February 16, 2017 – Press Briefing by Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella with Secretary Liza Maza National Anti-Poverty Commission
|Press Briefing by Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella with Secretary Liza Maza National Anti-Poverty Commission|
|Press Briefing Room, New Executive Building, Malacañang|
|16 February 2017|
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Good morning. Our resource person for today is NAPC Lead Convenor Secretary Liza Maza.
She has made her niche as a feminist and an activist. She was also a member of the Philippine House of Representatives from year 2001 to 2010, serving as voice of women and other marginalized sectors.
On her appointment, President Duterte highlighted her passion for public service and activism through integration with urban poor women and workers from her days in the university, and has brought issues from the grassroots to the frontline of rallies and picket-lines, and to the halls of Congress.
Ladies and gentlemen of the Malacañang Press Corps, let us give a warm welcome to Secretary Liza Maza.
SEC. MAZA: Thank you Secretary Abella. Good afternoon to everyone. Magandang hapon po sa inyong lahat.
Meron lang akong maiksing PowerPoint presentation kaugnay ng gawain ng National Anti-Poverty Commission para mas maunawaan natin kung ano ang gawain nito.
Kasi siguro maraming hindi nakakaalam na ang National Anti-Poverty Commission ay hindi naman siya implementing agency.
The National Anti-Poverty Commission by virtue of RA 8425 is a coordinating, monitoring, and — body or agency and it also exercises policy oversight of the government’s anti-poverty programs.
Yes… Okay. Noong simula po na pumasok ako sa NAPC, merong iba-iba na appreciation ‘yung mga dati bago ako namuno sa NAPC.
Iyong nakaraan, tiningnan nila na kinakailangan na mag-implement ang NAPC ng mga proyekto. Pero sa tingin ko po ay napakahalaga na mismo ng mandato na ibinigay sa NAPC, ito ‘yung pagko-coordinate, pagmo-monitor, o pag-evaluate at pag-e-exercise ng oversight functions sa mga anti-poverty programs ng gobyerno.
At batay sa aming pag-aaral sa mandato nito ay binuo namin ‘yung new thrust and direction ng NAPC. Ito po ay ang pag-a-address o pagtugon sa poverty from a comprehensive view of poverty through policy advocacy and people’s participation towards fulfillment of the 10 basic needs.
So kung titingnan po natin, ang ibig sabihin ng comprehensive view of poverty ay ‘yung pagtingin dito bilang resulta ng structural problems ‘no. Meron itong ugat, hindi ito parang, parang ano lang ano puta-putaking pag-sulpot na nakikita na dahil mababa ang kita ng mga tao ngayon o ito ‘yung poverty threshold, therefore, ito ‘yung poverty.
Hindi po ganon na dapat tingnan siya. Dapat tingnan na ito ay merong ugat at ganoon din, ito ay multidimensional. Ito ‘yung ibig sabihin namin na comprehensive view of poverty.
Kasi noon pong nakaraan, ang pagtingin sa poverty ay targeted ‘no, market-centered. Ang ibig sabihin ay nagfo-focus lang doon sa ilang mga programa to address it, like CCT ‘no. So ‘pag meron ka bang CCT, mawawala na ‘yung poverty? Sa tingin po namin, hindi.
Actually, ang view ng NAPC, ang buong Philippine Development Plan mo, kung magka-craft ng isang Philippine Development Plan, para mo maisalba sa kahirapan ang Pilipinas ay dapat isang anti-poverty plan, isang anti-poverty program.
So to end poverty, we must address its roots in underdevelopment and inequality. That is why we have decided to focus our efforts on policy advocacy since many of the things that we need to end poverty require new policy or fundamental changes in existing policy.
Hence, NAPC for example is pushing for measures on genuine agrarian reform and rural development such as House Bill 555 and National Industrialization.
House Bill 555 is about genuine agrarian reform. Essentially the whole set of social and economic reforms of the government has began to commit to in the negotiations on the CASER, which is why the resumption of the peace talks is so important as addressing the roots of armed conflict is also addressing the roots of poverty.
So we have… What is also important is… And this, I think, NAPC lang ang meron nito ano sa mandato niya dahil naniniwala siya na kailangan merong asset reform, naniniwala siya na kailangan magkaroon ng redistribution of wealth.
Nandoon ‘yun sa RA 8425, kaya gustong palakasin ‘no ‘yung partisipasyon ng mga mamamayan ng 14 basis sectors sa pag-go-gobyerno at tiyakin na ang mga programa, proyekto ng gobyerno at kung ano man programang pangkaunlaran ay nakakatugon doon sa mga pangangailangan ng 14 basic sectors.
So NAPC has the following mechanism for strengthening people’s participation. One is through the NAPC en banc. The NAPC en banc is the… [pakibalik] Iyan, ito ‘yung NAPC en banc. Ito ‘yung highest policy-making body of the NAPC which links the representatives of the basic sectors directly with the President.
So we just had our first en banc last January 30. That was the first en banc in 10 years ‘no. Alam ninyo noong nakaraang administrasyon ni isang en banc hindi nagkaroon. Kaya tuwang-tuwa ‘yung mga sektor na sa ilalim ng pangungulo ni Presidente Duterte ay nagkaroon ng en banc.
Ang isa pang mekanismo ay sa pamamagitan ng National Sectoral Assembly and this will be convened this October. This determines the composition of the sectoral councils directly associated with NAPC.
So I’m inviting as many organizations to participate and sign in for the national assembly because we want to have broad and inclusive participation from the 14 or within the 14 basic sectoral groups.
We have also created several other platforms like the partnerships for change. This is a convergence platform for people’s organizations, anti-poverty advocates and other stakeholders in development.
We also have the NAPC Action Center. Alam naman natin ang Presidente gusto niya talaga action agad. Kaya kami sa NAPC ay nag-create din ng NAPC Action Center kung saan sa madaling paraan ay matutugunan namin ‘yung mga — lahat ng idinudulog sa NAPC.
[Next please] Okay, so ito po ‘yung mga activities na ginawa na ng NAPC. Ang marami po diyan ay mga consultations with the different sectoral organizations.
Ang isang malaki ay ‘yung summit of the basic sectors na ginawa namin last August wherein we were able to cull the legislative, executive proposals of the sectors, their agenda para i-input ito sa Philippine Development Plan at saka sa lahat ng ano ‘no, lahat ng mechanisms na kung saan kailangan ‘yung point of view ‘nong ating mga batayang sector.
Sa suma tutal, ang gusto namin mapaunlad ‘yung tinatawagan naming mass movement o kilusang masa laban sa kahirapan. Napakahalaga ito kasi dapat ito magmumula mismo doon sa mga batayang sector.
We think it is high time that we create this movement that is really coming from below ‘no. Hindi po natin ma-a-address ang usapin ng kahirapan kung hindi ‘yung mga mahihirap mismo ay kikilos para baguhin ang kanilang kalagayan.
[Next please] So in addressing but in the year and now, we also had devised this — or we have also crafted this anti-poverty agenda. We call, “The 10 basic needs”. Ito po ‘yung sa tingin namin kailangang i-address ng mga programa at proyekto ng gobyerno. Sampu po ito: ito ‘yung food and land reform, water, shelter, health, education, work, social protection, healthy environment, peace and participation. So ito po ‘yung 10 basic needs.
Inaasahan po namin… Ngayon po kino-compile na namin ‘yung lahat ng mga programa at proyekto ng gobyerno. Tinitingnan namin kung saan sila umaayon ayon dito sa sampung ito. Kasi ito rin po ang lumabas doon sa aming summit. Ito rin po ang sinabi nung mga batayang sektor.
Kaya tinitingnan namin kung ano, nasaan ‘yung mga programa at proyekto ayon dito at amin na pong tinitingnan din ‘yung mga lugar kung saan kulang na kulang ang mga ito.
[Next please, sige next, okay. Pakibalik ‘yung Talambayan. Forward, next, okay diyan. Ah tumutuloy siya.] O sige, anyway, iyong Talambayan, iyon po ‘yung aming isang ginagamit na — na technology ‘no para makakuha o ma-consolidate ‘yung data on poverty. So this is a data warehouse na kung saan amin pong inilalagay dito ‘yung data on education, health, et cetera, et cetera.
Sa ngayon, wala pa kaming pera, sir, [laughs] para gawin itong public so I think this will be very useful for media ‘no. ‘Pag naging public ito, lahat tayo, pwede nating i-access ito ‘no.
So ito ‘yung dine-develop namin para makita natin kung ano ‘yung sektor, ano ‘yung lugar. Kasi hanggang dulo, hanggang barangay kaya nitong ano, kaya nating makita kung anong sitwasyon sa barangay ‘no.
And we are also developing various tools like the rapid community–based monitoring system at saka ‘yung aming community-led monitoring program.
At ito pong mga tools na ito ay ipapasok namin ang data dito sa Talambayan at ‘pag nandidiyan na po ang mga data, comprehensively makikita na natin ‘yung poverty, ‘yung multi-dimensional aspects nito.
Hindi lamang ‘yung income pero ‘yung mga deprivations din ng mamamayan, ‘yung mga kulang, ‘yung mga dapat meron sila.
Like for example ‘yung bahay. Sila ba, ‘yung anak ba nila nakakapag-aral? Hindi ba indikasyon din ‘yan ng kahirapan kung hindi?
So lahat po ‘yan tinitingnan natin. Kaya we hope to be able to ano, to help the policymakers, ‘yung iba ring mga ahensya na ma-i-gear ‘yung kanilang mga programa at proyekto ayon sa kung ano ang talagang sitwasyon ng mamamayan on the ground para po ‘yung — masabi rin natin at maisakatuparan ‘yung sinasabi ni Presidente na dapat ‘yung kanyang panunungkulan ay maging makabuluhan. Makita na on the ground na tunay na may malasakit at saka nararamdaman lalung-lalo na ng mga mahihirap.
Iyon lamang po at maraming salamat sa inyong lahat.
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS:
Pia Ranada (Rappler): Good morning po. Iyong iba pong mga Cabinet officials are of the belief that at a certain point in time, kailangan na po i-phase out ‘yung CCT. Ano na po ba ‘yung opinion niyo po on that and has there been any study done on when would be the right time to phase it out and what else could be done to improve CCT under Duterte admin?
SEC. MAZA: I think the DSWD is already studying the matter. They are conducting research on it. I think they are already also doing, you know, an evaluation on what is really happening on the ground in relation to the impact of CCT ‘no. Pero ako sa palagay ko, by its very concept, hindi talaga ma-a-address ng CCT ‘yung kahirapan. I don’t think it will ever, ever address poverty.
Kaya kahit ‘yung ano eh, kahit ‘yung sinasabing education. Ano ‘yun eh, it’s a promise, it’s long term pero kung gusto mong magkaroon ng real social protection, dapat ‘yung may impact sa ngayon palagay ko.
So dapat ‘yung ide-devise mo na program ‘no ay ‘yung meron ng impact ngayon at palagay ko, ‘yung livelihood ay isang maganda na livelihood programs ay magandang pag-aralan kung ano na kaagad pwedeng magkaroon ng impact doon sa pamilya na mahirap.
Marlon Ramos (Philippine Daily Inquirer): Ma’am, kahit briefly lang po, Secretary. What were discussed during the first NAPC en banc?
SEC. MAZA: During the first NAPC en banc, it was actually organizational ‘no. One, there were two things that were approved, en banc resolutions that were approved:
One, was the approval of the government departments and agencies that should attend the en banc. Kasi sa RA 8425, there are only 13, supposed to be 13, pero inexpand ‘yung attendees ‘no.
So we expanded the attendees so that resolutions was approved. And the other one was the protocols for the en banc meetings. So ‘yon ‘yung two resolutions.
So, and another one, which is really very important is that the President has committed to call the en banc every month. Actually ang proposal namin quarterly lang eh so in-up pa ni President ‘yung ante, nag-every month na kami.
Mr. Ramos: Did he give any insights, instruction on how to address poverty under his administration?
SEC. MAZA: Well, ang ano naman niya, syempre meron siyang, he has three programs ‘no ‘yung drugs, ‘yung corruption ‘di ba at saka ‘yung criminality. And I think ‘yung corruption, importante ‘yun in relation to — specifically in relation to poverty ‘no.
It is a good thing that the very — that the President is very strongly against the oligarchs ‘no. It’s high time that this should be addressed. And the drive against the oligarchs should be pursued ‘no kasi sa palagay ko ang laki-laki na ng kasalanan nila sa bayan and this will… And this is also in line with our advocacy to address inequality ‘no because poverty is caused by inequality. That is one of the root causes of poverty.
So, and the fact that the oligarchs have ruled this country for a long time ‘no is a cause for ano, for concern, if you want to address poverty. Kaya ‘yung statement na ‘yun ni Presidente against the oligarchs is an important component of our anti-poverty work.
Mr. Ramos: Ma’am, you mentioned a while ago that resuming peace talks with the CPP-NPA is very vital in ending poverty. Pa-explain po.
SEC. MAZA: Yes. Because right now, the talks has already started in relation to the comprehensive agreement on social and economic reforms. And this agreement actually addresses the root causes of armed conflict.
And we know that the root cause of armed conflict is also the root cause of poverty. Kaya ano ‘yun eh, sa palagay ko maganda na maituloy ‘yung peace talks para mapag-usapan na nga seryoso ‘yan at magkaroon na ng agreement tungkol sa social and economic reforms like, for example, land reform.
I think land reform is very vital in solving poverty in our country hindi talaga tayo maaalis o mawawala sa sitwasyon ng kahirapan kung hindi tayo magkakaroon ng tunay na repormang agraryo.
Walang bansa ‘no na nakapag-industriyalisa ng hindi muna nagkaroon ng genuine agrarian reform, na nagkaroon ng pamamahagi ng lupa at pagmo-modernize ng kanilang agrikultura.
Mr. Ramos: Ma’am, is it true that the President has set a meeting with you, Ka Paeng and Prof Judy regarding — specifically regarding the latest developments with the peace talks?
SEC MAZA: Yes we are meeting on the 20th, February 20.
Mr. Ramos: Are you planning to discuss these things with him — poverty to convince him to change his mind?
SEC MAZA: Yes, definitely, oo.
Mr. Ramos: Thank you po.
Cai Ordinario (Business Mirror): Ma’am, regarding the poverty targets of the government, 14 percent daw. Is that doable at this time and what can NAPC do to attain that or at least approximate that rate if it’s not doable?
SEC. MAZA: First of all, I think it is important to note that when we came in, we have a poverty incidence of about 26 percent; and then biglang nag- drop siya to 21.5 percent. And I have already issued a statement stating my disbelief on the figure.
So I mean that has to be — as far as NAPC is concerned that has to be settled, ano ba talaga ang poverty incidence ng Pilipinas sa ngayon ‘no, so una ‘yon.
Pangalawa, I think that if we institute these reforms that I was talking about pwede nating ma-attain ‘yung ganoong ano ‘no poverty reduction — from 9 to 15 percent.
If you are going to institute genuine agrarian reform, if we start to develop our national industry and — which will spur the economic development.
Ms. Ordinario: Ma’am 9 to 15 percent na poverty rate that’s doable by the end of the Duterte administration or — ?
SEC MAZA: I said if we start, if we will implement the land reform. You know, all this. But if we don’t, I don’t know how we are going to do it. [It’s nine percent ‘no?]
Nine percent is about 9 million out of poverty ‘no. That is from the figure of 26 percent ‘yung una no.
Joseph Morong (GMA-7): Hi ma’am, magandang hapon po. Ma’am, can you give us on update or the status or the state of the peace talks from what the President might have told you in meeting him? Say, for example, sa NAPC was it brought up?
SEC. MAZA: No, it was not brought up. Actually, we were supposed to…Secretary Dureza is supposed to update us on the third round of talks. There’s also the third round of talks in the last Cabinet meeting.
But we were not able to go there anymore because there were a lot of items in the agenda. So the President told us that he will just meet us kaming mga ano [laughs]
Mr. Morong: You say a lot. [laughs]
SEC. MAZA: Pursigido. Mabuti. So the three of us he wants to meet and also Secretary Dureza and Secretary Bebot.
Mr. Morong: But by the fact that he wants to meet you, what does it say about the status of the peace talks?
SEC. MAZA: Well, I’m quite gung-ho. The fact that he wants to meet us my interpretation is that he is open to hearing our views. He is open to, you know, hearing us out.
Mr. Morong: Not just hearing out but do you hope that this will also revive the peace talks?
SEC. MAZA: I hope he will revive the peace talks, yes. It is important because we’re only the…
We are already at a very important stage of the negotiations. This is of the more substantive stage ‘yung CASER, ‘yung Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms.
Kaya ang hirap i-abandon ‘yung ganoon. And marami na ring mga, in the last round, by the way, I was there ‘no, as a panel adviser of the GRP.
So I really saw how it was — how successful it was. Kung papaano both sides are really willing to — to ano ‘no to hammer it — to hammer out, you know, things and come at a unity.
So it will be such a waste kung itatapon mo lahat ‘yung pinaghirapan ng both panels.
Mr. Morong: Ma’am paano ‘yon may petition or manifestation to re-arrest ‘yung mga Tiamzons? Just last two questions. Papaano po ‘yon? With regard to the peace talks, conflicts of the peace talks and trying to move it forward but you have this manifestation from the OSG to re-arrest some of the participants in the peace talks?
SEC. MAZA: I think that will be very unfortunate ‘no. And it will not be a goodwill… It will not be… Kumbaga let’s not burn all our bridges.
So my appeal, my personal appeal, is to stop all those attacks and let us reflect first, you know.
Stop all those attacks.
Mr. Morong: Attacks coming from whom?
SEC. MAZA: [laughs] I’m not saying military, military attacks but you know all those psywar and things like that. And reflect and see how to pursue, how to go back to the negotiating table. Because all those things will not be helpful.
Like for example, ‘yung sa Surigao ‘di ba? There was an accusation of the military that the NPA were the ones who shot at a convoy that was supposed to deliver goods to the earthquake-affected communities.
But the NPA denied it. And, you know, without proof, you are saying that the NPA did it is something that is — is a provocative statement and within the realm of psywar ‘di ba?
Mr. Morong: Ma’am, just last question. How do you operate in the Cabinet given that the President has called the CPP a terrorist organization?
SEC. MAZA: Again, please. How do I…?
Mr. Morong: How do you…Ma’am, kayong tatlong “pursigidos” as you call it, but let’s call a spade a spade…How do you operate now given that the President has tagged the CPP as terrorist organization? Does it diminish do you think the level of trust that the President has on the three of you and vice versa?
SEC. MAZA: Well, the President has said, hindi ba Secretary? [laughs] That the end…That he still has high confidence on the three of us because we are doing are work well, we are performing well at wala naman kaming ano ‘no, wala naman kaming problema — wala kaming problema o ginagawang hindi ayon doon sa aming mga responsibilidad.
Mr. Morong: How about your level of trust to the President? How about your level of trust?
SEC. MAZA: Our level of trust?
Mr. Morong: — to the President?
SEC. MAZA: Well, I think that the — of course, the fact that we are still here means that we still maintain our level of trust, you know, the reason why we are here and the reason why we accepted the offer is still there ‘no.
Which means that… Which means that… [laughs] Nawala ako. [laughs] Nag-ano ka kasi eh… Na-distract ako sa’yo. [laughs]
What I’m saying is that ‘yung reason kung bakit kami — namin tinanggap ‘yung posisyon bilang mga miyembro ng Gabinete ay nandoon pa naman.
Ang isa ay ‘yung espasyo para gumawa ng ilang mga reporma. Iyong peace talks, which also one of the reasons, hindi pa naman namin gini-give-up ‘yon.
Pangatlo, nandiyan pa rin naman ‘yung kay Presidente na mga pahayag kaugnay ng independent foreign policy. Iyong pagkakaroon ng mga programa na kung saan palalakasin ‘yung soberanya ng Pilipinas, you know, at mga policy kaugnay nito. So nandoon pa ‘yon.
Ngayon na sumulpot nga itong usapin ng peace talks, ang isa pa na tingin namin, kung sa punto de vista namin, ay ‘yung pagpapalakas ng boses ng mga sibilyan sa paggo-gobyerno kasi sa palagay ko isang — isang ano ito ‘no — isang elemento na pwede naming i-contribute doon sa Gabinete.
Kasi alam naman natin kung ano ‘yung Gabinete, ‘di ba? So ngayon ‘yung pagsasa-boses nung hinaing ng mamamayan, hinaing ng sibilyan, perspektiba ng sibilyan, hindi ‘nung mga militarista, sa loob ng Gabinete.
So it’s a struggle within and we will engage in that. Hindi pa namin i-gi-give up ‘yung role na ‘yon na mag-engage sa loob ng Gabinete na kung saan nandiyan din at malakas ‘yung boses ng mga militarista. Iyong boses ng mga ano neo-liberal, ‘yung boses ng mga dati.
Hannah Sancho (Sonshine Radio): Hi, ma’am. Ma’am, na-mention po kasi ninyo na ang kahalagahan ng peace talks para sa pag-address sa poverty po. Kayo po na part po ng — left-leaning po and bilang part po ng government, gaano po ba ka-serious ang CPP sa usapin ng peace talks po? Kasi po, citing DND, ‘nung nag-guest po dito si Secretary, sinabi po niya na ginamit ng NPA ang peace talks para makapag-recruit. Ang dating parang unfair naman sa side ng government, ginagawa nila ‘yung effort nila pero may mga ganitong reports silang natatanggap po.
SEC. MAZA: Well, batay doon sa ano — doon sa observation ko ‘no ‘nung nandoon sa peace negotiation sa Rome, nakita ko kung gaano ka-seryoso ang dalawang panig ‘no.
Kung papaano nila gustong ituloy at pag-usapan talaga ‘yung substantive part ‘nung peace process at ito ‘yung pag-uusap at pag-a-agree doon sa social at economic reforms.
So wala akong nakikita na — na hindi sinsero sa CPP-NDF at ganun din doon sa GRP. Parehong sinsero ang dalawa.
Ms. Sancho: Sa pag-uusap…Iyong nakatakdang pag-uusap po ng — kayo po makakasama po na mga left-leaning na part po ng government at sa pag-uusap ninyo sa Pangulong Duterte, magbibigay po ba kayo ng parang assurance sa kanya na sakaling magbago ang isip niya ibalik, i-revive ‘yung peace talks po na — na wala na pong ganitong klaseng insidente po na parang may ginagawa ‘yung NPA pa rin na mga operations or ‘yung panghihingi pa rin nila ng pera sa mga sibilyan kahit ongoing ‘yung peace talks or may ginagawa pa rin po silang ilegal or na pwedeng — pwede silang mahuli ng pamahalaan o ng militar po o ng mga sundalo.
SEC. MAZA: Wala sa ano ko ‘yon. [laughs] That is not… That is not within my ano purview.
Ms. Sancho: Pero ma’am, last na lang po. Sabi ninyo po ay magpapatuloy po kayo dahil nandoon po ‘yung trust ng Pangulo sa inyo. Sakaling hindi po i-revive ‘yung peace talks, mananatili po ba kayo — kayo po sa posisyon at ang mga kasama ninyo? Or kung hanggang saan lang po ba kayo na mananatili sa pamumuno ni Pangulong Duterte po?
SEC. MAZA: Parang ang hirap… [laughs] Sa palagay ko gaya ‘nung sinabi ko kanina, ‘yung tatlong element, hangga’t nandoon ‘yung mga ‘yon, wala naman reason kung bakit ano eh, bakit kami hindi magpapatuloy sa aming mga gawain sa loob ng ano ng administrasyon.
Pia Ranada (Rappler): Ma’am, give it for the President — he keep saying na he’s conceded too much to the NPA-CPP and CPP-NPA-NDF, in that parang he does — he no longer trusts them to pursue with the peace talks or to kumbaga parang follow with the unilateral ceasefire. How would you then persuade the President to continue with the peace talks? What would you tell him when you meet on Feb. 20? And do you think also that which side should make the first move? Should the government or should the CPP?
SEC. MAZA: Well, first of all, this was also… The two sides, the GRP and the NDF, also agreed on mechanisms to investigate or do fact-finding missions on violations of both sides in relation to comprehensive agreement on international — comprehensive agreement on human rights and international humanitarian law.
So meron silang mga mekanismo kung papaano mag-i-imbestiga ng mga violation na ito ‘no. So I would say na kung mayroong mga violations ‘yung isang panig, then mayroong mekanismo rin na kung saan pwedeng tingnan ang mga violations na ito.
Ms. Ranada: Pero ma’am wasn’t the NPA the first to lift their ceasefire? They did not use that mechanism or any other middle ground before lifting the ceasefire. So what’s the assurance po of, for example, the government of the Philippines that if they come back to the negotiating table na may — may solid na usapan to follow this mechanism instead of lifting…
SEC. MAZA: Kasi, that was a unilateral ceasefire ‘di ba? Na pwede naman nilang— pareho sila pwede nilang i-lift. So ‘yung lifting of the ceasefire, ng unilateral ceasefire is not a violation.
Nasa ano nila ‘yon — oo. Kaya nga ang lesson doon palagay ko, kung magkakaroon ng ceasefire dapat mayroon silang rules para malinaw kung ano ang terms of engagement kumbaga, kung mayroong ceasefire.
Ms. Ranada: Ma’am, are you also brokering with… Are you also talking to the CPP on what can be done to resume to bring back trust in the process so that the President will go back to the negotiating table? Or you are just talking to the President?
SEC. MAZA: No. I’m just talking to the President. I haven’t talk to anyone kasi sa April pa ‘yung ano eh, next round, supposed to be. Oo, kaya…[laughs]
Henry Uri (DZRH): Magandang hapon po. Kayo po’y kaisa sa ideolohiya. Hindi po maitatanggi marahil iyan ano ho at kayo naman ngayon ay bahagi na ng pamahalaan. Iyong panununog ng cell site, ’yung panununog ng mga government equipment, ano ho ang inyong pananaw dito?
SEC. MAZA: Sa palagay ko ho hindi tama ‘no na magkaroon ng mga destruction to public property. Pero kailangang imbestigahan ang mga — ang mga aksyon na ito para maunawaan natin kung bakit ginagawa ito.
Kaya nga maganda dahil doon sa last round of talks nagkaroon ng ano ng agreement on the guidelines kung papaano iimbestigahan ‘yung mga violations.
So if we think that ‘yung mga panununog ‘nung mga cell sites ay violation, pwedeng ihapag doon sa joint monitoring committee na nag-i-investigate ‘nung violation of human rights and international humanitarian law para malaman natin.
Sila nga ba ang sumunog? Bakit sinunog? Ano ang justification ng pagsusunog na iyan, et cetera.
Mr. Uri: Sa inyo ho bang pananaw ang kapayapaan ay makakamtan o ito’y isang tanging panaginip na lamang sapagkat alam nating ang giyera ay may malaking halaga rin at may malaking pondo rin tayong pinaguusapan ‘pag may giyera, may pera. Ito ho ba’y hindi kasangkapan na lamang at isang malaking pangarap na lamang ang kapayapaan?
SEC. MAZA: Sa palagay ko po ang kapayapaan dapat lagi nating itinataguyod. Hindi po ito isang pangarap. Isa itong… Dapat ito ay maging totoo, maging realidad.
At tama po kayo kaya nga gusto kong i-connect ‘yung sinabi ninyo na ito ay pwedeng pinagkwakwartahan ‘no, pinagkakaperahan.
Lalo nga kaya nga nagkakaroon ng mga pagiisip ng militarista ‘di ba? Meron din ano ito hindi lang ito pag-iisip. Meron din ito na ano ganansya sa kanilang mga bulsa ‘no.
Kaya nga precisely ang sabi ko kanina na kailangan mapalakas natin ‘yung boses ng sibilyan sa gobyerno. Iyong walang monetary interest sa usapin ng giyera.
Mr. Uri: Pang-huli po ano ang mensahe ninyo sa mga nakikinig at mga nanonood sa ating mga NPA ngayong oras na ito?
SEC. MAZA: Kamusta po kayo? [laughter]
Mr. Uri: Wala ho bang mas malawak at mas malalim na mensahe, Chairman?
SEC. MAZA: Magandang hapon po. [laughter]
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star): Secretary, ito’y binanggit ninyo kanina and I quote, “It’s a struggle within and we will engage in that. Hindi namin i-gi-give up ang role sa Cabinet kung saan nandoon din ang mga boses ng mga militarista, mga boses ng neo-liberal, boses ng mga dati.” Can you expound on that? Ano po ‘yung… Sino itong mga ito? Ano po ‘yung nangyayaring struggle? Kasi medyo intriguing po ‘yung pahayag na ‘yon. Paki-elaborate lang po.
SEC. MAZA: [laughter] Ayaw ninyo ng puzzle? [laughter] Well, I don’t want to elaborate on it ‘no. Kasi alam naman natin na meron diyang mga dati na ‘di ba. Titingnan ninyo lang ‘yung background ng mga tao nandiyan naman na.
So but what is important I supposed for us to understand is that because the President is very inclusive ‘di ba? Sinabi naman niya iyan na, “O meron akong nasa kanan, meron ako nasa kaliwa. Isasama ko kayong lahat.”
Kaya in that sense, ginawa niya nga iyon. Iyong sinasabi niya meron ako sa kaliwa, meron ako sa kanan. Kaya sa kongkreto, when it is played out, talagang meron laging ano, meron laging iba-iba na pananaw hinggil sa mga bagay-bagay, hinggil sa mga polisiya na dini-discuss sa loob ng Gabinete ‘no.
At doon, lumalabas ‘yung mga militarist na pananaw, lumalabas ‘yung pananaw namin. Lumalabas ‘yung mga dating mga pananaw. So I think that is what we have to appreciate.
Mr. Romero: Iyong mga militarist po na sinasabi ninyong pananaw, pinipigilan ba nila or against sila sa peace talks within the Cabinet na sinasabi ninyo?
SEC. MAZA: Well, wala pa. Hindi pa kami nag-discuss ng ganoon sa Gabinete. After the…Kasi after the breakdown wala pa kaming discussion sa Cabinet.
Mr. Romero: Pero kamusta naman ‘yung working relationship ninyo doon sa mga — ‘yung sinasabi ninyong mga “boses ng dati”? Can you still work well with them, considering that you are in one…
SEC. MAZA: Yeah, of course, we have to work with them. Pwede naman kayong magtrabaho. You always have when you are, you know…In this setup, you always have to, first, establish your unity with people and that is what you want to — you want to nourish.
Ted Tuvera (Daily Tribune): Ma’am, bilang nasa GRP po kayo ma’am na consultant sa peace talks, ano ba ‘yung masasabi ninyo ma’am na pagkukulang o puna naman sa NDF kung bakit naging ganito ‘yung development sa peace talks?
SEC. MAZA: You know, everything was so sudden ‘di ba? So that’s why what I am saying is that, stop muna ‘yung mga maraming mga statements and ano — and then let us reflect – reflect on what happened and see how things can be improved.
Kung may mga pagkukulang ang bawat isa, alamin kung ano iyon at tingnan na ang layunin ay ‘yung maibalik ‘yung dalawing panig sa lamesa ng paguusap para sa kapayapaan.
Reymund Tinaza (Bombo Radyo): Ma’am, you’ve mentioned na you talked to the President. So understandably you convinced it with the President. So for you, who scuttled the peace talks? The President who cancelled ultimately the peace talks or the CPP-NPA-NDF who lifted their unilateral ceasefire?
SEC. MAZA: Well, the President himself said ‘di ba that “if I don’t do this, the military will, you know…[what did he say?] [laughs] Oo, parang, parang “will not like it…” So he was the one saying that before he made all those pronouncements ‘no.
Mr. Tinaza: Ma’am last point. So your background as being with the left, do you still see that the CPP-NPA-NDF leadership are still in control over the NPA fighters on the ground considering that there are at times atrocities or attacks which the higher level or the especially with the Communist party would eventually — has no idea over the operations of the rebels on the ground?
SEC. MAZA: I don’t have knowledge of how the NPA operates.
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: All right. Good morning. A few items.
Samsung to invest $200 million in the Philippines. One of the world’s leading technology companies and one of the top 10 global brands, Samsung Electronics has allotted $200 million investment in the country.
More businesses are also looking to invest in the Philippines which means more job opportunities for Filipinos to meet our target of generating 1.3 to 1.5 million jobs every year.
Also, Certificates of Land Ownership have been finally awarded to 111 farmers of Hacienda Luisita. Ileona Pangilinan, Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer, said that 6,600 square meters of allocated land in Asturias, Bantog, Cut-cut, Mabilog, Mapalacsiao, Motrico, Pando and Parang in Hacienda Luisita will be distributed to 111 farm beneficiaries. The 111 farm beneficiaries form part of the thousands of farmers expected to acquire and own land in compliance with the 2012 Supreme Court decision.
We are open for a few questions.
Mr. Tinaza: Sir, good afternoon. Sir, just you reaction to the exposé or press conference of Senator Trillanes earlier today wherein he brought out some bank documents, bank transactions of which he alleges the President to have this around 2-billion bank accounts deposit transactions from 2006 to 2015. Sir, he dared the President to come clean and prove himself that he is not “corrupt”, not my words but Trillanes words.
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: So your question?
Mr. Tinaza: Your reaction to what — the dare of the Senator.
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I don’t have any reactions but I will comment on that.
Basically, this is old ground. It’s a rehash of items that have already been discussed three days before election.
So, basically, this is — he is just bringing out old issues, okay, old issues. Now, if he truly has something in mind, then he probably should go to the proper authorities in order to be able to lay down something like this. It’s best to just do it according to due process.
Mr. Tinaza: Also, he mentioned that there will be other allegations information he gathered but to be verified still especially when he was the mayor in Davao City. What can you say about this supposed series of exposé from the Senator?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, if he needs to verify then I think he should proceed. Thank you.
Mr. Tinaza: Thank you, sir.
Mr. Ramos: Sir.
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Yes, sir.
Mr. Ramos: Iyong ano lang po reaction ng Malacañang on the move of the Solicitor General to file a manifestation before the CA claiming that Janet Napoles is innocent of the charges against her?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Innocent not on the plunder cases but of the charges that she was detaining Mr. Luy illegally on — illegally seriously — for serious detention.
So, basically, those are two separate items and that is his call, the Solicitor General’s call, yes.
Mr. Ramos: Sir, are you aware if the President was asked for his opinion on this?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I don’t know if they had a conversation regarding that, but the President trusts his alter ego’s decision.
Mr. Ramos: But isn’t it ironic that the chief state counsel has done this considering that the President abhors corruption, in fact, isa ‘yon doon sa tatlong ipinangako niya doon sa…?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: That’s true. And it doesn’t change his position regarding corruption.
However, as the SolGen has pointed out, this is — there were no grounds for holding Napoles liable for this particular accusation.
Mr. Ramos: Pero ‘yung the case for illegal detention is intertwined with the plunder case because the reason why Napoles detained Luy was because he was planning to expose ‘yung pork barrel racket?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: No, from the SolGen’s point of view, the may be intertwined but are not — but they are not connected — they are not inseparable.
Leila Salaverria (The Philippine Daily Inquirer): Good afternoon, sir.
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Yes, ma’am.
Mr. Salaverria: Sir, the President said back in August that he wants to reopen the pork barrel scam case because there were people who were involved who have not been indicted.
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Yes.
Ms. Salaverria: And then lawyers are saying that the acquittal of Napoles will damage — might damage the credibility of Benhur Luy who is a key witness in the pork barrel scam case. So isn’t the Palace concerned that — any move to pursue the pork barrel case will be derailed because of this move from the SolGen?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Apparently the SolGen is concerned that the Palace—that the case will not be hampered by any mistrial because — simply because of that issue that he was — there really was no cause for illegal serious detention.
Ms. Salaverria: Sir, will the President still pursue his plan to reopen the pork barrel cases?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I don’t know if it’s within the timeline. I’m not familiar with the timeline. But what he says he usually follows through.
Ms. Salaverria: Do you if there have been any directives given to the DOJ or…?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Not that I am familiar with.
Ina Andolong (CNN Philippines): Sir, sometime last year, President Duterte came out with the bank certificates…I am going back, sir, doon sa issue ng deposits, Senator Trillanes. Is he willing to maybe come out with bank documents detailing transaction history not just ‘yung ending balance na naipakita doon sa bank certificates before to finally put an end to the allegations nitong si Senator Trillanes?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Not in response to grandstanding, okay.
If necessary and if — within the right context, due process, you know. But not just to respond to some grandstander.
Ms. Andolong: Sir, what actions if any will you — will the President or Malacañang be taking against Senator Trillanes for bringing out all these accusations?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, it doesn’t really respond to those things. I mean these are just part of the —
Ms. Andolong: Cases perhaps none?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: As far I know none. I mean, this is part of the noise of political landscape, okay.
Ms. Andolong: Last, sir, President Duterte has called out AMLC in the past for not investigating ‘yung allegations ni Senator Trillanes. Now that the issue is highlighted again, does this mean that the President or Malacañang wants AMLC to look into the allegations more seriously now and do it maybe soon?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I supp…No, here’s what I can say — is that he wants these particular [what do you call it?] units to be able to act proactively. Thank you.
Mr. Morong: Sir, may claim lang si Senator Trillanes na pinapapatay daw siya ni Pangulo?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Pinapapatay?
Mr. Morong: Oo, opo.
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I think he’s being very dramatic. Thank you.
Ms. Ranada: Sir, could we just have the Palace statement on a list released by the US government last week that lists Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. as a former US citizen and this issue has actually caused the delay of his appointment with the CA because nga he keeps denying that he was a US citizen but there are documents that prove he used to be one. Could we have the Palace statement regarding this and what could be the possible bearing of such a document on his position as SFA?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I was having it verified. I don’t have the, you know, I don’t have the final…I’ll have it verified.
I’m having it verified if there are any — if there’s any information regarding the matter.
Ms. Salaverria: Sir, may we get — have the details on the preparations for the EDSA celebration? As I understand it’s supposed to begin Feb. 20.
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: That’s right. All I have right now is very brief… These are very brief, skeleton plans.. Number one, that it’s going to be a very simple and very quiet and that the theme will be regarding — it will be about a reflection on nation-building. And it’s, basically, the whole thrust is moving the nation forward from just looking back at what has happened in the past but moving forward to the future of the Philippines as everybody is encourage to cooperate in nation-building.
Ms. Salaverria: Will the President be attending any of the events?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Hopefully, if it’s done within the grounds and I think they’re having some simple rites in Malacañang. I think there’s a planned mass or something like that.
Ms. Salaverria: Can he be expected to show up?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, I supposed so. I don’t… I haven’t heard anything to the contrary.
Ms. Salaverria: Sir, will his recent decision to permit the burial of Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani keep him away from these celebrations? Because some martial law victims are angry, were angry at the decision.
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Like I said, we move forward and not look back to the past.
Ms. Sancho: Sir, ano pong, bakit, ano pong dahil sa decision ng Palace na tradisyon na po doon sa People Power Monument ‘yung celebration po ng EDSA Revolution? Ngayon ginawang simple tapos gusto nilang sa loob ng Camp Aguinaldo. Bakit po ganon ‘yung decision ng Palasyo po?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, you know, basically, like I formerly explained, it’s time to move on from just celebrating the past, remembering the past and to move on into the whole aspect of nation-building, to give it a more positive outlook and to make it — give a more positive understanding.
Ms. Sancho: So ‘yung gusto lang po natin dahilan ay pagmo-move on po at hindi na gawin ulit ‘yung mga ginagawa sa — ‘yung traditionally, traditional na ginagawa during — ‘yung pagalala ng EDSA Revolution usually sa People Power Monument. Wala naman pong ibang dahilan like dahil event naman ‘to ng Liberal Party usually?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: No, we think holistically, you know. The whole nation is evolving we can’t get stuck in the past.
Vanz Fernandez (DZRJ): Sir, good afternoon. What can you say about the observation of the former President Fidel Ramos that the EDSA People Power would be just so small?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: You’re asking for?
Ms. Fernandez: Yes. Kasi po ‘yung… Ngayon daw po, sabi, observation po ni FVR na ‘yung year’s People Power celebration is too small. Any reaction on the statement of FVR?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Like I said, you know, the emphasis has shifted. It is no longer a celebration of the past, it is now a reflection on what can happen in the future. So it’s… We are moving on from those things.
Mr. Morong: Sir, yesterday si former President Ramos, okay lang naman daw sa kanya medyo low key, pero may hinihingi siya sa Palace.
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Ano ‘yun?
Mr. Morong: It’s a learning center at the back of the monument. He is not expecting it this year, but maybe next year. Kinausap na daw po niya si SND. Is the Palace amenable to that or kaya bang ibigay ng Palasyo ‘yung hinihingi ni Ramos?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: It has not been discussed. It has not been discussed.
Mr. Morong: Not reached the President yet?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I don’t know, it probably has, but it has not been discussed yet.
Mr. Ramos: Sir, how is the President? Kasi alam naman natin na si Presidente since taking over the presidency sobrang sipag and since Monday we haven’t seen the President in any public events.
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, you know, I think si Secretary Ubial has released a statement, you know. He has… He has something like about ‘yung kanyang dating mga ano — mga afflictions. But on the whole is he is fine.
Mr. Ramos: He did not see a doctor or undergo a…?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: As far as I know none.
Mr. Ramos: Medical treatment in the past days?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: As far as I know none. You know, if he’s quiet… I mean again, again, you have to understand that his schedules are really brutal and anybody would need to rest. So I suppose…
Reporter: [off mic]
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Come again? I’m not saying that he is resting right now. But in the past quiet days, probably was. But he also had a number of activities in Davao.
Mr. Ramos: Meetings, sir? Meetings?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Meetings, yes, meetings.
Mr. Ramos: So since returning from visiting Surigao last Sunday, he’s just been in Davao, sir?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Let me see. I don’t have the schedules here right now. But I don’t know if he is already back here but he’s scheduled for a number of meetings, yes.
Mr. Ramos: Thank you, sir.
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Thank you.
Mr. Morong: Last two subjects, sir, quick lang. Sir, si Speaker Alvarez he wants to abolish na the PCGG. But I understand ‘yung PCGG charter talaga namang may expiration ‘yan di ba? But he wants to abolish ‘yung PCGG. Any comment, sir?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: We don’t have the details regarding the reason why, the actual reason why.
Mr. Morong: Sir, si SolGen, does he need to do that?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Which?
Mr. Morong: I mean step in and then lawyer for Napoles?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: He’s not lawyering for Napoles, I think. He’s just simply trying to correct want he thinks, what he sees, what he perceives is something that needs to be rectified.
Mr. Morong: Sir, ‘yung…Si… Ang sinabi niya sa akin before hindi na siya nagla-lawyer for Janet. But si Atty. Lanee David is with the BIR now. Does it have anything to do with these recent actions by the SolGen?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: So…
Mr. Morong: Iyon pong pagiging part of the government already of the lawyer Napoles doesn’t have anything to do with the move of the OSG to…?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Probably none. Yeah.
Mr. Morong: Probably none…
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I mean, I don’t have any…I mean, I think…I don’t have the imagination to go into that area — connections, okay, okay.
Mr. Ramos: Sir, how about Atty. Stephen David? Is he in any way connected with at least officially sa Malacañang kasi — because we have been seeing him sa past events dito sa Palasyo?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: As far as… The list is long and not everything is out. He may or may not be, I’m not sure, but I am not speculating on that. As far as I know, no.
Mr. Ramos: But how do you respond doon sa sinabi ni…Iyong criticisms that — or speculations that the President’s connection with the lawyers of Napoles is the reason why the OSG filed that manifestation before the Court of Appeals?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I think that’s what exactly they are: speculations. Thank you very much.
Ms. Ranada: Just to confirm. You’re saying po the break of the President is a health-related break? He took a break for his health, is that right?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: No, I am not saying that he took a health-related break. I said he is in Davao.
And if he is resting there, then that’s also part of his — why he’s there. But it’s not a health-related break.
Ms. Ranada: Sir, you said something like, si Sec. Ubial will release a statement…
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: No she said something like… I think it’s in one of the feeds where she said that the, you know, the President is — has all the usual afflictions. But, however, you know, he doesn’t have anything extraordinary. He’s in pink of health considering his age.
Ms. Ranada: And, sir, could just we know what the agenda will be for the courtesy call later of Nikolai Patrushev from the Russian Federation?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I think it’s a closed meeting. I think basically it’s a courtesy call.
Ms. Ranada: So no agenda?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: No agenda.