Press Briefing

Press Briefing of Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque


SEC. ROQUE: Magandang tanghali, Pilipinas.

Narito po tayo ngayon sa Henann Resort Alona Beach Panglao, Bohol kung saan makakasama po natin si Governor Arthur Yap at iba pang opisyal ng ating Probinsiya ng Bohol at si Henry Chusuey ng Henann Resort dahil magbubukas na po para sa turismo ang island paradise na Bohol mula po a-kinse ng Nobyembre.

Pero mainit pa pong balita: Pinayagan na po ng Presidente ang Department of Foreign Affairs na imbestigahan ang dating Philippine Ambassador to Brazil na si Marichu Mauro. Bilang isang presidential appointee, kinakailangan po ang pagpayag ng Presidente bago maimbestigahan ang dating Philippine Ambassador to Brazil Marichu Mauro.

Mayroon din po tayong mabuting balita: Habang hindi pa po nariresolba nang tuluyan ang kontrobersiya sa panig ng PhilHealth at ng Philippine Red Cross, nagpadala po ng abiso ang Project ARK sa pamamagitan ng kaniyang Medical Director, si Dra. Minguita Padilla, na handa raw po sila na i-subject sa PCR testing ang mga bumabalik na OFWs at mga Overseas Filipinos natin sa kanilang 11 laboratories with the testing capacity of 3,000 laboratories per day.

Sang-ayon po dito, ang sabi po ni Dra. Minguita Padilla, idi-devote po nila ang kanilang laboratories sa Philippine Children’s Medical Center, sa Jose Rodriguez Memorial Hospital Caloocan, at JB Lingad Memorial Hospital sa Pampanga para i-test po ng PCR test ang mga bumabalik na OFWs at OFs natin.

Similarly po, nagpadala rin po ng abiso ang Philippine Airport Diagnostic Laboratory through Dr. Jaime. Ito po ay isa sa dalawang pribadong laboratories na nag-o-operate sa NAIA na handa rin po silang magbigay ng PCR tests sa mga bumabalik na OFWs natin sa kaparehong halaga na sinisingil po ng Philippine Red Cross. Mayroon po silang kapasidad para sa 4,000 daily PCR test sa mga bumabalik na OFWs natin.

Ang mensahe po natin: Iyong mga bumabalik ng OFWs, huwag po kayong mag-alala, hinding-hindi po maaaberya ang inyong PCR tests.

Now, siguro po maikli lang, tungkol doon sa nabanggit ng ating mabuting kaibigan na si Senator Richard Gordon, sa totoo lang po, ang pamilya po Senator Gordon ay isa sa pinakamalapit na kaibigan ng aking pamilya ay hindi naman po tayo nanghihimasok sa isyu ng PhilHealth at ng Philippine Red Cross. Kaya nga lang po, nagsasalita po tayo sa ngalan po ng ating President at importante po talaga kay Presidente Duterte ang testing dahil alam po natin na kabahagi ito … napakaimportanteng kabahagi ito ng ating istratehiya laban po sa COVID-19 – ang malawakang COVID-19 testing.

Bukod pa po rito, ang inyong abang lingkod naman po ay alam naman po natin na tayo po iyong kauna-unahang nagsulong ng Universal Health Care Bill sa Mababang Kapulungan noong 17th Congress, at dahil dito po mayroon din naman po tayong interes na siguraduhin na ginagawa ng PhilHealth ang kaniyang katungkulan dahil sila po ang nagpapatupad ng Universal Health Care; at ito pong testing ay isa po sa mandato talaga ng Universal Health Care. Ito po iyong RA 11223 or ang Universal Health Care – paglilinaw lang po.

Now, sa iba pang mga balita po: May mga balita po tayo, mabuting balita sa SSS. Magandang balita po sa mga pensioners ng SSS, malapit nang matanggap ang pensiyon para sa buwan ng Nobyembre. Dahil weekend at special non-working holiday ang a-uno ng Nobyembre, matatapos ng Social Security System or SSS ang pagpupondo ng unang batch ng November 2020 pension ngayong araw. Iri-release ng Development Bank of the Philippines, ang partner na bangko ng SSS, ang pondo hanggang bukas ng tanghali, 12 noon, sa ibang mga PESONet participating banks, e-wallets tulad ng PayMaya, at sa M. Lhuillier.

At tulad ng sinabi ko sa nakaraang briefing, ang unang batch ay iyong may date of contingency sa unang araw hanggang a-kinse ng buwan. Ang second batch ay sa kalagitnaan po ng buwan.

Okay, tapos mayroon pa rin po tayong isa pang balita: Bilang pagtugon po sa kahilingan ng mga motorista, in-extend ng DOTr ang palugit sa pagsisimula ng 100% cashless transactions sa mga toll roads mula a-dos ng Nobyembre at ginawang a-uno ng Disyembre ngayong taon. So huwag po kayong mag-panic, binigyan po tayo nang mas mahabang panahon para magpakabit ng RFID. Ito ay upang bigyan ng konsiderasyon ang mga kababayan natin na hindi pa rin nakakapag-install ng RFID sa kanilang mga sasakyan.

Paalala ko sa ating mga kababayan, iwasan natin iyong nakasanayan na kung kailan ilang araw na lang bago ang deadline ay saka tayo dudumog sa mga installation sites. Habang maaga pa po ay magpakabit na tayo ng RFID upang maiwasan ang last minute na transaction. Huling hirit na po ang extension na ito ‘no, simula December 1 ay mahigpit na pong ipatutupad ang full cashless transactions sa ating mga toll roads.

COVID update naman po tayo. Ito po ang global update san-ayon po sa Johns Hopkins: Higit apatnapu’t apat na milyon or 44,386,621 na po ang tinamaan ng COVID-19 sa buong mundo. Mayroong 1,172,684 katao naman ang binawian ng buhay dahil sa coronavirus.

Nangunguna pa rin po ang Estados Unidos na mayroong 8.8 milyon na kaso at 227,663 deaths, pangalawa po ang India, pangatlo pa rin ang Brazil, pang-apat ang Russia at panlima po ang France.

Dito naman po sa Pilipinas, mayroon po tayong 38,955 na mga aktibong kaso ng COVID. Ito po ay mula sa kabuuang bilang na kaso na 375,180. Ibig sabihin nito ay 10.4% ang porsiyento ng aktibong kaso sa kabuuang kaso.

Sa mga aktibong kaso naman po, 83% ay mild; 11.1% ay asymptomatic; 3.8% ay kritikal; 2.2% ay severe. Three hundred twenty-nine thousand one hundred eleven ang nai-report na gumaling, ito po ay 87.7% mula sa kabuuang bilang ng kaso ng COVID-19 sa bansa. Samantala, mayroon po tayong 7,140 naman ang binawian ng buhay – nakikiramay po kami sa inyo.

Naka-flash naman po sa ating screen iyong ating tinatawag na critical care capacity ng ating mga ospital ‘no. Ito po ay national basis. Fifty-four percent po ang available na mga ICU beds, 58% naman po ang isolation beds, samantalang 65% po ang available na ward beds. Mayroon po tayong 78% available na mga ventilators.

Dito po nagtatapos ang ating presentation. Marami po tayo ngayong mga panauhin ‘no. Pero unahin na po natin iyong pinangako natin na bibigyan natin ng pagkakataon ang DOH na magbigay po ng explanation kung paano po ginagawa o binubuo ng whole-nation-approach, sa pamamagitan ng whole-nation-approach iyong rekumendasyon pagdating po sa quarantine classification. Ang naging rekumendasyon po na naaprubahan naman po ng Presidente subject to appeal ay ilang mga lugar kasama na ang Metro Manila at ang Batangas ay mananatili po sa GCQ.

Kasama rin po natin ang ating Ambassador, Mr. Ambassador, His Excellency to the United Kingdom, Antonio Lagdameo, para pag-usapan po ang bakuna na dini-develop ng Britaniya at kung paano masisiguro na magkakaroon po tayo ng access dito sa bakuna na galing sa Britaniya.

Kasama rin po natin via VMix si Bohol Governor Arthur Yap na naka-quarantine ngayon para pag-usapan ang mga hakbang ng probinsiya laban sa COVID-19 sa muling pagbubukas ng probinsiya sa turista.

Live naman nating kasama si Henry Chusuey, ang may-ari po ng ating host dito na Henann Resort, isa po sa pinakamalaking hotel chain sa Pilipinas. At naririto rin po live si Attorney Lucas Nunag, ang aking kapitbahay, Chairman ng Provincial Tourism Council ng Bohol; at si Engineer Allen Varquez, ang Executive Vice President ng Bohol Association of Hotels, Resorts, Restaurants Inc.; at kasama rin po natin ang local media ng Bohol. Welcome to everyone.

So punta muna tayo kay Usec. Lilibeth David. Ma’am, paano ba ho nabuo ang rekumendasyon na ilagay sa GCQ ang ilang lugar sa Pilipinas, kasama na po ang Metro Manila at Batangas. The floor is yours, Usec. Lilibeth David.

USEC. DAVID: Maraming salamat po, Secretary Harry Roque. Magandang hapon po sa ating mga panauhin at ating mga tagapanood po sa ating programa ngayon.

So, ilalahad po namin ang ating community quarantine classification framework. Saglit po naming ipapakita ang risk classification po ng ating probinsiya, highly urbanized cities, and independent component cities for November 1 – 30, 2020.

So, uunahin—(technical difficulties)

SEC. ROQUE: Medyo nawala po ang sound ninyo, Ma’am Lilibeth David. Hello? Nawala.

Well, habang wala pa po si Ma’am Lilibeth David, si Philippine Ambassador to the United Kingdom, His Excellency Antonio Lagdameo. Sir, ano na po ang balita diyan sa bakuna na ginagawa ng Oxford University at ng AstroZeneca at anong mga hakbang ang nagawa na natin para masiguro na tayo naman po ay magkakaroon ng bakunang ito?

Your Excellency, the floor is yours.

AMBASSADOR LAGDAMEO: Magandang hapon sa inyo, Secretary Roque. Ito ang UK, as we said is in the forefront of international efforts for research to develop a vaccine and Oxford University Jenner Institute and Imperial College London is among the frontrunners in COVID-19 vaccine development in the world.

As you know, Secretary Roque, our sub-technical working group or sub-TWG on vaccine development of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, is on top of efforts to look into possible partnerships with bilateral partners who have COVID-19 vaccine development in the advance stage and also willing to locally manufacture their vaccines in the Philippines.

The Philippine Government through this technical working group has been in close collaboration with several countries and international organizations that are engaged in development and manufacture of possible COVID-19 vaccine and the Philippines have spoken with some foreign vaccine R&D institutes and manufacturers who are ahead in the race for COVID-19 vaccine. The government has also signified its intent to participate in both the World Health Organization’s Solidarity Trial on vaccine GAVI COVAX facility.

Now, our embassy here in London, we have been in touch with the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy which is their government agency in the UK responsible for coordinating efforts to research and produce a vaccine and also with Imperial College London to obtain more information on COVID-19 vaccine development.

I have actually met three times – in July, August and September – together with the ASEAN London Committee with Minister of State Nigel Adams of the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office, to discuss the UK’s vaccine development and access of ASEAN member states to the UK’s vaccines.

Well, in these meetings with Minister Adams, he has always highlighted that the UK is making good progress in developing this vaccine but also emphasizes that the UK Government is cautious with its language and it’s trying not to overpromise and under deliver on the date and commercial availability of the vaccine. However, he said there could also be a possibility that this vaccine will be available at the end of the year or the first quarter of 2021. He also repeated the UK’s commitment in making the vaccine widely available and affordable.

For our part, we also welcome, well, together with the ASEAN ambassadors here in London, the UK’s one million pound contribution to the ASEAN COVID response fund. I myself shared that the Philippines has created, our Department of Science and Technology Vaccine Expert Panel which is a group of technical experts and scientists who are tasked to identify, evaluate and recommend possible vaccine candidates for the Philippines as part of measures to ensure vaccine safety and efficacy.

By the way also, Secretary Roque, during these meetings of ASEAN London Committee with them Minister Adams profusely thanked the many brilliant health workers from the Philippines who are working in the NHS and he expressed sadness that some have passed away from COVID-19 in the line of duty at the beginning of this COVID-19 crisis.

Well, as you know, the trials at Oxford. The vaccine trial was halted in early September after a participant in the UK displayed an adverse reaction, it has since been claimed that the adverse reaction experienced by the participant in the vaccine may not have been caused by the vaccine itself, so, they have cleared Phases 1 and 2 for human trials and are progressing now to the third phase where it is being tested on the larger number of participants.

And well, before the suspension of the trial, testings have been positive. So, the results of the trial showed that initial trials on 1,077 British adults found that the vaccine induce strong antibody and T cell responses which may further improve after a booster injection. So, this discovery is very promising because separate studies have suggested that antibodies may fade away within months where the T cells can stay in circulation for years.

So, so far, the UK has already signed deals for more than 340 million doses of the vaccine. So, the total stockpile means that if the vaccines all work, there will be more than enough for every person in Britain to [garbled]. Most of the vaccines required two doses to be effective.

And well, they have assured us also that the UK, well, they have £48 million to finance vaccines for lower income countries and World Health Organization has said that 172 countries and multiple candidate vaccines who have engaged in talks about joining the initiative. They have promised that it would be available for other smaller countries like us.

SEC. ROQUE: Maraming salamat, Ambassador Lagdameo. I hope you can join us for our open forum. I’m sure marami pong tanong din ang ating mga kasama sa local media ng Bohol and sa Malacañang Press Corps.

Let’s try again Usec. Lilibeth David. Usec., the floor is yours.

USEC. DAVID: Thank you po. Magandang hapon ulit. So, ituloy po natin iyong ating presentation. Pakilabas na lang po iyong presentation.

So, titingnan po natin muna ang ating framework, paano po tayo nagka-classify ng risk para sa ating mga lugar sa Pilipinas.

So, ang basehan ho talaga nito ay sa mga projections na ginawa natin na nakikita ho natin na hindi lang po stricter community quarantine ang ating kasangkapan laban sa COVID-19 kagaya ng ECQ, MECQ o GCQ na nakasanayan na natin. Nakita ho natin sa projections na kung pagandahin ho natin ang health system capacity which [garbled] from the time [garbled] natin ng pag-improve ng ating minimum health standards o ang paggamit ng mask at saka face shield ay matatapatan po natin ang effect ng ating mga community quarantine o kaya mahigitan pa ito dahil mas mapapaganda pa ho ang ating ekonomiya, mababawasan po ang contraction na tinatatawag sa ating GDP.

So ito po iyong basehan ng ating risk classification. Sa susunod na slide po ipapakita natin ang ating objectives and key elements ng ating classification framework.

So ang ating objective po talaga is to open up the economy safely. Ito gusto nating gawin, we open the economy safely sa mga lugar po na may controlled transmission and adequate preparedness and capacity.

At ang pangalawang objective po natin is we allow the predictability and sustained economic activity kasi nahihirapan na po ang ating mga taumbayan at mga business establishments na papalit-palit ho parati iyong ating community quarantine. So magha-hire ho sila, mamaya ‘pag naging istrikto ulit iyong community quarantine magbabakasyon ulit iyong kanilang mga na-hire. So medyo unstable ho para sa ating ekonomiya, so we want to be more sustainable in our economy.

So para sa ating objective number one po of controlled transmission and adequate preparedness, mayroon ho tayong tatlong elemento. Ang pag-measure ho natin ng transmission rate, ang ginagamit po natin ngayon ang mas current is iyong tinatawag naming ADAR at two-week growth rate – Average Daily Attack Rate and two-week growth rate na babalangkasin ho namin sa mga susunod na slide ‘no.

Ang pangalawa po sa pag-control ng transmission ay bago ho tayo mag-deescalate, ginagamitan ho natin ng gate-keeping indicators. So bago ho natin ibalik sila sa mas mababang community quarantine, hinihingi po natin na maka-establish sila sa kanilang health system nang maayos na capacity para magkaroon ng surveillance, magkaroon ng isolation, mga ganoon ho na ipapakita rin natin mamaya.

At isa rin ho dito is hindi ho tayo mag-i-escalate kung tumaas ang kaso, mag-i-escalate lang tayo kung iyong ating health system, mga health facilities natin ay hindi na makayanan iyong pagtaas ng kaso.

So ang hudyat lang po ng ating escalation ng community quarantine is iyong ating tinatawag na HCUR or Healthcare Utilization Rate ‘no.

So para ho maging mas predictable at sustainable ang ating economic activity, ang ginagawa po natin is as much as possible we maintain the previous risk classification para ho mas stable iyong mga protocols in an LGU. And then dati po ginagawa natin, every two weeks nagri-reclassify tayo, ngayon po every month na lang po magri-reclassify para po mas stable iyong sa ating mga local government unit.

So explain ko lang ho na panandalian iyong bawat elemento po ng ating risk classification.

So iyong una po nating elemento ay ang pag-measure ng transmission sa Average Daily Attack Rate. So ito ho iyong probability that an individual will become ill [unclear] defined population and a time period. So sinasabay ho natin ito sa pag-measure ng two-week growth rate. Ito namang two-week growth rate po ay mini-measure niya how quickly the number of cases are changing over a period of time.

So dalawa po iyong tinitingnan natin diyan, iyong Average Daily Attack Rate. So the higher the risk—the higher your ADAR ang tawag namin, Average Daily Attack Rate, the higher risk of infection. Sinasabay din po natin iyong two-week growth rate, kung positive ho ang two-week growth rate tumataas po. Kung mas mataas ang porsiyento ng two-week growth rate ninyo, mas mabilis iyong pagtaas ng kaso. Ang gusto ho natin is iyong negative two-week growth rate. Ibig sabihin po kasi lumiliit na iyong epidemya sa lugar na iyon.

So, tinitingnan natin itong dalawang ito sa isang cross tabulation na ginagawa natin. So tinitingnan natin—na gumawa tayo ng low, moderate or high na Average Daily Attack Rate at saka nag-classify ho tayo ng low, moderate or high na two-week growth rate. So iyong cross tabulation po ng risk para sa isang area ay kinukuha namin whether minimal, low, moderate, high or critical.

Punta naman ho tayo ngayon sa ating gate-keeping indicators. So ito po bago ho tayo mag-deescalate, nag-risk classification sa isang lugar, gusto ho natin handa na siya para tapatan kung sakaling dumami ulit iyong kaso para hindi ho pabalik-balik na na-deescalate siya ng MGCQ, mamaya after two weeks or one month babalik na naman sa GCQ. So mahirap po para sa taumbayan para iyon. So mayroon ho tayong mga gate-keeping indicators na kailangan mag-submit ho sila ng performance nila sa appeals – iyong surveillance capacity, community level 4 care staff, contact tracing capacity, active tracing and isolation and iyong referral coordination po.

Ang pangatlo po na tinitingnan natin is iyong healthcare utilization rate na iyon lang po ang dahilan para tayo mag-i-escalate ng community quarantine sa isang lugar. So ang binibilang po natin dito is iyong paggamit natin ng mga ICU beds, isolation beds and ward beds at saka ang mechanical ventilator. So ang pinaka-signal ho dito, dapat less than 60 ho para hindi tayo mag-GCQ; dapat less than 60 ang ating HCUR. Kung lumampas po tayo ng 70, mag-i-MECQ po at kung lumampas po ng 85, doon lang po tayo mag-i-ECQ.

Kahit ho dumadami iyong mga kaso sa isang lugar, kapag kaya pa po ng ating mga health facilities na bigyan ng atensiyon ang mga kaso ng COVID sa lugar, hindi ho tayo mag-i-escalate ng community quarantine.

So iyong proseso lang po dito is iyong tinitingnan po namin kung tumataas ang mga healthcare utilization rate natin twice a month, for the 14th and the 30th para tingnan po kung mayroong mga lugar na kailangan i-escalate ang kanilang community quarantine. Pero ho every month humaharap po tayo sa IATF para ibigay ang risk classification at sino iyong mga areas ho natin na puwedeng mag-deescalate. So ginagamit ho natin iyong case transmission indicators natin, tinitingnan natin iyong ibang indicators saka iyon hong nakakamit nila iyong ating gate-keeping indicators bago ho tayo mag-deescalate.

Sa proseso po natin, mayroon po tayong isang preliminary classification. Usually mga 25th of the month tapos binibigyan po natin ng pagkakataon ang ating mga local government units para mag-appeal sila using data that they have in their own local government unit and then we come up with the final classification that is announced by our President.

So ang tinitingnan ho lang namin, step 1, is kinu-consider po iyong previous classification kung puwedeng i-maintain iyon. The next step ho, step 2, is tinitingnan namin iyong critical care utilization rate na dapat hindi lumalampas sa 60% para—ibig sabihin ho noon walang signal po para i-escalate iyong community quarantine sa lugar. Ang step 3 po, is we get the cross tabulation of the risk from the Average Daily Attack Rate and two-week growth rate.

And then mayroon din ho tayong tinitingnan na mga ibang information sa step 4. Ang pinakaimportante ho dito is iyong socioeconomic risk natin. Kasi minsan po kung maglalagay tayo ng istriktong community quarantine sa area, makikita ho natin na minsan may mga areas ho na 45% ang kanilang contribution sa employment sa buong rehiyon or that they contribute to 28% of the economy for the region. So parang kung ganoon po, parang mahirap pong magtaas ng community quarantine sa lugar so mas maganda po i-maintain natin iyong less strict na community quarantine at gandahan na lang po iyong health system capacity at iyong minimum health standards.

So in this case po, ang proposal namin for this area is still to maintain the risk classification of MGCQ.

So ganoon din po ang proseso, sa second—

SEC. ROQUE: Oo. Maraming salamat. Usec., dahil marami pong questions iyong ating media, thank you very much po muna ‘no. But I think you were very clear on the process pagdating po sa recommendation ng classification. I hope you can join us po for the open forum dahil ang mga kasama po natin sa media may have lots of questions ‘no.

And finally po, ang aking kaklase sa 17th Congress, now Bohol Governor Arthur Yap. Sir, magbubukas kayo sa turismo sa November 15, ano po ang kahandaan natin laban sa COVID-19 at ano iyong mga guidelines na dapat malaman ng gustong bumisita dito sa inyong island paradise na Bohol. The floor is yours, Governor Yap.

GOV. YAP: Secretary Harry, classmate, thank you very much for coming to Bohol and highlighting our province.

At this point in time, we are studying the possibility already na buksan na natin ang Bohol sa domestic tourism by November 15. And for that para sa mga gustong malaman ang mga requirements, puwede naman silang bumisita sa tourism.bohol.gov.ph. So, uulitin ko lang po, ang mga gustong pumunta sa Bohol, they can check out tourism.bohol.gov.ph.

So, mayroon kaming mga hina-highlight na mga tours doon at saka anong mga puwedeng gawin but mas importante nandoon din iyong mga medical protocols na susundin. Kasi ang kritikal ngayon, mayroon kang 72-hour na PCR negative test results. So, if you have a valid negative PCR test result to COVID, then you can register. Let us know about that, mabibigyan kayo ng QR code and you will use that QR code to register and then you can now book your stay with accredited establishments.

When you come to Bohol, hindi pa puwedeng payagan iyong do it yourself tours, pero ang mangyayari dito is kahit na you will not be allowed your do it yourself tours, mayroon tayong mga itinerary na ishe-share sa kanila na puwede nilang pagpilian. So, (technical difficulties)

SEC. ROQUE: Governor, nawala kayo… Okay…

Habang nawawala po si Governor, ito po iyong QR code na iniisyu nila matapos po kayong magrehistro sa internet. Ibibigay po sa inyo ito sa airport at ii-scan po kayo sa kauna-unahang beses sa airport para marehistro na pumasok kayo ng Bohol. Tapos sa lahat po ng pupuntahan ninyo, lahat ng tourist sites at hotel ninyo, ii-scan kayo kapag dumating kayo at ii-scan din kayo pag-alis ninyo. Napakaganda po ng sistema, paperless, contactless at wala pong delay. I commend po, Governor Yap and the entire province of Bohol for this technological device.

Now, we are also joined po by Doctor Chusuey, Attorney Nuñag and Engineer Allen Vasquez and they will be here po to answer your questions in the open forum dahil pagbigyan lang po natin ngayon ang ating media na magtanong ng kanilang mga katanungan.

Okay, first question, Usec. Rocky please go ahead.

USEC. IGNACIO: Yes. Good afternoon, Secretary Roque. Napakaganda po ng video ninyo sa Bohol.

Ang unang tanong mula kay Aileen Taliping ng Abante. Ito po’y follow up question para po sa issue ni Ambassador Marichu Mauro. Ang tanong po niya ay: Ano daw pong parusa ang dapat ipataw sa isang opisyal na katulad niya?

SEC. ROQUE: Ay, pinauubaya na po natin iyan sa Department of Foreign Affairs. Sinigurado naman po ni Secretary Locsin that ipatutupad nila ang karapat-dapat na parusa sa insidenteng ito. So, we leave it to the Department of Foreign Affairs.

USEC. IGNACIO: Opo. Second question po mula kay Miguel Aguana ng GMA News Desk: In February, the President was quoted as saying President Trump is a good president and he deserves to be re-elected. Does the President still believe the same?

SEC. ROQUE: Pabayaan na po natin ang mga Amerikano magdesisyon niyan dahil sila naman po ang hahalal ng kanilang presidente.

USEC. IGNACIO: Thank you, Secretary.

SEC. ROQUE: Punta tayo kay Melo Acuña, please.

MELO ACUÑA/ASIA PACIFIC DAILY: Magandang tanghali po, Secretary. It’s a nice place to be in ‘no sa Bohol.

Secretary, let me ask you, do we have enough funds kung sakaling magkakaroon pa ng natural calamities at mangangailangan iyong ating local government units na na-exhaust na iyong kanilang 5% na kanilang pondo, Secretary Harry?

SEC. ROQUE: Well, we do have enough funds po given that it’s already October. We have about 800 million worth of standby funds and family food packs ready for deployment po kapag nagkaroon na naman ng aberya gaya ng susunod na bagyo gaya ni Rolly. At lahat naman po ng mga kinakailangan ng mga mag-i-evacuate ay naka-preposition po, hindi lang pagkain pati po iyong mga evacuation centers have been pre-identified.

MELO ACUÑA/ASIA PACIFIC DAILY: Yeah, thank you. For His Excellency Ambassador Antonio Lagdameo, please. Your Excellency, good afternoon from Manila.

AMBASSADOR LAGDAMEO: Good afternoon.

MELO ACUÑA/ASIA PACIFIC DAILY: I’m just interested about the status of Filipino frontline workers in the United Kingdom. How are they doing? While they’ve been acknowledged by the British government for their contribution, how do we attend to their needs and their concerns?

AMBASSADOR LAGDAMEO: Well, the British authorities have also setup a facility for their NHS employees to be taken care of in case they get infected. In fact they have the largest number of people getting infected because they are in close contact with the patients. But they are adequately and you know, they are now being very adequately taken cared of within the organization of the NHS so they’re—and even the protective equipment and everything is they are assured of getting it so that they can be kept as safe as possible.

MELO ACUÑA/ASIA PACIFIC DAILY: Your Excellency, would you care to give us facts and figures about Filipinos in your area of responsibility?

AMBASSADOR LAGDAMEO: Well I don’t have it available here exactly because I’m not at the office right now. So I don’t have that exact figure here…

MELO ACUÑA/ASIA PACIFIC DAILY: Your Excellency. Yeah, thank you very much. Thank you.

SEC. ROQUE: Thank you, Ambassador.

MELO ACUÑA/ASIA PACIFIC DAILY: For Governor Arthur Yap if still possible. Governor Yap, good afternoon.

GOVERNOR YAP: Good afternoon po.

MELO ACUÑA/ASIA PACIFIC DAILY: How has technology helped you in getting more tourists into your place?

GOVERNOR YAP: Sir, talagang recognized natin lahat na technology is so critical at this point in time. If we can just have that correct bandwidth and level of strength in terms sa internet connections, napakalaking tulong po noon when we run our contact tracing. Because iyong sa laboratory po, mayroon po tayong dalawang laboratory dito [garbled] Hospital [garbled] mayroon po ang provincial government, mayroon po tayong laboratory natin. But if you have the ability to [garbled] but you do not [garbled] contact trace then may problema tayo. So iyong contact [garbled] critical doon that’s why we’re running everybody on a QR code system.

Hindi lang iyon pang turista, iyong QR code system namin—allow me to show you, sa card mayroong system dito na may QR code ang—we are distributing more than 300,000 of that, hindi lang sa local pero sa mga turista rin. With this QR code system, then it is now possible to use technology to track down people especially ‘pag mayroong infected person then he can be isolated and isolation is really the key so that hindi magtuluy-tuloy iyong infections.

So that will be run on an innovation platform, so very critical po iyan at saka sa reservation po natin ngayon kung puwede dapat contactless po ang lahat, then giving information rin po, that’s also very critical. So technology and innovation are really going to really form the backbone of our strategy to combat COVID-19.

MELO ACUÑA/ASIA PACIFIC DAILY: Thank you very much, Governor. We wish you the best. Thank you.

GOVERNOR YAP: Thank you, sir.

SEC. ROQUE: Thank you, Melo. Thank you, Governor. Bago tayo pumunta sa local media, tatanungin ko lang po si Attorney Lucas Nunag, Chairman ng Provincial Tourism Council ng Bohol. Sir, why will our countrymen—why should they come and visit Bohol?

ATTORNEY NUNAG: Thank you, Secretary.

Bohol is as beautiful as ever at saka mayroon po kaming mga bagong sites na hinahanda especially relating to our heritage and cultural assets. Marami po tayong mga simbahan, in fact Bohol has the most number of nationally-recognized heritage churches. Marami na pong na-restore pagkatapos po ng lindol na gusto po naming ipakita at aside from that mayroon pa po tayong mga sites na related to our farm tourism.

SEC. ROQUE: Okay. Thank you, Attorney Nunag. Now we are now joined by Rey Chiu who will moderate the questions from the local media of Bohol. Rey, please.

MODERATOR: Thank you and once again welcome to Bohol and welcome to Panglao. Our first question would come from Bohol Chronicle, our oldest newspaper in Bohol. We have [unclear].

Q: Magandang tanghali, Secretary Roque at sa lahat.

Bohol is among the provinces which delivered a resounding victory to the President, President Duterte has run for the presidency. It goes without saying how popular the President is among Boholanos and that almost all program of the Duterte Administration is well received and supported by Boholanos.

The President’s recent creation of a Mega Task Force Against Corruption is no exception although Boholanos are really asking if President Duterte would allow public access to his SALN. This is in light of the Ombudsman’s memorandum circular which set a limitation to public access of the President’s SALN. Well, in a radio survey this morning in station DYRD about 80% of Boholanos also needs to be convinced of how serious the President is of his anti-corruption campaign. How do you respond to this, Secretary? Thank you.

SEC. ROQUE: Well, tayo naman po’y sumusunod lang sa mga guidelines na si-net (set) ng Office of the Ombudsman pero mag-uusap po kami ng atin Presidente at para matapos na po itong isyung ito ay tatanungin ko na po, baka naman magbigay ng permiso ang Presidente para isapubliko ang kaniyang SALN. Pero wala pong tinatago ang ating Presidente, bago po maglabas ng ganitong guidelines ang Ombudsman, taun-taon naman po nilalabas ni Presidente ang kaniyang SALN.

Okay? Now balik tayo kay Usec. Rocky, please.

USEC. IGNACIO: Thank you, Secretary Roque. Tanong mula kay Jam Punzalan of ABS-CBN: What is Malacañang’s reaction to Senator Ping Lacson’s comment that the mega corruption task force seems to have started on the wrong foot because President Duterte supposedly made exceptions for some officials namely DPWH Secretary Mark Villar and Health Secretary Duque?

SEC. ROQUE: Ay, wala naman po sigurong ganoon. Ang katotohanan, ang Presidente po ay isang abogado, isang piskal at specialization pa niya iyong naging special prosecutor siya ng Tanodbayad na ang kasong mga nilitis niya bilang piskal ay iyong paglabag ng anti-graft and corrupt practices act. Naghahanap lang po ng ebidensiya ang Pangulo. Kahit sino naman po, kahit gaano kalapit sa kaniya, kahit gaano ang pagpuri niya sa nakaraan, kung mayroon naman pong ebidensiya na katiwalian ay parurusahan ng ating Presidente. Nakita po natin iyan dito sa karanasan ni General Morales ng PhilHealth, bagama’t buo ang tiwala ni Presidente kay General Morales nang nagkaroon naman po ng ebidensiya ang Task Force PhilHealth at ibang sangay ng gobyerno, hindi naman po naging hadlang ang Presidente para imbestigahan at litisin si General Morales.

USEC. IGNACIO: Second question mula pa rin kay Jam Punzalan: Senator Richard Gordon said yesterday that PhilHealth should pay its remaining 562 million debt within three days. Will the government be able to do this? Have authorities talked to Red Cross about what would happen if the deadline is not met?

SEC. ROQUE: Well, patuloy naman po ang pag-uusap sa panig ng PhilHealth at ng Red Cross. Nagbayad nga po, kagaya ng pinangako ng PhilHealth at ng Office of the Executive Secretary ng kalahati doon sa sinisingil ng Red Cross. At kampante naman po tayo na since, it was no less than the President that said that the Philippine government will pay, eh ano pa ba ho ang hihingin pa ng PRC. Iyan po ay sovereign guarantee from the mouth of the President himself. So inaasahan po natin na patuloy po ang magiging partnership ng gobyerno at ng Philippine Red Cross. Bagama’t gumawa na nga po ng mga hakbang ang gobyerno para hindi maantala ang pag-uwi ng ating mga OFWs, kasama na po dito iyong sinabi ko, na ang Project ARK is willing po na mag-test ng PCR test sa ating mga OFWs in their 11 laboratories at itong isang pribadong testing center sa airport, ang Philippine Airport Diagnostic Lab, ay nagsabi na rin na handa po sila na magbigay ng PCR test doon sa mga bumabalik na ating mga OFWs.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Just a clarification because you regarded Marichu Mauro as the former Ambassador to Brazil. Now, just to clarify, sir, sinibak po ba ni Pangulong Duterte ang ambassador na ito since she is a Presidential appointee?

SEC. ROQUE: Well, kagaya ng sinabi ko po, inaprubahan na po ang pag-iimbestiga laban sa ating dating ambahador sa Brazil, na-recall na po kasi siya kaya po ang sabi ko eh baka former ambassador na siya ‘no, si Mauro. Pero iyan po ang balita, at pinauubaya na po namin sa DFA ang imbestigasyon dahil ang puwede namang ipataw na parusa ay hindi lang administrative, puwede ring mag-recommend ng criminal charges kung kinakailangan ang DFA.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: What was the President’s reaction, Secretary Roque, when he learned about this case? Was he mad? Was he sad? Ano po iyong naging reaksiyon niya? And to the mind of the President, ano iyong dapat na kinakaharap na bigat na kaso kapag isang Pinoy ang nasasaktan?

SEC. ROQUE: Well, siguro po uulitin ko na lang ang sinabi ni Secretary Locsin na talagang sa mula’t mula eh malinaw po na ang administrasyon ni Presidente Duterte ay ginagawa ang lahat para bigyan ng protection ang lahat ng manggagawang Pilipino sa abroad. Siyempre po kasama na diyan iyong kasambahay ni Ambassador Mauro.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Okay, so wala naman pong na-relay sa inyo si Pangulong Duterte na ano iyong naramdaman niya upon learning this incident?

SEC. ROQUE: Well, iyong mabilisan pong pag-authorize sa DFA na imbestigahan si Ambassador Mauro ay indicative na kinakailangan bigyan ng katarungan iyong naging biktima ng karahasan na kasambahay, na kababayan natin.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Opo, si Senator Francis Pangilinan – on a different topic po, Secretary Roque – wants a probe on the national security implications of the entry of more than 4 million Chinese nationals here in the country since 2017 and he raises fears that there might be some sort of, and I am going to quote him, “orchestrated soft invasion of China” dahil nga po dito sa influx of Chinese nationals. What do we say about this, Secretary?

SEC. ROQUE: Well, ang Presidente naman po ay nirirespeto ang kapangyarihan ng Senado na magsagawa ng imbestigasyon in aid of legislation and by way of oversight sa kahit anong programa ng gobyerno, so that’s welcome po.

Yes, again, bago tayo magpatuloy, siguro tatanungin ko naman po ang ating isa pang panauhin, si Engineer Allen Varquez. Engineer, ano naman po ang kahandaan ng mga hotel resort and restaurant owner dito sa Bohol para tumanggap ng bisita from all over the country po?

ENGINEER VARQUEZ: Thank you, Secretary, for the visit. We are actually a group of resorts and we actually pushed for this tourism reopening in Bohol. But prior to that, we have prepared guidelines and protocols which we have submitted to our provincial government. And knowing that we are the ones who prepared this so while we are preparing, nag-prepare na rin kami after sa aming mga establishment, which we also practiced. We actually exercised it, pre-test, during the last September. It turned out to be a success. And with that basis, we found ourselves to be prepared na talaga with the reopening. And then, as of this time, we are actually, in coordination with the provincial government to come up with the IRR for the new normal which we will be passing by November 15.

SEC. ROQUE: Okay. Maraming salamat, Engineer Varquez.

MODERATOR: Maraming salamat po. Our next question will come from Dave Alvarado of Bohol Tribune.

ALVARADO/BOHOL TRIBUNE: Good afternoon, everyone. Good afternoon, Mr. Secretary. Parents in Bohol are struggling with teaching their children using the modules. I just want to know, what are the steps being taken by the DepEd or perhaps the national government in helping the plight of the parents who are struggling to balance their time between work and the time that they spend with their children teaching them?

SEC. ROQUE: Hindi ko po nakuha iyong tanong, ano po iyong tanong?

ALVARADO/BOHOL TRIBUNE: What are the steps being taken by the national government or the DepEd in order to alleviate the plight of these parents who are struggling to teach or to balance the teaching of the children using the modules?

SEC. ROQUE: Well, alam naman po ninyo ang pangunahing pamamaraan ng ating edukasyon ngayon dahil po sa pandemya ay modular learning. Kaya naiintindihan po namin na talagang mas malaki ngayon ang papel na ginagampanan ng mga pamilya at kamag-anak dito sa modular learning ng ating mga kabataan. Pero bukod po sa modular learning, mayroon din po tayong online at kung wala naman pong online ginagamit din po natin ang TV at ang mga radio.

Pero ang tanong is, what can we do to assist? Well, mayroon din po tayong mga guro na naka-standby kung kinakailangan ng extra tulong iyong mga magulang pagdating dito sa modular learning. So, makipag-ugnayan lang po tayo sa mga teachers dahil nandiyan pa rin po ang ating mga teachers, para po kung kinakailangan ng tulong ng mga magulang o ng mga kamag-anak doon sa modular learning eh mayroon naman pong maitutulong na maibibigay itong mga teachers.

Okay, thank you very much. Usec. Rocky?

USEC. IGNACIO: Secretary, question from Trish Terada of CNN Philippines: What does the Palace think of the DOJ’s decision to start its corruption probe on Bureau of Customs, Bureau of Internal Revenue, Land Registration Authority and DPWH? Did they relay bakit po dito magsisimula?

SEC. ROQUE: Well, fully supported po natin iyan. Siguro naman po ang rason ay obvious. Traditionally po talagang malawakan at systemic ang korapsiyon sa mga ahensiyang ito at nagagalak naman po kami na pinili ni Secretary Menard Guevarra itong pinaka-notorious sa korapsiyon para simulan ang imbestigasyon ng expanded task force on corruption.

USEC. IGNACIO: Can PHISGOC daw po be investigated or will it be part of offices that will be investigated?

SEC. ROQUE: Ah, iyong sa Games. Opo. Well, oo. Okay, iyang opisina po, kung tungkol ito sa Southeast Asian Games, eh nagpahayag na po ang Ombudsman na bumuo na sila ng team para imbestigahan po iyang ahensiyang iyan ‘no. So bagama’t hindi po nabanggit iyan ni Secretary Guevarra, ang Ombudsman po ay nagsabi na mayroon na po silang binuong panel para mag-imbestiga diyan.

USEC. IGNACIO: Okay. Secretary, iyong third question ni Triciah, nasagot ninyo na po sa tanong ni Jam Punzalan ng ABS-CBN. Thank you, Secretary.

SEC. ROQUE: Maraming salamat. Punta muna tayo kay Joseph Morong.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Hi, sir! Good morning. Sir, idagdag ko na ba iyang Tourism Secretary sa portfolio mo?

SEC. ROQUE: Ay hindi po. [Laughs] Spox lang po at talaga naman pong iniengganyo ng ating Presidente na buhayin ang turismo para magkaroon po ng hanapbuhay ang ating mga kababayan, at kaya naman ito kung pangangalagaan natin ang ating mga buhay.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Okay, sir. Sir, kagabi si Presidente ay nauna nang bumisita sa kaniyang mga magulang. This is ahead of iyong pagbabawal ng IATF doon sa pagbisita sa mga puntod ngayong Undas.

Now, my question is—soundbite first on that. And then second is, is he still going to announce ba iyong final decision doon sa GCQ status ng Metro Manila and some other places? Because when we had the press conference, proposal pa lang iyon, appeal ng 28, and the announcement [unclear] final decision. What is the final decision? And will the President be announcing it or kayo na po?

SEC. ROQUE: Well, as we announced po, as the President announced, it’s subject to appeal. So ang aalamin na lang natin kung iyong mga lugar na under GCQ ay mayroong nag-apela. At ang pagkakaalam ko, at least two provinces and one city have said na hindi naman sila mag-aapela ‘no. So tingin ko, kung wala naman pong apela ay iri-reiterate na lang natin sa a-bente nuebe na iyon po iyong classification.

Iyong unang tanong mo, hindi ko masyadong naintindihan. Iyong pagpunta ni Presidente sa puntod ng kaniyang mga magulang. Well, iyan naman po ay alinsunod doon sa desisyon ng IATF na magsasarado ang mga sementeryo, mga kolumbaryo mula a-bente nuebe hanggang a-kwatro ng Nobyembre, at nagpunta naman po ang Presidente bago magsara ang sementeryo sa Davao.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, sabi ninyo 29 – 29 na, sir, ngayon, iyong announcement, final decision.

SEC. ROQUE: Iyong IATF po mamayang 2 P.M. So kung mayroon pong pagbabago doon sa inanunsiyo ni Presidente, ipagbibigay-alam po natin; tayo po ay maglalabas ng advisory.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Okay. Sir, mayroon po akong na-monitor na I think interview ninyo with one of the radio stations, and then you said that the [garbled] with regard to the price cap of the testing ‘no. And then you said that the TWG has already finished its recommendation, and it’s up to the President to sign an order to impose a price ceiling on the testing cost.

Ang first question, sir, is: What is the proposal of the TWG? I know you’re going to say that there are other available testing facilities, but focusing on the TWG recommendation, what is their recommendation? What is the price cap that they are suggesting to the President? And is it important to put a price cap to COVID testing?

SEC. ROQUE: Well, dahil nga po ito ay desisyon ng Presidente, I cannot preempt the decision of the President. But what I can assure you is, natapos na po iyong responsibilidad ng TWG ng DOH, tapos na rin po ang paperwork sa Office of the Executive Secretary, at ngayon po ay nag-aantay na lang ng pirma ng ating Presidente.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So it’s safe to say, sir, that we will impose a price cap?

SEC. ROQUE: From all indications, mukha naman pong magkakaroon ng price cap.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: And why is that?

SEC. ROQUE: Well, antayin na po muna natin ang desisyon ng Presidente. Why is that? Eh kasi po iyong iba naman ay napakataas talaga ng sinisingil ‘no. Eh alam naman natin na pupuwedeng mas mura iyang testing na iyan dahil sa Project ARK nga, as low as 1,500 ay kaya nilang magbigay ng testing up to 2,000 ‘no.

So iyan lang po, para maging mas affordable ang testing mga kababayan. At sa ganoong paraan ay mas marami pong mati-testing dahil importante po iyan sa ating istratehiya dahil kung walang testing, hindi natin alam kung sino ang ia-isolate at kung sino ang gagamutin.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Yes, sir, last na lang. Sir, what is the inclination of the IATF and the government ‘til year-end? Kasi we’re opening up na iyong mga tourist spots. In terms of community quarantine, do you think it will be safe for the government to just stay in GCQ, at least in those areas na malaki iyong economic activity?

SEC. ROQUE: Well, ang decision po ay para sa Nobyembre pa lamang dahil we don’t want to rule out a change in classification for December. Nakadepende po iyan doon sa mga factors na diniskas ni Usec. Lilibeth David. Ang pinakaimportante po iyong daily attack rate at saka iyong 2-week growth rate at saka iyong clinical care… iyong utilization rate. So antabayanan po natin kung ano ang magiging desisyon para sa Disyembre.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Okay, sir. Thank you for your time and enjoy po diyan.

SEC. ROQUE: Thank you very much, Joseph. Rey Chiu?

REY CHIU: Yes, sir. Our next question would come from a guy wearing two hats today – Bohol News Today and Bohol Balita Daily News, this is Ric Obedencio, sir.

RIC OBEDENCIO/BOHOL NEWS TODAY/BOHOL BALITA DAILY NEWS: Good afternoon po sa lahat. Welcome, sir. Good afternoon, Atty. Lucas and Varquez and Sir Henry.

My question is that, Bohol people are facing restrictions, one of these is the curfew hours. Recently, the Provincial Capitol, provincial government, the Governor, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan have given the leeway to the local government units, municipalities and barangays to craft their own ordinance and implement that on different hours. For example, here in Panglao, they have 12 o’ clock to 4 in the following day; in Tagbilaran, 10 o’ clock to 5.

Usually, in the beginning, we have an executive order nine in the evening to 5 A.M. But because some LGUs claim that they want to go back… especially here in Panglao and other towns, nearby towns. Because you know, Bohol is tourism, of course there is night time, there are some … the industry is, for example, the entertainers. And the industry is already down. What I mean is that tourism is already down. So they want to revive the economy.

So we have different curfew hours. Now, do you think that there is a need, a uniformed curfew hours? Because a lot of people I have interviewed, they say that they are confused. When they go to this town, there is that 9 to 4. In certain barangay in Tubigon about 55 from here, there is 8 in the evening to 6. So as an island, do you think—I don’t know how to… because the provincial government has given, again, the freedom to LGUs to craft their own curfew hours. Because according to the Governor, as claimed by the mayors, they know more the situation of their turf, respective turf. Thank you.

SEC. ROQUE: Well, alam ninyo po, ang IATF po ay pinaubaya talaga sa lokal na mga pamahalaan kung ano ang magiging curfew nila. Nagkaroon lang po kami ng rekumendasyon ‘no. Kung hindi po ako nagkakamali, parang twelve to four yata ang naging rekomendasyon. Pero sa Metro Manila po ay in-adopt po nila iyan tapos pagdating ng Disyembre 1, para sa Simbang Gabi eh ginawa nilang twelve to three, so, nasa desisyon na po talaga iyan ng local government unit pero siguro tanungin natin si Governor Art Yap.

Governor, would you care to comment on the question?

GOV. YAP: Thank you, Harry. Originally, nasa nine to five kami but we’ve already amended that in the Sanggunian Panlalawigan, giving the mayors the authority and the call since they have the discretion over their areas. When the mayor fails to provide a special curfew hours in his area then, [garbled] iyong sa amin nine to five iyong sa provincial government.

But we feel the nine to five is already very restrictive one. So, if they don’t want to follow the nine to five [garbled], binibigyan na natin iyong mga mayors ng diskresyon because mas alam nila iyong sitwasyon sa area nila, so, puwede nilang i-adjust iyon kung gusto nilang gawing ten to four or eight to four, it’s up to them. So, iyong sa provincial government na nine to five, default na iyon, Mr. Secretary, default lang po iyon.

SEC. ROQUE: Okay. Thank you, Governor. And before we continue, siguro question kay Henry Chusuey. Sir, thank you very much for your hospitality. He is the owner of the Henann Resorts Group of Companies.

Sir, ang tanong ko po, ilan ang empleyado ninyo bago magpandemya? Ilan pong empleyado ninyo ngayon dito sa Henann Bohol at ano pong gusto ninyong hingin sa pamahalaan para makatulong na makabangon ang turismo?

MR. CHUSUEY: We have two resorts here and we should be employing almost 1, 200 employees but because of this pandemic, today we are employing sixty. So, kawawa naman ang mga tao natin. So, my suggestion is more of an education to the Boholanos and to our employers – how we will not be infected with this coronavirus.

It has been tested in Boracay, may PCR test, walang pumupunta. We have only 30 – 50 arrivals from Manila. In Iloilo, almost zero na because they require also Iloilo PCR test and wala pa iyong plane ticket sa Iloilo. So, this PCR test is very few people is willing. First, you have to pay four to five thousand and then the inconvenience, the hassle of going to the hospital, of going to the clinic.

So, ang suggestion ko lang, like for example Cebu which is MGCQ dapat ano na siya, wala ng restriction. Because MGCQ to MGCQ is just the same. There should be no more restriction for more people to come and more people to come meaning more employees we can employ. So, kung walang turista, paano babalik ang empleyado natin? Kawawa na sila, they are very poor already, ‘no. Iyon lang ang masa-suggest ko sa provincial government.

SEC. ROQUE: Okay. Maraming salamat, Mr. Henry Chusuey. Sa ngayon po, nagkakaroon po ng pilot study ang IATF sa paggamit ng antigen test. It is cheaper and the results are out by ten to fifteen (minutes); it is being pilot tested po ngayon in Baguio. Perhaps, hintayin lang po natin ang resulta ng pilot testing.

We go back again to Usec. Rocky.

USEC. IGNACIO: Yes, Secretary. Mula kay MJ Blancaflor of Daily Tribune, question on COVID testing: The Department of Tourism is appealing for a price cap on RT-PCR and antigen tests to enhance tourism revival. When will the Palace issue the Executive Order for this? Bakit po natatagalan ang pagri-release ng price ceiling for COVID tests?

SEC. ROQUE: Well, as I’ve said po ano, that’s for the final decision of the President already, hintayin na lang po natin.

USEC. IGNACIO: Mula pa rin po kay MJ Blancaflor, questions on vaccines: There are circulating text messages which claimed that COVID-19 vaccines are being sold in Philippines for fifty thousand per shot. Ano po ang paalala ng ating pamahalaan sa publiko?

SEC. ROQUE: Bawal po iyan. Mayroon pong ipinapataw na parusa sa kahit sinong magbebenta ng gamot o bakuna na hindi po aprubado ng FDA. Mayroon pong kulong iyan, itigil ninyo po iyan.

USEC. IGNACIO: Huling tanong ni MJ Blancaflor: Senator Hontiveros filed a resolution urging the Executive Department to support the campaign which seeks to suspend provisions under the trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights. She said the move will ensure universal access to affordable and safe COVID-19 vaccines. Will the Palace heed her call?

SEC. ROQUE: Pacta sunt servanda po. It is a treaty obligation that we entered into in good faith which we have to comply with. Pero mayroon naman po tayong COVAX, na bagong tratado na nagsisiguro po na nagsisiguro po na lahat po ay magkakaroon ng equitable and affordable vaccine matapos po itong ma-develop.

Okay, balik tayo kay Rey.

REY TIU/PIA BOHOL: Our next local question would come from a radio station. This is Dave Responte of DYTR.

DAVE RESPONTE/DYTR: We just want to follow-up. Any update on the alleged corruption investigation on RD LTO Victor Caindec, sir?

SEC. ROQUE: Ipinaubaya na po natin iyan sa ARTA, sa PACC. At ang alam ko naman po dahil mayroon na silang liham doon ay nagkakaroon naman po ng imbestigasyon. Pero alinsunod po talaga ito sa determinasyon ng ating Presidente, itigil ang korapsiyon.

Usec. Rocky, please.

USEC. IGNACIO: Mula po kay Virgil Lopez: Senator Lacson has questioned the decision of the Department of Budget and Management to tag the funds for congressional initiatives in the 2020 National Budget as for later release. He said even crucial projects in pursuit of the Executive Branch agenda have been left hanging due to the DBM’s policy. Any comment on this?

SEC. ROQUE: Well, iyong FLR po naging necessary naman po iyan dahil siyempre, kinakailangan muna natin gastusan iyong pinaka-importanteng mga bagay na related po sa COVID-19. So, iyan naman po ang assurance natin for later release, iyong mga infrastructure dahil uunahin muna natin ang COVID-19 expenses.

USEC. IGNACIO: Mula pa rin kay Virgil Lopez: The Senate has released the summary of the statement of assets, liabilities and net worth of the senators for 2019. Will Malacañang do the same in the case of President Duterte’s SALN for 2018 and 2019?

SEC. ROQUE: Well, kagaya ng sinabi ko po, tatanungin po natin iyan sa Presidente. Kasi ang kaniyang posisyon bilang isang abogado, sundin naman ang guidelines ng Ombudsman.

USEC. IGNACIO: Thank you, Secretary.

SEC. ROQUE: May I call on Ambassador Antonio Lagdameo kasi mayroon siyang figure na isasagot doon sa tanong ni Melo Acuña kanina.

Ambassador, the floor is yours again,

AMBASSADOR LAGDAMEO: As of yesterday, 28 of October, the total confirmed cases in the United Kingdom is 917,575 and deaths of 45,365, whereas in the Filipino community here with 200,000 population, we have 675 confirmed cases; 525 recovered and 57 deaths. That’s for the United Kingdom. In Ireland, which is also part of our territory, the total cases … the total cases in Ireland is 58,767, that’s the population and they have 1,890 recovered—no 1,890 total fatalities and then the recoveries are 23,364 recoveries in Ireland.

Now in the Filipino community, there were a total of 63 infected, 57 recoveries and there were two deaths of the 18,000 Filipino community in Ireland. That’s what I wanted to add on. Thank you.

SEC. ROQUE: Thank you, Ambassador. Para lang sa kaalaman ng ating mga kababayan, si Ambassador Lagdameo has joined us via VMix from London, England; 6 hours difference po. Ibig sabihin he woke up very early in London, siguro ala singko to be able to join us. We appreciate this very much, Ambassador. Ang tanong ko lang po, bakit po mas guwapo at mukhang mas bata kayo kaysa kay Anton Lagdameo?

AMBASSADOR LAGDAMEO: Thank you.

SEC. ROQUE: [Off mic] You will invoke your right against self-incrimination. Maraming salamat po. Rey Chu again po.

MODERATOR: Thank you. Question would come from Radyo Pilipinas Cebu, DYMR. We have Jessa Krisna Marie Ylanan (?)

Q: Magandang hapon po, Secretary. Well we know that Bohol is a major driving force in terms of tourism. May we just know for the record what made you choose to visit Bohol and we’d like to also know if you have intentions or scheduled visit to neighboring Central Visayas provinces which are equally tourist destinations on their own like Siquijor, Negros Oriental and even Cebu? Thank you.

SEC. ROQUE: Obviously, I am playing favorites. I like Bohol more than the other places because in Bohol not only they have the white sand of Alona Beach, you also have the Chocolate Hills, the Tarsier and the Loboc River Cruise. So aminado po, favorite ko po talaga ang Bohol. Pero huwag po kayong mag-alala sa mga ibang lugar na nagbukas na sa turismo, dadalhin po natin ang press briefing diyan dahil naniniwala po kami doon sa panawagan ng Presidente – ingatan po ang buhay para tayong lahat ay magkaroon ng hanapbuhay.

Yes, Usec. Rocky…

USEC. IGNACIO: Opo. Secretary, dalawang huling tanong na lang po. Mula kay Jo Montemayor: Your comment please on the September SWS survey that show that 39% of Filipinos believe that there are probably more COVID-19 cases and that 31% said there is probably less COVID-19 cases than what is reported by government.

SEC. ROQUE: Well, hindi ko pa po nakikita ang SWS survey so paumanhin po, I would rather see the survey first before commenting.

USEC. IGNACIO: Opo. Last question naman po mula kay Trish Terada ng CNN Philippines: Kailan po ang next address ni Pangulong Duterte and IATF meeting? Mayroon po ba sa Monday, November 2, special holiday?

SEC. ROQUE: Ang alam ko po it will be on a Friday, not on a Monday. But that has to be confirmed. TBD po ang annotation diyan ‘no, TBD. Pero teka po, just to be safe po ‘no let me check po ‘no. Anyway, I will check po pero ang nakita ko po is a Friday not a Monday ‘no. So, but let me check on that po ha. Hindi ko po mabuksan ngayon ang aking kalendaryo as we conduct.

Okay, wala na pong mga tanong. Maraming salamat, Pilipinas, for joining our press briefing today. Maraming, maraming salamat, Governor Yap, for hosting us in this beautiful province of Bohol. Maraming salamat po sa ating mga kasama sa Malacañang Press Corps. Maraming salamat kay Usec. Rocky. Maraming salamat, Usec. David, for joining us. Thank you very much, Your Excellency Ambassador Lagdameo. And thank you very much of course to our other guests – si Attorney and Engineer Nunag, my neighbor in Quezon City, Attorney Lucas Nunag; Engineer Allan Vasquez. And of course we will not be here, we will be homeless and starving without Henry Chusuey of Henann Group of Resorts.

Maraming salamat po, Philippines. And siyempre po kung wala ang PTV-4, hindi ninyo kami mapapanood. At maraming salamat sa napakagandang video na ginawa po ng PTV-4.

Sa ngalan po ng ating Presidente Rodrigo Roa Duterte, ito po ang inyong Spox nagsasabi – tara na po, bumisita tayo sa napakagandang Isla ng Bohol. Good afternoon to all of you.

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