February 14, 2017 – Press Briefing by Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella with Chairperson Aiza Seguerra National Youth Commission
|Press Briefing by Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella with Chairperson Aiza Seguerra National Youth Commission|
|Press Briefing Room, New Executive Building, Malacañang|
|14 February 2017|
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Good morning. We are pleased to have today National Youth Commission Chairperson Aiza Seguerra.
Aiza is a singer; a supporter of Karapatan Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights; ambassador for Amnesty International; LGBTQIA rights advocate; and a supporter of Rock Ed; a member of Organisasyon ng Pilipinong Mang-Aawit and Filipino Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers.
Known for many, many songs like “Pagdating ng Panahon” and movies. Aiza studied at the University of Santo Tomas, Major in Guitar at the UST College of Fine Arts and Design where Aiza also majored in Industrial Design from 2001 to 2002.
Ladies and gentlemen of the Malacañang Press Corps, Aiza Seguerra.
CHAIRPERSON SEGUERRA: Magandang, magandang araw po sa inyong lahat. And maraming salamat ho dahil pinagbigyan ninyo po kami ngayong Valentine’s Day at para po sa mga taong bitter, Happy Tuesday.
Sinadya po namin na nandito po kami dahil naniniwala po kami na dahil mahal po natin ang isa’t isa ay panahon na po upang seryosohin natin ang mahahalagang usapin tungkol po sa HIV.
First, we, at the National Youth Commission, believed that there is a need to disseminate the correct information about HIV.
Aminin po natin na may iba’t ibang pananaw po tungkol sa HIV at kadalasan ay kinakatakutan o madalas iniiwasan natin ang mga taong positibo dito.
‘Pag narinig pa lang po natin ang salitang “virus”, kakaiba na po ang pakiramdam natin. Pero kailangan pong maintindihan ang tamang konteksto tungkol dito, lalo na po ang pamamaraan para po makaiwas.
This is why the National Youth Commission took the initiative to come up with the anti-HIV campaign dubbed as the “Virus Ends With Us.”
This is an umbrella campaign that aims to wipe out the stigma with the help of the youth, the parents, educators, people living with HIV, and celebrity endorsers.
Nakipag-alyansa po ang National Youth Commission sa iba’t iba pong sektor para po sa kampanyang ito dahil gusto po namin na mapalawak po ito nang husto and we really — we rely po on people and institutions who believe in the cause.
At dahil po diyan nabuo po ang campaign na ito with the following pillars: number one, ang “Usap Tayo Caravan.”
We believe po that the parents and educators should get involved in the campaign with the “Usap Tayo Caravan.”
This is a program of Train Station, Inc., a company that specializes in training, workshops for personal and organizational development.
“Usap Tayo” seeks to address the lack of communication between parents and children about actually the most important things, about taboo things, about sex, drugs, HIV, LGBT, mental health.
Through “Usap Tayo”, the parents and educators will be taught how to approach the subject and talk to the young people about it.
The “Usap Tayo Caravan” intends to properly brief adults and grown-ups about keeping an open mind about the possibility of the children getting infected with HIV.
Ang expertise po ng kompanyang ito ang Train Station, Inc. ay neuro-linguistic programming. It will help po na ma-empower at ma-enable po natin ang communication between parents and children.
Isa po sa mga dahilan ng mga kung anu-anong problema po ng mga kabataan ay ang kawalan po ng panahon na makapag-usap-usap.
Naniniwala po ang National Youth Commission na sa pamamagitan nito ay magkakaroon po ng pagkakataon na mag-open up ang mga bata sa kanilang mga magulang at gayundin po ang mga magulang sa kanilang mga anak.
The “Usap Tayo” workshop follows after an awareness campaign. Sa pamamagitan po nito ay tiyak na magkakaroon po ng pagbabago.
If we can encourage one child to speak, to open up; if we can influence one parent to listen first before reacting; to understand instead of being angry, iyon po ang goal natin.
Ang pangalawa po, misconceptions about HIV have been preventing everyone from getting tested. This is why we asked the help of our celebrities who are inspiring and passionate advocates against HIV to debunk myths about it.
Through the integrated efforts of advocates, celebrities and people living with HIV, we are able to help educate and encourage the people to make HIV testing a universal practice.
Dagdag po na may usapin sa kulturang Pilipino na mas nagpapalala po ng stigma sa HIV that makes it difficult for the youth to talk about it.
Sa pamamagitan po ng campaign na ito, sana po ay maging normal na usapan na po ang tungkol sa HIV that will enable education about the infection through digital and on ground efforts.
“Virus Ends With Us” is a campaign of the National Youth Commission with the help of Train Station and the Y&R Philippines Ad Agency.
The NYC encourages everyone to support the campaign. Please, please, please support us para po tuluyan pong masugpo ang nakakabahalang pagkalat ng HIV infection in the country.
So right now we are launching our hashtag #VirusEndWithUs sa Facebook at sa Twitter po.
So now, magla-launch po kami ng dalawang video, ‘yung isa po it aims to educate our people na ang testing po natin, ang proteksyon kagaya po ng condom, at ang gamot po ay libre po ito sa ating mga health centers.
So this is our first campaign. This is “Libre ‘To”. Please watch it.
So, of course, gusto po namin pasalamatan — lahat po ‘yan ay “thank you” — pasalamatan ang mga actors. Libre din po sila. So maraming salamat po sa ating mga kasamahan sa industriya, sa pagtulong po sa ating HIV awareness campaign.
Ito pong pangalawa, it’s actually… Medyo mas sensitive po siya because naniniwala po kami that we cannot win this war against HIV if wala pong tulong ang mga parents natin, ang mga educators, ang ating mga nakatatanda.
And kagaya nga po ng sinabi diyan sa video na una, libre po ang gamot sa HIV. Ika nga ay manageable na ito. Pero bakit ang dami pa ring namamatay? Bakit marami pa rin ang nai-infect? So I think, ang pinaka-problema dito is, it’s not actually the HIV that kills people, it’s actually the stigma.
So ito po ang pangalawang video namin. Sana po panoorin ninyo.
CHAIRPERSON SEGUERRA: So iyon po ‘yung aming dalawang videos na ni-launch. Maraming, maraming salamat po oras na ibinigay ninyo po sa National Youth Commission and good day. Thank you.
We’re now open for questions.
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS:
CHAIRPERSON SEGUERRA: Happy Tuesday!
Ina Andolong (CNN Philippines): Happy Tuesday. Ano pong age ba dapat do you encourage parents to start talking about these issues? Kasi you mentioned earlier it’s part of the “Usap Tayo” campaign —
CHAIRPERSON SEGUERRA: Yes.
Ms. Andolong: —and how are parents supposed to start out with such talks?
CHAIRPERSON SEGUERRA: Kami po ay naniniwala na dapat, of course, especially for girls ‘no, sana bago sila magkaroon or ‘pag nagkaroon na sila ng kanila ng kanilang first menstruation, sana po ay medyo napag-uusapan na, nabibigyan na po sila ng tamang information. Because sa totoo lang po, nagulat din kami, may mga reports po tayo as young as 10 years old po, buntis na at ang nakabuntis po ay 11 years old.
This is actually medyo hindi naman po siya, hindi ‘yan ang average ano but nakikita po natin na mas maganda po talaga at a very young age may paraan naman po ng pagsasabi. I think kami, na-discuss… Ito na lang, i-kwento ko na lang ‘yung sa anak ko.
We had to talk to our daughter about sex because she wanted to have a baby brother and sister. Of course, we had to explain to her that it’s not that easy for us, for her mom and I, na mag-conceive. So we had to explain to her kung paano ba nabubuo ang bata at kung ano ba ang in vitro fertilization.
So I think there’s a right way naman of explaining it. Hindi natin kailangan… We just have to be factual. Hindi natin kailangan na maging… Siguro dapat mawala sa parents mismo ‘yung malisya. Kasi kapag wala naman sa utak natin ang malisya, madali nating mai-explain ito sa mga bata.
Ms. Andolong: I understand a few months ago, meron na pong reports that the HIV statistics are reaching crisis level —
CHAIRPERSON SEGUERRA: Yes, ma’am.
Ms. Andolong: — looming epidemic. Ano na po ba ‘yung status ngayon?
CHAIRPERSON SEGUERRA: Nandoon pa rin po tayo. That’s why ngayon po sa… May tatlo pong agencies sa government ang nag-a-address dito, of course, DepEd, DOH, and ang National Youth Commission.
Kaya po kasama ang National Youth Commission dahil malaki po ang percentage ng kabataan. Kumbaga ngayon, ang HIV, ang mukha nito ay kabataan na. That’s why… Kaya po namin ni-launch itong campaign na ’to because we want to make sure na bumaba po ito.
Sa ngayon po… Of course, we’re just starting this ano but mataas pa rin po siya. But, hopefully, mas marami na pong magpa-test. Hopefully, mas marami pong mga magulang din ang sumama sa kanilang mga anak na magpa-test.
Kasi po, of course, alam po natin na sa batas ngayon, if you’re under 18, you can’ get tested na wala pong parental consent and we all know how hard it is ‘di ba. Tayo nga magpaalam palang sa magulang natin ng night out, ang hirap na eh. What more, sasabihin mo sa magulang mo na, “Ma, Pa, I’m sexually active.” “Ma, Pa, I might have HIV, please go with me.” So it’s very hard.
That’s why actually we’re pushing also to lower it down, the age of testing and ang pagbibigay ng RH services.
Ms. Andolong: From what age to what age ‘yung lower–?
CHAIRPERSON SEGUERRA: Sana 15.
Ms. Andolong: Ano ba ‘yung… 18?
CHAIRPERSON SEGUERRA: 18 po ngayon.
Ms. Andolong: Thank you.
CHAIRPERSON SEGUERRA: You’re welcome, ma’am.
Q: [off mic]
CHAIRPERSON SEGUERRA: Yes, we have to. Oo, it’s legislation.
Marlon Ramos (Philippine Daily Inquirer): How do you engage the youth groups dito sa awareness campaign ng NYC?
CHAIRPERSON SEGUERRA: Actually nakakatuwa because napakaraming mga youth groups talaga ngayon ang mga advocates ano. And we had a meeting with them, sinabi namin sa kanila, “Ito ang module natin.”
Kasi ngayon sa totoo lang, iba na ang mga kabataan ngayon eh. It’s better if you just give them ‘kung ito ‘yung gusto natin mangyari, ito ang goal natin.’ Now it’s up to you how you want to deliver the message dahil mas nae-empower din sila.
So nakakatuwa because ang ganda ng mga ideas nila. May mga games pa, so it’s not a boring talk, alam mo ‘yun? Hindi siya magiging boring, itong magiging — ating mga seminars. It will be interactive because of the ideas of our youth groups.
Mr. Ramos: Are these groups school-based or —?
CHAIRPERSON SEGUERRA: Halo po. School-based and community-based po.
Mr. Ramos: Ah may mga school tayo?
CHAIRPERSON SEGUERRA: Opo. Of course, we really have to address also our out-of-school youths, so yes, community-based.
Mr. Ramos: Recently ‘yung DepEd — Secretary Leonor Briones decided not to distribute condoms sa mga schools.
CHAIRPERSON SEGUERRA: Yes.
Mr. Ramos: What’s your view on that?
CHAIRPERSON SEGUERRA: Siyempre… Ako na lang… Okay, tapos na ‘yun, ‘yun ang desisyon pero ako po, I, ako I implore — I humbly implore our teachers also, sana po ay maging partner po namin kayo dito na — sa pagbibigay po ng tama pong impormasyon.
Napakalaking bagay po na ang mga teachers ay kasama kasi dito eh. So iyon po,
‘yun po ang aming view diyan. That’s why we also did this campaign ano, kasi kung hindi pwede sa eskwelahan, at least alam din ng mga tao kung saan sila pwedeng kumuha ng proteksyon.
Mr. Ramos: How about the Church?
CHAIRPERSON SEGUERRA: What about?
Mr. Ramos: May engagement din ba kayo sa–?
CHAIRPERSON SEGUERRA: Sa ngayon po wala pa po.
Mr. Ramos: Sa Church groups? Ah wala pa. Thank you.
Joseph Morong (GMA-7): Good morning. Hi, I’m interested doon sa lowering of the age to 15. May kinakausap na kayo sa Congress to lower this to–?
CHAIRPERSON SEGUERRA: Yes, opo. Patuloy naman po ito, ‘yung mga PLHIV advocates natin and —
Mr. Morong: But no bill has been passed — ay been submitted yet?
CHAIRPERSON SEGUERRA: Wala pa po. It’s actually just… They just have to amend it, the legislation.
Mr. Morong: Ah okay. But still they need a bill. Wala pa ‘no?
CHAIRPERSON SEGUERRA: Wala pa po.
Mr. Morong: Would you have the statistics? Kasi sabi mo kanina ‘yung phase ng HIV-AIDS is kabataan. But would you have the… profile?
CHAIRPERSON SEGUERRA: Okay. Sa 28 Pinoys po na nai-infect, ang 24, 26 dito ay kabataan. Sixty-two percent of new infections ay among 15 to 24 years old. Eighty-five percent of the new infections ay 15 to 30 years old. So iyon po ang pinaka-importanteng data.
Twenty-four young Filipinos get infected everyday, 24, yes. So ito po ang data na meron po kami. Iyong mga komplikadong data po sa DOH na lang po ah.
Mr. Morong: Where do you attribute that kind of rate?
CHAIRPERSON SEGUERRA: Halo, sir, eh, sa totoo lang ano. We cannot say that ngayon lang naman nag-e-engage ng early sexual encounter sa mga kabataan because we all know this has been happening before.
Siguro ang nangyayari lang is because now, the youth are getting tested. Maybe that’s why.
Number two, siguro ‘yon, walang impormasyon. Ang information na nakukuha nila about sex, nanggagaling sa internet.
Kung sa eskwelahan man, siguro ay hindi ganoon ka-kumpleto. Kung sa parents ay hindi rin naibibigay siguro. Hindi lahat po ng mga magulang ay nakakapagbigay ng tamang impormasyon sa kanilang mga anak tungkol dito.
So I think halu-halo po. And talagang siguro, ganoon talaga, it’s a physiological thing. Nagbabago talaga ang katawan ng mga kabataan.
Siguro ang importante lang nating masabi natin sa kanila is itong pagbabago na ito, nangyayari talaga ‘yan so it’s important for them to know the right information na kaakibat nitong pagbabago na ito, ito ‘yung proteksyon na dapat alam mo rin.
Mr. Morong: Just ano elaboration on the treatment kasi mukhang hindi ‘yan alam lahat ng maraming tao that you can get from your local —
CHAIRPERSON SEGUERRA: Health centers… Actually, may tinatawag sila na ano ‘to, “sundown clinics” or something.
Sundown clinics ba ‘yung tawag doon? And I think doon nakukuha. But you can get the information from your health centers po. Libre po ang medicine for HIV.
Mr. Morong: When you say medicine, ano ‘yung available?
CHAIRPERSON SEGUERRA: Antiretroviral medicines.
Henry Uri (DZRH): Ano po ‘yung mga bagay-bagay na nagpapa-engganyo at nag-uudyok lalo sa mga kabataan para pumasok sa maagang pakikipagtalik at nauuwi dito sa sakit nating pinag-uusapan?
CHAIRPERSON SEGUERRA: Siguro itong mga maagang… Itong mga naiisip nila na ito ay ma — actually naiisip din naman natin ito nung tayo’y mga kabataan din.
Hindi? Hindi mo na — Hindi ba? Hindi ba? Sorry, sorry… Hindi? Hindi? Hindi ba? [laughs]
Mr. Uri: Hindi po namin naisip ‘yun kaya hindi namin alam. [laughs]
CHAIRPERSON SEGUERRA: Pasensya na po, nag-assume po ako, sir, ha. [laughs] I think, unang-una, changes ‘no. Alam natin kapag dating mo ng… Ayun, once they get… Sa mga babae, once they get their menstruation, sa mga lalaki naman at a certain age nag-iiba na talaga ang katawan nila, hormonal changes. Kapag adolescent ka alam mo ‘yon, lahat, ‘yung hormones mo they go crazy.
So ito… I think more than the — ‘yung mga — ang mga panlabas na rason ano, I think it’s more of a physiological thing.
It’s just that itong mga panlabas na ito, mas nagpapa — ika nga heats up pa lalo ang ating mga pagbabago sa katawan.
Of course, nandiyan din ‘yung sinasabi natin na mga napapanood din sa telebisyon maybe, nababasa. But ‘yun nga eh, the thing is, it’s everywhere but not all youth engage in early sexual encounters. May ibang nakakapagpigil, may ibang hindi. So I think it’s really a personal thing.
Mr. Uri: So ‘yung Internet ho is the factor na pwede nating balingan ng sisi rito? Kung ‘yon ho ang nakikita ninyong dahilan ano po ang inyong ginagawang kampanya laban dito?
CHAIRPERSON SEGUERRA: Iyong “Usap Tayo”. Sa totoo lang po, sir, lahat naman po kahit saan po tayo pumunta, it can be a factor. It can — everything around us, not just the Internet, maybe movies, books, comics.
Kasi kung iisipin mo it only can be sexual pero I think it’s really the basic unit, the family that we have to address.
Kasi kahit naman po ano ang nakikita ng mga kabataan sa labas kung masasabi natin na ang values nila ay intact maghihintay at maghihintay ‘yan at mag-iingat at mag-iingat ‘yan.
Mr. Uri: Last na lang, ano ho ang payo ninyo doon sa mga kabataan at mga — personal, personal message na lang doon sa mga nakikinig, nanonood na mga kabataan?
CHAIRPERSON SEGUERRA: Ako po ang masasabi ko sa mga kabataan mag-ingat kayo.
Kasi minsan tayong mga kabataan, kayong mga kabataan, sometimes you think that meron tayong parang ano eh parang invincibility cloak eh, alam mo ‘yung parang ‘pwede nating gawin lahat,’ ‘YOLO’ ikaw nga.
But, you know, sometimes with risky behavior these things happen.
So akin lang is yes, you are the youth; yes, you want to live life to the fullest; but please also be responsible. Make intelligent decisions.
Mr. Uri: Thank you, ma’am.
CHAIRPERSON SEGUERRA: Huwag naman ma’am sir, masakit sa puso ‘yung ma’am.
Benjie Liwanag (DZBB): Yes, okay, today is Valentine, it’s a love month.
CHAIRPERSON SEGUERRA: Happy Valentines din, sir.
Mr. Liwanag: Happy Valentines so anong…Iyong sinabi niya direct message now it’s a love month paano natin mapipigilan ‘yan? Any information that would — ‘yung ilalabas especially on the youth, especially today, Happy Valentine’s Day.
CHAIRPERSON SEGUERRA: Kaya nga po napansin ninyo Valentine’s Day po talaga namin inilabas ito dahil ‘yun po ang gusto naming mangyari.
Gusto naming mangyari, ‘okay, sige.’ Siyempre number one is we want you to abstain. But alam naman natin na eh imposible ‘yan, that’s why let’s always seek, may condom po. Iyon lang po.
Kris Jose (Remate): Sir, sir, hindi ninyo po ba kinonsider (consider) na makipag-ugnayan din sa DILG para ‘yung kampanya ninyo bumaba sa mga barangay? Kasi ‘yung mga magulang hindi naman po lahat nanonood, bahay lang para po barangay officials tapos ‘yung mga magulang na nasa bahay?
CHAIRPERSON SEGUERRA: Kasama din po sila hindi lang po — hindi pa lang po namin nailalatag sa kanila ito. But ito naman pong effort na ito ay hindi po matatapos ng February. It’s going to go on.
Thank you very much po, ma’am.
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: May mga tanong pa kayo? More questions?
All right. Good morning, we’d like to begin with two or three points and then we’ll have Q&A.
The Social Weather Stations Fourth Quarter Survey showed some very interesting statistics: 48 percent of Filipinos expected that their personal quality of life would improve in the next 12 months compared to the three percent that expected it would get worse.
Fifty-one percent of Filipinos were optimistic that the general Philippine economy in 2017 would get better compared to the eight percent that felt it would deteriorate.
Quite interestingly, 37 percent of Filipinos said their lives improved in the last 12 months compared to 21 percent who said their lives worsen.
The Duterte administration has pursued a policy of economic inclusivity anchored in peace and order.
The latest survey reaffirms the President’s — that the President is on the right track for espousing economic progress, and peace and order.
Also, in the just recently concluded Business Forum in Davao, the ADB executive Mr. Bolt, said that President Duterte’s 10-point agenda is on the right track.
Content with the economic progress of the Philippines, Mr. Bolt said that there is a need to sustain growth on buoyant consumption and public and private partnership for the Philippine economy to remain strong.
Lastly, a recently concluded survey by InterNations said that the Philippines is one of the best countries for raising a family.
Founded in 2007 and the world’s largest network for expatriates of people work and live abroad, the Philippines ranked number 17 in the list of best countries for raising a family.
According to expats, the Philippines is one of the best in the world for the quality of education, for family and well-being, and a place that has a friendly attitude towards children.
Accessible education is priority for the Duterte administration and the DepEd was given the highest increase of 31 percent in this year’s budget.
We are open for a few questions.
Mr. Ramos: Good morning po, Usec. Sir, just a clarification kasi I think there was a confusion regarding the pledge of the President to release 2 billion the other day sa Surigao. Is it intended for the resident who will be affected by the closure of mines or doon sa mga earthquake victims?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: All right. Let me just go straight to the primary source I read in Cebuano, I will translate. Okay.
“Pero kanang naa koy buhiang kwarta gamay so susteha gyud na sa katong mga nawad-an ug kinabuhi. Murelease ko gamay. Mga two billion tama na siguro? Di mana ninyo mahurot noh? Hala paliti nalang sila ug subdivision ug house and lot tanan.”
I will translate literally:
“I will release a little money, okay. So please use it carefully especially for those who lost their lives.” Or it can also be translated as “those who lost properties and their lives.”
“Mu-release ko gamay,” he said it twice “mga two billion, tama na na sa inyo?”
Okay. “Is two billion enough?” “Di mana ninyo…” “I don’t think you can finish that.” “I don’t think you can use all of that.”
And then he said again is in the same light-hearted manner, he said: “Bilhan ninyo na lang sila ng bahay sa subdivision.”
The essence of the statement is not the two billion but that the essence of the statement is that he would release the monies and the funds to supply the needs of those affected by the earthquake victims.
Mr. Ramos: But ‘yung figure, sir, I think that’s more important because…And because, because your — the President spoke before the survivors ‘nung earthquake…
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: That’s right.
Mr. Ramos: And yesterday Secretary Martin Andanar issued a clarification that it actually intended for the miners?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: All right. Okay, let me just bring this back now to this statement—to his — to the primary source, okay.
The primary source is PRRD, and PRRD made the commitment to meet their needs, okay, to meet their needs.
And the—in this sense, I understand where you’re coming from, that the figure is important. However, the collective intent of the President is to provide for all their needs.
Reporter: [off mic]
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: The survivors. Of the earthquake, yes.
Reporter: [off mic]
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: In this particular statement that which is connected with aid is for the… Yes?
Ina Andolong(CNN) : So, sir, saan po nanggaling ‘yung statement ninyo? I mean I texted you yesterday and also Sec. Martin sent a different statement saying that it’s for the families who may be affected by mining—closure of mining operations in the province?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I was actually quote — making a direct quote from Sec. Martin, okay. But I think it’s crucial, the last part of that statement that said—if you remember the text?
The crucial part is that he—that the President would release aid, financial aid for those in need. There was no specific number for that, thank you.
Ms. Andolong: Where did Secretary—the Communication Secretary get his information then? Did he relay — he basically now relayed to us wrong information?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I am not saying that he relayed wrong information.
Reporter: [off mic]
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Come again.
Let’s just put it this way, let’s stick to what I’m saying now.
Basically, I’m just going by the—I’m just going… Which is in effect, in effect, the same as what Sec. Martin said, the last part.
Ms. Andolong: Yeah the last part, but he did say that it’s actually in a text to one of our reporters he called it “a speculative allocation”, which will be used if and when people lose their jobs, if mining operations in Surigao end or suspended. So that’s not true anymore you’re saying?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I’m not saying that’s not true. I’m just saying that if you need further clarification on that part of the communication, you may refer to him.
Ms. Andolong: Thank you.
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Thank you.
But like I said, based on the primary source, there will be enough funds to provide for the victims. And nothing that’s essential especially as this stage.
Mr. Ramos: Sir, just a reaction, sir, because many survivors of the earthquake are complaining about the slow aid distribution doon sa Surigao and response?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Would you like me to read the statement I made?
Mr. Ramos: Okay, sir, thank you, sir.
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: On the distribution of relief goods in Surigao. The earthquake occurred Friday, February 10, evening, and local government unit of Surigao City, the first responder during disasters, declared a statement of calamity on Saturday, February 11. That’s the timeline. It happened 10, state of calamity 11.
The DSWD regional director team arrived on Saturday to assess the damage and check the affected families, then the relief goods were delivered Sunday from Butuan, okay.
You have to understand that there was damage in ano — in the infra, okay.
Distribution was initially hampered by inadequate distribution system. The victims were already expecting the relief goods as early as 5 a.m., it’s understandable, but the local government made a judgment call to wait for the President to arrive by 1 p.m.
So it was not the DSWD, it was the local government who felt—it felt it was imperative to wait for the President.
Food packs were initially—were finally distributed around 2 p.m. So from…There was about a seven-hour delay, seven-hour delay.
After PRRD made the initial distribution, however, 3,000 family food packs were successfully shared after DSWD Caraga officials, the local government Surigao City, and barangay official worked out a more efficient distribution system.
Remember this was a disaster and the — at the end of day, they all performed admirably. There was a delay, yes, but that was also because it was a certain judgment call based on what they thought was best during the situation.
But it was not intentional, and it was not intended to keep distribution packs or being sensitive to their needs.
It simply was, in a sense, a response to a — they felt it would be more prudent to wait for the President.
Mr. Ramos: The President previously said na ayaw niya ‘yung hinihintay siya and then ‘yung ceremonial na aid distribution, he doesn’t want that…
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: That is true. And I suppose we are all learning how to work with the President. It’s really more inclusive.
Mr. Ramos: Ngayon po okay na ba ‘yung distribution system?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Opo, maayos na. Additional…By the way, additional relief goods are welcome especially drinking water, and may be received by the DSWD and the LGUs in Surigao.
Mr. Ramos: Thank you, sir.
JP Bencito (Manila Standard): Hi, sir, good morning. Sir, ‘yung…You are saying na parang ‘yung two billion is not much of an important matter lang naman. Pero just in case, sir, where will we get funds that will be allocated for—for earthquake victims? Will it be from the quick response fund, will it be from the existing calamity funds? May idea po kaya tayo, sir?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Right now, I do not have an idea where exactly it will come from, but it will be provided.
Mr. Bencito: Thank you, sir.
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Thank you.
Dexter Ganibe (DZMM): Hi, Sec, good afternoon. Sir, follow up lang doon sa distribution, nabanggit ninyo na—the local government ang nag-decide doon.
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Which should be.
Mr. Ganibe: Which should be, oo. Pero ano po ba ang stand ng Malacañang dito dahil nasa disaster na nga ‘yung mga tatanggap ng relief at ipapahintay pa ang Pangulo bago mag-distribute which is sinasabi ng mga residente maaga palang ay nakahanda na doon sa loob ng auditorium ‘yung mga idi-distribute.
May abiso ba ang Malacañang sa mga local government units na magsagawa na lang ng—tawag dito—nung parang ceremonial distribution kapag—before the ceremonial distribution ay pwede ng mag-distribute ng mga relief goods dahil kailangan po nila ‘nung pagkain?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: So ano ‘yung tanong, Dexter?
Mr. Ganibe: May abiso po ba Malacañang na do away with it sa mga LGUs?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I think as Mr. Marlon has already pointed out. I wasn’t, him, that we should just go ahead and do it. He doesn’t stand on ceremony.
I think, at the of the day, Mr. Ganibe, we all just learning how to work with this President. We’re all learning how to be more pro-poor and more proactive. We’re all learning.
But, at the end of the day, it was successfully distributed. There was a slight delay and I suppose everybody just needs to just learn how to work together.
Mr. Ganibe: Kasi malinaw po doon sa mga binabanggit nga ng Pangulo sa mga binisita niya dati noong nakaraan taon na ‘pag bumibisita ako sa mga area na mayroong kalamindad ay huwag ninyo na ako pag-distribyutin kasi hindi ko naman trabaho ‘yun. So ibig hindi na siya hihintayin para doon sa ceremonial distribution at mag-distribute na lang kaagad.
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Mukhang ganoon nga, mukhang ganoon nga, okay. However, the LGU made a judgment call. So, at the end of the day, all’s well that ends well, okay.
But it’s true, we should be more proactive and just go ahead and make sure that — the President, that is his main concern that people should be attended to as soon as possible.
He doesn’t want waiting on ceremony, he doesn’t like ceremony. So for all, for everybody within reach, we should all respond that way.
Mr. Morong: Sir, tama po ‘yun na si Sec. Judy nanawagan for cash donations?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I doubt it.
Mr. Morong: Walang ganoon, sir?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: As far as I know, I doubt it. We don’t that.
Mr. Morong: We have enough funds to cover the…?
Leila Salaverria (Philippine Daily Inquirer): Good afternoon, sir. Sir, the CBCP said it was willing to collaborate with the President. Given the tenor of the President’s statements against the bishop, is it—is this even possible? Is he willing to listen or work with them?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: At the end of the day, anything is possible. Sabi ko nga last time, “Wala naman sigurong matigas na tinapay sa mainit na kape.”
If they show this from the very beginning, maybe we would have a better working relationship. Of course, we welcome that. But, of course, at this particular stage, things have to be worked out, okay. But the initiative must come from the CBCP.
Ms. Salaverria: When you say think…What do you mean? That they need to apologize for their — ?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Not necessarily, but I suppose magma-magandang loob, you know, just work it out.
Ms. Salaverria: Do they have to stop speaking out against killings — ?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: There are no [inaudible] in this case. It’s just a question of being able to show goodwill, you know, being civil.
Ms. Salaverria: Yes, do you have anything in mind what do they have to do for the President to be open to them? Well, according to CBCP president Soc Villegas, they are in touch with the Cabinet member who is a former seminarian. Would you know anything about this and — ?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: There are three former seminarians, as far I know. Ernie Pernia, Jun Evasco, and myself, yes.
Ms. Salaverria: So sino ‘yung kausap, sir, ‘nung CBCP?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Hindi ko alam, actually, pero alam kong ex-seminarian silang tatlo.
Reporter: [off mic]
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Come again.
Ms. Salaverria: Sir, kasi there are questions from a retired general about the mass grant of the Medal of Valor to the SAF 44 members. According to General Ramon Farolan, it sets a bad precedent because the Medal of Valor should not be given wholesale, it kind of dilutes the essence of the award. So what… Is the President willing to reconsider this, his move?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Let me just read what is provided me. The President already signed last February 8 the posthumous conferment of the Medal of Valor to 42 SAF members.
The Appointments Office is still working on the schedule of the awarding ceremony. So I think we need to… We need to respect the President’s judgment call.
Rosalie Coz (UNTV): Good afternoon, sir. Sir, natanggap na po ba ng Malacañang ‘yung letter po na nire-request po ng misis ni Mr. Jee Ick Joo, the kidnap and slay victim, na kay Pangulong Duterte na hayaan na lang po ang PNP na mag-imbestiga sa kaso?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Sa pagkakalaam ko… Wala akong ano… I don’t have direct knowledge regarding that matter.
But we can find out. Sayang wala dito si Ace. He could say I’ll get back to you later.
Ms. Coz: If ever po ma-receive ng Office of the President, ano po ang stand?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: We will wait for that. Thank you.
Mr. Morong: Sir, ‘yung sa Marcos ill-gotten wealth, may decision ‘yung SC, in-affirm ng ‘yung lower court decision na it belongs to the government. Ito ‘yung Malacañang collection ng mga Marcoses. As a matter of policy, sir, when filing ruling is reached by the Supreme Court that it belongs to government, will the government be willing to sell it so we can use the money elsewhere?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I don’t know if we’re going to selling it but we will abide by the decision that it belongs to the government.
Mr. Morong: But should it be sold, sir, para ma-liquidate and magamit?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: That is an entirely different matter.
Mr. Morong: Sir, kailan si Bongbong maging DILG?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: May narinig kang ganyan? Ako, wala.
Mr. Morong: May nakita pa nga ako, sir, eh.
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Ako, no… Frankly, I don’t have any knowledge of that.
Mr. Morong: Wala po at all?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: As far as I’m concerned, as far as I’m concerned, I have not received anything.
Mr. Morong: Okay.
Mr. Bencito: Sir, in the NDF, sa peace process. Sabi po ng NDF hindi daw po sila dapat ‘yung i-blame for the breakdown of the peace talks. It’s just a matter of emotional breakdown for the President. Ano pong reaction ng Palace dito, sir?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: We’re just quiet about it. I mean, that’s their reaction.
Mr. Bencito: Pero, sir, clarification lang on the statement of the President last Sunday. He was, like, somehow giving an — giving an opportunity possibly for the peace talks to continue?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Let’s put it this way. I am not familiar with the actual statement that he made.
But the President is the President of the entire Philippines and it is… It is part of his agenda to ensure that there will be final and lasting peace in the nation.
Mr. Bencito: Last na lang, sir. Were there consultations being made by the President to some Cabinet members involved in the peace process ongoing–?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: He is in constant talk, is in constant touch with OPAPP and DOLE.
Mr. Bencito: Thank you, sir.
Mr. Ramos: Just a clarification lang, sir, doon sa tanong ni Leila. Is the President willing, open to sitting down with the bishops and discuss ‘yung mga differences nila regarding the extrajudicial killings and other matters, sir?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Let’s take it one step at a time. Let’s wait, you know.
Let’s not speculate on how we will be open, but let’s take it one step at a time. First they offer, then we’ll see how he responds.
Mr. Ramos: Thank you, sir.
Mr. Morong: Sir, the President won — ay ran and won on a platform of, you know, anti-corruption—
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Yes.
Mr. Morong: — sa House, sir, may proposal to delist plunder from the list of heinous crimes punishable by death. What is the Palace’s position on this?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: It’s something that will have to be clarified during Cabinet meeting.
Mr. Morong: What do you mean “clarified” in Cabinet meeting, sir?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: If it… How it’s going to… How the President is going to respond to that. Whether it should be removed, whether it should be — it should be discussed either with DOJ or something like that.
And it will be… These matters, which are of great importance, are usually discussed during Cabinet meeting.
Mr. Morong: In other words, sir, wala pang position ‘yung Palace?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Wala pang position.
Mr. Morong: Thank you.