 100 million pesos para tulungan ang mga lugar na naapektuhan ng Bagyong Odette.

We are likewise grateful to our friends in the international community, partners and allies for their offers of assistance. These include Australia, Canada, China, the European Union, France, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, the United Nations, and the State of Qatar among others. Maraming, maraming, maraming salamat po sa inyo.

Sa usaping bakuna, binabati natin ang lahat mula sa ating vaccinators at volunteers hanggang sa ating mga mamamayan sa kanilang pakikilahok sa second run ng ating National Vaccination Days. Tulad nang nai-report ni Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque kagabi sa Talk to the People, maliban sa walumpu’t apat na mga local government units na nagkansela ng kanilang bakunahan, nasa 100% functional vaccination operations ang lahat ng mga LGUs. Mula December 15 hanggang December 21, nasa 5,056,186 ang ating nabakunahan ayon sa National Vaccination Operations Center as of December 22, 2021, 5 A.M.

Binabati natin ang mga regions na nalampasan ang kanilang mga target: Region I for surpassing its 202,224 National Vaccination Days Round 2 target. Nakapagbakuna sila ng 364,806 or 180.4%. Pumapangalawa ang Region II na mayroong 128,991 target. Ang kanilang cumulative jabs ay 179.51%. Congratulations po sa inyo!

Binabati rin namin ang Cordillera Administrative Region na nakakuha ng 118.45% ng kanilang target ay 68,247 ang nabakunahan nila ay nasa 80,837. Next are Region X na naka-accomplish ng 103.65%; ang National Capital Region with 102.74%; at Region IX na nasa 100.36%.

As of December 21, 2021, ayon sa National COVID-19 Dashboard nasa 102,995,133 ang total vaccines na ating na-administer. Nasa 58.71% ng target population or mahigit 45 million ang fully vaccinated habang nasa 78.06% ng target ng population or mahigit 60 million ang nakatanggap ng first dose.

Isang paalala po mula sa Department of Health effective today, December 22, 2021, all adults na nasa edad 18 at pataas ay puwede nang tumanggap ng single dose booster ng COVID-19 vaccine at least three months pagkaraan nilang makatanggap ng second dose ng AstraZeneca, Moderna, Pfizer, Sinovac or Sputnik vaccines, or at least two months pagkatapos nilang makatanggap ng Janssen.

Isa pa ring paalala: Ang booster doses ay hindi po natin nirirekomenda sa edad dose hanggang disisiete anyos.

Hindi po napigilan ni Typhoon Odette, mga kababayan, ang pagdating ng mga bakuna. Dumating kagabi, December 21, ang 1,358,600 doses ng Moderna vaccine na binili ng pribadong sektor. Samantala, dumating din kahapon, December 21, ang 500,000 doses ng AstraZeneca vaccine na donasyon mula sa Argentina. Dalawang batches ng Pfizer vaccine donations mula sa Estados Unidos ang ating natanggap. Dumating ang unang batch noong Lunes, December 20, na binubuo ng 1,776,060 doses. Samantalang kahapon, Martes, December 21, ay dumating ang second batch na binubuo ng 1,623,960 doses.

Natanggap din natin kahapon, Martes, December 21, ang 1,697,000 doses ng AstraZeneca vaccine na donasyon mula sa bansang France. Bago nito, nakatanggap tayo sa France ng 811,980 doses ng Pfizer vaccine noong Sabado, December 18. Nasa 1,062,100 doses naman ng Moderna vaccine mula sa donasyon ng bansang Germany ang dumating sa Pilipinas noong Linggo, December 19. Samantala noong Linggo rin, December 19, dumating ang private sector procured na 663,400 doses ng AstraZeneca vaccine.

All in all, from Saturday, December 18, to Tuesday, December 21, a total of 9,492,500 vaccine doses arrived in the country. To the people and governments of Argentina, the United States, France and Germany, our heartfelt gratitude! Your kindness will never ever be forgotten.

Pumunta naman po tayo sa COVID-19 update ayon sa December 21, 2021 COVID-19 case bulletin ng Department of Health: Nasa 168 ang bagong kaso ng COVID sa bansa. This is a record low for this year. Nananatiling below 1% sa apat na magkakasunod na araw ang ating positivity rate, nasa 0.9% na lamang po ito. Nasa 97.9% naman ang porsiyento ng gumaling, nasa mahigit 2.7 million ang naka-recover.

Gayunpaman, inuulit po namin ang kahalagahan ng pagsunod sa health protocols natin – wear your masks, wash your hands, maintain social distancing and get vaccinated – this is the formula that has worked to reduce our number of cases. Each element in that equation is essential for us to sustain our progress. And we urge everyone to please remain vigilant and to avoid being complacent. Sa ating mga kababayan, maraming salamat po sa inyong kooperasyon.

Malungkot naman naming binabalita sa inyo na kahapon ay sampu sa ating mga kababayan ang naidagdag sa bilang ng mga pumanaw dahil sa coronavirus. Nasa 1.79% ang ating fatality rate at ito ay nananatiling mas mababa sa 2% global average. Nasa below 25% naman po ang ating hospital utilization rate.

Mga kababayan, sa kabila ng mga hamon na kinakaharap natin ngayon at patuloy na magkakasama nating tinutugunan bilang isang bansa, the World Bank, in its Philippines Economic Update December 2021, raised its growth forecast from 4.3% to 5.3% in 2021. It says and I quote:

“Alongside the progress in vaccination, the phased economic reopening will support a return of market confidence and domestic dynamism.”

Similarly, the Japan Center of Economic Research (JACER) conducted its 24th Quarterly Consensus Survey on the Asian economies where the Philippines is still expected to be among the best performing in the region in 2021 and 2022. The Tokyo-based think tank expects the Philippines to grow by 5.1% and growing further by 7.1% in 2022.

Meanwhile, the optimism of Philippine companies over the next 12 months are at its peak since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country. According to the 4th Quarter 2021 Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Business Expectations Survey, Business Confidence Index jumped from –5.6% in the third quarter of 2021 to 39.7% in the 4th quarter of 2021.

There are several factors for this. First, the availability of more vaccines and the prospect of achieving herd immunity. Second, easing of community quarantines. Third, increase in volume and sales, and orders. Fourth, improvement in economic conditions and the prospect of recovery from losses incurred during the stricter community quarantines. And fifth, the continuous decline in the number of COVID-19 cases.

Just a caveat however, our economic team cautioned that risks to lower than projected growth are on the high side given the recent typhoon.

Dito po nagtatapos ang ating presentation. Makakasama naman po natin si DBM Undersecretary Canda and Assistant Secretary Monilla ng OCD. Let’s first go to ASec. Monilla for his short presentation. ASec. Monilla?

Monilla on the line to show us a presentation mula sa OCD. ASec.?

If we can have ASec. Monilla? If not, then can we hear from Usec. Canda?

We have Usec. Canda also on the line. Undersecretary Canda or actually, no, OIC Secretary Tina Rose Marie Canda of the Department of Budget and Management.

Secretary Canda, are you on the line?

If we’re having difficulty in reaching Usec. Canda, can we go now to Usec. Rocky for questions from the MPC?

USEC. IGNACIO: Yes. Good afternoon, Secretary Nograles. Although naririnig po namin si Ma’am Canda and si Asec., Secretary, pero unahin ko na po muna iyong mga tanong.

Mula po kay MJ Blancaflor ng Daily Tribune: May we ask for Palace reaction, the Philippine College of Physicians is urging daw po President Duterte to veto the proposed Vaporized Nicotine Products Regulation Act which seeks to reduce the age limit for vaping from 21 to 18 years old. The DOH also expresses strong opposition on the proposed measure. Similar question po ‘yan with Leila Salaverria ng Inquirer.

CABSEC NOGRALES: Well, ayaw muna natin pangunahan ‘no ano ang magiging desisyon ng Pangulo lalo na po’t hindi pa po nakakarating sa amin ang final version na ratipikado ng both House of Representatives at ng Senado because as we know it ay magba-bicameral conference committee pa po ang two houses of Congress. So wala pa po sa amin at hindi pa po namin nakikita ang final version po ng panukalang batas na ‘yan or ng bill na ‘yan. And so we will not speculate what the President will do unless we—and of course, until we see the final version from both houses of Congress na ratified na po ng Kongreso.

USEC. IGNACIO: Opo. Thank you, Sec. Karlo. For DBM OIC Canda, tanong po mula kay MJ Blancaflor: Where will the government source out the 10-billion-peso fund promised by the President in typhoon hit areas? When will it become available and when will the President sign into law the proposed 2022 budget?

DBM OIC CANDA: For the 10 billion pesos which the President mentioned, the 2 billion pesos is already available under the NDRRMF which is the long name of calamity fund. The next two billion is available under the President’s contingent fund and the remainder of the 6 billion will be available in a couple of days once the GAA or the General Appropriations Act is signed for 2022 ‘no, that’s the 2022 GAA.

When is it going to be signed? We expect that the 2022 budget measure will be signed before the year ends. So it’s between—siguro after Christmas until the 29th – these are the days that are open.

USEC. IGNACIO: Thank you, OIC Canda.

Secretary Nograles, tanong po ni MJ Blancaflor pa rin: Mayroon na po bang bansa na nag-pledge ng help for our country?

CABSEC NOGRALES: Opo. Iyong nabanggit ko po kanina sa ating opening statement, iyon po ‘yung mga bansa so far ‘no – our friends, partners from the international community that already pledged their support, their help sa ating mga kababayan for Typhoon Odette ‘no – kabilang na diyan iyong United Nations, United States, UK, we have Australia, Canada, China, the EU, France, Japan, Qatar… ‘ayan po. These are the countries and we expect a lot more countries and development partners and allies to come to our aid and help our kababayans na lubos na naapektuhan ‘no ng Typhoon Odette.

USEC. IGNACIO: Thank you, Secretary Karlo.

CABSEC NOGRALES: So, we can now go back to Asec. Monilla of OCD who has a short presentation on the efforts of OCD to help our kababayans affected by Typhoon Odette. Asec. Monilla…

OCD ASEC. MONILLA: [Technical difficulties] …

CABSEC NOGRALES: We seem to have a problem with the—we’ll try again later. Usec. Rocky, we’ll go back to you for more questions from the MPC and our friends from the media.

USEC. IGNACIO: Yes, Secretary, opo. Secretary Nograles, tanong po ni Leila Salaverria ng Inquirer: In light of the massive devastation suffered by several provinces, what will happen to the government’s vaccination target? Does Malacañang daw see a need to revise its target for this year as some LGUs may not be able to immediately conduct mass vaccinations?

CABSEC NOGRALES: Yes. Our NVOC and this was already announced by Secretary Charlie, we’ll continue to ramp up our vaccination efforts and we will still continue to stick with the 54 million target by end of 2021. May bago pong inisyu ang NVOC ‘no tungkol dito, if I may read: In light of the Typhoon Odette and what’s happening on the ground ‘no, iyong National COVID-19 Vaccination Operations Center has provided the following directives:

For Cordillera Administrative Region, the National Capital Region, Regions I, II, III and IV-A: They shall extend the implementation of Bayanihan, Bakunahan National COVID-19 Vaccination Days Part 2 until December 22, 2021 and continue to intensify COVID-19 vaccination activities until December 31 of 2021.

And for the Regions affected by Typhoon Odette, they shall implement their Bayanihan, Bakunahan National Vaccination Days Part 2 vaccination activities from December 20 to 22 and continue to intensify COVID-19 vaccination activities until December 31, 2021.

And to achieve the target of fully vaccinating 54 million Filipinos by end of the year, local government units and local VOCs are mandated to prioritize the administration of due second doses and the administration of Janssen vaccines to the unvaccinated adults.

Whereas, all local VOCs shall be provided with new targets to meet the goal of vaccinating 54 million and are enjoined to ramp up the administration of COVID-19 vaccines until December 31, 2021 including weekends.

So this is a total of nine days. So ibig sabihin, we are mindful, aware and sensitive to the realities on the ground especially para doon sa mga tinamaan noong Typhoon Odette. And we know that the local government units na tinamaan ng Typhoon Odette will still be very busy in all their repair, rehab, recovery efforts para sa kanilang mga kababayan.

So those na hindi masyado o hindi gaano apektado doon sa pananalasa nitong Typhoon Odette, we will call upon them to ramp up the vaccination efforts.

To those affected by Typhoon Odette, of course the priority will be their rehab and recovery pero if as soon as they’re ready, if they’re ready within the year and makita naman po natin na makayanan din po natin na bigyan ng konting push for the vaccination efforts doon, we will do the same.

Ang bottomline po is we are sensitive to the realities on the ground and we will adjust accordingly mindful of what is happening right now on the ground but mindful also that we still need to fight this COVID-19 pandemic through massive vaccination. So the target remains the same and we will make the necessary adjustments ‘no. So tingnan natin ano ang mangyayari by end of December 31, 2021. Anyway, we still have the first quarter also of 2022. If kailangan mag-catch up, then we will have to adjust accordingly.

USEC. IGNACIO: Opo. Thank you, Secretary Karlo.

CABSEC. NOGRALES: We have Maricel Halili on the line from TV 5.

MARICEL HALILI/TV 5: Hi, sir! Magandang tanghali po. Sir, very short lang po. First, why did it take four to five days before the President declared a state of calamity in those areas affected by Typhoon Odette?

CABSEC. NOGRALES: Kung naalala ninyo iyong situation briefing na ginawa ni Pangulo which was also aired on TV, before iyong for the declaration of the state of calamity, we have to have a full assessment of the extent of damage done by the typhoon. But mindful of that, alam naman po namin, and we reminded this during the situation briefing, that local government units affected by Typhoon Odette can immediately declare a state of calamity within their own respective jurisdictions.

And declaration of state of calamity ng mga provinces halimbawa, will enable them to also tap into their calamity funds. We were also mindful of the fact that we have in the budget Quick Response Funds which are available in several agencies na we can also tap, that they can also tap para sa quick response doon sa mga tinamaan ng Typhoon Odette which we are using right now and which we continue to implement.

And then, because nakakuha nga tayo ng fuller assessment of the extent of damage done by Typhoon Odette from various agencies and from the personal visits ni Pangulo sa mga provinces at mga localities, then with that fuller assessment of the damage, iyon iyong naging basis natin for the declaration of a state of calamity and this is what we explained during the situation briefing and this is exactly what we did and what the President did. Kaya nga po because of that fuller and clearer report of the extent of damage as the basis for the state of calamity, pinirmahan po kagabi ni Pangulong Duterte ang declaration of state of calamity.

Again, the LGUs were able to declare their own state of calamity within their locality; we have QRF funds which we were able to tap and use and we continue to use; and now, the state of calamity in the regions hit by Typhoon Odette.

MARICEL HALILI/TV 5: Sir, I understand the limitations po ng mga puwedeng movement ng national government, because of the effect of typhoon. But pare-pareho po kasi iyong nagiging panawagan ngayon ng mga local government units like Bohol and Dinagat. Number one, ang complaint po nila iyong mga looting na nahihirapan pong mapigilan dahil kulang po sila sa PNP and AFP personnel. So, they are asking for the assistance from the national government. And number two, iyon pong overpriced na mga bilihin. I understand malaking tulong iyong declaration ng state of calamity. But how are you going to implement that, considering that even the regional DTIs are also affected by the typhoon?

CABSEC. NOGRALES: Sa report po na ginawa kagabi ni Secretary Ed Año is nag-augment na po tayo ng mga PNP personnel. So, from the different regions na hindi tinamaan ng typhoon Odette, mayroon po siyang in-assign na mga regions from the PNP na mag-big brother doon sa mga regions na tinamaan ng Typhoon Odette. So, in his presentation kagabi makikita natin doon iyong parang one to one correspondence – iyong kumbaga iyong tinatawag niyang big brother, small brother – from one region mag-o-augment doon sa isang region na tinamaan ng Odette and another region to another region.

So, mayroon siyang ginawang pairing and that will address iyong needs ng mga regions na iyon for additional manpower from the PNP to ensure peace and order especially doon sa areas na kung may nababalitaan po kayo o nari-report ng mga media na certain areas na may looting. I think those also are very few areas naman. It’s not like in a massive scale naman ‘no. And we have been able to keep the peace and order situation on the ground and obviously we also look up to the LGUs for that.

Doon sa mga price freeze. As mentioned, iyong pag-declare ng state of calamity, whether it’s a local declaration and now with the national declaration all the more, then the price freezing will already take effect. So, I also expect the DTI to follow the same route as done by PNP. Ang mga national agencies naman po natin kung saan nangangailangan ng mga augmentation ay maaari naman po nating gawin.

MARICEL HALILI/TV 5: Sir, last na lang po. Your warning or your message to those who are taking advantage of the situation, imposing overpriced products and iyong mga naglo-loot.

CABSEC. NOGRALES: Even si Pangulong Duterte himself, in his personal visits to the areas, he has given strict instructions na whether it’s to the DOE (Department of Energy) or DTI or other concerned agencies to look especially into these concerns. Iyong overpricing, iyong dumodoble na iyong presyo, people taking advantage. So, as far as the implementation and enforcement is concerned, may instructions na po si Pangulo diyan. Ang sa akin na lamang siguro ay isang pakiusap sa ating mga kababayan, lalung-lalo na sa panahon ngayon ng Pasko, na please let’s not take advantage of our fellow Filipinos who are suffering right now. Ang panawagan po natin sa ating mga kababayan ay tulungan ang isa’t-isa, huwag nating pagsamantalahan ang ating mga kababayan, lalo na po iyong mga nangangailangan ng tulong ngayong panahon ng Pasko.

MARICEL HALILI/TV 5: Salamat, Secretary.

CABSEC. NOGRALES: I think si OCD ASec. Monilla is already ready. And I think we have a better connection? ASec. Monilla

ASEC. MONILLA: Magandang tanghali, naririnig na po ninyo ako?

CABSEC. NOGRALES: Medyo choppy po. Maybe you can try to continue to speak and [garbled].

ASEC. MONILLA: We will try another phone, sir.

CABSEC. NOGRALES: Go head po.

ASEC. MONILLA: Sa ngayon po, sir. I would go direct sa mga actions na ginawa ng ating mga ahensiya.

With regard sa telecommunications, ito na po iyong taas, operational communication and setup ng DICT and to OCD together with the [garbled]. On the compliance naman [garbled] sa kautusan ng ating [garbled]. Please go to the next slide.

So makikita po natin diyan iyong actions. Ito po last Sunday sa Siargao [garbled]. Next slide, ito po iyong mga available na assets na ginagamit natin sa pagdala ng ating mga logistics sa lugar [garbled] sa ating ginagawang relief efforts.

First the Philippine Coast Guard, on the summary of the services delivered sa atin pong mga direct compliance to the directives [garbled] first iyong assessment [garbled] sa kanilang assessment.

For the Department of Agriculture [garbled] 333 million [garbled] damage and losses sa lahat ng affected [garbled].

For DHSUD, nagpadala po sila ng 1,000 sheets ng tarpaulin sa Surigao del Norte and [garbled] Islands, and another [garbled] tarpaulin sheets to Caraga.

For DSWD and OCD, they are conducting [garbled] directive [garbled] mayroon po tayong tents doon. And the OCD [garbled] the following items: 5,000 hygiene kits and also surgical masks.

The Philippine Coast Guard have deployed following assets like BRP Gabriela Silang, Sindangan and [garbled], and likewise the AFP BRP Iwak and Ivatan.

Again, the BRP Ang Pangulo departed Manila to Siargao on 19 December 2021 [garbled] needed assistance. So [garbled] nagdala ito ng mga relief goods [garbled] then DOH will provide the [garbled].

DOH mobilized their medical trauma response team and [garbled] and Surigao del Norte [garbled] for Siargao 460,000.

Marina has activated all vessels and ferry relief vessels po [garbled] companies, shipping companies.

For DPWH, ito na po iyong kanilang road clearings [garbled] and as well as provided immediate response fund [garbled] million to Region VI, VII, VIII, X and XIII, Caraga.

And for DSWD, provided 14 million-worth of assistance to all the affected areas; it is still continuing. Marami pa pong dinadala tayo ang Philippine Air Force, C-130 aircraft ay patuloy po ang pagdala ng mga relief goods sa mga affected [garbled] validation and [garbled] for the provision of [garbled].

We are also … kaakibat po doon sa recommended natin sa state of calamity, is the conduct of the post-disaster needs assessment para mas mapadali po kaagad ang rehabilitation effort dito sa mga affected.

For DA, 1.35 billion-worth of readily available assistance. Then for the [garbled] recommendation [garbled] Council, the declaration of the state of calamity. Nabanggit [garbled] kasama po diyan is [garbled] recommendation [garbled] acceptance [garbled].

Next slide. Ito po iyong—

CABSEC NOGRALES: Thank you very much, Asec. And with that … and because of that, may I therefore read iyong Proclamation # 1267. This by the President of the Philippines, Proclamation # 1267 Declaring a State of Calamity in Regions IV-B, VI, VII, VIII, X and XIII:

Whereas last 16 to 19 December 2021, Typhoon Odette, international code name Rai, caused widespread devastation and damage to house, infrastructure, properties and agriculture, and resulted in the disruption of critical lifelines of Filipinos in areas affected by the typhoon.

Whereas, pursuant to Republic Act # 10121 or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council issued Resolution #11 Series of 2021 recommending the declaration of a state of calamity over areas severely and adversely affected by Typhoon Odette:

Whereas the declaration of a state of calamity will hasten the rescue, relief and rehabilitation efforts of government and the private sector including any international humanitarian assistance.

And whereas this declaration will among others effectively control the prices of basic goods and commodities in the affected areas and afford the national government, as well as local government units, ample latitude to utilize appropriate funds for rescue, recovery, relief and rehabilitation of and the continuation of basic services to affected populations in accordance with law.

Now therefore, I, Rodrigo Roa Duterte, President of the Philippine, by virtue of the powers vested in me by the Constitution and existing law do hereby declare a state of calamity in Regions IV-B, VI, VII, VIII, X and XIII. All departments and other concerned government agencies are hereby directed to implement and execute rescue, recovery, relief and rehabilitation work in accordance with pertinent operational plans and directives.

All departments and other concerned government agencies are also hereby directed to coordinate with and provide or augment the basic services and facilities of affected LGUs, law enforcement agencies with the support of the Armed Forces of the Philippines are hereby directed to undertake all necessary measures to ensure peace and order in affected areas as may be necessary, the state of calamity shall remain enforced and effect for one year unless sooner lifted in accordance with law.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and cause the seal of the Republic of the Philippines to be affixed.

Done in the City of Manila this 21st day of December in the year of our Lord 2021. Signed by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

Usec. Rocky, the proclamation number is Proclamation # 1267. Usec. Rocky?

USEC. IGNACIO: Yes, thank you, Sec. Karlo. Tanong po para kay OIC Canda mula po kay Trish Terada: How much funds do we have left considering po the most of these have been used for COVID response?

DBM OIC CANDA: For the NDRRMF ‘no, we still have a remainder of around four billion pesos at the moment; iyon iyong puwedeng gamitin. Kasi misleading iyon kung halimbawang ibibigay natin iyong total na available under the budget for this year kasi hindi naman puwedeng gamitin lahat iyon for the purpose of augmenting iyong pangangailangan para sa pagsalanta ng Odette. So iyon iyong available under NDRRMF and kung halimbawa nga kakailanganin pa, eh puwedeng gamitin iyong contingent fund which is for emergency and new activities and programs, unexpected pati. So iyon iyong available this year.

USEC. IGNACIO: Thank you. Sec. Karlo, tanong po mula kay Trish Terada ng CNN Philippines: Na-receive na po ba ng Malacañang iyong enrolled budget for 2022 and kailan ito expected na mapirmahan ng Pangulo? Similar question with Sam Medenilla ng Business Mirror at si Jopel Pelenio ng DWIZ.

CABSEC. NOGRALES: Per Malacañang Records, hindi pa po nakakarating sa amin. So, we’ll continue to monitor the Malacañang Records and see if darating ba within the day, today or tomorrow. But according to our Malacañang Records, wala pa po.

USEC. IGNACIO: Secretary Karlo, iyong susunod pong tanong ni Leila Salaverria ng Inquirer, nasagot na po ni OIC Canda about the P10 billion fund. Similar question po iyan with Llanesca Panti ng GMA News and ni Jo Montemayor ng Malaya.

From Leila Salaverria ng Inquirer, Secretary Karlo: How does the Palace address those questions why the declaration of the state of calamity was only made on Tuesday when several provinces have been suffering for days?

CABSEC. NOGRALES: As I have mentioned already, as early as a situation briefing, we already apprised the local government units that they can on their own, the provinces, local government units can on their own declare state of calamity.

Number two, we already have quick response fund in the budget can be utilized and which was in fact utilized in our response efforts doon sa mga areas na tinamaan ng Typhoon Odette.

Number three, iyong kinakailangan natin na fuller, more complete assessment of the extent of the damage in Typhoon Odette was necessary for the basis to lay the basis for the declaration of the state of calamity which the President did and signed yesterday, December 21.

So, iyon po. Those were the three steps that we implemented, mindful again that all of these were set in place and set into motion according to what was needed.

USEC. IGNACIO: Opo. Tanong pa rin po, Sec. Karlo, mula kay Leila Salaverria ng Inquirer: The President daw po mentioned that he believes the use of face shields has been effective and he advice the public to still use this. Does the Administration plan to make face shields mandatory again, especially given the President’s concerns about Omicron?

CABSEC. NOGRALES: Iyong Alert Level 2 guidelines po natin very clearly state na iyong face shields are voluntary except in healthcare settings and hospital settings. So, iyon lang po ang mandatory.

Iyong sinabi po ni Pangulo kagabi is just a reminder to people that it’s voluntary at dahil may banta ng Omicron at ito nga, iyong laban natin against COVID-19, the face shields still acts as an additional layer.

So, kumbaga, as a good father of the family, ang paalala lang ni Pangulo is if you want to be really fully protected, bagama’t voluntary pa iyong face shields, that is an added layer of protection against COVID whatever variant including iyong Omicron variant.

USEC. IGNACIO: Opo. Tanong, Sec. Karlo, mula kay Celerina Monte ng NHK: Will the government declare a unilateral ceasefire with the CPP-NPA-NDF during this holiday season? Why and why not?

CABSEC. NOGRALES: No advise yet to that effect.

USEC. IGNACIO: Question from Sam Medenilla ng Business Mirror, I think natanong na ito, Secretary, about doon sa gustong i-veto ni Presidente sa budget legislation. Iyong second question po niya: Nabanggit ni Secretary Duque na expected na daw po na ang current generation ng COVID vaccines na ginagamit will be less effective for new COVID-19 variants. Itutuloy pa rin ng government ang pagbili ng additional doses ng nasabing vaccines or are there efforts para maghanap po ng new generation ng vaccines for next year?

CABSEC. NOGRALES: Iyong tungkol doon sa Budget Bill, we cannot again speak to that yet kasi hindi pa natin nakikita iyong final version, we’re still awaiting sa arrival of the final version ng budget bill as ratified by the House and the Senate before the President can act on it. So, we don’t want to speculate until we obviously get a copy of the budget.

As to the second question, of course, we still need to procure vaccines for 2022 and we expect that item in the budget will still be there ‘no. We hope that the budget as approved by House and the Senate still contain that allocation for additional vaccines procurement for 2022 because we will still need to cover our kababayans with that additional protection ng bakuna.

But, again, be mindful na bakuna by itself is not a complete layer of protection. It is bakuna plus mask, hugas, iwas. And if you look at the other countries na nakikita natin iyong pagtaas ng bilang ng COVID cases and even hospitalizations is because many of them ‘no have – after getting vaccinated – ay nakalimutan itong tatlo. Hindi puwede iyan! Itong tatlo – mask, hugas, iwas, plus bakuna, iyan po ay together.

And so anumang variant iyan. Omicron man o kung anumang variant that we will be facing in year 2022, iyong bakuna is effective to shield us against severe and critical COVID-19 disease, but iyong pag-spread ng COVID-19 would be mitigated and stopped even, if we do all four. Iyan ang combination na kinakailangan, hindi puwedeng mawala ang isa sa apat diyan.

USEC. IGNACIO: Tanong mula po kay MJ Blancaflor ng Daily Tribune for OIC Canda, nasagot na po ni Usec. Canda iyong P10 billion pati iyong kailan masa-sign into law iyong Proposed 2022 Budget.

Iyong second question po niya: Considering the massive damage caused by the typhoon, can the government finish the rehabilitation effort within the remaining months of the Duterte Administration?

CABSEC. NOGRALES: I think we will work on this as fast as possible. Obviously, this administration is only up to June 30 of 2022. So, kung ano iyong puwede naming simulan, anong puwede nating tapusin given the extent of the damage, given all of the recovery and rehabilitation effort that we need to put in place, begin, start and complete within six months, kung anong makakayanan natin ay gagawin po natin ang lahat ng kaya nating gawin.

But we are facing this challenge plus the challenge of totally eradicating COVID-19 plus the threats of other variants, at the end of the day kailangan po nating lahat magtulungan dito. Hindi puwede na nakaatang lamang sa balikat ng iilan or ng pamahalaan lamang, kinakailangan po natin ng suporta at tulong ng bawat isang Pilipino para dito.

So, we commit to work hard and fast and we’ll try to complete whatever we can. But at the end of the day once we turn this over to the next administration eh marami na po kaming nasimulan, may mga natapos na, may mga nagawa na at sana ay ipagpatuloy lamang ng susunod na administration ang lahat ng mga ito.

USEC. IGNACIO: Opo. Iyong susunod pong tanong ni MJ Blancaflor ay nasagot ninyo na, Secretary, about the face shields. Iyong tanong naman po ni Jopel Pelenio ng DWIZ ay nasagot ninyo na rin about iyong tulong o pondo na kung sasapat po iyong pondo about doon sa bagyo.

Iyong tanong po ni Llanesca Panti for Usec/OIC Canda: The President’s said response will be distributed to affected areas by Friday. Is this a final timeline, OIC Canda?

DBM OIC SEC. CANDA: Wala pa hong ganoong commitment na madi-distribute by Friday kasi tinitingnan pa nga iyong total damage, so hindi pa natin alam kung paano idi-distribute siya, kung magkano ang distribution per region and local government unit kung kinakailangan.

In the meantime, magkakaroon po ng pondo rin sa pagtulong dahil nga mayroon namang quick response fund ang mga ahensiya, iyong mga frontline agencies.

USEC. IGNACIO: Opo. From Llanesca Panti ng GMA News Online: Sec. Karlo, is the Palace aware of situation on Consolacion, Cebu? Drinking water and food supply is running thin.

CABSEC NOGRALES: Before I answer that, idadagdag ko lang doon sa sagot ni OIC Sec. Canda. Iyong instruction ni Pangulo was for Usec. Jalad ‘no, to be able to complete the necessary paperwork needed – the estimates, how much needed to implement for the NDRRMC Fund or the calamity fund. Iyon po ‘yung instructions at iyon po ‘yung narinig natin sa Talk to the People ni Pangulong Duterte kagabi, iyong instructions niya Undersecretary Jalad ng OCD para sa lalong madaling panahon ay ma-implement na po iyong lahat ng kinakailangan.

But again ‘no, it’s not like hanggang doon lang. Like what OIC Secretary Canda said, tuluy-tuloy ‘yan from now until end of the year and then may bagong budget po na darating sa susunod na taon, 2022. So kumbaga, mayroon din tayong basis for releasing funds—some more funds for the continuing recovery, rehab, repair efforts na kinakailangan natin on the ground doon sa tinamaan ng Typhoon Odette.

So ano man ang mayroon tayo from the QRF – gagamitin natin ‘yung QRF na ‘yan – kung ano iyong puwede for the NDRRMC calamity fund, gagamitin natin for all those efforts. Kung ano iyong—from the contingency gagamitin natin up to the end of 2021 and then sa 2022 bagong budget, may bagong GAA tayo so may bagong basis na naman tayo for additional funding for the continuous efforts that we’re doing for those that were devastated by Typhoon Odette.

Sa Consolacion, I don’t know if—we can ask Asec. Monilla to comment. Maybe Asec. Monilla if he’s still on the line, the question is on the—our efforts to help our kababayans in Consolacion, Cebu.

OCD ASEC. MONILLA: [Garbled] the same manner with the other places po sa Cebu, [garbled] atin pong mga ahensiya doon [garbled] patuloy pa rin po especially DSWD na maipaabot ang kanilang mga ayuda doon sa ating mga kababayan. So our region has actually assisted [garbled] damage assessment na kanilang ginawa and ongoing effort ng mga ahensiya on the response efforts sa—hindi lamang sa Consolacion, Cebu but also all other areas na [garbled].

CABSEC NOGRALES: So on the ground, the LGUs are already doing their quick response ‘no efforts. DSWD is augmenting response efforts ng Consolacion and then we will direct the OCD to also take a look at ano pang mga pangangailangan. I think the request is water ‘no. So anyway ipaano namin ‘yan, patutukan natin ‘yan sa DSWD at sa OCD.

USEC. IGNACIO: Opo. Sec. Karlo, tanong mula kay Jo Montemayor ng Malaya for OIC Canda: DOH daw po ay asking for augmentation of their QRF. When will it be given? And will QRF of other agencies such as DSWD and DA also be augmented? And will DBM daw po augment? Is there enough funds available for QRF augmentation? For OIC Canda.

DBM OIC CANDA: Ah, yes. Iyong pag-augment kasi ng NDRRMCF ay—ang Quick Response Fund almost automatic ‘yan ‘pag critical level na. Ngayon iyong sa DOH, wala pa kaming request na natatanggap ngayon na for augmentation. Ang aming nababalitaan lang ay DSWD.

So doon naman sa QRF, madalas kaming mag-augment. Kamukha ng sa DA, nakapag-augment kami out of their 1 billion, nag-augment pa kami dati ‘no ng 1.75 so hindi problema iyon. Ang pag-augment kasi ng QRF kinukuha iyon doon sa main ‘no, NDRRMCF. So once na may critical level ‘yan, iri-request ng agency ‘yan and automatically we release the amount.

USEC. IGNACIO: Thank you, OIC Canda. Sec. Karlo, may pahabol na tanong si Llanesca Panti ng GMA News: Confirmed ba, President Duterte will sign proposed 2022 budget on December 28?

CABSEC NOGRALES: Again, we will give you a more definitive date as we continue to monitor with Malacañang Records kung kailan darating iyong final version noong budget. So once we receive the final version of the budget as ratified by both Houses of Congress, then it will go through a vetting process – doon pa namin talagang masasabi kung kailan mapipirmahan ‘yan because we’ll have to—it will have to pass the vetting process in Malacañang as soon as we receive it but obviously, we all know the urgency.

Having said that please also remember ‘no iyong doon sa tanong ng QRF na nasagot naman ni OIC Secretary Canda. Pagdating po noong 2022, again, there will be a new budget and with that new budget is the basis ‘no for the fund requirements including the QRF.

USEC. IGNACIO: Opo. Tanong mula kay Cecil Morella ng AFP: If President Duterte approved the NDRRMC recommendation to accept foreign Typhoon Odette assistance?

CABSEC NOGRALES: Iyong as stated doon sa proclamation on the declaration of a state of calamity, that state of calamity also allows—in fact facilitates our repair, recovery and rehab efforts not only for government but also for the international community to aid us and help us here as we all move towards our recovery efforts for those na lubos na naapektuhan ng Typhoon Odette.

USEC. IGNACIO: Opo. Last two questions na lang po, Sec. Karlo. Tanong po mula kay Miguel Aguana ng GMA News Desk: Senator Drilon says he is saddened daw po over the President’s statement that the government has no money to assist typhoon victims. He says government can tap parked funds of government agencies and GOCCs. Senator Angara on the other hand says President Duterte can realign 2021 savings. Your comment po. Do we have enough money to assist the victims?

CABSEC. NOGRALES: Yes, we have enough money and the President already directed, number one, iyong sa P10 billion nga na kinakailangan. Of course, it will not stop there and when the President made those statements, it was, remember, in the context of informing the Filipino nation, ang ating mga kababayan that marami talaga tayong mga challenges in terms of mayroon tayong COVID na malaki ang gastos for COVID. And if you listen to the speeches of the President, that’s what he says ‘no. We spent so much for efforts against COVID, we spent so much for vaccines at ito mayroon na namang another challenge itong typhoon Odette.

But we in government, in his administration will look for all ways and means in order to address all of the challenges, all of the concerns, lahat ng mga pangangailangan ng ating mga kababayan. In that context, para maunawaan lamang ng ating mga kababayan na this is not an easy task. But we all have to help each other. Hindi lamang government, kung hindi lahat ng ating mga kababayan.

Kami ay nagpapasalamat sa mga kababayan natin, private sector, the private companies, even ordinary Filipino individuals who on their own, through their own initiatives or through various efforts have really shown itong bayanihan spirit to help each other and to help one another. So iyon po iyong panawagan na lahat po tayo magtutulungan and we also thank our allies in the international community who have already, as we speak ‘no already pledged and offer their assistance to us. So lahat po ng tulong na kinakailangan ay welcome naman po ang lahat ng iyan. So lahat po tayo magtulungan dito. Iyon lang naman po ang mensahe ng ating Pangulo.

But, yes as much as we can and OIC Secretary Canda will also bear me out here and say lahat ng efforts na kinakailangan natin to secure the budget necessary for all of these things that we need, all of the response and recovery efforts that we need, hinahanapan natin lahat ng paraan. We have battled aCOVID-19. We have looked for the funds, search the funds and we were able to generate the funds necessary for COVID-19.

Ang sinasabi lamang ng Pangulo, mayroon tayong Typhoon Odette, may COVID-19, pero we will do everything necessary to fight and overcome these challenges, kahit ilang fronts pa iyan, there are many fronts, many challenges but we will all overcome this.

USEC. IGNACIO: Opo. Last question, Secretary Karlo. Mula pa rin po kay Miguel Aguana ng GMA News Desk: Senator Lacson proposed that NDRRMC should be convened immediately, so Cabinet members can mobilize their QRFs. OCD should be required to submit their post disaster needs assessment to guide the President to prioritize aid while DFA should meet ambassadors to appeal to the international community for assistance?

CABSEC. NOGRALES: All being done! Iyong sa situation briefer na immediately kinonvene (convened) ni Pangulo, the situation briefer then immediately nag-convene iyong council, that’s the reason why we have the state of calamity. The President is doing personal visits, making personal assessments, making personal calls, he is hands-on in everything an in all of the departments. Nakita naman ninyo, mga department secretaries go with him on the ground. Lahat ng mga needs, assessment, lahat ng mga pag-compute at pag-estimate ng lahat ng mga pangangailangan ay ginagawa po natin on the ground. The QRF is already being utilized.

So everything that needs to be done is already being done. And we continue to call upon our kababayans to lend a helping hand, lalung-lalo na sa panahon ng Pasko, sa lahat ng nangangailangan. Let’s all do what we can to help one another specially those who are greatly and severely affected by this devastating Typhoon Odette. So magtulungan po tayo. Tulungan po natin ang lahat ng nangangailangan ng tulong.

Government is on top of the situation. We are doing everything in terms of budget, the necessary moves and the necessary actions. Lahat po iyan and as I said, even the President is making his personal visit as we speak, the President will be making his visits again, to the Dinagat Islands and to Siargao to personally assess the situation and to personally lend the helping hand and to give his presidential directives to the concerned government agencies.

USEC. IGNACIO: Opo. Thank you, Sec. Karlo, sa ating mga bisita at sa MPC. Thank you po.

CABSEC. NOGRALES: Maraming-maraming salamat sa iyo. Usec. Rocky at kay Asec. Monilla, kay OIC Secretary Canda at sa lahat ng mga kaibigan natin sa Malacañang Press Corps at sa media. Again, advance Merry Christmas po sa inyong lahat.

Mga kababayan marami po sa atin ang nasalanta at kasalukuyang humaharap sa pagsubok na dala ng pananalasa ng Bagyong Odette. Magkaisa po sana tayong lahat upang makatulong sa abot ng ating makakaya para sa ating mga kababayan. Ang inyong pamahalaan ay hindi tumitigil upang pagulungin ang buong mekanismo ng gobyerno sa layuning ibsan ang epekto ng nagdaang bagyo sa buhay at kabuhayan ng ating mga kababayan.

Sa pagtatapos, nais kong ihabilin ito: Sa kabila ng maraming hamon na ating kinakaharap ngayon, nanatili ang ating panawagan – kailangan nating magkaisa at magtulungan. Ito ang tunay na diwa ng Kapaskuhan.

Maraming salamat po.

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