Statement by Assistant to the Presidential Spokesperson Ms. China Jocson (Marie Peña-Ruiz – Kaagapay ng Bayan – Radyo Pilipinas)

MARIE:                                               Magandang umaga muli, ma’am. Welcome to Radyo Pilipinas.

 MS. JOCSON: Hi Marie, good morning. How are you this weekend?

MARIE:                                               Very fine, ma’am. Hope you are, too. It’s a long weekend for the others but working tayo.

MS. JOCSON: Yes, siyempre serbisyo natin ‘yan, Marie.

MARIE:                                               Para sa bayan, ma’am.

MS. JOCSON: I know. Allow me again to give you a wrap-up and then I’ll proceed with the statements. Is that alright?

MARIE:                                               Yes ma’am.

MS. JOCSON: Okay. Thank you, Marie. Here is a wrap-up of the week that was of our President’s activities.

President Rodrigo Duterte began the week by leading the National Heroes Day celebration on August 28 at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City, where he paid tribute and thanked our heroes and asked our people to emulate their patriotism in our efforts to build a stronger, peaceful and more secure nation.  PRRD awarded the Order of Lapu-Lapu Kalasag Medal to the orphaned families of uniformed personnel Killed-in-Action (KIA) and Killed-in-Police Operations (KIPO) and the Order of Lapu-Lapu Magalong Medal to Chief Inspector Jovie Espenido, whose new assignment was announced by the President during the same event.

From the Libingan ng mga Bayani, the Chief Executive went to San Fernando City, Pampanga, to turnover indemnity check to compensate businesses affected by the bird flu. In Pampanga, he led a boodle-fight of chicken-based dishes to prove that poultry products from Central Luzon are safe for consumption.

The President met and had lunch with Kian’s parents at the Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang on the same day, August 28. In their meeting, PRRD vowed an impartial probe and assured Kian’s parents that no one would meddle with the case.

On Tuesday, August 29, President Duterte met with around 35 children of Marawi City, who were part of the “Tabak Educational Tour: Peaceful Environment for Marawi Children,” in Malacañan. In his short message, the President promised the displaced children of Marawi that he will rebuild the strife-torn city.

PRRD’s next activity on August 29 was the oath taking of new Presidential appointees in Malacañan where he asked the newly-appointed government officials to help fight corruption. In his speech, President Duterte said he will create an anti-graft body that will investigate corruption in government.

Later that day, the President presided over the 2nd Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council or the LEDAC. It was a meeting in Malacañan where the common legislative agenda for the 17th Congress was discussed and approved.

Also, the President signed Republic Act No. 10951 amending Republic Act No. 3815 otherwise known as the Revised Penal Code (RPC). The new law adjusted the amount or value of property and damage on which a penalty is based and increased fines on certain crimes.

On Wednesday, August 30, President Duterte led the oath taking of 55 Philippine National Police (PNP) star rank officers also in the Palace. He directed the newly promoted officials of the PNP to lead its personnel to be “effective and exemplary.” PRRD then led the joint command conference with officials of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the PNP at the Palace.

PRRD’s last official public event on August 30 was the 23rd anniversary celebration of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, known to us as TESDA, where the Chief Executive urged the agency to keep on empowering Filipinos who are seeking to advance their careers.

On Friday, September 1, President Duterte led the distribution of medals and plaques to seventeen (17) awardees during the 11th founding anniversary celebration of the Eastern Mindanao Command (EASTMINCOM) at the Naval Station Felix Apolinario (NSFA) in Panacan, Davao City. The Commander-in-Chief took the occasion to underscore the efforts of the EASTMINCOM in fighting communists, terrorists and illegal drugs.

Marie, I will now proceed to reading the statement from the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson Ernie Abella.

MARIE:                                               Yes ma’am. Go ahead, ma’am.

MS. JOCSON: Thank you, Marie. It’s on the government’s control of the Bayabao Bridge in Banggolo. Government forces have taken control of Bayabao Bridge in Banggolo, which became a major battle area between government troops and members of the Maute Group. The retaking of this strategic bridge is an important development as we continue to gain the upper hand in the main battle area and expand our vantage positions with more troop deployments. Military operations continue to remain intense and focused. With the safety of hostages in mind, in the hope of bringing a quicker end to the rebellion and retake Marawi from the evil hands of the Maute terrorist rebels.

Now, on PRRD’s latest remarks not to bomb Marawi mosques –  This is to clarify news reports that the President’s advice not to bomb mosques in Marawi City where Maute rebels are holed up contradicted his earlier statement that he gave the military the option to attack the mosques to capture or kill the terrorist rebels. The Commander-in-Chief and our Armed Forces are taking pains to preserve places of worship as is the case with the Grand Mosque of the City of Marawi. Although exemptions have been provided by international conventions that allow force to be employed, we have deliberately chosen to preserve it and so with other places of worship in the main battle area. AFP Chief of Staff General Eduardo Año, in compliance with the Commander-in-Chief’s guidance, has made the safety of civilians and the rescue of hostages as primordial concerns of our forces.

Now, on the death of Ilolio City’s most wanted drug personality – Iloilo City’s reportedly most wanted drug personality, Richard Prevendido, was neutralized in a firefight last Friday evening. The incident occurred when the suspect, head of the Prevendido Group, one of the two major drug groups in Iloilo, resisted arrest. The incident shows the enormous risk our police officers face each time warrants are implemented against high-value targets. Police authorities are now investigating the incident and will provide update once information becomes available.

Our last statement for today is on the retraction of the Taguba statement – With Mark Ruben Taguba II’s statement clearing Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte and Atty. Manases Carpio from involvement in the BOC smuggling case, there may be no reason for the senate investigative panel to call the two individuals to attend any hearing in Metro Manila, although they have indicated willingness to testify. The legislature is a co-equal branch of government, and the Executive branch respects the Senate’s independence. We trust its wisdom on this matter.

Marie, that’s all our statement for today.

MARIE:                                               Thank you very much, ma’am.

MS. JOCSON: Thank you, Marie. Until next week okay?

MARIE:                                               Yes ma’am, of course, next week.

MS. JOCSON: Salamat, Marie.

MARIE:                                               Maraming salamat sin ma’am and mabuhay po kayo.