Interview

Interview with Philippine Ambassador to Japan Jose C. Laurel

Q: Good morning, Ambassador. Sir, first of all ano pong purpose ng — can we just explain briefly anong purpose ng pagpunta ni Presidente dito sa Nikkei and siyempre magmi-meet sila ni Prime Minister Abe? 

AMBASSADOR LAUREL: Well, the invitation was extended by the Nikkei Organization. The Nikkei as you know is the leading investment and stock exchange’s name of the Japanese economic forum. It also runs among others as you know the stock exchange.

Every year for the last five years the concentration of the Nikkei is towards Asia and the region basically is that the next three or four or five decades will belong to Asia. Why? Simple, the economic growth and GDP growth of the Asian countries will become the biggest in the world. In fact, the Philippines is one of them. So the theme this year will be the future of Asia.

If you look at it very closely with the exception of Japan everyone in Asia is growing. The average is roughly between 5 and 5.3 and the Philippines has been growing for the last four years roughly about 6.8 this year is I think going to be within the range of about 7, 7.1.

Now the Japanese would like to also participate in the growth. And the significance is the Philippines is one of the countries that is very desirous to go into and there are opportunities from both sides.

Now do you question about the Japanese government insofar as the Abe administration is concerned. You have to realize that Abe is the first Prime Minister that has served conti — ah in a total of more than 10 years. In the past, the general average is about three to two years.

So what does that mean? That means that the political stability of the Abe administration has a long stint and has been within the political party of the LDP maintained its leadership. And the Abe administration is quite interested to maintain the relationship of the Philippines and — with Japan. So does that answer your question?

Q: Ambassador good morning. Si Henry Uri po sa DZRH. I think one of the highlights doon sa pag-uusap ni President Duterte at saka ni Prime Minister Abe is ‘yung kapalaran ng mga Filipino skilled workers dito po sa Japan. Anong particular na tungkol doon ang kanilang pag-uusapan? 

AMBASSADOR LAUREL: Well, actually the situation regarding the immigration is addressed already. Last November, the Diet has changed and imposed new rules in allowing foreigners to work here on specific what they call special new visas. And the law was passed last November, November 4, if I am not mistaken. And that the R&Rs were in fact issued last April. We were the first ones — the Philippines was the first one to sign among many countries that were invited.

What’s the significance? It allows more Filipinos to come here and work at high level incomes. Of course there are rules and regulations. They are still fettering out some of these regulations because it’s the first time in the history of the Japanese people since the war that they have allowed this.

Reason, you ask yourselves why? And the reason is basically the decreasing population of Japan. If the growth of population continues to decline in two generation by the third generation, it will not be able to sustain the balance. Bakit? You should answer.

There are I hope mothers here and fathers here. Are you a father? Yes. It takes nine months to have a baby, 21 years to have — to finish the education of a child at this point. And if you have two generations which is roughly about between 20 and 25. For 50 years you continue the decline you cannot produce the next generation and catch up. So what has happened?

The population of the Japanese have become old. That is why when you get old just like me you move slower, you need more help. And that is why the caregivers are brought in. And the younger population sa Tagalog eh masigla, ang matanda ay medyo makupad na. And they have now realized that they cannot increase their population and have their average age lowered because the youth of Japan has not been encouraged to have more children. See children are a blessing from the Lord. If you do not have them on an equal balance system, ikaw rin ang mahihirapan, ang matatanda.

So what is that to the Filipino? It will mean that they can get good jobs in manufacturing. That is why we are also opening a new consulate here in Nagoya. It is planned. It has been budgeted. And hopefully by next year the entire system of putting up a new consulate in Nagoya. Why in Nagoya? Because that is a manufacturing center. It is not only Toyota. The entire gamut of manufacturing in Mitsubishi Electric, Mitsubishi Motors, Noritake, and the other industries are located there. So everybody is going there.

What are the requirements? Iyong R&R or rules and regulations. The rules and regulations are basic. Your purpose here is to be legitimized. You have to understand, speak, read and write Japanese. If you’re a caregiver, it is very important that you read. Bakit? Pagka hindi ka marunong magbasa ng reseta baka lason ang ibigay sa iyo — ang iabot mo. Tama ho ba? So Iyon ho ang dahilan.

Q: Ambassador manufacturing is number one in demand job? 

AMBASSADOR LAUREL: No there are several industries I can’t even remember them totally. Caregiving is one, nursing is one. 

Q: Iyong sa manufacturing magkano ang sweldo usually ng mga Pilipino? 

AMBASSADOR LAUREL: Depende, depende.

Q: Ranges from?

AMBASSADOR LAUREL: 3,500 dollars. 

Q: ‘Yan po ‘yung entry level?

AMBASSADOR LAUREL: More or less. Now if you don’t like that job you better go home. [laughs] That’s roughly about 175,000 pesos. And you are just trying to be a painter you know or a specialist in trying to put turbos or — you know these little things are very interesting.

Q: Good morning, Ambassador. Reymund Tinaza from Bombo Radyo Philippines. Sir, what message could we get from President Duterte being chosen as one of the keynote speakers for the Nikkei? Was it because of him being a friend of Prime Minister Abe Shinzo or because of the said robust economy of the Philippines now?

AMBASSADOR LAUREL: Well number one, the reason why the President is brought here is that the Japanese — it’s not Abe alone — it’s the Japanese that are in themselves fascinated by his government.

I’m quite familiar with this because my father and my family has been with Philippine-Japan relation for more than 84 years. See my father was the Filipino to have studied here formally and graduated. And the Japanese are always fascinated with leadership that is recognized, affirmed by their own people at the same time a tremendous political will insofar as his programs are concerned. So he is not controversial but interesting. Ibang klase for the Japanese.

Because the Japanese are also interested in quality leadership that leads the nation. You know the other thing that you should know and I say this by actual knowledge and experience is that the grandfather of Prime Minister Abe, who was Prime Minister Kishi, that is his grandfather on his mother side. And in fact, Prime Minister Kishi is the person that solidified the Japanese government in the early 60s that led to the recovery of Japan from the war.

In the 60s, the early 60s, in less than two decades they help the Olympics in 1964. They lost the war in ‘45. So in less than two decades naihabol nila ‘yan. And they have been able to become at one time the second biggest economy in the world.

So they are also looking at national leaders particularly in this region in this era that what makes him tip in our relationship between Japan and the Philippines as Abe and Duterte have said the two national leaders it is a golden era. I have seen this because my father was also the ambassador in the 60s. And you know our relationship is tremendously at the upscale. To be very straightforward with you, we do not have any problem here.

Merong mga malilit, mga busisi, pero ‘yung tatanungin mo tipong Donald Trump o sa Brexit o sa France na Macron o sa Italy, wala ho nun. Kaya ang problema natin dito eh masyadong masaya ang Pilipino. And in fact, the embassy takes care of roughly about 285,000 Filipinos who are here now. And I predict that by the end of the year, there’s an additional 50,000 legitimate registered foreigners working here in Japan contributing to the welfare of the Japanese people and it is quite significant. So I hope that answers your question. 

Q: Yes, as a last point. I understand there is no — it is not in the official schedule of the President. But is there any chance or any possibility that he could have an audience with the new emperor after Emperor Akihito abdicated from his throne? 

AMBASSADOR LAUREL: You see the Japanese are very protocolar. They are very traditional. They actually choose who visits them.

For the emperor because the emperor is the symbol of Japan. In fact, the Americans divinized the emperor. But because of the significance of the relationship between Japan and the United States particularly in security, the new emperor Naruhito, who is quite young. He is about in his 50s, early 50s. He took it upon himself because the invitation does not come from Abe. It comes from the Palace that he invited and rightfully so.

And no one will see him not even anyone of the five that were invited to speak at Nikkei because Nikkei is a private affair. And there is no chance because pagka pinalusot mo si Duterte, palulusutin mo si Mahathir. Pagpa pinalusot mo si Mahathir, papasok ‘yung Laos at saka ‘yung Cambodia. Pagka — aba’y hindi na rin — hindi pa nakokoronahan an gating — itong bago. You know they have a system. Parang ikakasal na babae. Hindi pwedeng makita ang mukha ng ikakasal. The bride is now shown. Makikita mo lang ‘yung kamay.

So the Japanese have their own rituals. You have to understand them. You have to understand their culture, their system. And in the end, you get along with them because they have a system that you have to wait until they are crowned.

Pagka nakoronahan na at ang tanong niyo kailan ang coronation? Baka akala niyo umalis lang ang kanyang ama. It’s the first time in more thatn 300 years na nag-abdicate. Karamihan patay muna bago ka sumalta.

Oktubre ang — sampung araw at kawawa naman kaming mga diplomat dahil kasama kami doon sa mga seremonya na pagka kuwan eh maririnig mo lang eh hhhmmmmm, hhhmmmmm. And these are their own Shinto system. So does that answer your question? 

Q: Hello sir, Julie Aurelio from the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Earlier you said that the Japanese people do not find President Duterte as controversial rather they find him interesting. Does — as a long time diplomat na associated ng Japan, do you feel that this interest also translates to admiration for President Duterte?

AMBASSADOR LAUREL: Thank you for the question. I am not a long time diplomat. I have a long history with my family with regards to the relations between Philippine and Japan.  The question is he’s not controversial? He is well you see when you really look at it, Abe has been here for almost eight years.

If they make a growth of half a percent, they’re sad. You give him two percent, there’s joy and jumping in his office. We are here at seven percent and we are not even contented, we are still going for the bigger goals.

You see, this is the first time and I can tell you this because I — I’ve been in politics myself. And if you ask me I’ve been an observer of Philippine politics for the longest time, longer than most probably most of you. 

This President has been able to move the economy with trickled down effects. What does that mean? After the war we had reparations from the Japanese. In fact, my father was one of them that negotiated. The place here is paid by the Japanese. This is Roppongi. This was a controversial property. The government wanted to sell it. The property that my grandfather bought for the Philippine government with his own money in 1943, the government wanted to sell it. Sa laki ng ating kwarta na matatanggap sa gobyerno ng Japan pagkatapos ng giyera, anong nangyari?

Dissipated, grafted through time and this was started during the time of Garcia. Today, the government is executing programs, and I can say this: baka akala niyo ako’y bata.

Let me ask you a question. How old do you think I am? Don’t be nice, tell me the truth.  (68) Come again? (68, Ambassador)You’re very nice. Pwede pa akong manligaw pa. [laughter]

(70?) I’m 75. And I entered politics at 35. My only claim to fame vis-à-vis my relatives who is my grandfather, my father, the Speaker, Doy, Teroy and all, is that I was elected and I’m proud of this as governor of Batangas during martial law in the opposition. And you are going to ask me bakit? Anong…?

Itong tao na ‘to, pagka sinabi niya, gagawin niya. The first time I have seen this kind of leadership since Magsaysay. And my condition is very simple, I don’t need a job. But he said tulungan mo na ako. Hinindian ko muna eh. Ang sagot ko, “Kung maaamoy ko lang na merong pitik o pangungurakot, the very next moment my resignation.”

Hindi ko pa maski naaaninag o naaamoy. Ngayon lang ako nakakita na galit sa magnanakaw kaya makikita mo naman. Ngayon ang kwarta nailalagay sa subway. Alam niyo kung gaano kalaki ang paggagawa ng subway? It will take 10 years.  Ngayon lang ako nakakita na ang perokaril o better known as the railway system, has been attended to and revived. Walang pitik.

 

In other words, I do not smell. I will not work at 75 to destroy my family name.  Inyo na. And that is what I like about him. Baka gusto niyong maging ambasador? Pagka narinig eh ‘di tatawagin ko kayo at irerekomenda.

Q: Sir, just a second question I’d like to shift to topic on the issue of the relaxed rules for foreign workers here in Japan. You earlier said that there are three industries which Filipinos may find work in: manufacturing, nursing and caregiving? 

AMBASSADOR LAUREL: You have — that is only the three that I remember.

Q: Okay, are there other prospects?

AMBASSADOR LAUREL: Marami. Marami.

Q: Such as, sir? Sorry.

AMBASSADOR LAUREL: Ah one of them is IT. The other are in the — aside from the software the hardware is also available. Engineers. In fact, I’m trying to stop the hiring of engineers because we need the engineers back home. Why? We need the engineers to build our subways.

The Philippines is similar to most Asian countries we are susceptible to floods just like Bangkok. And you want to put a railway under the ground. So you will have to have very good structural engineers. You have to analyze your soil bearing capacities, and your engineering on waterworks hydro has to be well studied because these are going to be — there are going to be spillways and troughs.

So marami ho. If you wish, I will call — we are just busy because my God, there are more than 200 official staff coming in aside from 20 people from the different… I’ll give you the list if you are interested.

Q: Just a last question on my part, sir. With the — which should I say relaxation of rules for foreign workers in Japan basically allowing them to come in and work here, do you see or do you foresee any possible complications that may arise for OFWs wanting to come here or do you see any problems that might arise from the OFWs presently here in Japan?

AMBASSADOR LAUREL: Ah I don’t see any because — and I will not use the word that you used, “relaxed”. Because the requirement for language examination is vey difficult. Hindi — that is still the main aspect of their requirement because if you don’t know how to communicate and you know — you were taught this in school because you are journalists.

You’ll have a problem. So, no, I don’t see any problem.  Kailangan nila ang Pilipino. Mas gusto nila ang cariño ng Pilipino lalo na ng Pilipina sa pag-aalaga ng matatanda. Tumatawa kayo pero totoo ‘yun. Ang — the way our people care for the elderly is very outstanding insofar as you know making them feel better and get well.

Q: Ambassador, Alexis Romero of The Philippine Star. Some quarters are saying that President’s visit here is a balancing act between China and Japan. Do you share that view?

AMBASSADOR LAUREL: Well let me put it this way, you are asking a fellow that is quite familiar with the scenario. Basically because most often they asked me particularly the planners back home and some people in the field of diplomacy.

My answer is this: Japan has been a friend. Although let’s admit it, they created war during the 40’s, but they have paid for it. And they have — and the complexities of the world has changed. Japan has been a true friend with no conditions. 

Now, China is… You have to understand China too. You know, since 1949 and since 1911 the West has always had, China is nothing, China is poor. And do you not realize that 80 percent of us are Chinese?

Bakit singkit ang inyong mata? (Puyat) Oh tumatawa kayo pati ikaw (Puyat, sir) at lahat tayo ay merong… If you are living in the cities meron tayong DNA na Intsik pati Hapon. Ngayon, since after the war maririnig mo derogatory remarks. You are Filipinos, let me be straight forward. Sasabihin eh, “Intsik kasi, shua lai” and all that stuff.

And when you really look at it, the Chinese are also people who have sensitivities. And they also want to maintain their place under the sun. Hindi na lang palaging pobre, mahinang klase, shua lai. Today, you start to realize that China owns 60 percent of the external debt of the United States which runs into trillions. Japan only owns 20 percent. The Arabs own only 12, the rest kung sino-sino na lang.

Ngayon, I was asked that question in the National Defense College where I was requested to lecture. My answer was simple, they want to also have a say. I don’t think China is going to go to war nor Japan. But if you ask me who I trust more in recent actuations? I trust the Japanese in their technology.

And when I was asked by an incoming flag officer in command in that school of the National Defense College in Japan here at Ichigaya, I said don’t question us on our diplomacy.

Our diplomacy is simple as said by Don Claro M. Recto: “Our policy is nothing else but a reflection of our domestic belief, that what is good for the Filipino is first and foremost.”

Ang sabi ko sa colonel na Amerikano eh, ‘kami ay demokratiko, hindi kami komunista. Kung papasok tayo sa giyera o magdidiskusyon tayo, kami ay pro democracy hindi kami pro communist.’

Ngayon, sa mga bagay naman na kami ay maghahanapbuhay, eh ‘wag naman niyo kaming diktahan. Dahil kailangan naman kaming mabuhay. We need to also survive and give us the liberty as you give your own businessmen the liberty of doing business and make us — make a little money to improve the lives of our Filipinos.

There is nothing wrong with that. And if you — and I told them that if you threaten us, even as we die we still have the belief of a democratic government. Does that answer your question?

Hindi — there is nothing to do with China here in this visit. This is a visit of asking really the questions of how did you do it? Why are you able to move the country in its direction?

You know, you ask me personally what is this purpose? Ito’y pabuya sa nakaraang election. Why do you bring 21 — ah 20 Cabinet members here pati ang local government or land reform? Wala naman land reform dito. Tapos na, nandoon sa atin.

But I think the President is so elated with the results that it — of the midterm election, that this is an affirmation of his administration in the last three years. Iyan ang katotohanan.

Parang pabuya na, ‘Salamat ha, you’ve done your jobs. That’s why people …’ Meron bang tinakot doon sa election? Wala naman eh. 

Kung ma — kung minsan nga eh nagbabangayan na walang dahilan eh. Eh ang accusation eh haka-haka eh. Iyon ang talagang tunay na kuwan. Kung ano ang kuwan ang dating — pati ‘yang mga Malakanyang boys tanungin niyo masarap ang buhay dito kaysa sa Pilipinas. Unang-una ang klima hindi mainit. Ang pagkain superior. Maski ang dalaga alas-tres, alas-kwatro ng umaga tahimik. Walang nagdadala ng baril.

O meron pa kayong tanong? Marami ano pang gusto mong tanungin? O last two questions.

Q: Ambassador, magandang umaga po sa inyo.

AMBASSADOR LAUREL: Maganda rin ang umaga sa iyo. 

Q: Magandang umaga, Ambassador, Alvin Baltazar from Radyo Pilipinas. Amba, reaksyon lang po doon sa reception ng mga Pilipino dito sa mga nangyayari at nababalitaan nila sa Pilipinas. Just like ‘yung mga iba’t ibang controversies. Are they alarmed or concerned doon sa issues? 

AMBASSADOR LAUREL: Well, firstly tell me the controversies[laughs] that is alarming. 

Q: Campaign against drugs ‘yung mga ganun, corruption.

AMBASSADOR LAUREL: Well, the campaign against drugs is legitimate. The Filipinos who are here are not — are not allowed to use drugs. In fact, you get caught you go to jail walang areglo.

So the question is this, that is not a controversy. You are not supposed to use drugs. I know that it is not beneficial to you medically health wise. And if the police allows I mean catches you, you should be caught, prosecuted or rehabilitated. Now, why can’t they not do it the similar way that the Japanese do? Lumabas tayo dito sa — makikita niyo walang nagtatapon ng wrapper ng candy, wala kayong makikitang lahat eh sumusunod. Why? Because they are disciplined.

Now you are going to ask me is there drugs — are there drugs here? There are but it’s so rare, tagong-tago at talagang pino-prosecute.

Ngayon, I don’t think that is a problem. You are asking me ‘yung sinasabi nilang extrajudicial killings. Eh kung babarilin ka eh di — dapat sumagot ka. In fact, I used to remember my grandfather President Jose P. Laurel. Ang sabing ganun eh ‘huwag kang mauuna pero huwag kang magpapauna.’

Eh nasaan ho ‘yon? Eh parang cowboy, split second draw. Pero once you are fired on, that is already an assault. Now, graft? You see the basic problem with the Filipino and ako’y buka abierto, ako’y bukas ang aking bibig pagka hindi tama ang sinasabi niyo.

Itong taong ito ayaw ng graft. Pagka pinalayas mo sasabihin bakit hindi ikinukulong? Eh gagastos lang ang gobyerno eh. Sa dami ng kuwan lalo na ang mga drug lords. Babayaran ng mga peryodista o kung sino man. Diretsuhan ‘to. O pagkatapos sasabihin eh ‘masama o nagpapapatay ng tao.’ Eh kayo? Bago kayo magsalita imbestigahan niyo ng tama. 

Q: Ambassador, pwede pong humingi lang ng konting details about the FilCom event of the President this coming Thursday?

AMBASSADOR LAUREL: Well, you see the President is here and when I arrived — because before wala naman kaming — wala naman tayong anong tawag dito? Political dito. Nagkaroon lang ng overseas voting noong — hindi ngayon but the last time. And he seems to be popular.

You know why? If you are not interested I will not explain. But if you are interested I will explain. Do you know why he is popular here? Yes or no? You’re the one asking the question. (Yes, sir)You want to know why? (Yes, sir)

The answer is basic, most of these people here have been staying for the last 25 years or more 20, 25. They were the former Japayukis who ensured themselves not to be repatriated by marrying a Japanese. And the reason why is when they get home they tell me tahimik na sa kanilang barangay. Maski doon sa lupalop ng Ilocoslovakia. [laughter] (Ilocos) Ha? Iyon ang sabi mo. O sa Batangas. Lahat ‘yan mga kuwan. It is more peaceful and they see that there are improvements in the local countryside that they see.

We still have to learn our basic disciplines and that is what I dream of. But it will take years maybe decades before we learn how we should behave.

Q: Ambassador, good morning. Nestor Corrales from The Inquirer. The DFA said that one of the agenda in the bilateral meeting between President Duterte and Prime Minister Abe is the issue on the South China Sea. Given that you mentioned in your taped interview that Japan is the most important partner country of the Philippines, what commitment can we have from Japan in terms of upholding the freedom of navigation in the disputed waters because Japan has been very vocal in its policy of upholding peace and stability in the region although they are not claimant in the South China Sea?

AMBASSADOR LAUREL: Well you must remember that because we are very intimate friends, Japan greatly also depends on the Philippines.

If you go back home, you know there is a north, east, south, and west. Is that correct? If you go up north, who from the Japanese point of view, who is there? North Korea. Kaibigan ba nila? Hindi, ang lapit eh. Pwede silang bagsakan ng medium missiles.

If you go northeast, sino nandoon? Russia. Kaibigan ba nila ang Russo? Eh hindi. If they go to the west, sino nandoon? China. Kaibigan ba rin ‘yun? If they go south sinong unang tatamaan nila? (Taiwan, Philippines) Pilipinas. So Japan is a trading company — ah country. It survives on selling their manufactured goods to the world. They have to keep the shipping lanes open. So their only way out is towards the south. Keep the east Indian Ocean alive and get to Europe. If they want to get to the states then they have to travel towards the west coast of the United States.

That is why among others, Japan is very important not only to the Philippines. But the other countries also depend on them. So it’s very simple. Hindi — you don’t have to think too much.

And Japan will support the Philippines in its needs particularly in security. What does it — what does it done? Oh you remember the Coast Guard ships, ‘yung sampu? ‘Yung jet planes, ‘yung helicopters na ibinigay, et cetera, et cetera.

Let me ask you a question and maybe I will tell you what it is most people, most ambassadors don’t explain this. Why is it that they gave us this? The reason basically is of the piracy in the Malacca Strait and the Sulu seas.

If you have this kind of activity and hinders the shipping lanes, not necessarily China, pirates, all the oil of Japan comes through that area. If it is from the Middle East — Saudi or Iran or what have you.

Lahat dadaan. Brunei and Indonesia dadaan doon. It became so bad, parang sa Somalia na. Anong pakiusap nila? Eh sabi ng lloyds at saka ng mga insurers, ‘itataas namin ang premium niyo, itataas namin ang freight niyo.’ Anong konsekuwensiya noon? Tataas ang langis mo.

Eh pagka tumaas ang langis ng Hapon, tataas rin ang langis ng Pilipino at apektado pa tayo. Kasi sinong nag-tripulante sa mga bapor? Karamihan Pilipino. Eh mapapa — madadale Pilipino.

So it is also to the interest of Japan that he supports us and vice versa. So all of this is interrelated. So the talks have to be done. And don’t keep on pressuring the President — and I know this because I was once there. 

Na lahat ng gagawin eh kasalanan ng Presidente, hindi ho. In fact, he is trying to help us and try to understand where we are. And I can understand his work because I had a relative who had a — the same job. He happens to be my grandfather. And it was worse, it was during the war.

And it was a war not between us and Japan. It is a war between the British and the US and Japan. Nasingit lang tayo’t naipit sa nag-uumpugang bato.

Ah yes, go ahead Henry.

Q: Ambassador, sa atin sa Batangas merong tinatawag na walang kahunasan.  

AMBASSADOR LAUREL: Ano?

Q: Walang kahunasan, ibig sabihin walang kabuluhan. Binabanggit niyo kanina ‘yung mga Cabinet officials na kasama rito ng Pangulo — may binabanggit kayo na may mga kasama — tama ba? Na local government, land reform o anuman. Ibig bang sabihin ho nito ay hindi kayo sang-ayon na sila’y napakaraming kasama papunta rito at gastos ito ng gobyerno.

AMBASSADOR LAUREL: Hindi. Unang-una ito’y imbitasyon ng Nikkei. Sila ang sasagot ng gastos. O eh ‘di pagka libre eh ‘di sabihin sa kapitbahay kagaya sa atin. Taga-saan ka ga?

Q: Okay, so walang gastos ang gobyerno rito? Linawin natin.

AMBASSADOR LAUREL: Merong mga gastos, ‘yung mga alipores. Taga-saan ka?

Q: Padre Garcia ho.

AMBASSADOR LAUREL: O eh ‘di distrito ko pa eh. [laughter] Ito’y pabuya, ‘yung parang, ‘Ay sumama na kayo at kuwan ang pakain ay libre.’ Hindi naman junket. Dahil you know, the President…

You know, I’ll tell you at 75, I get tired very easily. And I can imagine that fellow who is six moths younger than me, I think is also getting tired with the kind of lifestyle and schedule that he has.

Now, my impression is it’s important that you know the Cabinet is here for reasons that they may ask the Japanese and even the…

Q: Ambassador, lahat ng pumunta rito ay imbitado, walang junket?

AMBASSADOR LAUREL: Wala. Eh hindi — lahat naman eh imbitado kasi ‘yan ang imbitasyon ng Nikkei.

Q: Pati ‘yung mga local government officials?

AMBASSADOR LAUREL: Ay ewan ko ‘yung local government officials, sila ang… Wala akong nalalamang mayor na — o gobernador na darating na gastos ng gobyerno.

Pero ‘yung sa Presidente, aba eh sila ang sasagot ng suite ng — sa Imperial Hotel.

Q: So ilan lahat ho ‘yung galing Pilipinas na mga opisyales ng gobyerno na nakalista sa inyong opisina?

AMBASSADOR LAUREL: Aba’y ang balita ko’y dalawang daan eh.

Q: Dalawang daan? Pero ‘yung Cabinet officials na…

AMBASSADOR LAUREL: Kasama na doon. Kasama na doon.

Q: All of the Filipino officials yung 200 sir or may mga assistant sila doon sa… 

AMBASSADOR LAUREL: Oo may mga assistant.

Q: Iyong 200? So not all are officials?

AMBASSADOR LAUREL: Hindi, iyon ay kasama na sa 200.

Q: Thank you, Ambassador.

AMBASSADOR LAUREL: Salamat po.

Q: Meron pong naging saksakan diyan sa Kawasaki. May Pilipino bang na-involve doon?

AMBASSADOR LAUREL: Ewan ko. Hindi ko… Hindi ako kuwan — aware of it. Eh kung merong Pilipino eh di lalabas. At pagka ‘yan… Alam niyo ito sasabihin ko sa inyo ha huwag kayong manununtok dito, pagka nanuntok kayo ikukulong kayo at malaki ang gastos.

Iyong manumbi ka? Patay. 

Q: Pero ‘pag nangindat pwede naman? Kindat.

AMBASSADOR LAUREL: Kindat? Ewan ko eh hindi ko pa nakikindatan ang mga dalaga dito. [laughter] Salamat.

Q: Thank you, ambassador.

— END —

Source: PCOO-PND (Presidential News Desk)

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