March 28, 2017 – Press Briefing by Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella with Commissioner Raymund Liboro National Privacy Commission
|Press Briefing by Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella with Commissioner Raymund Liboro National Privacy Commission|
|Press Briefing Room, New Executive Building, Malacañang|
|28 March 2017|
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Good morning.
We’re pleased to have today the Commissioner of the National Privacy Commission Mr. Raymund Liboro.
Privacy Commissioner Raymund Liboro is a former assistant secretary of the Department of Science and Technology and director of the Science and Technology Information Institute.
Prior to joining government in 2010, he was involved in building multi-media platforms and IT startups. In 2005, he founded a mobile-IT company called Megamobile, which was later acquired by the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
He also created STARBOOKS, the Philippine’s first digital library in a box which was awarded by the prestigious American Library Association as one of the most innovative library projects in the world in 2015.
Mr. Liboro is an alumnus of the University of the Philippines – School of Economics.
Ladies and gentlemen of the Malacañang Press Corps, let us all welcome Privacy Commissioner Mr. Raymund Liboro.
COMMISSIONER LIBORO: Thank you, Secretary Abella at maraming salamat din sa’yo Rocky.
Magandang umaga po sa inyong lahat, mga kababayan po na nakatutok po sa atin at ikinagagalak po namin maimbitahan dito sa ating — sa presscon na ito na briefing.
At unang-una nais kong batiin ang ating mahal na Pangulo ano sa kanyang kaarawan. So magandang timing din Secretary Abella ‘no. Hindi ko alam kung — magandang balita naman po ito para sa ating lahat ano. So a very good gift para rin po sa ating Pangulo.
Nandito po ako isang taon matapos po mangyari ‘yung Comelec ano — Comelec breach. So… At nais kong ibahagi sa inyo kung ano na po ang ating ginagawa sa hanay po ng pamahalaan at sa National Privacy Commission upang palakasin ang ating, sabi nga natin ang ating depensa ‘no, against, well, violation of data privacy rights, against data breaches at pangalagaan ang impormasyon, mahalagang impormasyon ng ating mga kababayan ‘no.
So nais ko lamang sabihin na isang taon matapos po ang ‘Comeleak’ tayo po, sa tulong po ng mga sangay ng pamahalaan, lalung-lalo na po ang Office of the President through Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea ay maglulunsad po ng kauna-unahang Data Protection Officers Summit ‘no.
Ito po’y kabibilangan ng lahat ng mga data protection officers ng ehekutibo ‘no at tayo po ay magsasama-sama sa kauna-unahang pagkakataon ‘no.
Binibigyan po natin ng mukha ang laban ‘no sa mapaminsalang data breaches. Binibigyan po natin ng mukha ang pagtaguyod sa karapatan ng mga mamayan sa kanilang — sa pangangalaga ng kanilang impormasyon.
So ‘yan po ay again ‘yung hanay po ng ating pamahalaan ay nagpupursigi ngayon na ito’y maiwasan na po ‘yung nangyari noon sa Comelec, ‘yung nangyaring tinatawag nga pong ‘Comeleak’ ‘no.
Bilang National Privacy Commission, tungkulin ko po na pangalagaan ang information privacy ng mga mamamayan. Kabilang po kayo lahat diyan.
Tungkulin ko rin pong sabihan ang mga institusyon, ang mga ahensya, mga organisasyon, pribado man o nasa pamahalaan, kung papaano nila mapapangalagaan ang karapatan ng — well information privacy ng ating mga mamamayan.
Ang gobyerno po ang isa sa pinakamalaki kung ‘di man pinakamalaking taga-proseso ng personal information dito po sa ating bansa ‘no. Patunay nga po diyan ang Comelec nga po ay isa sa pinakamalaking repository ng ating — ng ating impormasyon.
So kami po ay nagbigay ‘no, kami po’y nandito upang ipatupad ang Data Privacy Act of 2012 na naglalayon nga pong protektahan ang impormasyon ng ating mga mamamayan.
Naglabas po kami ng tinatawag naming limang utos ‘no. Ang una nga po diyan ay mag-appoint ng accountable officer within your organization, we call them the data protection officer. Bakit DPO?
Ang DPO ho ay masasabi nating isa na pong international brand. Pagka’t labas po sa Pilipinas, napakarami na pong bansa ang talaga naman pong nagtataguyod na ng karapatan ng kanilang mamamayan at pinoprotektahan ito.
Sa Europe, sa European Union po, ang tawag din po sa mga nagpoprotekta ng impormasyon ay mga data protection officers ‘no.
So we are here ‘no and we are implementing the Data Privacy Law in accordance with international standards ‘no.
So ang unang utas po namin ay magkaroon ng mga accountable officer na mananagot doon po sa loob ng mga opisina at magiging champion ‘no ng privacy rights of their customers or stakeholders.
Pangalawa is kailangan malaman nila kung ano po ang mga risko na kanilang kinakaharap ‘no. Ang tawag po namin diyan ay kailangan mag-conduct sila ng kanilang mga privacy impact assessment ano, upang makita po nila ‘no sa kanilang mga organisasyon kung ano ang mga maaaring mga vulnerabilities po nila.
Pangatlo no’n is sinasabi rin naman sa kanila to be accountable ay gumawa ng privacy manual ‘no. Ito ay patunay, ito ay kasulatan, kung papaano nila — ang kanilang mga plano ay mailagay sa papel at makita ‘no ng mga mamamayan kung papaano nila layong protektahan ang impormasyon ng kanilang mga pinagsisilbihan.
At pang-apat ay talagang hindi na pwedeng atrasan. Kailangan magpatupad na po ‘no ng mga security measures sa loob ng mga organisasyon ‘no, data security measures ‘no.
At pang-lima ay maghanda po tayo sa mga sakuna involving personal data. Ito po ‘yung mga data breaches.
So ‘yan ang limang, sabi nga limang utos, but the five pillars of compliance ‘no. So ‘yan po ay tampok ‘no dito sa ating gagawin na general assembly on April 5 at doon din po ilulunsad po natin ang website, www.privacy.gov.ph.
Simple lang, ‘pag nagpunta ka sa website po niyan, kung gusto mong magreklamo, doon ka pumunta. At kung kailangan mong mag-comply para po sa mga negosyo, para po doon sa mga government agencies pa at doon po sa iba pang mga tinatawag po nating personal information controllers and processors, doon ka rin kailangan pumunta.
At kung meron ka pang dagdag na tanong, doon ka na rin pupunta. One-stop shop po ‘yung ating website na ila-launch ‘no. So ‘yun po ang ating layunin on April 5.
At again, nagpapasalamat po kami ‘no sa office po ng Office of the President kasi po talaga hong tinulungan po nila kami ‘no na maabot ang lahat po ng mga ahensya ‘no na kailangan talaga naman — upang matulak po ang compliance sa lahat po ng government agencies.
After government, we are also now working with industry sectors, especially — specifically banks ‘no. And we’re working now with the BPO sector. Alam niyo po unique ‘yung ating sitwasyon dito sa Pilipinas pagka’t meron po tayong isang… We are robust industry called business process outsourcing whose business is actually processing information of citizens ‘no abroad.
So ‘yan po ay napakalaking industriya na kailangan po nating pangalagaan. Overall, kailangan po maipakita ng ating bansa na tayo po ay responsable sa paghawak po ng impormasyon ng ibang tao ‘no.
Mahalaga pong makita po ‘yun ng ibang mga bansa pagka’t kailangan po nila makita na ang Pilipinas po na kung saan nagdadala po sila ng impormasyon o nagbibigay ng impormasyon sa atin upang i-process ng mga BPO ay tayo po ay responsableng mga handlers po ng data ‘no.
So we’re working now with… We’re taking an industry-based approach. We’re building this by brick by brick, stone by stone. And ultimately, we will have — well aside from government, private organizations na pumapasok po ‘no sa depinisyon natin ng mga information controller, processor or data handlers na magkaroon po ng — mag-comply dito po sa mga tagubilin ng Data Privacy Act ‘no.
So with that, we gave you… Meron po tayong… Nag-provide ho ako sa inyo ng tulong lang, release po ‘yan. Iyong istorya po ng NPC ngayon. A year after the ‘Comeleak’, we are looking at government that is really pushing ‘no for the protection of the citizens’ data — of its citizens’ data. Iyon po ang ating sitwasyon.
We have a proactive government and makakaasa po tayo ‘no na ang impormasyon po ng ating mga mamamayan are in good hands ‘no, dito po sa ating pamahalaan.
With that, Secretary. I’d like to thank you and Rocky, you know, if they have… I’m okay for questions if they have.
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS:
Dexter Ganibe (DZMM): Magandang umaga, Commissioner.
COMMISSIONER LIBORO: Yes, Dexter?
Mr. Ganibe: Sir, pagkakaalam namin naisampa na po ano ‘yung mga kaso laban doon sa mga opisyal ng COMELEC kaugnay doon sa ‘Comeleak’ last year?
COMMISSIONER LIBORO: Opo at doon nga po ay ang aming nakita po… We found sufficient evidence ‘no to recommend ‘no — initiate proceedings against COMELEC chairman Andy Bautista.
So ‘yun po ay nag-file din po siya ng motion for reconsideration at ‘yan po ay nire-review ho ngayon ano ng ating Commission. Very soon we’ll be coming up with a decision on that too.
Mr. Ganibe: Sir, dahil medyo mainit ‘yung usapin ng impeachment, impeachable po ba ‘yung offense na nakamit base dito sa — ?
COMMISSIONER LIBORO: Dexter, hindi ako familiar diyan sa mga impeachment — ‘yung rules na ‘yan ano. So, I could not really comment on that ‘no.
But again, ‘yun pong aming findings were based on exhaustive investigation that we took ‘no with regard to this first case that landed on our laps, ito pong ‘Comeleak’.
Mr. Ganibe: Thank you, sir.
COMMISSIONER LIBORO: Thank you, Dexter. Hi, Pia.
Pia Ranada (Rappler): Sir, what are the findings naman po of the second incident in Lanao del Sur?
COMMISSIONER LIBORO: It’s still ongoing. Again, we are… The difference between the first breach and the second one is that this time, the COMELEC now has a data protection officer, they have appointed their data protection officer I think during the start of the year.
At immediately ‘nung na-inform kami doon sa incident in Wao, Lanao del Sur ‘no, it passed through the proper breach notification protocols. Kasi meron po tayong breach protocols, this is also prescribed by our implementing rules and regulation.
And kaagad ‘no tiningnan po namin ang — ano nga ba ang sitwasyon ‘no? Iyong parang… Because it happened in a municipal office in Wao, Lanao del Sur.
And so immediately, we dispatched an investigative team to look ano. Ano nga ba ang ginawang…? Kung ano nga ba ‘yung mga impormasyon na present ‘no.
So we were surprised to discover na ‘yun pa lang database, which was present in the central office is also present in the municipal offices of the COMELEC ‘no.
So this is a… Ibang klase ‘tong breach na ito. Like I’ve always been stressing Secretary, it’s not — data privacy and data protection is not all about IT. This is about organizational readiness ‘no, physical security is very, very important. In which case, this case in Wao, Lanao del Sur ‘yun pong server, ‘yung computer ang nawala, ang nanakaw, okay.
So we already issued a compliance order to the COMELEC with regard to the second breach ‘no and second incident ‘no and it includes actually the immediate cessation of this type of registration down to the municipal level kasi kung hindi nila mase-secure ‘yung mga computers sa munisipyo ‘no, sinabi namin na dapat i-akyat na lang ‘yan sa probinsya ‘no. It may take a little time but it would be more secure, all right.
So dati kasi, they are using it, doon, instantly, nagkakaroon ng verification on the ground, all right. So they’re already doing this.
So nag-field investigation kami dito lang and nakita nga namin on how things medyo — it was mirrored in 1,680 other municipalities ‘no. We also told them to inform the citizens of Wao, ‘no, specifically nga po dahil in that particular municipality, what was compromised was the — were ‘yung biometric records ‘no of people from Wao, including photographs of the 55,000 registered voters of Wao, okay. So ‘yun po ‘yung nangyari.
Ms. Ranada: Sir, follow up. So, sir, your investigation is ongoing. But are you closer to identifying who should be held accountable for the data breach in Wao?
COMMISSIONER LIBORO: Wala pang ganoon. We immediately tiningnan lang… As a commission, ‘pag nangyayari po ito, tinitingnan lang natin how to quickly address data subjects welfare ‘no at ma-inform po sila. So we will apprise you of ‘yung magiging findings din po namin dito ‘no. It’s still ongoing.
Ms. Ranada: And, sir, last from me. So, sir, you’re saying po that in the next elections, you are going to recommend to COMELEC na ‘yung voter registration will no longer be at the municipal level but will just be at the provincial?
COMMISSIONER LIBORO: There will still be collection. There will still be a — Kumbaga eh ‘yung capture, doon na lang i-limit ‘yung capture of the information of the municipality, but the verification could happen doon sa provincial level. Because ngayon ordinarily, capture and verification happens nandoon. Kaya nandoon ‘yung reference database, the 77 million, 55 million unique records, nandoon, present in those CPUs, in those servers.
So ‘yan po ay ginawan na ng remedyo ng Commission on Elections based on our compliance order. So the capture will still be there, meaning you capture the information of ‘yung mga registrants but verification would happen in the provincial level.
Leila Salaverria (The Philippine Daily Inquirer): Good morning. Sir, unless there’s a law postponing it, the country is scheduled to hold barangay elections in October. Based on your assessment, how secure are the data in the COMELEC?
COMMISSIONER LIBORO: If you will ask me, the compliance of the COMELEC against it’s malayong-malayo na ‘yung kanilang from way before it happened.
Now, they have a data protection officer. They just came out with their privacy management program. Ito ‘yung mga prescription namin sa kanila and their own privacy impact assessment.
Kasi these are logical steps eh ‘di ba. For you to be — to come up with your security measures. Bago mo masabing secured ba tayo, aba’y kailangan malaman mo muna eh ano ba ang mga peligro natin? Ano ba ang sistema natin ‘no?
So these are logical, it’s a logical prescription that we provided them and they are complying ‘no. I must say ‘no.
They now have a data protection officer who… They now understand ‘no ‘yung breach protocols, breach notification, and a privacy impact assessment… We are still analyzing the privacy impact assessment.
It must include ‘no all the vulnerabilities like this one. Because ang privacy impact assessment kasi, titingnan mo organizationally are you training your people enough ‘no? Adequate ba ‘yung training nila?
Also physically, for example, how you secure, physically secure ‘yung personal data ‘no? Iyong mga, like — even looking at the layout of the office ‘no. Iyong mga measures that you take ‘no — ‘yung security measures.
So lahat ’yun kasama ‘yon no. So data protection and privacy is again, it’s not a purely IT matter. It’s an organizational and physical measure.
Organizational and physical measures are necessary ‘no, hindi lang siya IT ‘no. So nakikita naman namin… We’ve been doing a lot of…
We’ve been invited to the COMELEC I think thrice ‘no. Practically we are handholding the COMELEC ‘no in their compliance and in ramping their security.
Ms. Salaverria: Sir, just to be clear. You see no reason to be concerned should the country go to elec — have elections again in a few months?
COMMISSIONER LIBORO: Well, again our measure of concern would be their compliance to our orders ‘no. Iyon lang naman ‘yun. As for now, what I can say is that they are trying to faithfully comply with all our compliance orders ‘no.
Again, compliance is not an overnight thing ‘no. So we will have to… I guess what we always determine is if they are aware of the risks and then the security measures should be — kumbaga eh at par ‘no with ‘yung the risks that they have identified, all right. So ‘yun po ‘yung ano, ‘yon ang masasabi ko doon, Leila.
Ms. Salaverria: Thank you.
Rocky Ignacio (PTV 4): Sir, ‘yung concern lang dito, saan daw po manggagaling ‘yung ma-a-appoint na data protection officer?
COMMISSIONER LIBORO: Ayan, oo, magandang — magandang tanong ‘yan ano. Sa ngayon po, ito po ay again sa government, it’s a designation ano. Pero overall, ang amin sanang suggestion diyan, it could be a full time.
Ang amin kasing inilabas ngayon are guidelines ‘no. We just released the guidelines for data protection officers. You can check it out dito po sa ating website ‘no:www.privacy.gov.ph.
Doon po ang aming suhestiyon kung maaari siyang full time ay full time ‘no pagka’t again itong pong maraming ano eh — maraming facets ’no ang data protection and data privacy.
Pero right now it’s a designation ‘no. Maaari pong ‘yung mga government staff po natin. Basta ang kailangan dito ano — ang kailangan dito ‘yung mayroon siyang zero-breach mentality ‘no, na ang agency niya talagang ipe-prevent niya ano na mayroong mapinsalang mga kababayan tayo, ‘yung mga customers nila. Ganun ‘yung kailangan ano.
Pero magcha-champion siya ng data protection and privacy within the organization. Siya rin ang aming contact kung saka-sakaling mayroong mangyari ‘no.
At, of course, isa po sa mga requisitos natin, ire-require po natin ang mga organisasyon, ang ating government agencies and those private organizations to register in the public registry. They can do it online by April 5, our registry system will also be open.
And in that makikita po nila ‘yung mga companies or mga government agencies that process personal information. Papaano po nila ito ginagawa ‘no at mahalaga doon nandoon ang impormasyon ng data protection officers.
So ang ating mga mamamayan kung meron po silang magiging problema ay maaari lamang pong pumunta sa aming website, tingnan po nila ang mga organisasyon, hanapin nila doon, and then mako-contact po nila ano ‘yung mga data protection officer ng bawat organisasyon.
So we’re institute… We’re putting up a system ‘no para po doon sa ating mga kababayan. We say, ang akin pong trabaho bilang privacy commissioner is to make compliance easy. Pero mas mabigat na trabaho doon is I want to make ‘yon pong complaining or people asserting their information rights easier. So iyon po ang ating gagawin doon.
Ms. Ignacio: Pero may mga vulnerable agencies na kayong na-identify?
COMMISSIONER LIBORO: Again, ‘yon pong ating pamahalaan, of course, napakarami pong malakas — malaki pong — malakas ‘yon atin pong trabaho sa pagkolekta po ng impormasyon.
Iyan ho talaga ang ginagawa ng pamahalaan ano. But we will ano po ‘no kasi marami na pong organisasyon even prior years ‘no may iba nga po meron na rin kanilang sariling CIO.
I mean even prior to last year there have… May mga organizations like DOH na mayroon ng data protection officers. Even NEDA, three years back when na-approve po ‘yung batas ay nag-appoint na ng mga data protection officer.
So ‘yon po. Kami po nandito upang gabayan ang mga ahensya at ang mga organisasyon na tumugon po ano dito sa batas natin.
So bukas po ang tanggapan ng National Privacy Commission para tulungan itong mga government agencies natin na ‘yan.
So malaking hakbang ‘yung atin pong April 5 na gagawin, DPO1 Summit. Ang atin nga pong slogan dun eh “Kung Hindi Tayo Kikilos, Sino Ang Kikilos? Kung Hindi Ngayon, Kailan Pa?”
It’s an old slogan with a new twist ‘no dahil ipapakita namin talagang kailangan po sa hamon ng bagong panahon eh talagang maging proactive ‘no ang bawat isa in the protection of data.
Maging kayo po, maging mga indibidwal ay ‘yung tinatawag nga ho nating proper data hygiene ‘no ay napakahalaga.
Kung tayo po ay nagsisipilyo araw-araw siguro naman lahat tayo nagsisipilyo araw-araw, eh ganon din po. Mayroon pong data hygiene din ano tulad ng pagpili ng mga malalakas na passwords ‘no, pag-iingat — pag-iingat dito po sa mga paggamit po natin lalung-lalo na ‘yung tinatawag po nating mga malware at iba pa ‘no.
Napakarami pong mga threats. Iyan ho ay tatalakayin din natin dito sa summit na ito.
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Good morning. A few updates.
DWSD to release rice subsidy to 4Ps beneficiaries.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has started granting P600 rice subsidy to some 4.3 million responsible household-beneficiaries this March.
The additional rice subsidy allocated for the month of March has already totaled to P2.5 billion.
Also, SWS survey on happiness level at 91 percent. It’s a group of happy Filipinos.
Nine out of 10 Filipinos considered themselves happy with their life, according to a December 2016 Social Weather Stations (SWS) Survey. This is the highest score in 20 years.
Around this time, the economy of the Philippines is on the upswing at 6.6 percent during the last quarter. People likewise feel safer and more secure with more than eight out of 10 Filipinos attributing this to the President’s anti-drug war.
Also indigent patients can now avail of free medicines.
The DSWD has already distributed free medicines amounting to P8.2M to 984 indigent Filipinos from Regions 3, 6, 7, 11 and the NCR region.
Also the claims of Martial Law victims have been processed.
The Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board (HRVCB) sped up process of evaluating and releasing of claims of Martial Law victims as part of its commitment to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s goal to expedite the release of the claims.
The HRVCB informed the Office of the President of their accomplishments and latest development on processing and release of claims since their meeting with the President.
They transmitted to the Office of the Executive Secretary Board Resolution No.01 2017 approving their preliminary list of 4,000 eligible claimants and release of partial money — monetary reparation.
Board Resolution No. 03 2017 publishing the list of eligible claimants. A memorandum of agreement between HRVCB and landmark pertaining to the use of the banks cash card facility to pay legitimate claimants and an acknowledgement receipt from the Department of Budget and Management pertaining to the letter of HRVCB requesting for the release of P300 million from the Bureau of Treasury intended for the partial payment of monetary reparation.
The HRVCB and its resolutions committed to distribute 50 percent of the total estimated reparation value due to the first 4,000 eligible claimants consisting of 2,661 conclusively presumed victims and 1,339 new applicants.
The claims board following the point system prescribed the reparation law which came up with a total of P23,567 points to be awarded to the first batch of claimants.
That should be sufficient.
Ms. Salaverria: Good morning, sir.
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Yes, ma’am.
Ms. Salaverria: Sir, the European Union has summoned the Philippine representative in Belgium to explain the — according to them, “unacceptable remarks” of the President. How did the government respond? What was your explanation for the President’s statements?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I think that has to be placed in context. You are referring to his arrival speech?
Ms. Salaverria: He said, “If I have the preference, I’ll hang all of you.”
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Yes, it was in the context of non — of non-interference with the national sovereign affairs.
Simply because he said that, you know, he felt that they were impinging, infringing on own national sovereignty to be able to deal with their own situations.
Ms. Salaverria: Sir, how will you characterize his literal statement that he’ll hang all of them? I mean what did he mean by that?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I’m sure by this time we understand that it’s more than being literal. He basically speaks about an attitude of, you know, emphasizing that we should be left alone to be able to do our part. Thank you.
Ms. Salaverria: Sir, where do you see the relationship between the Philippines and the European Union heading because this isn’t the first time that the President has cursed at the EU?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: You know, the relationship between the European Union and the Philippines is quite excellent. We have… In fact, they’ve offered[what do you call?]… They’ve offered rehabilitation centers which is socio-therapy based.
They’ve also… The European businessmen over here. However, the European Parliament seems to be creating its own brand of noise. So but basically if you are talking about relationships with Europe, our relationships are quite solid and economically based.
Ms. Salaverria: Sir, last na lang. What was the basis of President’s statement that the EU was pushing him to adopt their system where the government provides drugs to the addicts? Was there an actual…?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: No, I clarified this and the… The European Union itself is not offering that particular therapy program. However, there was a European nation that apparently offered technical assistance along that line, which we have not taken up.
So there is a difference between… But the… You know, the President was rather accurate when he pointed that out. But we have not taken it on.
Ms. Salaverria: Sir, what nation was that?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Let’s leave it alone.
Ms. Salaverria: Thank you.
Mr. Ganibe: Usec, good noon. Sir, sa interview kanina kay Vice President Leni Robredo binabanggit niya na bukas siya doon sa imbitasyon ng Pangulo na magkaroon ng dinner at binibigay niya ngayon sa Pangulo kung ‘yung ano, kung kailan ‘yung — kailan siya tatawagan o kailan ‘yung date na ise-set para doon sa dinner na inihanda para sa kanya.
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: That’s nice, isn’t it?
Mr. Ganibe: Any comment, sir.
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: It’s nice. Thank you.
Mr. Ganibe: May date na po ba, sir?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Wala pa po.
Cedric Castillo (GMA-7): Good morning, sir. Sir, on the New York Times documentary, sir, has the President seen it or does he plan to watch the documentary?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I have not asked him regarding that. I don’t have any information if he has seen it or if he has any plans on doing so.
Mr. Castillo: Sir, The New York Times, sir, tried to reach the administration for comment on the documentary, sir?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: If they asked me in particular? No. They did not particularly ask me.
Mr. Castillo: They tried to reach the administration, the Palace for its side on the documentary?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: As far as I know, there was no actual formal — actual formal request for comment. As far as know.
Mr. Castillo: I heard may statement… Meron daw po kayong bagong statement on the documentary, sir?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Wala naman. I already made a statement ‘di ba?
Mr. Castillo: Sir, may I ask how do you view this documentary, sir, not just the film but the column, the article?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, like I said earlier, I said it’s too much of a coincidence that all of these things are happening all at the same time.
That particular magazine — newspaper for example would — if in normal course of events, would sequence its reports on certain topics. However, there seems to be — rather focused the attention on the Philippines. They do have a bunch of problems by the way in the US. I mean they can very well attend to it.
On the other hand… On the other hand, it seems rather curious that suddenly there is this rush of attention on the Philippine situation.
Reporter: Sir, back to the EU issue.
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Which in particular?
Reporter: Sabi po ng New York Times “to hit where it hurts the most.” Do you see the EU imposing trade tariffs on the Philippines?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: You know, I think it’s beyond the scope of the New York Times to be able to make comments like that.
Considering for example, that the meeting with the ambassador yesterday with the President, was very [what do you call it?] was very positive, very encouraging. And, in fact, they were pointing out — they were actually very appreciative.
For example let me… Let me just point out some highlights. “The President said that the Philippine-US relationships — relations at the bilateral level remain strong and there is a readiness to discuss more matters of mutual interests with the US.”
That on his part, the ambassador, His Excellency Sung Kim, was quite proud of the cooperation between the US and the Philippines. And he also assured the President that the US understands the security concerns of the Philippines and that they are ready to provide more equipment and they agreed that the Philippines and US have mutual interests and shared values.
So you know if you are talking about the actual government of the US, we seem to have a pretty solid relationship. But when people like, when media like this make comments like that, I mean they seem to be coming in from the far left side, you know. It’s just curious.
Henry Uri (DZRH): Hi, sir. Sir, good morning. Hindi lang ho ako nakaputi ngayon kaya medyo… Anyway, sir, you have mentioned yesterday na ‘yung sa New York Times is a “well-funded” by any particular… Do you have in mind any particular…
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I didn’t say that New York Times is well-funded. I’ve said that there’s you know I didn’t say that New York Times is well-funded.
Mr. Uri: Your statement was the move was well-funded…
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: It seems to be orchestrated. That’s just my perception.
Mr. Uri: Sinong grupo ito if you have in mind? Drug syndicates, mining or what?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, let’s just put it this way: Who would benefit best from such an effect? The intention is, for example, to discredit the President and to apparently push it to its rational limits.
So who would benefit from that? I mean, I’m not going to speculate on that but certainly somebody would benefit from the situation, would be quite interested in supporting something like that.
Mr. Uri: The opposition?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: That’s your speculation. Thank you.
Mr. Uri: Anyway it’s the birthday today of the President ano po ang… Kamusta ang Presidente ngayon?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Maayos naman.
Mr. Uri: May mga special projects ba siya or anong ginagawa niya ngayon sa Davao?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Ah, hindi ko po alam kung ano exactly ‘yung kanyang plano. I’m not privy to his… It’s usually a very quiet affair with family and friends. Very simple, something that suits his personality.
Mr. Uri: Thank you, sir.
Ted Tuvera (Tribune): Sir, related lang po sa tanong ni Henry. Kasi ang binanggit n’yo po kahapon is: “Certain personalities and politicians have mounted a well-funded campaign utilizing hack writers in their bid to oust President Duterte.” Sir, are you saying na ‘yung New York Times is in cahoots with local politicians in possibly their moves to oust the President?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I’m not saying that they’re in cahoots. I’m just saying that there seems to be — seems to be certain personalities that seem interested in influencing a media like — the media that you mentioned.
Mr. Tuvera: Kasi, sir, parang ang dating ‘yun nga po eh na hack writers so parang there seems to be a speculation nga po, sir, so…
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: A hack is somebody who writes for a price and the price is not necessarily monetary.
Mr. Tuvera: Thank you, sir.
Reporter: Sir, earlier you said po na there was no formal request po from the New York Times to get President Duterte’s side po..
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: As far as I know.
Reporter: As far as you know, sir. So in the March 21 article po nila titled: “Becoming Duterte, The Making of a Philippine Strongman”, they noted po that President Duterte declined to be interviewed for that story. So how you reconcile po doon…?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I was assuming that the question referred to a response, to a reaction, tama? But not prior to. So your question is really referring to a different situation.
Reporter: So, sir, wala po talagang as far as you know wala po?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Walang alin? Before or after the article?
Reporter: Before po requesting…
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Ah that I don’t know.
Ms. Ranada: Sir, the President has been very open and transparent about certain things and so would it be possible for the Palace to tell us who gave him the gold Rolex watch and the Mercedes-Benz?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Ah that I don’t know. I wish he could be more transparent regarding that.
JP Bencito (The Manila Standard): Hi sir, good morning.
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Good morning, JP.
Mr. Bencito: Sir, on the barangay elections. Sir, the President is using as justification for — the President and the Palace is using as justification that there are 40 percent of barangay captains who were involved into drugs that’s why there’s a need to postpone again the barangay elections. Sir, can we just get an update what does the government doing on this 40 percent because so far as what we’ve heard or what we’ve monitored, sir, pardon pero meron na bang update doon sa narco-list kasi ‘yun po ‘yung basis ni Presidente doon sa 40 percent?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I don’t know about if there’s an update regarding the narco-list but if you are asking what they’re doing about it, I supposed the President’s intention is to keep them out of active politics.
Deo de Guzman (RMN): Sinabi niyo po, sir, na President wants to keep them out of local politics. Paano po mangyayari ‘yun kung hindi po sinasampahan ng kaso ‘yung 40 percent of the barangay [chairmen] as stated by Secretary Aguirre?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Okay. I don’t know that particular aspect but what I’m saying is that this particular move not to hold barangay elections is precisely what the President has said again and again to make sure that they do not enter into active politics.
Mr. De Guzman: Sa Malacañang po ba, would you want DOJ to do the first steps para po sampahan ng kaso ‘yung sinasabi ni Secretary Aguirre na 40 percent ng barangay chairman?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, if the DOJ finds that and I think they should initiate their own moves. They are independent body anyway… Not independent but…
Mr. De Guzman: Independent? They are under executive?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: They are under but they should do their… I’m sure they can take initiative. Be proactive about the matter.
Mr. Bencito: Sir, can we get an update regarding the President’s meeting yesterday with Chairman Nur Misuari?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Basically, it was just a reiteration of…
This was a close-in meeting, all right. This was a close-in meeting so… Basically, it was a reaffirmation of the importance of securing just and lasting peace and development for Mindanao. It was warm, cordial, positive.
Mr. Bencito: Sir, na-discuss po ba during the meeting on how will the five-man team of the MILF — of the MNLF rather proceed with the, peace — on the proposal for the replacement of the ARMM, sir?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: It may have been but I’m not — we are not privy to any of those matters. So I cannot comment on that.
Mr. Bencito: Sir, on another topic last na lang po. Sir, there was a Korean trader who was arrested last Sunday and he is allegedly the head of the Korean Mafia. Sir, what will be the next steps of the Palace? Kasi sabi po ng Korean embassy they are denying that this certain person named Jung Hee Kang, the Korean embassy denied that he was involved into the allegations being thrown to him by the Justice department.
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I’m not sure about that but basically that should be a matter for the police.
Hannah Sancho (Sonshine Radio): Sir, good morning, ay good afternoon. Can I get your comment po doon sa suggestion ni Bayan Secretary General Renato Reyes na government should reexamine ‘yung housing programs after doon sa incident ng Kadamay na tinake (take) over ‘yung housing. Ang pinupunto nila walang nakatira doon sa housing kasi malayo, walang kuryente, walang tubig, so useless ‘yung mga housing programs ng government.
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: So what do you want to say?
Ms. Sancho: Open po ba ang Duterte administration?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, I’m sure it’s up for review.
Ms. Sancho: Okay. Sir, doon sa move ng NHA na hindi naituloy ‘yung eviction. Alam na po ng Pangulo ‘yun, sir? ‘Di ba siya po ‘yung nagsabi na dapat i-evict sila?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I do not know if he knows about it but that is the action of NHA.
Ms. Sancho: At suportado naman ito ng Pangulo, sir? At suportado ng Pangulo, sir?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I do not know but that is the action of NHA.
Reymund Tinaza (Bombo Radyo): Sir, during the meeting of the President — attendance of the President sa FFCCI, ‘yung Federation of Filipino-Chinese Investment. Meron siyang binanggit na the drugs, the shabu is being cooked in the international waters. Sir, na-establish ba kung anong nationality, kung na-establish ng mga Chinese ‘yung mga drug lords na nagluluto ng shabu sa international waters?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: What do you… The question is?
Mr. Tinaza: Na-establish ba kung anong nationality ‘yung nagluluto ng shabu na sinabi ng Pangulo sa international waters?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I think the President is quite aware of the nationalities.
Mr. Tinaza: Sir, meron na bang… Kasi I understand the President mentioned na he will bring up the issue kay Chinese President Xi Jinping, the first visit niya ‘nong last year about sa involvement ng mga Chinese nationals sa drug operations sa Pilipinas. Meron na bang aksyon or ginawa ‘yung Chinese government knowing ngayon eh mga Chinese pa rin ‘yung mga malalaking mga drug lords as proven doon sa mga NBP ngayon?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I do not know. If you are asking for the actual steps for the PROC. I am not privy to their particular steps.
Mr. Tinaza: Okay. But we are hoping na they would do something kasi kababayan nila ‘yung nasasangkot dito sa drugs?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: It’s a matter of diplomacy. Thank you.
Mr. Castillo: Sir, hihingi lang po kami ng update doon sa meeting with Chinese amba kahapon ni President Duterte po, sir?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: All right. Let me just try to update you. His Excellency, Zhao Jinhua, reported on the progress made so far in the following areas: the handling of the SCS issue; defense cooperation; capacity building; infrastructure projects financing; anti-poverty and anti-illegal drugs campaign.
He also conveyed that China looks forward to the convening in May 2017 of the first meeting of the bilateral mechanism set up to properly handle the SCS issue.
They intend to build a bilateral mechanism, mutual trust and maritime cooperation. His Excellency also expressed China’s determination to work with ASEAN members in finalizing the Code of Conduct framework on the South China Sea, sometime early—sometime in the middle of this year.
He also mentioned the successful meeting of the Philippines and Chinese Coast Guards. And that China is ready to implement the agreed MOU in a friendly manner.
His Excellency also hoped that the infrastructure projects in the pipeline will soon be launched, implemented and completed.
And he also reported that China hopes for the Philippines to soon utilize donations for anti-poverty programs and anti-illegal drugs operations.
Mr. Castillo: Thank you, sir. Sir, last on my part, sir. Si Speaker Alvarez po is nagpapa-draft na raw ng bill para makapag-appoint si President ng barangay officials po, ito po ba ay ipapa-certify as urgent ng administration, sir?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I’m sure it’s top… I’m sure it’s a priority.
Mr. Castro: Thank you, sir.
Benjie Liwanag (DZBB): Sir, going back—good afternoon. Going back on the Kadamay isyu, naka-usap na po ng Pangulo ‘yung NAPC right after doon sa Kadamay. Isa sa mga interview namin sinabi niya anarchy ‘yung ginawa ‘nung Kadamay, pero until now the President is so silent about what’s happening, lalo na dumadami na po ‘yung Kadamay. Tapos yesterday meron pa pong grupo ng NPA na halos lumusob sa Cubao pagkatapos po ‘yung traffic eh nagkaroon ng problema. What’s your take on this, sir?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, the NHA has exhibited patients and we hope that the Kadamay will be faithful to their contract—their social contract. But let us try to avoid the use of force.
Mr. Liwanag: Okay. But ang isa sa mga balak nila umukupa pa ng other government projects, the housing projects, sir. Papano po natin mapipigilan ito?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Let’s leave it to the proper authorities to handle that. Thank you.
Kris Jose (Remate): Sir, meron pong naitayong one stop government center sa Palayan City Nueva Ecija, then ang aim nito para matulungan po ‘yung community para mapabilis po ‘yung pagkuha ng passport, certificate and all. Ang problema po, sir, hindi po nagko-comply sa request for cooperation ‘yung mga agencies na dapat po na kasama doon sa one stop government center. Ano po kaya ‘yung itutulong ng national government po?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Meron po tayong mga call centers, meron din po tayong proper agencies that they can refer that matter to, DFA for one. Thank you.
Ms. Jose: Pero sir, sorry po, sir. Sir, hindi po kaya may kinalaman dito ‘yung red tape kaya po ganoon ka…
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, it’s not our place to speculate on the reasons why. But there are proper agencies regarding those matters. It can be referred to them. Thank you.
Mr. Tuvera: Sir, over the weekend po kasi sinasabi ni President na hindi pa siya ready mag-reciprocate sa ceasefire ng CPP-NPA. Sir, last night—yesterday, nakausap niya si Secretary Bello at saka si Secretary Dureza. Sir, are we expecting na magde-declare si Pangulo ng unilateral ceasefire within this week?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, let’s wait for their statement, okay. Let’s just wait for their statement.
Rosalia Coz (UNTV): Sir, regarding po sa lumabas na appointment paper, pirmado daw po ni ES ang appointment ng isang certain individual in replacement of BOC Commissioner Faeldon. Meron po ba tayong…
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I don’t have any comment regarding that.
Ms. Coz: Pero, sir, hindi po—I mean si Commissioner Faeldon pa rin po ang BOC Commissioner?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: As of now, as of now, yes. As far as we know, thank you.
Ms. Coz: Sir, in relation to that question kasi para pong nagiging rampant, dumadalas po ‘yung mga reported misrepresentations sa iba’t ibang government agencies. May mga gumagamit ng mga pangalan ng mga opisyal para mang-extort. So ano po ‘yung stand ng Malacañang po sa mga isyu na ito?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, if you… The proper agency should be able to address those matters okay.
Every department has its own areas of responsibility and it is their responsibility to address matters like that. Thank you.
Ms. Coz: Pero, sir, paano po ‘yung panindigan ng Malakanyang lagi naman pong binabanggit ng Pangulo na pagiging istrikto niya sa mga tiwali ano po na opisyal at empleyado ng pamahalaan. Pero parang hindi takot itong mga tao na ito na gumamit ng mga pangalan?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: So?
Ms. Coz: So ano po ang atin pong reaksyon na despite ng mga sinasabi ng Pangulo, marami pa rin po ‘yung mga —?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, it just goes to show how deep the impunity is. So and I believe that’s exactly why the President is very strict in enforcing his actions.
Mr. Castillo: Sir, sorry, sir, pahabol ha, just in from news desk. I’m not sure if this is verbatim. Pero VP Leni says hindi daw dapat i-take lightly ang mga patayan, reflection ito ng bansa. Nakakahiya na may attention sa bansa pero kailangan ito para makinig ang bansa sa sigaw ng taong bayan. Hindi raw nakikita ni VP Leni na may link ‘yung destabilization plot doon sa article sa documentary ng New York Times, sir. Sir, your reaction please, sir?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I think they should discuss that over dinner. Thank you very much.