Press Briefing

Press Briefing with Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque


SEC. ROQUE: Magandang tanghali, Pilipinas.

Inaasahan natin na may darating na dalawang batches ng AstraZeneca ngayong linggong ito: Una, ang AstraZeneca na donasyon ng Japanese government – mamaya pong gabi ang dating niyan; pangalawa, ang AstraZeneca na galing po sa COVAX Facility. Inaasahan din natin na darating this week ang dalawang batches ng Sputnik V component 1 and 2.

As of July 7, 2021 po, ayon sa latest national COVID-19 vaccination dashboard, nasa 12,489,077 ang total COVID-19 vaccines administered na po; mahigit tatlong milyon 0r 3,089,976 ang fully vaccinated na po. Conservative number pa po ito at inaasahan natin na tataas pa ang bilang kapag dumating na ang mga numero mula sa mga lokal na pamahalaan at pribadong sektor.

Tara na po at magpabakuna, lalo na ang mga lolo’t lola at iyong may mga comorbidities, at magkaroon ng dagdag na proteksiyon. Uulitin ko po ha: Libre po ang first at second dose; kaya kung may schedule na kayo para sa inyong pangalawang turok, pabakuna na po tayo.

Nagkaroon ng pagpupulong po si Presidente Rodrigo Roa Duterte kasama ang mga leaders ng PDP Laban. Malinaw ang sinabi ng Pangulo, “To the proposition that I run for vice president,” I quote ‘no, “medyo I’m sold to the idea. So meaning to say, I’m seriously thinking of running for vice president.” Ipinaliwanag din ni Presidente ang kaniyang dahilan, and I quote, “I remember that I made a statement a few days ago because of the incessant attacks on my person na kung ano ang pinagsasabi, out of the blue lumabas iyong ano ko sa utak na eh kung ganito lang pala na babawian ninyo ako, ano pa kaya kung iyong wala na ako sa presidente, pagka-presidente. So I saw the toxic behavior displayed by some and those who would also are posturing to run for president.”

Sa susunod na Pangulo, ito naman ang sinabi ni Presidente, “If I run for vice president tapos ang presidente nai-elect hindi ko kaibigan, the situation would arise na sabi ko I would remain inutile thing there. Kasi kapag wala kang ano sa presidente, suporta, wala ka talaga. Ito ang dilemma ko.”

COVID-19 updates naman po tayo. Ito ang ranking po ng Pilipinas sa buong mundo sang-ayon po sa Johns Hopkins:

  • Number 23 po tayo pagdating sa total cases.
  • Number 27 sa active cases.
  • Number 130 sa cases per 100,000 population,
  • At Number 91 po sa case fatality rate, 1.7%.

Mayroon tayong 4,289 na mga bagong kaso ayon sa July 7, 2021 datos ng DOH. Samantalang nasa 95% ang ating recovery rate kaya naman po nagpapasalamat kami sa ating mga medical frontliners, nasa 1,377,132 na po ang bilang ng mga naka-recover. Samantalang malungkot naming binabalita na nasa 25,459 na po ang binawian ng buhay dahil sa coronavirus. Nakikiramay po kami – 1.76 po ang ating fatality rate.

Ito naman po ang kalagayan ng ating mga ospital sa buong Pilipinas:

  • 57% utilized po ang ating ICU beds
  • 47% utilized ang ating isolation beds
  • 42% utilized ang ating ward beds
  • At 36% utilized ang ating ventilators

Sa NCR:

  • 45% utilized ang ating ICU beds
  • 37% utilized ang ating isolation beds
  • 33% utilized ang ating ward beds
  • At 33% utilized ang ating ventilators

Dito po nagtatapos ang ating presentasyon. Kasama po natin ngayon ang bagong talagang Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs, Secretary Jacinto Paras. Sec. Paras, congratulations po! And because you are the adviser on political affairs, pakisabi nga po sa buong sambayanang Pilipino, what do we take of former Senator Sonny Trillanes? The floor is yours, Secretary Paras.

SEC. JACINTO PARAS: Marami pong salamat, Secretary Harry Roque, my good friend. Una po, magpapasalamat po ako kay Pangulong Duterte for giving me his trust and confidence in giving me this job; and I will do well with this job.

And now going to your question on what I think of Mr. Trillanes. Well, unang-una, dati pa, sinasabi ko parati na non-entity naman ito. Nakatsamba lang naman itong tao na ito na naging senador dahil at that time, the opposition was gaining ground; pero under normal circumstances, baka magiging kulelat iyan parati. Gaya ngayon, gusto niyang tumakbong presidente, gusto iyang tumakbong vice presidente, eh zero nga siya doon sa survey. So bakit natin pakinggan itong dumbo na ito, itong trililing na ito eh wala naman ito talagang K. Kung sa mga ano pa, walang K ito.

So ngayon, gusto na naman niya ulit, Secretary, na magpakilala kasi may ambisyon siya. Pero wala na pong nakikinig dito sa taong ito. Kasi noong una pa, when he was still a cadet, sinasabi nga ng tatay niya ay he is a dumb guard eh kasi kulelat din iyan sa class niya so wala talagang nakikinig dito. Tapos ngayon, gusto pa na naman niyang akusahan na naman ang ating Pangulo at saka si Senator Bong Go ng korapsiyon when in fact, he is the most corrupt senator that ever lived in this country.

Unang-una, iyong kaniyang mga consultants ay overpriced, kung sinu-sinong binibigyan niya ng consultancy at the expense of the coffers of the government. Pati iyong kapatid niya na walang kalam-alam, ginawang consultant with so much pay. So sino bang corrupt, Mr. Trillanes?

At saka itong si Trillanes, Secretary, tatlong kaso ang pinayl ko diyan, puro may warrant of arrest itong dumbo na ito. So huwag nating pakinggan. Kung nag-aakusa na naman siya sa ating Pangulo at saka kay Senator Bong Go, huwag nating tuunan ng pansin. Dapat, Mr. Trillanes, tuunan mo ng pansin iyong mga warrant of arrest mo, iyong mga kadami-daming kaso na sinampa sa’yo dahil ikaw ay corrupt; ikaw ay bobo. Ano pa ang masasabi ko sa’yo? In fact, matapang ka lang noong senador ka. Pero noong nag-hearing tayo sa Pasay City Court, mukha kang basang sisiw, Mr. Trillanes. I can face you anytime, Mr. Trillanes.

So huwag mong siraan ang ating Pangulo, huwag mong siraan si Senator Bong Go kasi walang basehan iyong mga sinasabi mong plunder. Iyong sinasabi mo kay Pangulo na nag-a-amass ng wealth, iyan ay dinismis [dismissed] na at sinabi ng city fiscal of Pasay, wala kang basehan kasi sina-cite mo, Mr. Trillanes, iyong AMLC na nanggaling doon iyong basis mo. Eh sinabi ng AMLC, walang sinasabi ang AMLC sa’yo; walang ganoon na wealth ang ating Pangulo.

So ergo, may warrant of arrest ka doon sa court sa Pasay City for being a liar, for saying nonsense as always. So, Mr. Trillanes, zero ka sa survey. Huwag ka nang magdadaldal, Mr. Trillanes! You have nothing to say. And the people of this country do not consider you as serious candidate in this election. Hindi ka na makakatsamba ulit, Mr. Trillanes.

So iyon po ang masasabi ko. And in any forum, I will not even give you a chance to debate with me because you are a nobody eh. Dati siguro noong senador ka, pinapansin kita; pero ngayon, wala. Ang taumbayan ay hindi po nagpapansin kay Mr. Trillanes. Unang-una, iyong accusation mo na plunder kay Senator Bong Go, nagbabasa ka ba, Mr. Trillanes ng batas, iyong plunder? Series of accumulation of wealth. May ebidensiya ka ba na nag-accumulate ng wealth si Senator Bong Go? Maybe his family who is already contractors during the time na wala pa sa pulitika, they are legitimate businessmen. Iyong kanilang award went through process of bidding. At saka hindi naman si Senator Bong Go ang nag-a-award sa kanilang kontrata so paano naman siya nagiging involved doon sa plunder na pinagsasabi mo na in the first place, there was no plunder at all.

I hope you will ask your lawyer to explain to you what the law on plunder is all about. Huwag kang dakdak nang dakdak kasi hindi mo naiintindihan because you were always a dumb cadet during your time in PMA. Iyon ang sinasabi ni Mr. [unclear], iyong ang sinasabi ng mga ibang mga PMA cadets at saka mga PMA officials. Ginagamit ng tatay mo as Comel official iyong kaniyang power na maiwas ka doon sa mga trabaho ng cadet, pinapadala ka lang doon sa opisina ng isang opisyal at nagluluto-luto ka, kain ka nang kain kaya kulelat ka doon sa mga cadet na iyan. So that’s what you are, Mr. Trillanes, you are a nobody in this country.

Iyon po, Secretary Roque, iyong masasabi ko po sa kaniya.

SEC. ROQUE: Maraming salamat, Secretary Paras; and congratulations again on your appointment as Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs.

Punta na po tayo sa ating open forum. Usec. Rocky?

USEC. IGNACIO: Yes. Good afternoon, Secretary Roque.

Question from Kris Jose of Remate/Remate Online: Sa PDP Laban meeting, kapansin-pansin na itinutulak ng Pangulo si Senator Bong Go na tumakbo sa pagkapangulo. Ibig bang sabihin nito ay mas bilib ang Pangulo kay Senator Go kaysa sa kaniyang anak na si Mayor Sara sa mga pinagpipiliang iendorso? Tama ba na si Senator Bong Go na ang ‘the one’?

SEC. ROQUE: Well, dati pa naman pong palaging binubuyo ni Presidente si Senator Bong Go na tumakbo ‘no. Pero ang palaging sinasabi ni Senator Bong Go is that he is not interested.

USEC. IGNACIO: Second question po niya: Binanggit ni Pangulong Duterte sa PDP Laban meeting ang tungkol sa 2.2 billion tax evasion case ni Senator Pacquiao. Simula na ba ito ng resbak ng pamahalaan sa akusasyon ng senador na mas malala ang korapsiyon sa kasalukuyang administrasyon? May aabangan bang pasabog ang gobyerno ng mga sikreto ng Pambansang Kamao?

SEC. ROQUE: Hindi po iyan resbak, matagal na pong kaso niya iyan sa BIR. Kaya nga po sinasabi ni Presidente, “Akala ko ba ikaw ay anti-corruption?” You have to walk the talk ‘no if you’re against corruption, bakit ikaw mismo eh hindi nagbabayad ng buwis which is really a form of corruption dahil ikaw ay, at the same time, ay public officer.

USEC. IGNACIO: Thank you, Secretary.

SEC. ROQUE: Maraming salamat. Triciah Terada, please.

TRICIAH TERADA/CNN PHILIPPINES: Hi! Good afternoon, Spox Harry. Sir, first question: The President seems inclined to running for vice president. Paano na po iyong pangako niya kay Congressman Romualdez?

SEC. ROQUE: He never made any promise to Congressman Nograles.

TRICIAH TERADA/CNN PHILIPPINES: Congressman Romualdez po, Romualdez. Iyong naging usapan po nila, sir, iyong deal nila.

SEC. ROQUE: Again, to quote the President, “I’m sold to the idea. I’m seriously thinking.” He did not say ‘I’m definitely running’. So sinabi naman po niya earlier na should Congressman Romualdez choose to run for the vice presidency, he will support him because that is his promise.

TRICIAH TERADA/CNN PHILIPPINES: Sir, it seems iyong PDP Laban, there are members that are for the President and there are members na they are also siding with Senator Manny Pacquiao. What’s the game plan, sir? Kasi I understand he’s attending the July 17 meeting. So paano po mangyayari, sir, kung halimbawa po magkahati iyong partido? Will the President stay or will he leave the party?

SEC. ROQUE: Well, we have discussed this with the President but I feel it’s premature to make any statement on this particular question. Basta ang sinabi lang ni Presidente, we will do this legally ‘no. So, let’s see what happens.

TRICIAH TERADA/CNN PHILIPPINES: Okay. Sir, ito pong kaguluhan ngayon ‘no between the President and Senator Pacquiao and the whole issue about politics, hindi po ba ito nakakagulo, sir, sa trabaho ng Pangulo? Iyong mga potential candidates are saying na it’s not time to talk about politics but here we have the President, you know, dedicating more than two hours talking to PDP, talking about politics. What does this say now about the government’s priorities?

SEC. ROQUE: It hasn’t changed, it’s still COVID-19. Pero, what do you do? COVID-19 or not, elections are coming up. So political parties have to prepare and candidates will have to file their certificates of candidacy in the first 10 days of October.

TRICIAH TERADA/CNN PHILIPPINES: So, sir, from what we are saying ‘no, I mean… well obviously tama po ba, the President is very hands on also with the upcoming elections?

SEC. ROQUE: Well, let’s just say that because he is Chairman of the party, he has an interest in who the party will field as president and vice president in the 2022 elections.

TRICIAH TERADA/CNN PHILIPPINES: Sir, final question na lang. Just to pressing the issue, iyong pagtanggal po ng testing requirement or parang pag-allow lang kahit vaccination cards will be okay ‘no for inter-travel. Sir, ano po iyong basis daw nito ‘cause many experts are reacting na delikado daw po itong change sa guidelines po ng IATF?

SEC. ROQUE: It was decided na because you are fully vaccinated, as a way of incentivizing at saka ang siyensya naman diyan ‘pag nabakunahan ka na eh ang probability na magkakasakit ka nang malala is almost none ‘no. So yes, you could still catch it pero the probability is also not a 100% anymore ‘no.

So wala naman talagang 100% guarantee. Ang PCR test naman talaga ‘pag ginamit din iyan, if at the time you took it hindi ka pa reactive then you will be negative but you don’t know when it will actually surface ‘no. So sa gitna po ng pandemya, Trish, there’s no such a thing as a 100% guarantee.

TRICIAH TERADA/CNN PHILIPPINES: All right. Thank you very, Spox Harry.

SEC. ROQUE: Maraming salamat, Trish. Usec. Rocky, please.

USEC. IGNACIO: Yes. Thank you, Secretary. From Rosalie Coz of UNTV: Ano ang Palace reaction sa report ng Ateneo School of Governance na pumalya ang Duterte administration na ma-meet ang target nito sa pag-address sa COVID-19 pandemic?

SEC. ROQUE: Ah, hindi na po nagugulat, Ateneo po iyan.

USEC. IGNACIO: Second question po niya: On possible deployment ban sa Saudi Arabia. Ano ang magiging dahilan upang tuluyang ihinto ulit ni Pangulong Duterte ang pagpapadala ng OFW doon?

SEC. ROQUE: Wala pa po akong naririnig na balita na may ganiyang plano quite frankly ‘no and this is the first time I’m hearing about it.

USEC. IGNACIO: From Leila Salaverria of Inquirer: The Department of Health said LGU may still require fully vaccinated travelers to present negative RT-PCR test. Is the Palace concerned about the lack of uniformity in rules for fully vaccinated individuals traveling within the country? How will these affect efforts to boost tourism and boost economic activity?

SEC. ROQUE: Ulitin ko lang po ang sinabi ko ‘no: Ang IATF resolutions po are resolutions adopted for and in behalf of the President in the exercise of police power. That’s binding on all unless you declare yourself to be an independent republic. Pero sinabi ko rin po, hindi naman po bingi ang IATF – pinakikinggan naman po ang sinasabi ng mga lokal na pamahalaan.

Pero hanggang mag-decide po o baguhin ng IATF ang mga patakaran, kinakailangan ipatupad po muna. But I understand that this afternoon there will be an IATF meeting and this will again be discussed kasi sabi ko nga po, hindi naman po pupuwedeng balewalain ang mga posisyon lalung-lalo na ng mga lokal na pamahalaan dahil sila naman po ang nagpapatupad ng mga IATF resolutions. So the IATF will address the concerns of the LGU pero for now wala pa pong bagong resolution na na-adopt.

USEC. IGNACIO: From Maricel Halili of TV-5: Ano ang nangyari sa StaySafe app? Sabi ni Mayor Magalong hindi na ito mandatory, optional na lang daw ang paggamit nito. Ito na ba ang bagong polisiya ng IATF? Ano ang naging problema?

SEC. ROQUE: Well again ‘no, hindi pa po nababago ang IATF resolution on StaySafe ‘no. So kinikilala pa rin po natin siya as the app for the country and the directive for all LGUs to integrate their systems with the StaySafe app remains po ‘no. Again unless this is changed, it remains the pertinent IATF resolution

USEC. IGNACIO: Second question niya: Ibig bang sabihin nito na hindi na integrated ang digital contact tracing apps? Itutuloy na lang ba iyon per LGU na QR code?

SEC. ROQUE: I already answered that. Hindi pa po nababago iyong polisiya, iyong resolusyon ng IATF na ang mga lokal na pamahalaan ay pinapa-integrate po sa StaySafe.

USEC. IGNACIO: Thank you, Secretary.

SEC. ROQUE: Maraming salamat. Pia Rañada, please.

PIA RAÑADA/RAPPLER: Hello. Secretary, can you hear me?

SEC. ROQUE: Yes. Go ahead, please.

PIA RAÑADA/RAPPLER: Okay. Just a few questions for you, sir, and then hopefully also for Political Adviser Jing Paras. So, Sec., just the first one. Sir, why was Senator Koko Pimentel not present at the PDP Laban meeting two days ago and though the President met also with his group in PDP Laban?

SEC. ROQUE: I do not know. Please ask Senator Pimentel.

PIA RAÑADA/RAPPLER: But, sir, ‘di ba Malacañang iyong nag-invite? I mean, I’m assuming that the invite came from Malacañang. Is there a reason why he was not invited—was he invited?

SEC. ROQUE: I do not know if it was a Malacañang invitation or if it was arranged by PDP Laban.

PIA RAÑADA/RAPPLER: All right. Sir, the President mentioned something about legally resolving the factions in PDP and something about accreditation. Can you just elaborate on that? How does he intend to resolve the factions legally?

SEC. ROQUE: Legally, there is a procedure. If there is an intra-party dispute, then the COMELEC will have jurisdiction to rule on it.

PIA RAÑADA/RAPPLER: And is he inclined to endorse a certain faction as the real PDP-Laban who will be fielding candidates for the 2022 elections? Paano ba iyon, sir?

SEC. ROQUE: I believe he was addressing persons whom he believed were the rightful leaders of PDP-Laban.

PIA RAÑADA/RAPPLER: Oh, so he believes sina Sec. Cusi are the rightful? So, parang, he thinks Pimental is not part of the real PDP-Laban? Ganoon po ba, sir?

SEC. ROQUE: No, I am not saying that. I am saying that he met with individuals whom he thought and believed are the rightful leaders of the PDP-Laban. But that is without prejudice to the role of Senator Koko Pimentel, because we know that his family founded PDP-Laban. But you see one person, cannot be–

PIA RAÑADA/RAPPLER: So does the President intend to meet also with Senator Pimentel given that iyon nga, if unity, I mean?

SEC. ROQUE: I have no idea.

PIA RAÑADA/RAPPLER: I mean, isn’t he favoring one faction over the other by not meeting with Senator Pimentel and his team?

SEC. ROQUE: No information as of now.

PIA RAÑADA/RAPPLER: All right. Last question for you, sir? If Mayor Sara Duterte decides to run for President, how will that change President Duterte’s 2022 plans?

SEC. ROQUE: I do not know if it will. And we do not know what is the decision of Mayor Sara Duterte will be. So let’s wait for her decision.

PIA RAÑADA/RAPPLER: So there was no discussion of that scenario during the PDP-Laban meeting or with the President that you maybe spoke with him separately? Wala pong ganoong discussion?

SEC. ROQUE: Well, I have previously said, na he really wants Sara to run, but Mayor Sara really does not want to run. And so we have to choose between whoever has the numbers. I repeated this quite a number of times. And the latest proclamation of course, is he does not want Mayor Sara to run, because he does not want his daughter to be a victim to the ugly side of politics. That’s the concern of the President – trying to protect his daughter from the ugly side of politics.

PIA RAÑADA/RAPPLER: All right. My last question is for Presidential Adviser Jing Paras.

SEC. ROQUE: Go ahead, please.

PIA RAÑADA/RAPPLER: Sir, you have only been recently named the adviser.  So, I am hoping you might be able to see something about the PLLO’s activities. Sir, given that we only have a year left to the administration. What are the bills the President wants Congress to pass before he steps down? For example, priority ba iyong postponing the BARMM election? Is death penalty re-imposition still a priority? How about the military pension reform bills and how about the ‘anti-Endo’ law which the President vetoed in 2019?

SEC. PARAS: Yeah, these are all priorities of the President actually. As far as the number one priority of the President, he is pushing the approval by the Senate of the Department of OFWs (DOFil) or it’s named otherwise as the Department of OFWs. He is also pushing for the resolution of the BARMM, because there are conflicts between certain governors and the transition commission. So, I think as far as that is concern that is already being considered in the floor by the Senate. But sa House, they are still conducting a hearing on this.

Then iyong sa pension fund, they are still threshing it out kung papaano i-apply kasi the amount that is involved there is so huge ‘no. Like they are saying that iyong new entrance lang, or iyon bang ano, is totality, then is it okay to involve the GSIS and so on and so forth. So these are still issues that has to be resolved, Pia ‘no. so iyon, and I think they are also pushing the CTRP 4, which will resolve certain taxation on certain sectors.

Then I think the Public Service Act, the Foreign Investment Act and I think there is another one, which was certified by the President as urgent, but this is still pending ‘no.  The House has already approved this long time ago. But still pending in the Senate plenary. So, ito po ang mga important bills ito ng ating Pangulo na talagang, we will try to push it, before the election fever heats up, by October.

PIA RAÑADA/RAPPLER: So, sir, the ‘Anti-Endo’ bill is not in the priority anymore?

SEC. PARAS: Endo?

PIA RAÑADA/RAPPLER:  Sir, iyong anti-Endo, iyong ending contractualization? Kasi, sir, hindi ba, he vetoed that?

SEC. PARAS: Well, because of the controversy it did and when the President veto it, all the sectors has not been voicing out their opinions on this, even the Department of Labor. So, medyo hindi naging priority ito ngayon ‘no. If you look at the reason, why the President has vetoed it, it does, because it was not able to resolve the conflict between the labor and the management. So, iyon po ang ano diyan. So maybe in due time, I think, that’s still an important proposed legislation.

PIA RAÑADA/RAPPLER: All right. Thank you, sir.

SEC. PARAS: Thank you, Pia.       

SEC. ROQUE: Okay, thank you, Pia. Usec. Rocky again, please.

USEC. IGNACIO: Yes, from Llanesca Panti of GMA News online: Is the President willing to run for VP in 2022 under Hugpong ng Pagbabago led by his daughter or under PDO-Laban? Which is which and why so?

SEC. ROQUE: Well, anything is possible. In the first place, hindi pa naman po siguradong tatakbo ang Presidente.  He is seriously thinking about it.

USEC. IGNACIO: From, MJ Blancaflor of Daily Tribune: Will the President be fielding a candidate for president who will [run] against Mayor Sara?

SEC. ROQUE: That is highly unlikely.

USEC. IGNACIO: Thank you, Secretary.

SEC. ROQUE:  Okay, Melo Acuña, please.

MELO ACUÑA/ASIA PACIFIC DAILY: Good afternoon, Mr. Secretary. Nabanggit po ni Pangulong Duterte sa kaniyang pagdalaw sa Zamboanga na pinag-aaralan niya na magkaroon ng parang ala-GSIS to respond to the soldiers’ benefits. Would you have any idea kung ano ang magiging approach dahilan sa baka ipaarkila daw iyong bahagi ng Fort Bonifacio?

SEC. ROQUE: Ang punto po ng Presidente ay kinakailangang dagdagan pa ang benepisyo ng ating kasundaluhan. Details will follow.

MELO ACUÑA/ASIA PACIFIC DAILY: I see. Mayroon pong 1,283 government employees na pumanaw dahilan sa COVID-19 ayon sa Civil Service Commission as of April 20 this year? Would you have any idea kung anong benepisyo ang kanilang natanggap na tinatadhana naman sa batas?

SEC. ROQUE: Well, alam ko po, bukod sa hazard pay ay mayroon pong death benefits na binibigay po. Pero iyon lang po ang full extent na pagkakaalam ko, mayroon pong makukuha talaga sa GSIS na death benefits as well as iyong hospitalization cost for the treatment of COVID. Mayroon pong package diyan ang PhilHealth.

MELO ACUÑA/ASIA PACIFIC DAILY: Opo. Nabanggit po ng Department of Finance, na sinusuportahan nila iyong panawagan ng Department of Education na kailangang magkaroon ng public apology ang World Bank.  Mayroon na po bang official statement ang Malacañang tungkol dito sa kailangan na public apology from World Bank on the release they had recently na mayroong lumang datos?

SEC. ROQUE:  We support the call of Secretary Briones that the World Bank owes the country an apology.

MELO ACUÑA/ASIA PACIFIC DAILY: Para po naman kay Ginoong Jing Paras, ang aking susunod na tanong. Magandang tanghali po ang congratulations sa inyong appointment. Undersecretary Paras, my question is: Ako ay nasa media for some time, pero how would I know if a statement is political or official coming an authority in government? How would I differentiate the political from the official statement?

SEC. PARAS: Well, depende po iyon sa statement po, ano. Well, ako, being now an official of government and being the Presidential Adviser on political Affairs so definitely, if I speak for the administration or for the government, it will be an official statement, unless probably, I will say that this is my personal view on the matter. So, that’s the only time that I will be speaking as a private individual, it will not reflect on my official function.

But since the position itself says, presidential adviser on political affairs, so iyong lahat ng mga sasabihin ko eh it will be [an official statement]. And I will not also say if I will not be asking permission or it will not be sanctioned by the government or by the President or by my superiors sa gobyerno po. So, iyon po ang masasabi ko diyan, Melo.

MELO ACUÑA/ASIA PACIFIC DAILY: Opo. Kaya ko po naitanong iyan ay nabanggit po ng ating kaibigang si Secretary Bebot Bello na baka hindi na kailangan iyong professional exams para doon sa ilang mga propesyon na nangangailangan ng examination at pagkilala ng PRC eh samantalang iyong world market eh naghahanap ng mga may degree at may lisensya. So, I wouldn’t know whether it’s an official statement, is it an appeal or is it a political statement?

SEC. ROQUE: Well, Melo, may I—

SEC. PARAS: Si Harry ____.

SEC. ROQUE: It’s a moderator’s discretion. I think that’s the question that we should reserve for Secretary Bello ‘no.

SEC. PARAS: Yes—oo.

MELO ACUÑA/ASIA PACIFIC DAILY: Okay po. Salamat po! Thank you.

SEC. ROQUE: Maraming salamat, Melo. Back to USec. Rocky, please.

USEC. IGNACIO: Yes, Secretary. From Ms. Huang Zhengzheng (Yellow) ng China Central Television: Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic started, a few western countries have been attempting to politicize the origin tracing of the virus and hyping up the lab-leak theory. WHO and many top scientists worldwide said there is no evidence for lab-leak theory but scientists have come under political pressure, verbal abuse and even threats from western countries. Do you have any comment on the issue of COVID-19 origin’s study?

SEC. ROQUE: However it originated, COVID pandemic is a reminder to sovereign states that we live in one planet and that there are things that transcend national boundaries that require a rethinking of the manner by which we exercise sovereignty in a global community.

Iyon lang po.

USEC. IGNACIO: From Kyle Atienza ng Business World: Why is the state-run television being allowed to air the meeting of PDP-Laban. PTV yesterday also aired the press conference of PRP (People’s Reform Party) which officially announced its support for the potential presidential bet of Mayor Sara Duterte in the 2022 polls. Papayagan din ba ng Malacañang na i-ere sa PTV ang meetings ng Liberal Party and other opposition groups? Similar question with Leila Salaverria.

SEC. ROQUE: Ang alam ko po, whenever it’s news worthy, it’s covered kasi kung hindi po ma-ii-scoop naman sila. PTV is still a news agency ‘no. And of course, another example of a news worthy event is the interment of the former Philippine President that was also covered live by PTV 4.

USEC. IGNACIO: Second question po niya: Are government offices allowed to use public resources for partisan activities?

SEC. ROQUE: Well, iiwan ko na po iyang issue na iyan kung ano iyong sinasabi ninyong partisan activities. Pero the President po has always been chairman of PDP-Laban and there is simply no way to separate the political personality of the President from his functions because halal nga po siya ng taumbayan, his position is principally political.

USEC. IGNACIO: From Sam Medenilla of Business Mirror: Last month po nabanggit po ng DTI that DICT is developing an electronic version of vaccine card. Kailan po kaya mai-implement ang nasabing system?

SEC. ROQUE: I think they have developed, ang kulang pa lang ay ang pasok ng database ng mga vaccinated individuals dahil ang alam ko po, 30% pa lang ang naa-upload nila pero hahabol naman po iyan.

USEC. IGNACIO: From Ivan Mayrina po ng GMA News. Ang tanong po niya: Kaliwa’t kanan po po ang mga nabubuong alyansa ngayon sa pagitan ng HNP ni Mayor Inday Sara at ng iba pang mga partido pero ang hindi pa po nababanggit ay ang alyansang PDP-Laban ng Pangulo at ng HNP or is that already a given?

SEC. ROQUE: Pareho pong may mga spokesperson ang PDP-Laban at ang Hugpong, please address your queries to them.

USEC. IGNACIO: Opo. May pahabol lang po si Kyle Atienza ng Business World: Is the President confident that his last two tax reform bills would be passed by the Congress before he steps down in 2022?

SEC. ROQUE: Well, kaya nga po importante pa rin ang close coordination ang working relationship between the Executive and Congress. I think Congress naman po defers to bills which have been certified as urgent by the Executive and the reality is we also have support in both houses of Congress for these initiatives.

USEC. IGNACIO: Thank you, Secretary Roque.

SEC. ROQUE: Maraming salamat po. At dahil wala na po tayong tanong, again, I’d like to thank Secretary Paras for joining us today. Thank you very much, Usec. Rocky. And thank you very much to our colleagues in the Malacañang Press Corps.

Dahil wala na po tayong tanong, sa ngalan po ng ating Presidente Rodrigo Roa Duterte, ito po ang inyong Spox Harry Roque nagsasabi: Pilipinas, COVID pa rin po ang problema pero nakasaad po sa ating Saligang Batas na magkakaroon ng halalan sa Mayo. So, habang po nasa pandemya, pinag-uusapan na po ang pulitika pero ang ating prayoridad AY COVID-19 pa rin at ang pagbangon sa pandemyang ito.

Magandang hapon po sa inyong lahat.

 

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