News Release

Palace open to dialogue with Facebook

The Palace stressed that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte is open to dialogue with Facebook following the Chief Executive’s remarks on the social media giant during his Talk to the People Address last night, September 28.

“Gusto ni Presidente na makipag-usap kasama ang Facebook matapos tanggalin ng social media giant ang ilan sa mga advocacy pages na pabor po sa gobyerno,” said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, Jr. during his regular press briefing in Malacanan.

Sec. Harry Roque Jr. expressed dismay on what he perceives as “censorship” on the social media platform, especially when the content is in favor of the government.

“Ang konkretong aksyon po ay huwag pong supilin ang kalayaan po ng malayang pananalita ng mga personalidad o ng mga pages na pabor po sa gobyerno. Kasi ang nangyayari po, kapag laban sa gobyerno hindi po tinatanggal ng Facebook, kapag sumusuporta sa gobyerno natatanggal po,” underscored Sec. Roque.

The Palace official expressed hope that the issue will be resolved without necessarily resulting in a Facebook ban in the country, as President Duterte, according to his spokesman, has long been an advocate of free marketplace of ideas.

“Matagal na pong nanininidigan ang ating Pangulo para sa malayang pananalita,” said Roque.

Roque added that both the Chief Executive and Facebook advance the right to free speech. “Ang sabi naman ng Presidente, pag-usapan yan, dahil pare-pareho naman silang sinusulong ang karapatan ng malayang pananalita at yung malayang merkado ng mga idea.”

On the latest developments in the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF), Sec. Roque, who is concurrent IATF spokesperson, said that the IATF has directed the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to issue the necessary joint guidelines to expand the implementation of the Coordinated Operations to Defeat Pandemic or CODE in all local government units.

IATF Resolution No. 75 likewise directed the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Labor and Employment to localize the CODE to different workplaces and labor sectors through the institutionalization of CODE plans as complementary to the implementation of the minimum public health standards.

With regard to the criteria being used to decide on community quarantine classifications, Dr. John Wong, an epidemiologist with the IATF’s sub-Technical Working Group on Data Analytics, explained that the new indicators—the 2-week growth rate (2WGR) and the average daily attack rate (ADAR), which is the number of cases per 100,000 population), are now being used. For the 2WGR, an area is considered low risk if it is below zero percent, medium risk if between zero to 200 percent, and high risk if greater than 200 percent. For ADAR, low risk if the number is less than 1, medium if between 1 to 7, and high if greater than 7.

In the case of Metro Manila, which has been retained under the general community quarantine (GCQ), 2WGR and ADAR are both in the medium range, which classifies the NCR under moderate risk, thus the GCQ classification. According to Dr. Wong, NCR’s current 2WGR is 45 percent, while ADAR is 5.8.

On another story, Sec. Roque shared in the same press briefing that the biggest quarantine facility in Metro Manila, the inauguration of the Solaire-PAGCOR Mega Quarantine Center at the new Bagong Nayong Pilipino. The 600-bed facility built by the Razon Group will be manned by the AFP Health Service Command and is expected to be operational by November. The quarantine facility will cater to confirmed COVID-19 patients who have mild symptoms and those who are asymptomatic and patients referred to by local government units and the One Hospital Command Center.

Bloomberry Cultural Foundation Inc representative Michael Ray Aquino said that their chairman, Enrique K. Razon Jr, and the companies under the Razon Group wanted to help the economy to recover quickly which is why the company has been active in assisting the government in its COVID-19 response. Meanwhile, Christian Razon Gonzales, Executive Vice President of International Container Terminal Services Inc (ICTSI) said that they recognize even from the beginning that beating the pandemic will be a joint effort by the public and private sector, and expressed his companies’ commitment to continue helping the government in its COVID-19 response.

Aside from the new quarantine facility at the Bagong Nayong Pilipino, the Razon Group has also been a major contributor in the establishment of the quarantine facilities in the Ninoy Aquino Stadium and Rizal Memorial Coliseum, the testing center in Enderun Colleges in Taguig. The company’s contributions to the government’s COVID-19 response is estimated at around P1.5-Billion, according to Aquino. ### OPS-PCOO