Press Briefing

Press Briefing of Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque


SEC. ROQUE: Magandang tanghali, Pilipinas.

Nagkaroon po ng desisyon ang Korte Suprema tungkol sa kaso po na hinain ng ilang mga senador noon tayo po ay bumitiw sa Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Kung maaalala ninyo po, sinabi po ng mga petitioners na kinakailangan daw po na ang mga tratado na ipinasok ng gobyerno na mayroong concurrence ng Senado ‘pag tayo po ay magbibitiw ay kinakailangan din ng concurrence. Pero sa desisyon po ng ating Korte Suprema, ibinasura po iyang petisyon na iyan. Ito po ay patunay na hindi po kinakailangan ang concurrence ng Senado sa pagbibitiw sa International Criminal Court.

In fact, ang sabi po ng Korte Suprema ay moot and academic na po ang isyu dahil nagawa na po ng Presidente ang lahat ng hakbang para po bumitiw nga sa Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

Now, doon sa isyu na kinakailangan ba talaga na lahat ng tratado na mayroong concurrence ng Senado ay kinakailangang mag-concur din ang Senado bago tayo makapag-withdraw? Hindi po. Ang sabi po ng Korte Suprema, and I quote, “Even sans a judicial determination that a treaty is unconstitutional, the president also enjoys much leeway in withdrawing from an agreement which, in his or her judgment runs afoul of prior existing law or the Constitution”

So iyan po ay pagkilala ‘no na talagang bilang chief architect ng foreign policy, hindi naman po pupuwede na lilimitahan natin ang opsyon ng Presidente pagdating po sa mga tratado na napirmahan na.

Now, ang sabi rin po ng Korte Suprema, mayroon po talagang mga tratado na baka kinakailangan ay mag-consent ang Senado kapag tayo po ay bibitiw. Ano po itong mga tratadong ito? Ito ang mga tratado na ipinasok dahil po sa isang batas na naipasa ng Kongreso o ‘di naman kaya tratado na matapos mapirmahan ng ating Presidente ay sabi ng Kongreso ay hindi pupuwedeng bumitiw sa tratado na iyan na wala pong konsente ng Senado. Pero kung wala po iyang mga kolatilya, eh nirirespeto pa rin ng ating hukuman ang separations of powers at kinikilala po na ang foreign policy ay talagang katungkulan po ng ating Ehekutibo.

Now, punta naman po tayo sa usaping bakuna, good news po ‘no: Dumating po kagabi ang 562,770 doses ng Pfizer, kasama ito sa 40 million Pfizer doses na binili po ng ating pamahalaan. Suma total ay mayroon na po tayong 3,038,670 Pfizer vaccines na na-deliver sa Pilipinas, kasama na rito po iyong donasyon mula sa COVAX Facility na magkahiwalay na dumating noong May 10 at June 10. Dumating din po ngayon ha, kaninang umaga po, ang 1.5 million doses ng Sinovac. At bukas naman po, July 23, karagdagang isang milyon pa po na Sinovac ang expected na darating.

Rain or shine po, tuloy ang pagdating ng supply ng bakuna. At rain or shine, patuloy din po ang ating ginagawang pagbabakuna ‘no. Bago ang press briefing sa Malacañang, ang inyong Spox po ay nasa Lungsod ng Pasig para samahan po iyong kahawig nating Mayor Vico Sotto ‘no para sa pag-commemorate po ng 1oo% vaccination ng Pasig sa kanilang mga senior citizens – iyong mga lolo at lola, bakunado na po sila ng first shot ‘no – at para po mag-administer nang kauna-unahang mga doses ng Johnson & Johnson para po sa mga senior citizens at mayroong mga comorbidities.

Ang 100% vaccination ng mga lolo’t lola ay patunay na kaya nating magkaroon ng population protection. Kaya nga po ang pakiusap ko ha, iyong mga ibang lolo’t lola, baka kayo maiwan ha – one hundred percent na po ng mga kapuwa lolo’t lola sa Pasig ay bakunado na ‘no. Punta na po kayo sa ating mga centers, mag-register at magpabakuna na rin po lalung-lalo na dahil mayroong mas nakakahawa at mas nakakamatay na Delta variant.

Basta tayo po ay sama-sama at tulung-tulong – ang pambansang pamahalaan, lokal na pamahalaan at mga mamamayan – ang makakamit natin ating layunin: Ang population protection. Makikita ninyo na marami ang magagawa kung trabaho muna bago magpulitika. Ito po ang ilang mga larawan ng nasabing event.

As of July 21, 2021, 6 P.M. kagabi, halos labing-anim na milyon or 15,953,911 ang total doses po na na-administer na natin. Ibig sabihin, halos 16 million na po iyan. Nasa 5,231,469 po ang mga kababayan nating nakakumpleto na ng two doses.

Uulitin namin: Wala pong bayad ha ang ating una at pangalawang dose ng bakuna. Kinakailangan lang po magpa-schedule. Kaya huwag na po kayong mag-antay ‘no, naku po, baka mamaya ay maunahan tayo ng Delta variant – pagbakuna na po tayo.

COVID-19 updates naman po tayo. Ito ang ranking ng Pilipinas po, ito naman po ay sang-ayon sa Johns Hopkins:

  • Number 23 po ang Pilipinas pagdating sa total cases.
  • Pero mababa na po tayo, Number 33 pagdating po sa active cases.
  • Number 132 po tayo pagdating sa kaso per 100,000 population
  • At Number 87 naman po sa case fatality rate na 1.8%

Dito naman po sa Southeast Asia, makikita po natin sa infographics ‘no na pang-anim na po ang Pilipinas … pang-anim na lang po ang Pilipinas pagdating po sa mga aktibong kaso ng COVID. Nangunguna po ang Southeast Asia ang:

  1. Indonesia – 549,694
  2. Malaysia – 137,597
  3. Thailand – 131,411
  4. Myanmar – 70,070
  5. Vietnam – 55,836
  6. Philippines – 47,996

Ito po talaga ay dahil sumipa na po sa ating mga karatig-bansa ang Delta variant. Siguro po nasuwerte din tayo na archipelago tayo at mayroon tayong mas epektibong border control. Pero naririto na rin po sa bansa natin ang Delta variant ‘no, kinakailangan po mas paigtingin pa natin ang mask, hugas, iwas at bakuna.

Pagdating naman po sa mga bagong kaso dito sa atin, mayroon po tayong 6,560 na bagong kaso sang-ayon po iyan sa July 21, 2021 datos ng DOH. Mataas pa rin po ang ating recovery rate na nasa 95.1, nasa 1,449,579 na po ang bilang ng mga gumaling. Samantalang malungkot nating binabalita po na 26,874 na po ang pumanaw dahil po sa coronavirus. Nakikiramay po kami sa lahat ng mga naulila – 1.76 po ang ating fatality rate.

Kumusta naman po ang mga kalagayan natin sa ospital ‘no. Well, sa buong Pilipinas po:

  • 55% pa lamang po ang ginagamit nating mga ICU beds
  • 47% utilized ang ating isolation beds
  • 43% naman po ang ating ward beds
  • At 36% utilized ang ating ventilators

Sa NCR po ‘no, nananatiling mababa rin po ‘no:

  • 42% lang po ang nagagamit nating ICU beds
  • 40% ang nagagamit nating isolation beds
  • 33% po ang mga ward beds na nagagamit
  • At 34% ang mga ventilators na ginagamit

Now, dito po nagtatapos ang ating presentasyon ‘no. Mayroon po tayong apat na panauhin ngayon ‘no: Gingoog City Mayor Erick Cañosa; si Dr. Rev. Nicanor Austriaco. At saka ang dalawang ambahador po natin: Sa Jakarta po, si Ambassador Leehiong T. Wee; at sa Thailand po, si Ambassador Millicent Cruz-Paredes.

Puntahan ko muna si Mayor ng Gingoog, Mayor Erick Cañosa. Sir, isa po sa mga lugar na isinailalim sa ECQ ang inyong siyudad na Gingoog City, ilan na ba ho iyong mga Delta variants na nadiskubre diyan sa inyong lugar; at ano na po ang mga hakbang na ginagawa natin para palawakin pa at palakasin pa ang ating prevention, treatment, isolation, detection and rehabilitation? Mayor Erick Cañosa, the floor is yours.

GINGOOG CITY MAYOR CAÑOSA: Magandang tanghali po, Secretary Harry Roque. And una po sa lahat, maraming salamat po sa time na binigay ninyo po sa amin para rin po malaman natin kung ano ang mga hakbang na ginawa ng City of Gingoog lalo na po ngayon na mayroon po tayong reported na Delta variant ng COVID-19 po sa City.

Actually po, Secretary, at sa lahat po ng ating tagapanood, ang Gingoog City po sa ngayon po ay isa lang po ang reported na Delta variant ng COVID-19 po sa City natin. So, pinaigting po natin iyong contact tracing dahil po ang ating unified commander na si Dra. Nes Centeno ay napaka-active din po sa contact tracing team natin. At iyong isa po na nag-positive ng Delta variant ay isolated naman po sila, sir. At sa ngayon po, we are under Enhanced Community Quarantine and we are strictly also following the protocols set by the IATF through Resolution 127-C.

So, sa ngayon po, sir, ang Gingoog City po we have no other reported Delta variant na na-report pero iyong isang Delta variant po na isolated naman po, mayroon po siyang kasama po sa bahay in which sila po ang iyong naging positive na na-test po last June 28. So, based on the guidelines po ng COVID-19, on the 21st day po na swab/antigen test po natin bago po sila ini-release and nag-undergo po sila ng additional seven-day home quarantine.

So, noong July 16 po noong na-release po ang report galing po sa inyo, Sec., na kasama po ang Gingoog City na mayroon pong Delta variant, contained naman po iyong family and we are very happy po na sa ngayon kahit iyong apat ay positive pa po sila sa COVID-19 after ni-repeat po natin ang swab but they are all asymptomatic.

And sa gene expert po sa tinest po namin, medyo mataas naman po iyong CT value nila meaning to say iyong iba po is not infectious anymore at saka iyong iba po is hindi po siya highly infectious. So, they are on the recovery stage but we intensified the contact tracing po dito po sa Gingoog City up to the third generation.

At saka iyong second generation po, Sec., negative naman po iyong results, so, we are very happy na kahit po na negative kinontak pa rin po natin, kinontak trace pa rin po natin up to third generation.

So, sa ngayon po, we have 25 active cases ng COVID-19 in which last June po nakita po natin na mayroon pong surge ng COVID-19 sa City ng Gingoog at with our initiative po ng local government unit together with the COVID-19 Task Force, tayo po ay nagpasa ng Executive Order na inilagay po natin ang Gingoog City under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine last June 16 – 31, 2021.

At ito pong ating Executive Order ay na-concur naman po ng Regional IATF at we are very happy po to announce po na napa-mellow down po natin ang cases ng COVID-19 sa Gingoog City. Kasi po during last month po, noong June, ang Gingoog City po we were number one in the entire region as regards to growth rate and we were number three in the entire region as regards to confirmed cases for the month of June.

And after po na dineklara natin ang buong city with our proactive measures, we managed to mellow down the cases and of course with the support and cooperation of our people sa Gingoog City. So, sa ngayon po, we are not even included in the top ten local government units in Region X na mayroon pong mataas na mga kaso ng COVID-19.

So, ito pong 25 cases na po na ito, lima po dito, iyong kakalabas lang po kahapon, there are all LSIs. One is from Cebu City and iyong apat po coming from Iloilo City based on the record po na sinabmit po ng ating COVID-19 Task Force sa Gingoog City.

So, sa ngayon po ay nagmi-meeting din po kami ngayon with the barangay captains ng Gingoog City kasi po we are also planning po on how are we going to distribute the food packs coming from the DSWD para ito po ay maparating sa mga families na affected under the ECQ po, sir.

SEC. ROQUE: Yes. Thank you very much, Mayor Cañosa. At pakisabi rin po sa mga kababayan ninyo na matagal nang polisiya po ni Presidente – walang ECQ kung walang ayuda. So, hintayin na lang po natin iyong ayuda.

Well, kasama rin po natin ngayon ang ating suki, si Dr. Reverend Father Nicanor Austriaco. Sir, ang tanong naman natin, alam na natin po na sadyang mas nakakahawa, sadyang mas nakamamatay ang Delta variant, ano naman po ang dapat gawin ng taumbayan para maiwasan po ang Delta variant?

FR. AUSTRIACO:Thank you very much, Secretary Harry. What I’ll do is I will share my screen po and I would just give our listeners and our viewers a very short brief overview of the science of the Delta variant so you’ll understand what is happening.

So, this is a picture of the SARS COVID 2 virus and you can see that on the skin of the virus you have 75 or so of these red spike proteins and these spike proteins are the key that the virus uses to enter your cells.

Now, there are several variants, you have the Alpha, the Gamma, the Delta and the Beta and in the Philippines, we have currently a dominant – the Alpha and the Beta and each one of this has a slightly different key and the Delta has the best key. It can open up your cells the best. So, these are the countries that Delta is all over the world and as we know it is now in the Philippines itself.

Now, what is the difference between the different variants? This is the story. So, the original variant if you have one person who was sick, the person could infect two other people. But now with the Delta, if one person is sick you can infect five to eight people which is why it so explosive.

And I think that this is the most interesting slide. This is the spread of the Delta variant in Sydney where they were able to contact trace everyone who was infected by one person. So, this is one person, he was a driver. A limo driver who drove a pilot of a plane to his hotel and he got COVID-19, this one person, and within one week there were over 200 cases in Sydney from this one person. And the thing you should notice is that it is driven by super spreader events.

So, this one cluster is a single birthday party. A single birthday party and 46 people got infected in this one birthday party because of this person number 16. Now, this number 16 also went to a café in the mall and when they went to that café you can see about 25 people got sick in the café.

And so what we are seeing here is that we have unprecedented transmission because of super spreading events. And you can see of course, you brought up the cases in Asia and this is why because Vietnam Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia are experiencing a dramatic Delta surge. Indonesia in the past few days has begun the negative turn, so, hopefully it has begun to come down.

So, what do we have to look for in an LGU? We have to look for an explosive number of cases. So, I want to remind our viewers, in Pasay earlier this year, in February and March – one week, we had 28 cases per day; the next week, we had 83 cases per day. Two weeks later we have 150 new cases per day. The Delta will be twice as explosive as this.

So, once we see it explode in any LGU, it is so wonderful that that LGU, the mayor was able to contain it. If it explodes in an LGU in the NCR, you will see something similar to this pattern, like we saw in Pasay.

Now for our kababayans, face mask and face shields, observe minimum public health standards. Avoid crowds especially indoors because hindi ba, super spreaders are essential for the transmission of Delta. So, if you avoid crowd especially indoors, you will minimize your threat and you must of course get vaccinated when you are eligible.

For LGUs, I cannot emphasize that the contact tracing will be intense. So, in the past, one positive will give rise to maybe four; now we will give rise to eight and so that contact tracing will become intense as the Delta spreads. The LGUs must implement localized lockdowns of barangays quickly and generously, immediately to contain if there is a spread in a barangay.

And we have to prepare isolation and quarantine facilities. We cannot have home quarantine. Bakit? Because with the transmission, a reproduction number of eight, if a single person becomes COVID positive and they go home, everyone in the house will pretty much get COVID-19 because the reproduction number is so high which is why in many countries they simply avoid home quarantine. You have to take the person away and put them in an isolation and quarantine facility.

And for our national government – I know that the government is already doing this – we have to prepare our hospitals and healthcare workers especially drugs and oxygen supply. We must increase contact tracing. The key here is contact tracing because we are going to double the number of contacts in the next surge per day. So, you know I know contact tracers in the LGUs sa Manila and last time in March they were already crying because they were overwhelmed. They will be more overwhelmed this time because of the large transmission.

And this is where we hope we cannot lose control. We have to prepare to increase mobility restrictions. Just as comparison, in Sydney, they moved to an ECQ in two weeks. They were that quick to control the spread of the Delta, which is why the Delta is not exploding in Australia unlike in Indonesia, in Thailand. In Thailand, and I’m sure our Ambassador will be able—their resistant, I grew up in Bangkok, so my friends there are telling me that the government is resisting the kind of lockdown that we are used to. And so it has allowed the transmission to occur in ways that they are not used to, but we are used to it here in the Philippines.

So I have to tell, that we do not have to be scared, and a devastating surge does not have to happen. I think, one of the things in the news is people think that it will happen for sure. It will not happen if we do not lose control of the pandemic. And this is where we as a country, if we control the pandemic well with contact tracing, with testing, with isolation, quarantine, and with liberal use of lockdowns, if we can do this, we will not lose control; we will not have people dying in our hospitals; we will not runout of oxygen. We will beat this enemy; we can do this.

Thank you so much.

SEC. ROQUE: Thank you for the inspiring words, Dr. Rev. Austriaco.

Kasama rin po natin ngayon ang ating Ambahador sa Indonesia, si Ambassador Leehiong T. Wee. Alam naman po natin na we closed our borders first with Jakarta because the predominant variant in Indonesia has become the Delta variant ‘no. So kumustahin po natin, kumusta si Ambassador at ang ating mga kababayan sa Indonesia. Ambassador Leehiong Wee, kumusta na po kayo mismo? At kumusta na po ang mga kababayan natin diyan sa Jakarta? Mayroon na ba ho tayong mga nakaplanong repatriation flights dahil sa pamamagitan lang ng mga organized repatriation makakauwi ang mga kababayan natin na galing sa Indonesia? The floor is yours, Ambassador Leehiong Wee.

AMBASSADOR LEEHIONG WEE: Magandang hapon, Secretary Roque. Thank you for having me on the show.

Well, sa Jakarta ngayon, sa Indonesia ngayon, as Rev. Father said, has that Delta variant last week ‘no. We had a maximum of about more than 55,000. Pero the good news ngayon, bumaba na. As of yesterday, it was about 34,000. And I think this is because of the two weeks na talagang strictly lockdown Indonesia and Jakarta. This is because iyong last May, when they had the [unclear] of the [unclear], the government was telling the people not to go home to the provinces, but despite of that, umuwi naman sa provinces. I think that was about the last week of May. In June, nagkaroon ng spike ng cases. It has been compounded nitong Delta variant. So two weeks ago, there was really a strict lockdown, so bumaba ngayon. So this is a good news.

Ang kababayan naman natin sa Indonesia, there are very lucky because we have what we call the fund raising and lahat ng mga Pilipino doon is part of our, what you call that, social platform – nasa Viber kami, more than a thousand people; nasa WhatsApp kami; nasa Facebook kami. So mostly, we know what is happening.

As of the last count, iyong Pilipino nating nagka-COVID ‘no are about ten ‘no. In July, there were ten that died of COVID, and three had been reported to the Embassy. We have about six to eight thousand Filipinos in Indonesia. And cases naman doon ngayon, I said a while ago, is about 34,000. Mga kababayan naman diyan natin ngayon are being vaccinated. And we advise them to stay home to get vaccinated, and most of them had been vaccinated either once or twice.

Sa repatriation naman, Secretary, I just wrote a letter to IATF and the Department of Foreign Affairs to be able to repatriate our Filipinos back to the Philippines because most of them have expired working contract, kailangan na bumalik na rito. And there are some of them that are [unclear] so really, we need about one or two flights. If the IATF can do that, it’s going to release a lot of pressure on the Embassy.

Ang Embassy naman po is open to attend to all these cases ng mga Pilipino natin. So far maayos naman sila because of our communication with the Filipino community all over Indonesia – from Jakarta to Surabaya to Bali to Medan, everywhere.

Okay. Thank you.

SEC. ROQUE: Maraming salamat, Ambassador.

AMBASSADOR LEEHIONG WEE: Thank you, Secretary.

SEC. ROQUE: Kayo ba ho ay bakunado na, Ambassador?

AMBASSADOR LEEHIONG WEE: Oo, bakunado na ako, dalawang beses na. Fully vaccinated na. And that is what we are asking the people there, get vaccinated because at least safe tayo ‘di ba?

SEC. ROQUE: Oo. Keep safe, Ambassador ha.

Kasama rin po natin ngayon ang ating Ambassador Millicent Cruz-Paredes, our Ambassador to the Kingdom of Thailand. Ma’am, ganoon din po ang ating tanong – kumusta na po sa Thailand? Nakakagulat po ang nangyari sa Thailand. Dati po, mababang-mababa ang mga kaso diyan sa Thailand, pero ngayon po ay biglang lumubo. At kumusta naman po ang mga kababayan natin diyan? Same question din po: Mayroon na ba ho tayong na-o-organize na repatriation flights? Ambassador Millicent Cruz-Paredes.

AMBASSADOR CRUZ-PAREDES: Unang-una po, magandang umaga po, Mr. Secretary. Magandang umaga po sa inyong lahat. Kami po dito sa Thailand, tama po iyong nabanggit ninyo, medyo malaki nga po talaga ang jump ng kanilang number of COVID cases. As a matter of fact, today is another record-breaking day, at 13.6 thousand cases right now in Thailand.

So kami po, for the last several days, we have been really monitoring and we have been in touch with the Filipino community, as well as the Thai authorities because we have been appealing for a wider access to the vaccination among our Filipino community. So, ang ginawa po naming initiative, nag-open po kami ng registration portal where Filipinos could register and then we submitted that to the Thai government. At nagpasalamat naman po sila, sabi po nila ay that would help them in reaching out to those who are eligible for vaccination.

So right now, mayroon pong … may mga portals din po ang Thai authorities for our Filipino community to register. We have always put that in our website because we have been getting a lot of requests din po.

So as for the repatriation request, mayroon po kaming 90, 90 requests lang po right now. So pinu-process pa po namin iyan. But what we really have done since last year is to issue this letter to extend the stay of our Filipino community here because, of course, we know that travel is restricted. So since last year, we have issued around 14,000 letters of request for the extension of the stay of our Filipino nationals here. And so far naman po, wala naman po kaming naririnig na feedback na hindi sila napagbigyan because the Thai authorities, of course, know the situation that travel is not very easy these days.

So ang Filipino community po dito numbers around 30,000. Ang na-monitor po naming nagkasakit ay 30, doon po sa 30 na iyon ay 29 na po ang gumaling kaya we only have one active case. Again, alam po ng mga Filipinos dito na anytime they can reach us for whatever assistance we could offer. At ang amin pong mga hotlines ay nakapaskil sa aming mga websites at sa Facebook page namin.

Iyan lang po, Mr. Secretary.

SEC. ROQUE: Maraming salamat, Ambassador Millicent Cruz-Paredes.

Punta na po tayo sa ating open forum. Go ahead, Usec. Rocky.

USEC. IGNACIO: Yes. Good afternoon, Secretary Roque, at sa atin pong mga bisita.

Question from Leila Salaverria of Inquirer: How is Malacañang taking the report that an ocean bottom seismometer which is widely used in oil exploration was found north of Scarborough Shoal, the device had Chinese characters. Is the Palace concerned that China is conducting activities in the country’s EEZ without our consent?

SEC. ROQUE: Wala po kaming official reaction diyan because I think your question is based on speculation ‘no. As far as we know po, binabantayan natin iyong mga barkong naglalayag diyan sa Scarborough Shoal at wala naman pong nari-report sa atin na isang barko na ginagamit for exploration purposes ‘no. Kinakailangan po kasi ng barko talaga na nagbabato ng sound signal ‘no sa ilalim ng karagatan para po mag-explore kung mayroon ngang langis sa ilalim po ng karagatan. Wala naman pong ganoong report na nakukuha.

So for now, we’re confident na wala naman pong exploration na nagaganap diyan sa Scarborough at kung mayroon naman po and if we can verify it then we will file or do the corresponding action.

USEC. IGNACIO: Opo. ‘Yun nga po iyong second question niya: What is the Palace going to do about the discovery of the device? Will the government ask China for an explanation about this?

SEC. ROQUE: Hindi po. Nag-iimbestiga talaga tayo kung bakit nakuha iyong ganiyang equipment. Pero alam ninyo po without the boat, hindi po magagamit din iyang equipment na iyan ‘no. So ang tinitingnan po natin ay kung mayroon talagang mga barko na naglalayag diyan for the purpose of oil exploration.

USEC. IGNACIO: Ang third question niya: You mentioned yesterday that in his SONA, the President will answer the question of what and where we are now? And looking forward to his final year, can the public also expect him to allude to or to mention his plans for the future since he is thinking of running for Vice President and his allies have been saying they want continuity of his programs?

SEC. ROQUE: Well, siguro po hindi mapapasama ang kaniyang mga planong politikal. Importante po is the roadmap for his last year in office.

USEC. IGNACIO: Thank you, Secretary.

SEC. ROQUE: Okay. Maraming salamat. Mela Lesmoras, please.

MELA LESMORAS/PTV4: Hi! Good afternoon, Secretary Roque, at sa ating mga guests. Secretary Roque, unahin ko lang po iyong kalagayan ni Pangulong Duterte ngayon. Naulat nga na nagpositibo sa COVID-19 si Vice Mayor Sebastian Duterte. And pagsama-samahin ko iyong questions about this, Secretary Roque. Nakasalamuha niya po ba si Pangulong Duterte? Ano po ang reaksiyon ng ating Presidente dito? At dahil nga sa nangyari, maaapektuhan po ba iyong attendance ng Duterte Family sa SONA?

SEC. ROQUE: First question, wala po akong alam na close contact si Presidente ‘no. Ang second question is of course the President is concerned as a father bagama’t one thing going for Vice Mayor is siya po ay bata at malusog ‘no. Talaga naman pong immune system ang lumalaban dito sa COVID-19 ‘no.

Pangatlo po, nag-confirm na po si Mayor Sara na hindi po siya darating ‘no at hindi ko lang po alam kung makakarating si Deputy Speaker Pulong ‘no. But I understand the number of members of Congress attending are also very limited po.

MELA LESMORAS/PTV4: Opo. And today I understand, Secretary Roque, may IATF meeting din. Anu-ano po kaya iyong mga agenda ninyo na makatutulong sa ating pinaigting na paglaban sa Delta variant?

SEC. ROQUE: Well, siguro po kasama na diyan iyong rekomendasyon ng mga eksperto kung babawiin iyong naunang pag-anunsiyo na pinapayagan ang mga bata edad singko hanggang 17 na makalabas ng bahay sa mga open spaces. So inaasahan ko pong isa iyan sa pag-uusapan ngayong hapon.

MELA LESMORAS/PTV4: Opo. How about, sir, iyong quarantine classifications, magkakaroon pa po kaya ng pagbabago?

SEC. ROQUE: Well, ang alam ko po ay lahat po noong until the 22nd na-extend na po until the 31st eh ‘no. So wala po yatang quarantine classification except kung mayroong mga reports na mayroon talagang tumataas na kaso. In which case, pupuwede naman talagang i-discuss iyan maski walang regular quarantine classification.

MELA LESMORAS/PTV4: Opo. At panghuling tanong na lamang po, Secretary Roque. Nabanggit ninyo po kasi iyong issue ng pulitika. I understand na sa ngayon, COVID-19 pandemic iyong ating focus. Pero sakali lang, ang tanong lang po ng ilan nating kababayan, sakali mang matuloy iyong initial senatoriable list ng PDP Laban kung saan marami nga na kasamang miyembro ng Gabinete. Paano na po kaya iyong magiging sistema sa government? Sino na kaya iyong magsasalita especially sa Malacañang na nakita nga natin, though hindi pa confirmed, ay posibleng kasama iyong ating mga opisyal sa Malacañang?

SEC. ROQUE: Wala pa naman pong kumpirmadong tatakbo. So huwag muna tayong mag-speculate hanggang sila po ay nakapaghain na ng kanilang certificate of candidacies.

MELA LESMORAS/PTV4: Okay. Thank you so much po Secretary Roque at sa ating mga panauhin.

SEC. ROQUE: Salamat, Mela. Punta naman tayo kay Usec. Rocky muli.

USEC. IGNACIO: Yes. From Kris Jose of Remate/Remate Online: Last week sinabi daw po ni Senator Manny Pacquiao na kaniyang ilalabas ang video at audio na pruweba ng kaniyang alegasyon tungkol sa korapsiyon laban sa isang ahensiya ng gobyerno. Patutunayan daw ni Pacquiao na hindi raw watusi lang kundi atom bomb ang pasabog niya tungkol sa korapsiyon sa gobyerno. I quote: “Natatawa lang ako. Sabi nila watusi, sige pagdating ko diyan watusi pala. Ipalalabas ko video/audio recording kung papayag lang maipalabas pati audio recording.” Iyan daw po ang naging pahayag ni Senator Pacquiao.

SEC. ROQUE: Well, pabayaan po natin si Senator Pacquiao kung anong gusto niyang isiwalat ‘no. It’s a free country. Pero sa ngayon po kaisa nila kami, kaisa niya ang buong sambayanang Pilipino in wishing him good luck sa padating na laban niya.

USEC. IGNACIO: From Dreo Calonzo of Bloomberg: How optimistic is the Palace that its priority bills will be passed in Congress during President Duterte’s last year in office with the elections just around the corner?

SEC. ROQUE: Well, kampante naman po kami dahil napakabuti po ng samahan ng Presidente sa parehong kapulungan ng Kongreso na kung talagang urgent ang nature ng bill eh maipapasa naman po iyan. Siyempre kasama na po diyan kung hihingin ng Presidente ang Bayanihan 3. Hindi ko naman po maisip na mayroong tututol ‘no kung magkaroon ng decision nga na humingi ng Bayanihan 3.

USEC. IGNACIO: Opo. Second question niya: How does the administration plan to push its priority measures in Congress whose members are expected to become busy with their reelection bids?

SEC. ROQUE: Sabihin na lang natin na kung mayroon mga talagang priority bills, kinakailangan ipasa na iyan sa lalong mabilis na panahon. Kasi kapag pinaabot pa natin sa susunod na taon, alam natin busy na sa pulitika ang lahat. So the priority bills must be heard and hopefully passed within the year 2021.

USEC. IGNACIO: Thank you, Secretary Roque.

SEC. ROQUE: Okay. Punta na tayo kay Pia Rañada, please.

PIA RAÑADA/RAPPLER: Yes, sir. One of the findings or one of the remarks by Supreme Court in its March decision on the ICC withdrawal was that the Philippines despite withdrawing is still obligated to cooperate with proceedings that begun before the withdrawal. How does the Palace see this?

SEC. ROQUE: That’s obiter dictum. You know in law, Pia, there’s the main issue that has to be resolved – and the main issue was: Is Senate concurrence required sa pagbitiw sa ICC because in becoming a member of the ICC, the Senate concurred – and the main decision was no. An obiter dicta does not really have really have jurisprudential value ‘no. It is on the side. It is not on the merits; it is not the main ruling of the court, and we are not of course at in any way concerned about that obiter. That’s the nature of obiters.

PIA RAÑADA/RAPPLER: Sir your friend, your former colleague at UP Center Law si Professor Rommel Vergara says otherwise. He thinks that this is not obiter but part of the key holdings of the court and he agreed with this conclusion by the Supreme Court. Is he mistaken and why?

SEC. ROQUE: Well, I will not say he is mistaken, we simply do not agree because the issue was and if I remember this correctly because I appeared also in the Senate ‘no preparatory to their filing of this petition, the issue was: Should the Senate have concurred before the President withdrew from the ICC – and the ruling of the court was its moot, number one, and the court would have—naku Tagalog na sana… Hindi naman buboto ang korte na moot and academic kung iniisip nila na mayroong nalabag na proseso sa ating Saligang Batas. By ruling that it is moot, the court virtually said hindi kinakailangan ang concurrence ng Senado.

PIA RAÑADA/RAPPLER: So, does this mean, sir, that Malacañang will still not cooperate with ICC probe, despite these remarks in the decision of the Supreme Court?

SEC. ROQUE: Unfortunately, the lack of enforcement mechanism cannot compel the Philippines to cooperate when the President has clearly said we will not do so.

PIA RAÑADA/RAPPLER: So, no change, sir, noong status quo?

SEC. ROQUE: No change because as obiter and petition dismissed. So iyon ang importante, Pia ‘no. In analyzing the effect of a decision, na-grant ba o na-dismiss. Ang gusto nila mabalewala iyong withdrawal, hindi po nabalewala, so it is dismissed. Panalo po ang gobyerno.

PIA RAÑADA/RAPPLER: Pero, sir, in this particular point kasi, sinasabi ng Supreme Court, it refutes what the President has been saying all along that we are not obligated. In fact, the Supreme Court is saying, we are. So this does not hold any weight for Malacañang at all?

SEC. ROQUE: Pia, I have answered you. You’re debating and let’s not debate.

PIA RAÑADA/RAPPLER: Okay. Thanks, sir.

SEC. ROQUE: Thank you very much. Thank you, Pia. Let’s go to Usec. Rocky, please.

USEC. IGNACIO: Yes. Secretary, ang question ni Maricel Halili ng TV 5 at ni Leila Salaverria ay nasagot na ninyo about Supreme Court sa ICC. And second question ni Maricel Halili: Hinihiling ng Mariveles na mas malaking allocation ng bakuna lalo na at very high risk sila, sabi ng OCTA Research Group. Can the government commit more vaccine allocation for Mariveles, Bataan?

SEC. ROQUE: Naku, taga-riyan po ako. So, I am not saying yes because I’m from there, pero ang Bataan po talaga ay naka-MECQ ever since, the whole province ‘no. Kaya nga po sinabi naman ni Vaccine Czar na talagang magbibigay tayo ng karagdagang mga bakuna doon sa area na nagkakaroon ng surge at kasama na po diyan, hindi lang po ang munisipyo ng Mariveles kung hindi ang buong Probinsiya ng Bataan.

USEC. IGNACIO: From Trish Terada ng CNN Philippines: Will President Duterte will meet US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin when he visits July 29 to 30? Ita-tackle o may possibility ba na aprubahan na ni Presidente Duterte ang Visiting Forces Agreement?

SEC. ROQUE: May answer is perhaps. Wala pa po akong notification by way of its official schedule. But the visiting Secretary would be definitely meeting with Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.

Now, hindi ko rin po alam kung magkakaroon na ng kasagutan ang Presidente whether or not to extend the VFA. So, let’s wait po for his final decision. Wala pa pong decision. There has been a proposal in the form of an addendum to the VFA, pero wala pa po akong alam kung nakadesisyon na ang ating Presidente.

USEC. IGNACIO: Second question po niya: What does he think US goodwill in our vaccination drive? And how will this factor in his decision on VFA?

SEC. ROQUE: Sabihin na lang po natin, lahat ng Pilipino, kasama si Presidente, tumatanaw po ng utang na loob.

USEC. IGNACIO: From Ivan Mayrina ng GMA News: Tumaas po sa 1.15 ang reproduction rate ng OCTA Research, up from .91 point. Katulad po ang trend na ito nang pasimula ang surge nitong Pebrero. Pero ito rin po ay nasa panimulang stage pa lang at maaari pang lapatan ng proactive measures. What proactive measures are we looking at to arrest this possible surge?

SEC. ROQUE: Gaya po ng sinabi ni Father Austriaco, kinakailangan paigtingin natin ang ating prevention – mask, hugas, iwas; ang ating detection, mas agresibong testing, ang ating isolation po at saka ating contact tracing. Siguro po mamaya talaga sa IATF, ako mismo ang maglalabas ng isyu paano po palakasin iyong ating contact tracing talaga ‘no dahil iyan po talaga ang susi para maiwasan iyong pagkalat. Matapos ma-test, kinakailangang ma-contact trace ang mga nagkaroon ng close contact at ma-isolate po ang lahat.

USEC. IGNACIO: Opo. Ang follow-up ni Ivan Mayrina: In light of this, Philippine College of Physicians President Dr. Maricar Limpin said that emergency rooms are seeing a fresh uptick in COVID cases. Isa sa mga tinitingnan nilang dahilan ay ang hindi pagsunod sa minimum public health standards sa public transportation at nanawagan po ng panibagong paghihigpit.

SEC. ROQUE: Well, kaya nga po ang pakiusap natin, mas paigtingin pa po natin, mga kababayan, ang mask, hugas, iwas ha. Iyan lang po talaga ang sandata natin. Iyong bakuna po hindi kaagad-agarang proteksiyon po iyan. Umaabot po iyan ng minimum six weeks bago gagana ang proteksiyon at hindi pa natin maibigay sa lahat. So doon pa rin po tayo sa mask, hugas, iwas at saka kung pupuwede po, huwag na kayong lumabas ng bahay kung hindi naman po kinakailangan.

USEC. IGNACIO: From Pia Gutierrez ng ABS-CBN: Can you give us more details about the President’s SONA? Magkakaroon din ba ulit ng director kagaya noong nakaraang taon? Ano ang tema ng kaniyang speech sa Lunes?

SEC. ROQUE: Iyong outline lang po ang I was given liberty to divulge, which I have divulge yesterday po. I’m sure mayroon din po tayong director, at I’m sure magiging malinaw naman po ang roadmap ni Presidente for his final year in office.

USEC. IGNACIO: Question form Alvin Baltazar of Radyo Pilipinas: Kung sakaling mag-file ng candidacy ang Pangulo sa pagka-bise, does this mean that Vice President Leni will take over unless kumandidato din si VP Leni sa public office?

SEC. ROQUE: Wala po akong alam na rule na kinakailangan magbitiw sa puwesto kapag presidente ang tatakbo for vice president. Wala po akong alam na ganiyang rule. In the same way, wala pong rule na kapag nag-file ang vice president for presidency na kinakailangan magbitiw siya. Wala rin pong ganoon.

USEC. IGNACIO: Thank you, Secretary Roque. Iyan po muna iyong mga questions na nakuha natin.

SEC. ROQUE: Okay, since wala na po tayong mga katanungan, no one in Zoom anymore ‘no, maraming salamat po sa inyong lahat.

Maraming salamat po sa ating mga naging panauhin, si Mayor Erick Cañosa, mayor ng Gingoog; si Dr. Rev. Father Nicanor Austriaco. Sir, thank you very much. I understand you have returned to the US. Maraming salamat po at napuyat kayo sa pag-guest sa ating Presidential Press Briefing. Ambassador Leehiong T. Wee, our ambassador to Indonesia; Ambassador Millicent Cruz-Paredes, our Ambassador to Thailand.

At maraming salamat sa iyo, Usec. Rocky. Maraming salamat sa lahat ng miyembro ng ating Malacañang Press Corp. Maraming salamat, Pilipinas, sa inyong patuloy na pagtaguyod sa ating Presidential Press Briefing.

Sa ngalan po ng ating Presidente Rodrigo Roa Duterte, ito po ang inyong Spox Harry Roque nagsasabing: Mga kababayan ha, nandiyan na po ang Delta variant, kinakailangan paigtingin ang mask, hugas, iwas. Kinakailangan po kung pupuwede sa bahay na lang tayo; at pinakaimportante, kung pupuwede na po, magpabakuna na.

Magandang hapon po sa inyong lahat.

 

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SOURCE: PCOO-NIB (News and Information Bureau-Data Processing Center)