Mindanao Hour Press Briefing by Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella with Dr. Rene Escalante National Committee on Historical Research Chair National Commission for Culture and the Arts; Brigadier General Gilbert Gapay Deputy Commander, Eastern Mindanao Command Spokesperson, Martial Law Implementation in Eastern Mindanao; and Irene Inday Santiago Chair, Government of the Philippines Implementing Panel for Bangsamoro Accords
|Mindanao Hour Press Briefing by Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella with Dr. Rene Escalante National Committee on Historical Research Chair National Commission for Culture and the Arts; Brigadier General Gilbert Gapay Deputy Commander, Eastern Mindanao Command Spokesperson, Martial Law Implementation in Eastern Mindanao; and Irene Inday Santiago Chair, Government of the Philippines Implementing Panel for Bangsamoro Accords|
|Press Briefing Room, New Executive Building, Malacañang / Kadayawan Hall, The Royal Mandaya Hotel|
|Press Briefing Room, New Executive Building, Malacañang/Kadayawan Hall, The Royal Mandaya Hotel|
Rocky Ignacio (PTV): Good morning, Malacañang Press Corps and guests. Welcome sa regular press briefing dito. And siyempre mapapanood niyo po later on ang Mindanao Hour, first time sa Davao City kaya hintayin niyo rin daw po ‘yan.
Our resource speaker for today is Dr. Rene Escalante. He’s the chair of the National Committee on Historical Research of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.
Dr. Escalante was elected Chair of the National Committee on Historical Research of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts from 2007 to 2009, and appointed member of the CHED Technical Panel on history from 2015 to 2016.
In 2010, he was appointed Commissioner of the NHCP. He is a Professor of History and former Chair of the Department of History at the De La Salle University. He earned his baccalaureate and master’s degree from St. Camillus College Seminary and Ateneo de Manila University, respectively. In 2001, University of the Philippines-Diliman conferred on him a Ph.D. degree in History.
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Dr. Rene Escalante.
CHAIRMAN ESCALANTE: Salamat po nang marami. Ito pong darating na Lunes, June 12, tayo po ay magdiriwang ng ika-119 na anibersaryo ng deklarasyon ng kalayaan ng Pilipinas.
Ang ating tema po sa taong ito ay “Kalayaan 2017, Pagbabagong Sama-Samang Balikatin”.
Ang aking presentasyon po ay hahatiin ko sa tatlo. Paguusapan po muna ‘yung highlights ng June 12 pagkatapos ‘yung iba pang mga activities at ibang mga paalala.
Meron pong tatlong malaking okasyon — ah tatlong malaking activities sa darating na June 12. Una po ‘yung regular na flag- raising at saka wreath-laying sa Luneta na sasabayan nang marami pang mga kaugnay na activities sa iba’t ibang lugar sa Pilipinas.
At susundan po ito ng Vin d’honneur gawing tanghali at sa dakong hapon po magkakaroon po tayo ng cultural show at parada.
Simulan ko po sa unang bahagi ng selebrasyon. Ang magiging panauhin po natin dito ay si Presidente Duterte. At magsisimula po ang wreath-laying at saka ang flag-raising ng ganap na alas-8 ng umaga.
Magsisimula po ito sa arrival honors, ganap na alas-8. At ang ikalawang bahagi po ay ang pagtataas ng watawat. Pangungunuhan po ito ng ating Presidente.
At ang pangatlong bahagi po ay pag-aalay ng bulaklak. Sasamahan po ng inyong lingkod at ni General Año ang Presidente.
Ang ika-apat po na bahagi ay ang pagbibigay ng departure honors sa ating Pangulo.
Tapos po nito, lilipat po ang activities natin dito sa Malacañang para po sa Vin d’honneur.
At alas-tres po ng hapon, tayo ay babalik sa Luneta.
Ito pong flag-raising at wreath-laying ay meron po itong mga kasabay na activities din sa iba’t ibang lugar ng bansa.
Sa Kawit, kung saan po naganap ‘yung unang deklarasyon, ang selebrasyon po doon ay pangungunahan ni Senator Ping Lacson. Meron din po sa North Cemetery at ito po ay pangungunahan ni PVAO Administrator Ernesto Carolina.
Sa Malolos po, sa Barasoain Church, ay si Senator Loren Legarda po ang mangunguna doon. Sa Bonifacio Monument sa Caloocan City, si Justice Mariano del Castillo.
Sa Pinaglabanan naman po ay si Senator Sonny Angara. At ‘yung panghuli po ay si DepEd… Magaganap po ito sa Pamintuan Mansion sa Angeles City at ito po ay pangungunahan ni Office of the Peace Process Asec. Rolando Asuncion.
Ngayon, naglabas din po ng circular ang Executive Secretary kung saan hinihikayat niya ang lahat ng mga ahensya ng gobyerno pati na rin po ang mga local government units na magkaroon po ng kaparehang pagpaparangal sa ating watawat at pag-celebrate ng ating kalayaan.
Meron din pong inilabas na circular ang Secretary ng Department of Foreign Affairs at hinihikayat niya rin ang iba’t ibang embahada ng ating bansa sa iba’t- ibang lugar na magkaroon din ng kaparehas na mga pagtitipon.
Bukod po dito, meron pang ilang mga lugar kung saan ang iba’t ibang Gabinete ng Pangulo ay magkakaroon din ng pagdiriwang ng ating kalayaan.
Si Secretary Diokno po ng DBM ay sa Calamba; si DND Secretary Lorenzana po ay naka-assign sa Davao; si PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar po ay sa Bukidnon; si DOJ Secretary Aguirre po ay sa Baguio City; at si DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu ay sa Iloilo City; at ang panghuli po ay si Secretary Teo ay naka-assign po siya sa Kawit, Cavite kasama si Senator Lacson.
Iyong sa dakong hapon po, magsisimula ang activities ng alas-3 ng hapon. Magkakaroon ng parangal sa panauhing pandangal. Pangungunahan ito ng Sandatahang Lakas ng Pilipinas.
At bago po ang parada, magkakaroon ng maikling palatuntunan. Magsisimula ito sa isang ecumenical prayer. May kinatawan po ang simbahang Katoliko, ang Iglesia ni Kristo, mga Protestante; at ang mga kapatid nating Muslim.
Tapos susundan po ito, magsasalita po ako ulit para ipakilala ang ating panauhing pandangal. At susundan na po ito ng talumpati ng ating panauhing pandangal.
At ang ikatlong bahagi po ay ang parada ng Kalayaan, civic parade. Kasama ko po ngayon si Nilo Agustin at kung may panahon pa tayo ay ipapaliwanag niya ang magiging tema at ang daloy ng parada.
Hindi lang po sa June 12 merong mga activities. Actually, nagsimula na po ang pagdiriwang noong flag day, kung naalala niyo ay sa Alapan ay nagkaroon ng selebrasyon noong nakaraang linggo.
Ngayon, magbabanggit po ako ng ilan pang activities na ito po ay may kaugnayan pa rin sa ating pagdiriwang ng anibersaryo ng ating kalayaan.
Bukas po, ang PIA ay meron silang programang tinawag, “Isang Bangka Tayo, Balik Tanaw 2017”.
Ito ay isang activity kung saan magkaroon po ng parang Pasig River tour. Magsisimula po ito sa Guadalupe Station sa Makati at ito po ay magtatapos dito sa may Intramuros area. Libre po ito.
Ngayon, sa dakong hapon, ang National Parks Development Committee ay magkakaroon ng “Paco Park Presents”. Ito po ay gabi ng mga kundiman kung saan may mga mang-aawit galing sa St. Theresa’s College, Tunog Etniko ng Bauan, Batangas at ang magiging venue po nito ay sa Paco Park dito po sa San Marcelino, dito sa Maynila.
Sa June 11 po, ito ‘yung bisperas ng ating kalayaan, magkakaroon po ng “Parada ng Paanyaya”. Ito po ay sponsored ng Association of Volunteers Fire Chiefs and Firefighters of the Philippines at ito po ay magaganap sa Luneta.
Sa June 11 din po magkakaroon ng activity ang DOLE, Department of Labor and Employment, ang tawag po nila dito ay “Trabaho, Negosyo, at Kabuhayan”.
Ito po ay isang parang mga seminars tungkol po sa mga issue na may kinalaman sa labor, at saka ‘yung mga iba’t-ibang programang pang-empleyo.
Iyong ating Sandatahang Lakas naman po ay magkakaroon ng static display, showcase of AFP, PNP, and PCG current capabilities and equipment. At ito po ay sponsored ng NPDC. Ito po ay gaganapin sa Rizal Park din.
Meron din pong “MusiKalayaan”. Ito po ay again sponsored ng ating Sandatahang Lakas. Ito po ay mga combo bands from AFP, PNP at Philippine Coast Guard.
Ito po ay magaganap simula ng alas-4 ng hapon hanggang gabi po ito sa Open Air Auditorium ng Rizal Park.
Meron din pong mga pang-pamahalaang programa at mga serbisyo. Ito po ay pangungunahan ng MMDA at napakarami pong mga ahensya ng gobyerno na sasama po dito.
Ang NHCP po ay magkakaroon din ng book sale ang aming mga publication, magtitinda po kami ng mga libro. Ito po ay pawang mga discounted.
Ang Department of Agriculture din po ay magkakaroon ng kanilang program. Ito ‘yung tinawag nilang “Agri-Aqua Fair and Exhibit”.
Magkakaroon po ng mga techo-demo on food processing, magkakaroon din po ng mga rolling stores, magtitinda sila ng mga basic commodities na may malalaking diskwento. At magkakaroon din sila ng distribution of free agricultural seed and seedlings.
Sa June 11 at saka June 12, ‘yung Light and Sound Sculptural Tableau ay bubuksan din ng NPDC at ito po ay libre sa lahat ng mga manunood.
Dagdag din pala na activity, kung inyong naalala, ito pong taong na ito ginugunita po natin ‘yung anibersaryo na the 600th anniversary of the journey of the Sultan of Brunei to China.
At bilang paggunita nito, ‘yun pong Balangay Voyage. Ito po ay nakaparada na ngayon diyan sa Manila Bay. So maglalayag po sila simula sa MOA, Mall of Asia, patungo po dito sa ating Quirino Grandstand kung saan nakabandera po ‘yung malaking watawat ng ating bansa.
Magkakaroon din ng simultaneous blowing of horns. Ito po ay pangungunahan ng Philippine Coast Guard.
At pagkatapos ng okasyon sa Luneta, ‘yung Los Caballeros ng Philippine Army ay magkakaroon din po sila ng mga entertainment activities dito.
Nais ko rin pong banggitin na ‘yung Department of Health ay magkakaroon ng free medical, dental, and optical services.
So kung ‘yung ilan sa ating mga kababayan na gustong magpagamot at magpabunot ng ipin, magpatingin sa kanilang problema sa mata, magkakaroon po tayo ng mga free medical services.
Sa June 12 din po buong maghapon, ang DOLE ay magkakaron ng job fair. So marami pong mga kumpanya ang naimbita at mag-o-offer din po sila ng mga trabaho doon sa mga dadalo.
At ang DOTr, nag-announce din sila na magkakaroon ng free MRT and LRT rides itong araw na ito.
Meron po palang bago sa selebrasyon natin. Ito ‘yung human flag formation na program ng I Bilib. Halos 50 katao po ang kanilang kinomisyon para mag-form ng… I’m sorry? Halos two thousand five pala. Sorry for that wrong info — at ito po ay gaganapin doon sa tapat ng stage na kung saan idadaos ang ating programang kultural.
At sa… Yeah, ‘yung nabanggit ko na kanina, magkakaroon tayo ng paradang kalayaan at susundan po ito ng cultural show.
Matatapos po ang activities sa June 12 sa isang fireworks display, ito po ay sa gawing gabi ng nasabing araw.
Bago ko po tapusin ang aking briefing, nais ko pong ipaalam na magkakaroon po tayo ng konting traffic rerouting kung saan po magaganap. Dalawang araw po ito dahil ‘yung June 11 magkakaroon muna tayo ng mga rehearsals.
Maglalabas po ng bulletin ang PIA — ah PIO tungkol dito. And then ang mangangasiwa po ng ating trapiko ay ang MMDA, katuwang po ang Manila Police District.
At gaya ng palaging pinaalala na iba na ang panahon natin ngayon, maging mapagmatyag po tayo at kung may mga nahalata tayong hindi maganda. So nagkalat po ang pulis at mga alagad ng militar, maari pong ipagbigay natin sila ng alam — ipagbigay-alam natin sa kanila.
At bilang panghuli, nais ko pong pasalamatan ang mga taong nasa likod ng mga activities na ito. Kasama ko po ngayon ang napakasipag na Executive Director NHCP, Director Vic Badoy at ang aming mga kasamahan sa NHCP, si Gina, tapos si Ellen at saka si Giovan.
Katuwang din po namin dito ang Department of Tourism, ang PIA, at napakarami pong ahensya ng gobyerno na katuwang namin dito at malamang wala akong sapat na oras para banggitin po ang lahat ng ito.
So sa ngalan po ng NHCP at ng DOT, sa pangunguna ni Cesar Montano, kami po ay humihingi ng suporta na sana po ay tulungan niyo kaming maging matagumpay itong pagdidiriwang natin ng 119th anniversary ng kalayaan ng Pilipinas.
Salamat po nang marami.
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS:
Maricel Halili (TV-5): Hi, sir, good morning. Sir, just a few clarifications. Iyon pong 3 p.m. na event ang — si Presidente rin po ‘yung guest of honor doon?
CHAIRMAN ESCALANTE: Naka-schedule po ang ating Presidente pero sa ngayon, hinihintay pa po namin ang final confirmation.
Ms. Halili: And napansin po namin doon sa line-up nung mga mangangasiwa doon sa activities parang hindi po nabanggit si Vice President Leni Robredo. Meron po ba siyang magiging participation on Independence Day?
CHAIRMAN ESCALANTE: Sa ngayon, wala po siya — wala po siyang — yeah. [She will be joining there? Yeah, yeah.] She will be joining the flag-raising in Luneta.
Ms. Halili: Ah okay, so magkasama po sila doon ni —
CHAIRMAN ESCALANTE: Magkasama po sila.
Ms. Halili: — ni Presidente. Sir, paano po maiiba ‘yung anniversary natin ng Independence Day today as compared doon sa mga previous na celebration natin?
CHAIRMAN ESCALANTE: Noong nakaraang administrasyon po kung naalala natin, nagro-rotate po tayo.
Iyong Presidente minsan ay nasa Kawit, nasa iba’t-ibang lugar. So ngayon po, gaganapin po ito dito sa Luneta. Tapos po merong ilang mga activities gaya ng nabanggit ko, siningitan po ito namin ng mga activities na nababagay sa panahon natin ngayon.
Halimbawa, ‘yung 600th death anniversary ng paglalayag ng Sultan ng Brunei, isiningit din po namin ito para maiba naman po ‘yung aming tema.
Hannah Sancho (Sonshine Radio): Hi, sir, good morning. Sir, gagayahin din po ba ng Pangulo ‘yung ginawa ng previous administration na ‘yung celebration po ng Araw ng Kalayaan, iikot din siya sa iba’t-ibang bahagi ng Pilipinas po?
CHAIRMAN ESCALANTE: Sa ngayon po, parang hindi pa natin masasagot ‘yan dahil sa every year, nagkakaroon po technical — national organizing committee at call po ‘yan ng Pangulo kung saan po niya gustong magtaas ng watawat.
Dexter Ganibe (DZMM): Hi, sir, good morning. Sir, nailatag po lahat ‘yung, tawag dito, ‘yung programa para sa June 12 Independence Day. May kasama po bang programa, pag-aangat ng bandila sa Kalayaan Island?
CHAIRMAN ESCALANTE: Wala po, wala pong naka-schedule.
Nabanggit ko po kanina na mayroong Circular ang ES pagkatapos ang DILG kung saan hinihikayat niya ang lahat ng mga ahensya ng pamahalaan na magkaroon ng mga ganitong activities.
So kanya-kanya na pong execution ‘yan sa mga lokal na level at ‘yung mga regional offices ng iba’t-ibang mga national agencies.
So hindi na po bumaba sa ganong lebel ang aming ahensya para i-monitor kung ano ang mangayayri sa iba’t-ibang lugar ng ating bansa.
Mr. Ganibe: Sir, follow up lang doon kay Vice President. May effort ba tayo ng imbitahan siya or na mabigyan siya ng part para sa Independence Day celebration?
CHAIRMAN ESCALANTE: SOP po ‘yung aming imbitasyon. Naka-default na po ‘yan ‘pag may activity po ang National Historical Commission, palagi pong naka —
Mr. Ganibe: May invitation? Saan pong activity po siya naimbitahan, sir?
CHAIRMAN ESCALANTE: Halos sa lahat po ng activity namin. Basta’t po national activity, palaging may imbitasyon ang…
Mr. Ganibe: Ito po ba ‘yung mga activity na dadaluhan ng Pangulo sa Luneta or sa ibang venue outside Luneta?
CHAIRMAN ESCALANTE: Meron pong regular na activities ang NHCP. Iyong Araw ng Kagitingan kung inyong naalala; pagkatapos, itong June 12, pagkatapos itong… Iyong National Heroes’ Day, Bonifacio Day, pagkatapos ‘yung Rizal Day.
Iyon po ay mga national activities na NHCP po ang namamahala. So lahat po ito ay naka…
Mr. Ganibe: Depende sa kanya kung saan siya magpa-participate?
CHAIRMAN ESCALANTE: Yeah, kino-confirm naman po niya kung siya ay darating.
Mr. Ganibe: Mukhang walang participation ang House Speaker and the Senate President?
CHAIRMAN ESCALANTE: Naimbita po namin si Speaker Alvarez [sa Malolos?] — sa San Juan. Nag-decline po siya.
Iyong Senado po ay nag-reply kaya po ipinadala nila si Senator Sonny Angara.
Ms. Ignacio: Sir, ano po ‘yung magiging tema ng Independence Day and ano ‘yung magiging significance nito? Especially ‘yung dapat na gusto niyong mensahe na ang situation kasi ng Pilipinas ngayon may nangyayari sa Marawi City at iba pang lugar?
CHAIRMAN ESCALANTE: Nabanggit ko po kanina ‘yung tema na “Kalayaan 2017: Pagbabagong Sama-samang Balikatin.” Siguro ang mahalagang salita dito ‘yung “call for unity,” “sama-sama balikatin.”
Alam naman natin na marami tayong problema ngayon at talagang ‘yung tawag ng panahon is kailangan talaga magkaisa tayo. Hindi natin ito masusugpo kung tayo ay mananatiling watak-watak.
Ms. Sancho: Sir, follow up lang po doon kay VP. Nag-confirm po ba siya na aattend siya sa June 12?
CHAIRMAN ESCALANTE: Yeah, according to my executive director.
Ms. Sancho: Thank you, sir.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR BADOY: Thank you so much. Good morning po sa inyong lahat.
Unang una, nais ko pong dagdagan ‘yung sinabi ng ating Chairman ng National Organizing Committee, si Dr. Escalante na meron din tayong DTI Diskwento Caravan. Hindi nabanggit kanina.
Ito po ‘yung mga programa ng Department of Trade and Industry na magbibigay diskwento doon sa mga goods and ‘yung mga commodities na kanilang ipagkaloob sa ating mga kababayan during this day.
June 12 po ito sa Burnham Green lahat ho mangyayari ‘yung binanggit po ng ating chairman sa Burnham Green part po ng Rizal Park mangyayari ito, June 11 and 12, ‘yung mga pampamahalaang programa at serbisyo kung saan ang mga ahensya ng gobyerno ay magbibigay po ng serbisyo sa ating mga kababayan. Lahat po ito libre.
Halimbawa, po sa NBI magbibigay po ito ng mga NBI clearances; sa ating LTO, magre-renew ng license kung kailangan mag-renew na ’yung ating mga kababayan, mag-renew ng registration ng mga kotse, et cetera, et cetera.
So ‘yan po ay mangyayari lahat sa Burnham Green starting June 11 and 12 at nandiyan po lahat — ‘yung static display ng ating AFP — makikita niyo ‘yung mga modernong kagamitan ng ating mga sundalo at Philippine National Police forces.
So lahat po ito ay ating iniimbitahan ang ating mga kababayan na magkaisa at magdiwang sa kaarawan ng ating bayan, okay. 119th Independence Day.
Nagpapasalamat din po kami sa tulong na — at suporta na ibinibigay ng Tourism Promotion Board under COO Cesar Montano na siya po ay sumusuporta sa mga activities, lalo na sa parada na ating gagawin ngayong Independence Day.
Maraming salamat po.
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: All right. Good morning Philippines. We’re in Davao this morning. We’re going to be… We are accompanied by Brigadier General Gilbert Gapay and Ms. Irene Santiago.
Before we introduce them, we’d just like to make a few updates.
We’d like to make a statement regarding the Philippine manufacturing sector topping the ASEAN countries:
The Philippine manufacturing sector continues to grow.
According to Nikkei ASEAN Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), the country’s manufacturing sector got a score of 54.3, indicating a solid increase in output for the month of May.
As a result, the Philippines has ranked first among ASEAN countries in the manufacturing sector, replacing Vietnam as stronger performer in this sector.
We’d like to attribute this to the strong economic fundamentals also of the Philippines.
Also, we’d just like to make a statement regarding the NDFP offer to help fight the terrorist Maute group if government lifts martial law.
To show that the CPP-NPA-NDF is truly in pursuit of peaceful coexistence, they must stand against the common enemy, without conditions.
A potential cooperation is unlikely with the statement of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) that it would cooperate with the government in fighting the Maute group if we would lift the declaration of martial law and withdraw our all-out war policy.
The Duterte administration would rather pursue the path of genuine dialogue to build a nation worthy of its citizens.
Today we are going to be given an update on the Mindanao situation by Brigadier General Gilbert Gapay, spokesperson for martial law implementation in Mindanao and deputy commander of Eastern Mindanao Command. General…
BRIG. GEN. GAPAY: Yes, thank you very much, Secretary Abella, Ma’am Irene Santiago. To everyone, good morning.
Just to provide you an update on the martial law implementation here in Eastern Mindanao:
For the past days, Eastern Mindanao Command has been aggressive in the conduct of security operations in the whole area of responsibility, which covers Regions XI, Caraga Region, and parts of Region X, and Region XII.
Since the declaration of martial law last 23 May, a total of 2,651 checkpoint operations were conducted by our line units and about 1,082 security patrols were likewise conducted all over eastern Mindanao area.
Further, our Navy has also been proactively conducting maritime patrols to prevent terrorists from using the sea lanes as point of entry in our AOR.
In some areas, curfews were also imposed and this was in coordination with the various LGUs and we are implementing total gun ban since the permit to carry was suspended by the PNP.
As a result of this implementation, we have — let me report some significant accomplishments of the eastern — of the Eastern Mindanao Command.
So last June 6, we have prevented and arrested Cayamora Maute, together with his four companions during a regular checkpoint operation in Barangay Sirawan Toril District, Davao City.
And likewise last night, we have also apprehended through a joint AFP-PNP checkpoint operations, the former mayor of Marawi Fajad Umpar Salic, together with three others.
And, of course, as a result of our proactive maritime patrols, we have also responded to a piracy incident in Sarangani province wherein we apprehended two perpetrators.
So aside from security operations we have been conducting, Eastern Mindanao Command is also involved in various humanitarian operations to help our brothers, our fellowmen in Marawi.
Two major relief assistance, operations were conducted utilizing our Navy vessels in these relief goods. Truckloads of relief goods were transported to Marawi in — to provide assistance to our countrymen there.
And likewise, on the aspect of evacuees, Eastern Mindanao Command has also — here in Eastern Mindanao, we have also taken in quite a number of evacuees.
Here in Davao City, 222; in Gen San, some 100 evacuees; in Cagayan de Oro and other parts of Northern Mindanao, we have a total of 6,379 evacuees.
So again, as we continue to implement martial law, we are assuring everyone that our actions will always be in accordance with the rule of law and in strict adherence to human rights.
However, we again ask, as we’ve always been asking for the cooperation and support of everyone in making our area safe and secure. Thank you.
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: We’d now like to refer to Ms. Irene Santiago, chair of the Government of the Philippines Implementing Panel for the Bangsamoro Peace accord. Ma’am?
CHAIRPERSON SANTIAGO: Good morning everybody. I am pleased to report that the Bangsamoro peace process is on track.
The Bangsamoro Transition Commission approved the final draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law on Tuesday, June 6.
It is now gone to a [standing?] committee so that we hope that the final draft can be submitted to the President before the middle of June.
I would also like to report to you about the second peace corridor that we opened in Lanao del Sur.
So the first corridor, as you know, was there to rescue trapped civilians and that was done last Sunday.
Yesterday, we opened another peace corridor between Malabang, Lanao del Sur and Marawi City. Because I think, unknown to many, this corridor, because it has been unsafe and unsecure, food and other humanitarian aid have not been able to pass through.
So, in partnership with the MILF, through our ceasefire mechanism, we have been able to open that peace corridor.
And so, yesterday, several organizations and groups have been able to send food, medicines, and other humanitarian aid. Among these are ARMM – the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao – was able to send food aid. The International Committee of the Red Cross, as well as the Bangsamoro Development Agency.
Also, we have the offer from other NGOs to help, and it is possible that we will open another corridor. Because as you know, the area around Lake Lanao is also where many of our internally displaced have gone.
And there is a rising food crisis. One sack of rise is now P5,000. So it is important that we secure the passageway around the lake, so that we can bring food assistance in and we can bring food prices down.
So the idea of the peace corridor is really a safe passageway to save lives, whether it’s trapped civilians in Marawi City or opening a passageway so that food and other medicines and other assistance can come through.
As for the peace corridor in Marawi, we are awaiting arrangements because the emissary that we had — who was going between the Maute group as well as the military has taken ill.
And so we are awaiting for him to get a little better. And we hope that we will be able to then resume our activities in trying to get trapped civilians out.
That’s all I have to report this morning.
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Before we take in a few questions, we would just like to continue to remind the Filipino nation that keeping peace in Mindanao is very essential and has been part of the campaign message of the President.
The President, when he was campaigning for the Presidency, he made a promise – an overarching promise – that he promised a comfortable life for all, which is based on three items: number one, poverty reduction, and to make sure that everybody was able to enjoy economic benefits including those who have traditionally been unincluded and unheard.
Second, he also ran on a platform of law and order, in which we need to remind ourselves that the campaign against crime, corruption, and illegal drugs is part of.
And thirdly, of course, is the desire to have peace within our times and within our borders. This, what is happening in Mindanao, is very key to having peace and the dream of having a better life for all Filipinos.
We’re going to be open now to a few questions.
Anjo Alimario (CNN Philippines): Hi, sir. Good morning, sir. Sir, with the arrest of Fajad Salic, sir. Did we establish the connection of his arrest to the Marawi crisis and his connection to the Maute group, sir?
BRIG. GEN. GAPAY: So right now, that is the object of the ongoing investigation to really establish his role in what’s going on in Marawi.
Mr. Alimario: Sir, may mga report na sinasabi financier daw siya ng Maute group. Can you confirm that?
BRIG. GEN. GAPAY: Oh, yes. Even before the Marawi crisis which we are having right now, there were reports also that he is a strong supporter.
He’s providing logistics and finances during the formative years of this Maute ISIS group.
That’s why his name was included in the arrest order issued by the Secretary of National Defense.
Mr. Alimario: Sir, on Cayamora Maute. Sir, why was he transferred to Manila, sir?
BRIG. GEN. GAPAY: It is for security reasons that he was transferred. He is the patriarch and the head of the Maute clan.
And as such, he is considered as a high-value individual and, at the same time, high-risk individual also. That’s why we opted to transfer him to Manila.
Mr. Alimario: Bakit, sir? If he stays in Mindanao, may mga reports ba tayo, sir, na may planong i-rescue siya or ano siya…?
BRIG. GEN. GAPAY: We haven’t received direct reports on the plots to rescue. But if we look at how Maute group operates, there were — there is one instance where they rescued ordinary members of the group in Marawi.
And what more to Cayamora, who is the head of the clan? So it’s not a remote possibility that they would also do that here in Davao while he is detained here.
And, of course, we were also prepared for some — in the event of retaliatory or diversionary attacks here in the area of Eastern Mindanao.
Mr. Alimario: Last na lang, sir. Sir, for the Metro Manila naman, sir, kasi may fear na baka naman maging magnet for trouble ‘yung Metro Manila because of the transfer of Cayamora Maute?
BRIG. GEN. GAPAY: Yes, we cannot discount the risk wherever he is. Nandoon pa rin ‘yan because we know how the Maute group operates. And ito nga ang pinaghahandaan natin, ng ating security forces, for any eventualities like this.
Mr. Alimario: Thank you, sir.
Joseph Morong (GMA): Sir, just to stay on the subject. Sir, I’m interested in the movement. Si Cayamora Maute, sir, at the time he was arrested, did he come from Marawi? Paano ba ‘yung naging niyang lakad?
BRIG. GEN. GAPAY: Yes, according to their driver, they came from Cotabato. But prior to that, hindi natin alam where he came from.
So from Cotabato, in transit to Kidapawan or Tagum. But when they were nearing Davao, ‘yun na. That’s when they decided, ‘let’s go to Davao.’
And that was also the time when they were apprehended at our checkpoint in Barangay Sirawan in Toril District.
Mr. Morong: Would we know, sir, if during the start of the crisis or even before he was in Marawi?
BRIG. GEN. GAPAY: We have been receiving reports that he was spotted in one of the barangays in Marawi.
Mr. Morong: Before the crisis or during?
BRIG. GEN. GAPAY: At the start of the crisis, at the start of the attack, he was present. But this is one information, we are still verifying.
Mr. Morong: So is it possible, sir, that other members of Maute are able to escape Marawi?
BRIG. GEN. GAPAY: It is possible, it is possible because at the very start, we haven’t plot yet all the exits of Marawi.
And it is possible that some may have exited Marawi before the incident escalated.
Mr. Morong: How about Isnilon, sir?
BRIG. GEN. GAPAY: Based on our reports, he’s still inside.
Mr. Morong: Ah nasa loob pa naman. Okay, sir, that’s it for the meantime.
Vina Araneta (ABS-CBN Davao): Ma’am, ‘yung draft po ng Bangsamoro Basic Law, ‘yun po ‘yung sa MILF lang or kasama na po doon ‘yung sa MNLF? Kasi ‘di ba parang may version din po sila ng sinasabing BBL?
CHAIRPERSON SANTIAGO: Ang Bangsamoro Transition Commission is a body under the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro. Talagang ano ‘yan, MILF. So that’s part of the agreement with the MILF. So ‘yan ang Bangsamoro Basic Law.
Ngayon, ‘yung tanong mo tungkol sa whether the MNLF is also — made a contribution. Well, there are 21 members of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission. And 10 were nominated by government.
Sa 10 na ‘yun, three are members of the MNLF Sema-Jikiri faction. So there was input from the MNLF Sema-Jikiri faction doon sa bagong draft ng BBL.
Tungkol naman sa MNLF Misuari faction, there is a separate panel dealing with them and that’s headed by Undersecretary Nabil Tan.
The government is very firm that there is no re-negotiation of the 1996 Final Peace Agreement.
What is on the table are only three items that were left from the nine years of discussion at the Tripartite Review.
Kasi pagkatapos ng Final Peace Agreement, there was a discussion about ano na ba talaga ang na-implement? Ano pa ang wala? So nagkaroon sila ng… For nine years, napag-usapan ‘yan ng OIC, ng MNLF, at saka ng gobyerno. And tatlo na lang issues ang nandoon.
So the government has insisted na ‘yan lang ang pag-usapan natin. So they have not met formally, so there’s been no resolution.
But the issues that are left are — can be covered by the draft BBL. Kasi gaya ng isa sa issues is strategic minerals. Eh nandiyan na ‘yan sa wealth-sharing portion ng BBL. So these are issues that can be taken into consideration in that draft.
So when that is submitted the BBL — the draft BBL is submitted to the Office of the President, doon tayo pwedeng… Doon natin pwedeng ipasok ‘yung other issues na ‘yun. But it depends, of course, on the discussions in the other panel with the MNLF. So ganun ‘yan.
Q: Balikan ko lang po ‘yung kay Cayamora Maute. Last Tuesday, na-interview po namin si Cayamora. He said na the other day daw po, nanggaling siya ng Marawi. He is talking about Sunday. So at Sunday din po nagkaroon ng peace corridor. Do you have information po kung kasama po siya sa mga civilians na napalabas ng Marawi during the peace corridor? And also, we have interviewed Aljon Ismael Salazar, the driver. He said na na-pick up niya ‘yung tatlo sa isang hotel sa Cotabato City but then pumunta pa po daw sila ng Sultan Kudarat para sunduin doon si Cayamora. Meron po ba, geographically, is Marawi… Is there a shortcut from Marawi to Sultan Kudarat kung saan po pwedeng dumaan si Cayamora?
BRIG. GEN. GAPAY: First ‘no, their statements. Actually that’s what they said. And based on the initial inquiries we had, there are some inconsistencies doon sa mga statements nila.
And this is the object of the ongoing investigation to really ascertain if they’re telling the truth.
But as far as the exit landmarks, there are many exits in Marawi and maybe he has taken the southern route going to Malabang then Parang. Then he is in Cotabato City already.
So… But these things are still being ascertained because investigations are still ongoing.
Q: Kay Spokesperson Abella po. Sir, allegedly, there was a financier of Maute reportedly killed resisting the authorities in Lanao del Sur? And do you have information about the identity of this alleged financier, sir, and details po kung paano po siya namatay?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I just refer to General Gapay.
Q: If you have information din po?
BRIG. GEN. GAPAY: I’m sorry?
Q: Sir, allegedly there was a financier of Maute reportedly killed resisting authorities in Lanao del Sur? And if you have information po about the identity of this financier and paano po siya namatay?
BRIG. GEN. GAPAY: Yes, we haven’t received a report on that because that is within the area of Western Mindanao Command.
Q: Kay Sir Abella, sir, do you have any information about the matter? Sir, how about po doon sa 72.9 million pesos? Saan na po ‘yung money and ano na po ang nangyari doon, sir?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: As far as I know it’s in safe… It has been placed in safekeeping.
Q: Do you have information kung sino po ‘yung source ng money?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: No, we’ll have to wait until full investigation has been done.
Q: Last na lang po. Last na lang po, sir. How about po doon po sa signatories ng cheques?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Again, that’s part of full investigation.
Q: I would like to ask Brigadier General Gapay. Sir, what’s the status of the van driver, Ismael? Will he be the witness and if he’s a witness, what made him qualified?
BRIG. GEN. GAPAY: We really don’t know if he’ll be a witness or not.
But based on the inquest proceedings yesterday, he was — there was no reasonable grounds and no probable cause for him to be charged for the illegal possession of firearms and explosives.
He maintained his… Based on his initial statements that he was just a driver and the van was only rented. And he didn’t know or he’s not connected whatsoever with the Maute family.
That’s why 9:30 in the evening yesterday, he was released by Davao City Police.
Q: Okay. Sir, what are the cases being filed by our authorities against the four accused Maute, sir?
BRIG. GEN. GAPAY: Well, yesterday they were charged for illegal possession of firearms, ammunitions and explosives. These are the things found inside the van, which they used.
And apart from that, Cayamora Maute, the father of the Maute clan has standing warrants for kidnapping, illegal detention and multiple murder.
Q: Okay. Sir, last na lang po. There’s a request coming from our City Mayor on the transfer of the other Mautes who are detained right now at the Davao City Jail. What’s the status of this request, sir?
BRIG. GEN. GAPAY: We are still waiting the decision or the directives from the courts because I believe they are still on process.
Q: Good morning. Sir, for Secretary Abella and also Sir Gapay, with the arrest of Cayamora Maute and Fajad Salik, I would like to ask if the government has plans to — for more arrests in the coming days?
And if so, what are — what strategies you are conceptualizing?
BRIG. GEN. GAPAY: Yes, we’ll be very aggressive and proactive in this.
Those listed in arrest order number one… There were two arrest orders already issued by the martial law administrator no less than our Secretary of National Defense.
We’ll be aggressive and proactive in arresting, taking under custody these persons listed in the list.
So expect more arrests in the coming days.
Ms. Ignacio: Question from Jo Montemayor of Malaya. “President Rodrigo Duterte mentioned in his speech in Tacurong, that he sees the operations wrapping up in the next few days, does it mean that there is a possibility po that the Martial Law eventually will be lifted before the 60-day period? Secretary Abella?”
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Again, the President has said… Yes, the declaration of the martial law would be lifted if — it will have to be made in conferment with the members of his security team, especially those on the ground.
In other words, the President has full intention of making sure that there’d be minimum damage is possible on the ground. However, it has to be done in connection with — in conference with his security team.
Ms. Ignacio: Question from Leila Salaverria, other issue po ito. “What does the Palace think of the Justice Secretary’s claim that members of the political opposition may be linked to the conflict in Marawi? The President has said the attacks were due to ISIS. Does Malacañang think the political opposition had a hand in what happened, and does it think it’s part of the destabilization — alleged destabilization plot?”
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Regarding this matter, unless really fully vetted, will remain speculation as far as we are concerned.
So we will have to… But we go by what the President has said, that these — the troubles are directly due to the ISIS.
Ms. Ignacio: Last question from our end Presidential Spokesperson Abella from Tuesday Niu DZBB. “Won’t the Palace call the attention of Secretary Aguirre and tell him to refrain from making statements that does have — don’t have sufficient evidence? Palace is assuring the public of accurate information about the issue of ISIS here in the Philippines and about the crisis in Marawi. But he seems, allegedly, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre is going against the policy?”
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: He’s not going against policies. He is simply doing his job as far as he’s concerned.
However, we did not make that statement so please stand by our claim that we give accurate reports. Thank you.
Q: Good morning po, sir. Secretary Esperon said last week in an interview na tatlong tulay na lang daw po ‘yung kailangang matawid ng tropa para makapasok sa center ng Marawi. So any update kung ano na po ang nangyari dito? And second, how many civilians are still trapped in the city?
BRIG. GEN. GAPAY: Well, operational matters pertaining to the Marawi operations is within the ambit and purview of the Western Mindanao Command. So our information is also based on what we’ve been hearing and seeing on TV.
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Regarding the civilians, while we do not have the actual number of those who are still unrescued, we do have the number of the civilians that have already been rescued as of 7 p.m. last night.
As of 7 p.m. last night, the report is that 1,561 individuals have already been rescued. So 1,561 individuals have already been rescued so far, sum total.
Q: Nasaan na po sila ngayon, sir?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: They are either in civilian evacuation centers or with families. They are either in the centers or with friends and families.
Q: Kay Ma’am Santiago po, tungkol po doon sa peace corridor. Sabi niyo another peace corridor might be opened, so saan naman po ito i-o-open?
CHAIRPERSON SANTIAGO: Dalawa kasing peace corridors ‘yan. One is safe passage for humanitarian aid so like food and medicines. So ‘yan ‘yung from Marawi to Malabang. So that two-hour stretch of road is a peace corridor.
The other peace corridor is the one in Marawi city that is to rescue trapped civilians. So ‘yun ang sinasabi ko na mahirap ‘yung sabihin mo araw-araw gagawin natin kasi that’s something that is… We have…
We have an emissary. Kailangan makuha niya ‘yung consent nung dalawa — agreement ng dalawang sides.
Eh mahirap ‘yan. So you cannot predict ahead of time, it’s that kind of situation.
But we will continue to try. And as I said, that there is a momentary pause as declared because our emissary has taken ill.
So ayaw naman natin i-force na while he is — while he has to recuperate that he goes.
Mahirap ‘yung ginagawa niya, and so as I said last night when I was interviewed, this person is not with government, is not with MILF, he is a religious leader who has agreed to do this very difficult initiative.
So we’re waiting for that person to get better, and then he can resume that activity.
So we hope it could be sooner rather than later. But I can’t tell you when, but we will certainly do it again.
Q: Last question na lang po in relation to doon kay Cayamora, iyong tinanong kanina na wala bang possibility na magamit itong peace corridor for some Maute members to escape the area?
CHAIRPERSON SANTIAGO: Kaya nga it’s difficult. That’s why you have to make sure na ‘yung agreement is — is advantageous to everybody ‘no.
Hindi lang government, the military, and to the Maute, but also to the civilians.
Marami kang considerations when you’re doing that. There’s always a possibility na for escape ‘no.
But when you’re doing that, you always have say, “Alright, will I trust or will I not? If I trust, what happens? If I don’t, what happens?’
So you’re sort of weighing all of those things. So it’s very, very hard. There’s always that possibility, of course. But whether it happened or not, we have no evidence.
Q: Ano po ‘yung ipinapatupad ng military tungkol dito? Ano ‘yung…. May mga vetting process ba sila to see kung merong mga ganitong pwedeng mangyari?
CHAIRPERSON SANTIAGO: Yes, of course, of course. They are the people who operate so sila ‘yung magde-decide ‘no.
Kahit na ‘yung mga higher-ups, hindi nga naga-allow ng decision, na sila ang gagawa ng decision. Kasi the decision should be with the commanders who operate, who do the operations. So ‘yun ang ating nirerespeto.
Mr. Morong: Kay Secretary Abella. Hi, sir. Sir, regarding Secretary Aguirre. This is not the first time that he made pronouncements only to walk it back. Any guidelines? What do you think of that kind of action coming from the Justice Secretary?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, first and foremost, the President has his full trust ‘no. He has the full trust of the President. He has been doing an excellent job actually in the DOJ.
However, there are certain things that he has… For example, these things, these are all part of his process and so we defer to him. We defer to him. We respect what he has done.
On the other hand… let us… Let us rest assured that the President has continually… The President’s full intention is number one, like I said earlier, was to make sure that the nation runs along the line of — there’s law and order, proper law and order and that he will stand by, the President will stand by his position that there must be — that crime is reduced, corruption is reduced, and that especially matters of, especially regarding illegal drugs is also addressed.
So regarding the DOJ, these are… I’m sure he is, he’s fully aware of what he needs to do and how to address the matter. Thank you.
Mr. Morong: Kay Chair Santiago. Ma’am, just on the… You still call it the BBL ‘no?
CHAIRPERSON SANTIAGO: Yes.
Mr. Morong: Okay. How different is this from the first one that has been submitted?
CHAIRPERSON SANTIAGO: Actually, actually the first — the Bangsamoro Transition Commission used the BBL as the basic document for the draft that they made.
But I believe… I haven’t seen this one but I’ve… You know, we have had some briefings. I think this is an even better version of the BBL.
Mr. Morong: Better because?
CHAIRPERSON SANTIAGO: There are some provisions, for example, on transition that are very, very practical, that lead to, you know, between the passage of the law and the ratification between that and the isolation of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority. They now… They saw the steps.
Wala ito ha. So they tried to put those. But otherwise, I found that everybody was very — was very pleased with the draft that they made.
Mr. Morong: Just a short one. On the BTA compostion, Bangsamoro Transition Authority. When you transition, right? Would you be… Would the MILF welcome the involvement of the MNLF?
CHAIRPERSON SANTIAGO: Yes.
Mr. Morong: As far as the composition is concerned?
CHAIRPERSON SANTIAGO: The MILF has said this time and time again that this is going to be a Bangsamoro Transition Authority.
So it is going to be inclusive as well. And they’ve said it and they’ve said it publicly.
So this is not gonna be an MILF Transition Authority. It is going to be a Bangsamoro Transition Authority.
Mr. Morong: When do we expect the draft to be submitted in Congress?
CHAIRPERSON SANTIAGO: Now, the draft is going to be submitted to the Office of the President. It depends now on when the President is available because they want to present it to him by the middle of June.
So we’re looking at June 13 or 14, as a matter of fact. And then, the Office of the President looks over this version. And we hope that when Congress resumes on July 24, that this is submitted to Congress, either on the 24th or the 25th.
The 24th is the SONA but we are hoping that — and planning that the President will mention in the SONA and say this is a priority bill for me. So that’s the idea.
So it’s either… It’s either the bill is already — has been transmitted to — is filed on the 24th and, if not, on the 25th.
But either way, the President is going to say, it is — this is a priority bill.
Mr. Morong: It is going to happen?
CHAIRPERSON SANTIAGO: What?
Mr. Morong: That he will certify it as an urgent bill?
CHAIRPERSON SANTIAGO: I have no doubt, he will.
Mr. Morong: Okay po, thank you.
Mr. Almario: Sir Gapay. Sir, correct me if I’m wrong but did it mention earlier that there were already two arrest orders issued by Lorenzana, sir. Sir, the second one, how many are included, and who are these people included in the list?
BRIG. GEN. GAPAY: Mostly included in the arrest orders are members of the Maute ISIS group and the members of the Abu Sayyaf Group.
I just really cannot tell how many. I think it’s — first order is about 4 to 5 pages and the arrest order number two is about six pages.
So imagine, medyo marami po ‘yan, maraming nakalista roon and most of them are really members of the terrorist groups.
Mr. Almario: Sir, may mga ano rin ba politicians named sa ano — mga na-uncover or encounter?
BRIG. GEN. GAPAY: I really cannot tell but those personalities also include supporters.
Mr. Almario: Sir, clar… When was the exact arrest order issued, sir, just for clarification, sir? Just this week or last week?
BRIG. GEN. GAPAY: I’m not sure about the date, but I have it here.
Mr. Almario: Yeah, later na lang, sir. Thank you.