Interview

Interview with PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar by Peter Musngi & Pat Daza (Pasada Sais Trenta – DZMM)

MUSNGI: Let’s talk to Secretary Martin right now. Sec. Martin, how are you…

SEC. ANDANAR: Hello Peter and Pat…

DAZA: Good afternoon…

SEC. ANDANAR: Good afternoon po..

MUSNGI: Thank you for joining us Secretary, kasi matagal ka na naming hindi nakikita doon sa Teka Muna kaya tinanggal na rin ‘yung Teka Muna eh [laughs]…

DAZA: Sec., are you in town?

SEC. ANDANAR: [Laughs] Nagulat nga ako eh, nagulat ako… parang daily na ‘ata…

MUSNGI: Oo, daily na…

SEC. ANDANAR: Congratulations po.

MUSNGI: Salamat, oo…

DAZA: Sec., tinatanong ko lang ano, are you in town or kasama ka ba dito sa caravan sa Europe.

SEC. ANDANAR: Aba’y napakalamig po dito sa Makati [laughter]…

DAZA: Sa Makati… buti ka pa malamig diyan…

MUSNGI: Sabi ko na nga ba hindi kayo kasama eh…

DAZA: Hindi kayo kasama, so naiwan po kayo sa grupo na umalis papunta ng Europa?

SEC. ANDANAR: Opo. Gusto ko lang i-explain na the bigger trip talaga dito Pat at Peter is the engagement to the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary disappearances dahil 117 session kasi sa Sarajevo, Bosnia. And then mayroon din pong mission ‘yung buong grupo na makipagkita sa UN Universal Periodic Review dito po sa Human Rights Committee at dito po sa International Convention on Civil and Political Rights.

And the entire delegation is the delegation of Executive Order 70 or ito po ‘yung National Task Force to End Communist Violence, si Presidente po ‘yung Chairman dito and then kailangan po kasing ipaliwanag Peter and Pat na iyong 625 na enforced or involuntary disappearances ay nangyari po ito noong 1975 hanggang 2012, at para mai-report po sa UN at EU na wala pong nangyaring forced or involuntary disappearance under the Duterte administration.

As a matter of fact, 105 of those cases have been resolved at nabigyan na nga ng reparation iyong victims or the victims’ families. So iyon po talaga iyong bigger—

DAZA: Iyon ‘yung pakay talaga, iyong pag-alis…

SEC. ANDANAR: Oo, and then two days after bumiyahe po ‘yung delegasyon papuntang Europe, inaresto si Miss Ressa. Oo, so iyon ang—noong in-interview ako sabi ko, well mayroon naman tayong press freedom caravan doon, because it’s side event as a member—ang PCOO kasi ang Chairman ng EO 70 communications. Sabi ko sagutin ninyo na kung mayroong mga sagot [tanong] about sa aresto ni Miss Ressa. Oo, so iyon lang… I think it was just taken out of context at sinabi na iyon lang ‘yung rason kung bakit bumiyahe, OA talaga ito.

MUSNGI: Ang naging problema yata Secretary Martin is the fact na ang napagtuunan lang ng pansin ay iyong press freedom, at iyong mga binanggit ninyo kanina na iyong mga tunay na pakay, kung ating pagbabasehan iyong inyong statement, eh wala naman talaga iyon sa equation noong unang lumabas ito – either dahil sa hindi nai-relay na iyon nga, or maybe because it was too late when it was revealed na marami palang dapat gawin iyong tinatawag nating mga PCOO officials doon sa caravan na kanilang ginagawa ngayon.

SEC. ANDANAR: Opo. And also Peter, itong press freedom caravan, we launched it this year at mahigit sampung mga probinsiya na ang napuntahan natin; usually iyong uma-attend dito iyong mga mediamen tapos iyong mga government workers at private sector. At iyon nga, naikot na natin ang mga sampung probinsiya and then nagkaroon po tayo ng isang press freedom caravan dito po sa Bangkok, Thailand – that was our first press freedom caravan internationally and that was in conjunction with the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding ng PCOO at iyong Ministry of Information nila doon sa Thailand.

DAZA: Oo. Secretary, gaano kalaki po iyong party na umalis sa PCOO? Ilan po iyong delegate?

SEC. ANDANAR: Pinadala ko po doon si Usec. Badoy, siya po ‘yung sa PCOO proper na nag-represent; she headed the delegation for the PCOO for that EO 70; at si Asec. Ablan was also the Head—was sent as the Head of the Freedom of Information, at nagpadala po tayo ng isang cameraman at iyong Head po ng Office of the Global Media Affairs Head, si JV Arcena.

DAZA: So, apat lang po?

SEC. ANDANAR: Opo, ‘yun po under the—

MUSNGI: Ilang cameraman? Iyong buo pong grupo ha, Sec. Martin.

SEC. ANDANAR: Ito po… so from the PCOO proper: Kris Ablan, tapos ‘yung cameraman and then JV Arcena, and then si Usec. Badoy.

DAZA: So, apat nga…

MUSNGI: Kasi nga wala pa ‘yung kanilang production crew. Mayroon bang kasamang production?

SEC. ANDANAR: Ang PTV mayroon po silang… iyong reporters saka cameraman, usual po na… pero that’s under PTV—under PTV po iyon.

MUSNGI: Secretary Martin, alam na po ninyo siguro na kayo’y—itong freedom of the press caravan ay naging subject ng editorial ng PDI ano; at ang sinasabi parang lumalabas na one day nag-meeting kayo and bigla na lang may nakaisip na… [overlapping voices] maganda siguro sa Europe, parang ganoon… Oo, let’s ano po… let’s address that.

SEC. ANDANAR: Oo, medyo ano eh… medyo lopsided po iyong opinyon that—iyon po ay lumabas today; ako naman ay dating mamamahayag din at when I was a broadcast journalist ay binabasa ko po ‘yung mga press releases na lumalabas. So obviously… siguro hindi binasa ng opinion writer iyong naging press release ko kung ano talaga iyong totoong pakay doon. Siguro hindi po siguro binasa iyong mga release ng Philippine News Agency. Pero ganoon pa man, kung ganyan ang kaniyang opinyon ay sana basahin niya iyong press releases ng PCOO para malaman niya kung anong totoong pakay – kasi medyo unfair po ‘yung ganoong klaseng pagsusulat.

MUSNGI: Will you write to them, to counter that? I mean, to at least state your position?

SEC. ANDANAR: Hindi na siguro… Ang sa akin naman ay doon pa lang sa opinyon ay fake news na eh, kasi hindi naman niya binasa talaga lahat. That’s okay, bahala na po iyong Diyos sa kaniya.

DAZA: No. But Secretary, gaano ba kaimportante ang pagpunta sa Europa ‘no for this press freedom caravan? Kasi—sige your justification or your thoughts…

SEC. ANDANAR: Well again, the press freedom caravan is a side event lamang, just to maximize the entire trip. The overall, the general mission really was to visit the office of human rights sa United Nations at ng European Union at para maipaliwanag nga po iyong forced disappearances; at iyong 625 dockets na dala ng ating mga heneral doon para ipakita na mayroon talagang ginagawa iyong Pilipinas sa mga kaso ng human rights. Ito po’y taliwas sa report ng mga kaliwang grupo na wala tayong ginagawa.

And again, the press freedom caravan was conceptualized para po talaga makatulong sa ating gobyerno: para ma-explain iyong media policies, iyong FOI, nandiyan po iyong Presidential Task Force on Media Security, iyong Government Media Bridge Policy para palakasin po iyong tulay na mag-uugnay ng media at ng ating gobyerno – it was created for the best of intentions.

DAZA: Pero Secretary, if you don’t mind my asking. Magkano po aabutin o inabot po na gastos sa pagpapadala po ng delegasyon natin sa Europa?

SEC. ANDANAR: Wala po akong listahan kung magkano po ngayon sa harapan ko, but I can look it up for you. At siguro if you could just do the math, mayroon pong—

DAZA: Gaano katagal ba sila?

SEC. ANDANAR: Mayroon pong isang Usec., isang Asec., isang—

DAZA: Oo, pero gaano katagal po silang mawawala or are they back?

SEC. ANDANAR: They should be home very soon.

MUSNGI: Ah wala pa… so mga ilang araw iyon Secretary? I mean, approximately po mga ilang araw iyon?

SEC. ANDANAR: I’m sorry wala kasi sa harapan ko iyong buong duration ng trip, but I can look it up after this phone call. I can ask with the office, pero iyon nga kasama iyong buong delegasyon. I wouldn’t even also have the entire expenditure ng buong delegasyon – that would be up to Secretary Jun Esperon ng NSA, kasi siya talaga iyong Vice Chairman ng buong EO 70.

MUSNGI: Secretary Martin, kasi may mga senators na po na nagsabi na… the budget you’re allocating for this press freedom caravan can be better allocated towards among other things – iyong pagbabakuna against tigdas…

DAZA: Information campaign…

MUSNGI: Opo, at saka it’s not—para sa kanila po ha, parang it’s not the priority at this moment. In other words, hindi masyadong maganda po iyong timing.

SEC. ANDANAR: Well, I’m well aware of the statements of Senator Poe and Senator Kiko Pangilinan, at Senator Koko Pimentel. I believe they weren’t informed kung ano talaga iyong mga overall mission. I think they were just asked a question by the media about doon sa press freedom caravan lang.

Now again, it would be good you know for the press freedom caravan – which is really just again a side event, it’s just a side event – to maximize the entire trip. It was created for the best intentions, to maximize the entire trip. So I guess ‘pag nabasa nila iyon, kung ano talaga iyong pakay ng buong gobyerno, maliliwanagan sila kung ano talaga iyong pakay ng biyahe.

DAZA: Itong trip ba na ito Secretary Martin, is this annual or is this the first time; or the past administrations have been attending this? Ano ba—how regular or how often do you go on a caravan like this?

SEC. ANDANAR: It’s a good question. I believe this is the first trip for the entire 50 years of CPP-NPA revolution…

DAZA: Fifty?

SEC. ANDANAR: Fifty na years na po ‘yung CPP-NPA eh, so this is the first trip na talagang…iyong the first time na aggressive talaga Pat ang gobyerno na masolusyunan, na matapos na itong problema ng communist violence. I don’t really see anything wrong with_ because we have a government that’s really aggressive na matapos na… Kita mo maraming mga reklamo, mga revolutionary taxes; kamakailan mayroong UPLB na estudyante na namatay sa bakbakan; kinabukasan ng mga kabataan nasisira… It’s the only longest running communist revolution, and lahat—pati nga iyong China ay iniwan na ito eh, naging ano na sila, naging social I think, what they call their government, socialist-capitalist. Iniwan na ito at talagang walang mapapala talaga eh. We have a president that’s really bent on solving this within his term.

MUSNGI: Yeah. And I think he wants to talk again to the Joma Sison and company. I mean, at least sinabi niya na open na naman siya ulit ‘no. Pero here is something po na laging nababanggit. Eh ‘di ba several times eh medyo inupakan na ni President Duterte ang EU, ang Europa… iyong ang dami-dami niyang problema, bakit nakikialam pa kayo sa amin… and you chose to do your caravan in Europe. So the question that needs to be answered is, pinili ba ninyo ang Europe for the caravan because you would like to: one, make amends doon sa mga medyo nasaktan dahil sa mga pahayag ni President Duterte; or pinili ninyo iyon dahil sa ang feeling ninyo ay, it will be the start of a global caravan and Europe is the best start for that particular project?

SEC. ANDANAR: Again, I wouldn’t call the entire trip a caravan because again it’s just a side event. Pero magandang tanong ‘yan Peter, I think Europe was chosen because of the fact that iyong United Nations Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances or UNWGEID ay doon po hino-hold iyong 117 sessions sa Bosnia-Sarajevo. And most of the offices of the United Nations, pagdating po sa Human Rights, pagdating po sa at sa International Convention on Civil and Political Rights ay nandoon po sa Europe, kaya doon po napili ng leadership ng Executive Order 70 or the National Task Force to End the Communist Violence. So siguro kung iyong mga opisina na ito ay nasa ibang lugar, malamang doon din sa ibang lugar iyong pupuntahan.

DAZA: So Sec. Martin, kayo ba ay inimbatahan nitong grupo ng UN para magpresenta po—I mean para mag-extend ng inyong—to have a presentation regarding the Philippines, the situation?

SEC. ANDANAR: Sorry Pat, I wouldn’t be able to answer that because ang National Task Force ang nakakaalam kung ano iyong—kung ito ba’y imbitasyon o sila ba’y pumunta, nag decide… Kasi kami, we are merely members of the task force and we are Chairman of the Communications; at kung ano iyong kanilang lakad, kung ano iyong kanilang mga strategy, we are here to support the task force.

DAZA: Ah so you mean to say Secretary, you are just part of a bigger—the PCOO is just part of a bigger delegation? So hindi lang ang PCOO ang pumunta sa Europe for this caravan, may task force—

SEC. ANDANAR: Tama po kayo…

DAZA: Ah, and this is headed by? Sino po ang nasa task force?

SEC. ANDANAR: Ah… Usec. Severo Catura, who is the Usec for the Presidential Human Rights Committee, and then nandoon din po iyong Department of Justice, nandoon din iyong National Intelligence Coordinating Agency – iyong NICA, nandoon din po iyong Armed Forces of the Philippines, at represented po ‘yung Presidential Task Force on Media Security under the Office of the President.

DAZA: Ahh… so malaking grupo po.

MUSNGI: Secretary Martin, part of the delegation are a few people from the Philippine Information Agency, tama po ba?

SEC. ANDANAR: The Head of the PIA, si Director General Harold Clavite, is part of the delegation.

MUSNGI: Mayroon po kasing—ito, eh hindi naman natin alam kung talagang totoo ito ano. Pero I’d like to share with you na iyong kumakalat sa social media ngayon na memorandum mula sa Philippine Information Agency, designation of Director Benjamin Felipe and Regional Head Purita S. Licas as Officer-In-Charge: “In the interest of service and in view of the official travel of the undersigned to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brussels, Belgium and Geneva, Switzerland per Foreign Travel Order No…” ganiyan-ganiyan… “The following officials are designated Officer-In-Charge of the agency.” Ang importante po dito eh ang trip, iyong tinatanong namin sa inyo kanina ay 10 days ano ha, from 11 to 17 February 2019 to 01 March 2019… So is this—can you validate this memo if you’re in a position to?

SEC. ANDANAR: Well, I haven’t read the memo pero if you have it right in front of you and if it’s a memo coming from—or posted on the website, then that must be a bonafide memo. I need to see it. But yes, DG Clavite is the Head of the Philippine Information Agency a part of the task force.

MUSNGI: Yeah. This was signed po by Harold E. Clavite, Director General, opo… Secretary Martin before we let you go, siguro po one of the missing elements ano, and this is not to put you on the spot ‘no; very important po siguro malaman nga natin kung ano talaga iyong magiging output nila for that. I mean, will they be reporting to you and sasabihin nila na ito po ‘yung na-accomplish namin, number one; number two, magkano po ang in-spend ano. Because nasabi nga ninyo, no public funds will be wasted here. Ang tanong ng iba, ang ibig ninyo bang sabihin eh hindi kayo gagamit ng money na galing sa budget ng PCOO, and therefore walang tax money involved; or, mayroong tax money involved na gagamitin pero ang assurance ninyo ay this will all be used properly and it will be accounted for… walang sasayangin at walang magja-junket doon.

SEC. ANDANAR: Opo, opo… Ano naman, talaga naman Peter at Pat… this is really an official trip, a very important official trip. And I supposed one of the most important trips of the task force to end the communist violence. At mayroon naman, it’s a completely documented. You can check the Philippine News Agency. There are several stories there about the meetings between our task force and the United Nations, EU, the European press… so nandiyan po ‘yan, makikita ninyo po iyon. And once the delegation is back, they will be facing the media at the Malacañang Press Corps.

DAZA: May last question, may nagpapatanong dito, phoned in question po. Kung totoo po iyong balita na kayo po ay nag-proxy para kay SAP Bong Go para sa isang campaign event ho daw…

SEC. ANDANAR: Hindi, I was there this morning sa San Juan… The former Secretary asked me if I could go there, if I could make it. Sabi ko nga sige no problem, as a friend matalik kong kaibigan si Secretary Bong Go. No problem, I just told Bong as long as the President knows about it.

DAZA: Ah, pero ‘di ba akala ko binigyan—‘di ba there’s an instruction from the President na none of the Cabinet members are allowed to campaign for any of the senatoriables or local officials? And you’re still an incumbent Secretary po, paano po iyon?

SEC. ANDANAR: Well iyon nga, sinabi naman sa akin ni Secretary Bong Go that the President is aware of my presence in San Juan.

MUSNGI: So ibig sabihin po…

DAZA: Exempted…

MUSNGI: Okay lang po iyon?

SEC. ANDANAR: Well you know, the President kasi is the Chairman of PDP-Laban and I do serve at the pleasure of the President and at the behest of the President. At kung sinabihan ako ni ex-SAP Bong Go na mag-attend doon at kung mayroon namang go signal si Presidente, wala namang problema.

MUSNGI: Ahh, okay. Kasi po mayroon ding instruction na walang gagamiting government ano, resources for the campaign. Well Secretary Martin, I think you and I know what we’re talking about [laughs]… So we respect your ano sir, we respect what you’re saying and we thank you for answering all our questions ano.

DAZA: Maraming salamat po, Secretary Martin…

MUSNGI: Maraming salamat Secretary Martin, and we’ll be in touch with you again po pagbalik noong ating delegation ano?

SEC. ANDANAR: Okay. Thank you Peter and Pat…

MUSNGI: Thank you very much. Si Secretary Martin Andanar ng PCOO…

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

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