Press Conference of Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella with Assistant Secretary and Deputy Executive Director of Performance and Project Management Office of the Office of the Cabinet Secretary Jonas George Soriano
Press Briefing Room, NEB Bldg., Malacañang
12 October 2016


PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Good morning. Good morning, Rocky. Good morning.

Very recently he completed his first hundred days. We would like to further complement his achievements by referring to his vision and mission as President.

In his inaugural speech, the President described his vision for Filipinos as a comfortable life for all. His three-fold mission was encapsulated in number one, reduced poverty from 26 to 17 percent; number two, to establish an orderly society by reducing crime, corruption and illegal drugs; and three, to seek final and lasting peace with the — within its borders, specifically with CPP-NDF-NPA and the MI, MN groups.

In other words, to seek a peaceful nation, no internal wars, to have orderly communities, to have just and fair dealings, and prosperity which is opportunities for all.

In pursuit of his vision, the President has exercised political will and acted on several issues. A number of which are going to be expounded on this morning by our guest, Assistant Secretary and Deputy Executive Director of Performance and Project Management Office of the Office of the Cabinet Secretary, Mr. Jonas George Soriano.

However, one area which has been — which has taken up a lot of attention has been his campaign against illegal drugs where his threats against those engaged in the trade and deaths related to the campaign seemed to have outweighed the actual result.

For example, 700,000 plus have surrendered. The rehabilitation efforts, of rehab centers, programs and donations, and the expansion from national security issue to public health issue.

Another matter that has taken a lot of space in the public mind is the issue with the US and the EU Parliament whom he perceives as dealing with him and the nation as an equal partners. Of equal, if not more importance, is the issue he sees in the Filipino mind, what he calls a mendicant attitude.

And so the President is engaged, not just in a matter of state building but also of nation building which is basically addressing the Filipino mind and character and love for country.

As promised, we’d like to ask Mr. George Soriano to share with us this morning.

Mr. Soriano is a professor at both Ateneo, UP, and at DAP. He was active in the NGO, private donor, and national government and microfinance organization as consultant, board manager, and service volunteer.

He’s got two, three kilos worth of data here. But among, but more than that, he was my classmate in the Masters of Entrepreneurship Program, Social Development Major at the AIM.

He’s a very interesting character and very knowledgeable about the subject matter that he’s going to engage in.

I specifically asked him to come this morning simply because as I was talking with him, it occurred to me, one of the issues that has been raised about the President was his consultancy or perhaps maybe need to consult more with other sectors.

And this morning, I’d like George to enlighten us about the volumes of consultation that are happening right now.

Mr. Soriano, please.

ASEC. SORIANO: Good morning po. I’m representing the Office of the Cabinet Secretary, Secretary Jun Evasco.

And since this administration started, there have been a round of consultations. In fact I was trying to meet a total number of stakeholders involved and these are not only individuals, these are organizations, these are people involved in various walks of life. Almost close to 7,000 people have been consulted, from the mayors, governors, in the LGU consultations that were held in Davao and Manila to the Environmental Summit that was done by Ma’am Gina, again in Mindanao, to the last summit yesterday that was done through Undersecretary Aiza where she brought in 200 people from the youth sector.

All of them, being part of a process of understanding what this administration wants and more importantly listening to what they want.

Ang kapal-kapal ng agenda. To the point na in this administration, officially we have a 10-zero agenda. This is the socioeconomic agenda that was drafted in Davao with the businessmen. What is emerging is a more than 11 plus, plus agenda detailing all the issues of the various sectors.

Kasi nakita rin ng Presidente ang isa sa hinahanap talaga ng tao is not only really security but also development. How do they work together? And part of the issue is really before we even do anything, we have to listen to what people want and do.

And more importantly, this change that happens cannot be done without their support. Insofar, with this 11, I hope, if… Beg your pardon lang, I couldn’t give this all to you kasi it’s not yet arranged ‘no.

So many agendas and what we’re planning is by next week, we’ll be calling a lot of meetings to try and harmonize. Kasi we cannot have a 30 plus agenda.

We must communicate to our stakeholders in the Philippines and in the world, this is what the Philippines will be doing in the next six years, and in the next 30 years in bringing about development in the Philippines. And also bringing about the welfare and security of our people.

The platform that we’re working on is combining both the development needs and the security needs of our people.

So with this, right now, what we’re hoping is, if we can consolidate for you in the next few weeks, these three platforms, there are three ongoing: the socioeconomic agenda that was done in July with the businessmen; the social development initiatives agenda that was done in August; and the national security agenda that was done also by the National Security Council, formerly started noong panahon ni PNoy and is being updated today.

How to put that together, together with the other agendas, kasi there are agendas on the international, there’s still SDGs. How to put that together will be the challenge in the next few weeks.

At the same time, it’s also pushing a lot of… For the first time, in most, if not all these consultations, the secretaries stay, not only for one hour, not only for 30 minutes to deliver a speech, but stay the whole time to really engage.

And up to today, when people need to meet with the secretaries, they find time, and find ways so that people can go to them to air out their issues and work out these problems.

The last thing that I’d like to also mention, in the next few weeks, we’re trying to consolidate also the outputs of what have the different offices done.

Part of our work in the Cabinet Secretary is also to monitor, to find out based on the seven, six to seven Cabinet meetings in the last so many months, what have actually been accomplished? What are outputs? Which basically are the deliverables, the products that different agencies do. What are outcomes and impact? What directly hit the stomach, the heart, and his overall well-being?

So hopefully if we can complete this, we can also show you a total picture. ‘Cause what’s happening now is not only the President talking about security, but his whole government working together, some based on their own initiatives, others already converging with the other government groups together with the CSOs and stakeholders, to develop programs, projects to make things work.

Kaya ang nangyayari dito, you know, you should attend really Cabinet meetings kasi you’ll really see the invigoration. You should attend the consultations because you’ll really see the exchanges. Sometimes people would just stand up and say to a secretary: You know that’s wrong. This is not it should be.

And the secretary would try to patiently explain: You know, this is what we should do. And the nice thing about the consultation is what we agree and what we disagree. But we agree to disagree. And these are the important things.

Kasi in the next six years, we have to map out a plan, it cannot just be talking about it. What will we accomplish on a per year basis? How will we show that lives have changed?

So, this is what we will be presenting, hopefully next week, with the help, of course, of Secretary Abella to show you also not only finishing these agendas.

We’ve been tasked through the Office of the… During the last Cabinet meeting, we’ve been tasked — both NEDA and NSC has been asked to really finish the Philippine Development Plan, and the National Security Plan within the earliest time.

So these all are keeping us in a flurry of activities. ‘Yun na muna po.

There was the Environmental Summit that was on August 4 and 5, mga 400 in Davao. There was the Social Development Summit attended by 514 participants in Davao.

There was the Health Agenda Summit that was held here in Manila, attended by 630 participants. There was the Sports Summit that was held in Ultra, 300 representatives, both local, national, and sports associations.

There was the Climate Change Summit, where there were two important activities, a pre-summit which included issues on ‘Yolanda,’ which was done on September 23 and then an actual summit in Cebu, attended by 300 participants, October 6 and 7.

There was a Culture and Protection Development Agenda Summit on October 6 and 7, attended by 600 participants. There was also an Anti-Poverty Summit by NAPC, October 7 and 8, attended by 600 participants. There was the LGU Development Summits done September and October which included ARMM, all ARMM, Visayas, Mindanao, Luzon, NCR, and Southern Luzon participants.

Then there was the partnership against poverty summit by the Office of the Vice President which was done October 10. Yesterday was the Youth Summit held by and organized by Undersecretary Aiza, attended by 216. We are still expecting three more summits at the minimum.

One is an Indigenous Summit to be sponsored by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples. The other is an Educational Summit which will be sponsored by DepEd, CHED and TESDA. And there is an emerging Labor Summit that will be done by the Department of Labor and Employment in participation between TUCP and KMU and other labor organizations.

All of these are parts of trying to evolve the agenda so that from the original 10 we came up of a balance of all the agenda that are needed to run our country for the next six years.


Pia Ranada (Rappler): Good morning, sir. Sir, could we just have even as early as now, perhaps even if you don’t have the summary of the plan. Maybe would you have any indicators of the success of the poverty programs that have been started in the one hundred days? Any figures to prove that there is progress being made in the poverty — in poverty alleviation?

ASEC. SORIANO: Right now, I can’t say specifically. The reports started coming in, if I remember right, last Friday. So we’re still consolidating it and it will not be fair to say immediately. Kasi when the different agencies report, sometimes we have to group them. What is an output? What is an outcome?

In the past administration malakas yung, “Okay, I put up a road”. But the question is, if you put up the road, did the people’s lives change? These are things that we still have to follow through. So right now, we don’t have the figures yet. We don’t have the figures.

And the second one is we would — we really are relying a lot also with another group which is NEDA. Kasi NEDA has the machinery to really see the impact of what the — the government is doing.

Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star): Good morning, Asec. Former President Fidel Ramos said in an interview that President Duterte should focus on other aspects of leadership. He should also step up on other aspect aside from the war on drugs. With these things that you just mentioned, do you think he is doing that?

ASEC. SORIANO: He’s doing a lot of people don’t see. ‘Cause what he does is, especially during the meetings that most of us don’t see, gives a lot of directives.

That’s why a lot of the meetings, the Cabinet meetings, last so long because it’s a basic issue. Okay, how do we shorten the time when people actually do their requirements? What do we do about this problem? Why are…What is happening with issues of titling?

Bring that agency to me let’s meet with them. It’s that kind of action that people don’t see because he believes that, you know, with the secretaries with him. All of them want to do great things because feeling nila.

Well, we have only have six years. If we need to do a change, we do it now. So ang nangyayari every secretary wants to get an ear to the President and say, “This is what I believe should happen. This is my proposal. But I need some help from you, President. Ito ‘yung mga kailangan namin.”

And during the Cabinet meetings, is that — is that allowed? Is that invigorating? Iyon lang, you don’t see it. The people that see it are, of course, these are different secretaries and, of course, our Cabinet, Jun Evasco. Kasi he’s been in charge of trying to get all these Cabinet secretaries to move as one in a way that they have their own ways of doing things.

Mr. Romero: So you’re saying this administration is not just focused on drugs? Secure…Okay. Do you think the President should articulate more these things in his speeches hindi ‘yung puro lang tungkol sa drugs or puro tungkol lang sa…Do you think he should articulate more on these aspects of governance?

ASEC. SORIANO: Ang hirap ng ano… I cannot think for the President eh kasi… You know if you were given the stage of being President and we were asked the same question, how would you also answer it? Ako, I cannot answer.

What I can say is what is not being said what is not the one that is not being captured. And I think that is the one that is important. Because if people don’t see what the different aspects are happening… There are changes eh. People are saying already eh.

Kami we were really waiting for the approval rating. Sabi namin, tingnan natin whoa, 71! To a President na ang daming — ang daming nangyayari, these are the things people are feeling. But kami like what ma’am said, we still have to translate it to something more concrete. And the challenge of our office is to show that concreteness. And what we’re trying to do is work together with the other offices to make sure when we say something, it really does happen.

Ayaw na rin namin ‘yung parang ibinebenta namin ‘yung sarili. Ito kasi nagawa namin so many ano, et cetera… We’ve built so many bridges. But in the end, anong change? And that’s our challenge and hopefully we can do a better job in the next few weeks and in this next six months to do that.

Dexter Ganibe (DZMM): Asec, good morning. Itong… Kasi nabanggit kanina ni Spokesman Abella ‘yung target ng Pangulo na i-reduce ang poverty incidence from 26 percent to 17 percent. Meron ba tayong timeline sa inyong tanggapan katulad ng ginagawa ng ating men in uniform, sa ating authorities sa war on drugs na in the span of three month, bumaba ng 50 percent 49 percent ang crime prevalence sa Pilipinas. Papaano ho natin masasabi na mararamdaman kasi hindi naman nakikita  yung pag-reduce ng poverty, this is felt by the — sa mga tao. Papaano po natin maiku-quantify? Iyong… May timeline po ba tayo na… Sa… In one year mararamdaman ng ating mga kababayan ‘yung pagbaba ng poverty incidence?

ASEC. SORIANO: One of the good presentations that was done during the Social Development Initiatives Summit was a presentation made by the Dean of Ateneo School of Government. He said, we have so much problems in terms of getting people out of poverty and maybe the easiest indicator will be employment.

Our problem is our economy, we graduate around one million every year. And out of 1 to 1.2 million according to him, only around—noong panahon ni GMA— around 580 get employed, 580,000. Panahon ni PNoy around 620,000 get employed.

So you have a 10 million workforce that’s underemployed or unemployed. Then you have a continuing 400 to 600,000 that join the labor force that are not able to earn a living. So what we’re looking at is if we can work with the numbers of where are these people? How do we combine what the different secretaries are thinking about? Secretary Judy is working with the 4Ps program. Ma’am Gina said, environment without helping the poor will not work. We must do something also for the poor and with four models, she’s proposing 30 models, just to test it out and then move it forward.

We have others that are coming in. So ako, ang parang hinahabol na model is…. You’re right, I think NEDA to our mind already knows where the poor are through the different agencies. The target is, what can make it work? Ngayon, ang nakikita naming to make it work, it has to be a combination of the national-sectoral approach and the local government unit approach. Kasi without the two working together hindi mangyayari iyon.

That’s why after the agendas have been formed and after the Philippine Development Forum where we’ll be talking with our partners that are going to help us in, for the Philippines, we will be going from one region to another discussing the programs with the LGUs so that the LGUs can also work with us, work with the national government in making things happen.

Kasi in the end, it cannot always be national eh. So even if we’re up here and do this, the impact will not be as great. Not unless, one, we synergize horizontally but we work very closely and synergize also vertically. And that’s why the President made an effort to even attend the local government consultations.

Sinabi niya talaga, you know, be bygones be bygones. It’s now time to work together and the LGU is a pillar. Eh ang kagandahan ng ating gobyerno we have already three or four local chief executives that are in national government who are the Cabinet people. And these are pushing even our own frameworks.

Dati ang tingin natin national does everything. Now, ang sabi lagi sakin ni Cab Sec through our Undersecretary Gloria Mercado, lagi niya sinasabi we have to work closely with the local government units. They are the pillars. If we keep on doing everything on our own, we will have a slight effect, and then people change. But if we want it long-lasting, we’ll need the LGUs with us. But that will mean convergence at all levels—convergence horizontally, convergence vertically.

Rose Novenario (Hataw): Good morning, sir. May statement kasi si Vice President Leni Robredo the other day yata na ang sabi niya, ‘yung drug problem daw ng Pilipinas ay resulta raw ito ng kahirapan. So ano po ‘yung maitutulong nung drug war ng administrasyong Duterte para po mabawasan ang kahirapan para mabawasan na rin siguro ‘yung mga drug peddlers, ‘yung mga small time players po sa drug — illegal drugs industry. Ano po ‘yung proyekto ng administrasyon po tungkol doon?

ASEC. SORIANO: There are two or three initiatives that are working. One, is being done by DILG, they call it, “Masa Masid.” They are launching a campaign in partnership with the church and the LGUs to work on a rehabilitation program. Kasi they were informed by — during this technical meeting kasama ang DOH.

Hindi naman lahat ay ano — ‘yung wala nang pag-asa. I mean, there are, if you take drugs too much naman talaga, after a while wala ka na eh. Ang tantsa nila, of course, I don’t know the official figures pero it’s not a big percentage. There are a lot of people that really need treatment and from treatment, how to earn a living.

So when they held these summits together with the LGU, the agreement was, one, can we put up, help each other in putting up rehabilitation centers? Second, these rehabilitation centers must be tied up to livelihood initiatives so that gagaling ang tao at ‘pag gumaling, meron siyang gagawin productively. Kasi ang lumalabas, pami-pamilya ang tinatamaan eh so ang need for the integration of livelihood is very important.

The other one that’s being worked out is we’re working very closely also with corporate organizations to try and look at not only the development side but this problem of drugs. Kasi it’s not that easy to, when you put up a facility, you’ll need a complete array. You’ll need a psychologist, you’ll need people treating, it’s a daily conversation with those that have been hit by it.

So what has to happen and they’re proposing is also how does the private sector also contribute to this. And the third one is, groups working with the different summits like, in the youth summit, they’d like to be part of it, they’d like to share their experience and they’d like to volunteer.

The other one that we’re seeing, even before we launched this program, and DILG launched this program, the LGUs have also been doing their own share. In fact, we found out, there are models of convergence between local governments, health, national agencies, and the church to try and work out these initiatives.

I don’t know where the exact places are. But you know, if you invite DILG especially, they’ll tell you, ‘ito nangyayari, ganito.’ And they’re launching it. Some have already launched theirs, others are still building theirs. Kaya ang…. Tama kayo, ma’am, eh kasi in the end, they were really looking at the complete package.

Kasi after we’ve already asked them to change, the change cannot happen just by saying, “I surrender.” That’s why the word they’re using is not anymore “surrenderees” eh they’re using “surrenderer.”

Kasi you’re not trying to change only an action that you do but how do you make them — help them go through new lives. So this is not only by Vice President Leni, this is also being emphasized also by the President, this is also being emphasized by the different secretaries.

Kasi in the end, you cannot solve the problem if you cannot also give these people, 700,000. Ang projection 3 million. Three million of, that’s three percent of our 100 million population. What do you do with that? We need the help.

That’s why nananawagan din po kami na if you want to help, please contact your LGUs, you contact also DILG, DOH. These are the organizations that are leading it nationally.

Ms. Novenario: Ay sir, na-mention niyo po ‘yung private sector ano, participation. May mga iba’t-iba po tayong NGOs ‘di ba ‘yung advocacy nila is poverty reduction. So ‘yung halimbawa po eh paiigtingin po ba ng administrasyong Duterte ‘yung anti-poverty initiative at makikipagtulungan sa mga NGOs na hindi mangyayari ulit o hindi mauulit ‘yung nangyari ‘nung panahon ng GMA administration dun sa Code NGO na pinagkakitaan ‘yung ano — anti-poverty initiative ng iba’t-ibang NGOs through treasury bonds?

ASEC. SORIANO: I am not totally aware of ‘yung nangyari dun kay GMA. Of course, may pagka — bali-balita ang alam ko. But what I can say is what… We’ve met with all — almost all the networks. From code NGO to TRRM, to Tanggol Kalikasan to…And now, we are going to meet with the corporates.

All of them are proposing very concrete measures. In fact, they are asking us eh. Give us an area. How many schools do you need? How many…How many can we… How many rehabilitation centers? How many are we treating? Can we work at this level? That’s what they are asking us.

Kaya kami nagmamadali din eh. Kasi they are ready also eh. So the issue of saying, how do we move for it? Actually it’s moving eh. Ang kailangan lang namin at our level is to hasten also our approach. Kasi, we need also to give them the number.

Halimbawa, ang sabi ng ano, ng… We we’re meeting with the League of Corporate Foundations. Sabi nila, we are willing to go to regions that are not — we don’t have a presence with. But I tell you, they have a map already. Nationwide. Where are they present? And they are willing to share it.

Now, ang tanong nila. Where do you want us to go? Are you willing to go to areas like, you know even, Basilan? Even Sulu? Yeah, tell us. So are you willing to go to drugs areas? Yes!

Ms. Novenario: So, ‘yung gusto ko lang po sanang maklaro, bibigyan ba ng pondo ‘yung mga private NGOs? Magkakaroon  ba sila ng access sa government funds? Like nung code NGOs po noong panahon ni GMA? Iyon po ‘yung ano ko doon, question ko.

ASEC. SORIANO: Ma’am ano eh. Ang… Ang belief ng itong administration is ano eh how do we work together in doing this? And we both have to come out with our — with these sources that would help the situation. ‘Pag ang nangyayari is one depends on the other, most of the time nagkakaproblema din eh.

So, how do we help each other get those works? Ang sinasabi nila, we’ll take care of some of them. Can you? Can you also? If you are doing this, can you make sure nag-co-connect tayo? Halimbawa, ma’am, basic example, you put up a road. If people don’t have training on livelihood and market access, it will take  years before madeliver nila ‘yung vegetable, o ‘yung palay, o ‘yung corn para maganda ang pagkagawa niya at mabenta sa market ng mas mataas na presyo. But if the NGOs are there, they can always say, “Ok. Ah magtatayo pala kayo dun. O kami na ang bahala dito sa training na ‘to.”

So ako, I don’t like to dwell on the issue eh. If we will give them money. Ako what’s more important is what are the outcomes that we want and how do we work together in this area, in this sector to do it? If we need additional funds, how do we work together to do it?

Kasi ang kagandahan ng atin is how do we also bring back the spirit of volunteerism and willing to help based on your own resources. Kami we’ve never been telling NGOs. “We have money. Join us.” No, we don’t tell them. We always ask them, “What do you want?”, “What is your agenda?,” “How do we proceed to there?” “How do we work together?”

So would always tell us, “We have some critics about your agenda.” Okay, “we have some projects, this is what we can do.” “Kulang kami ng ganito. What can you do?” Ang sabi namin, eh kami din kung titingnan mo, that’s only 3.3 trillion pesos pagdating sa budget. It cannot cover for everything. So ang kailangan is to multiply. To help others make it work out and help them do it.

Ngayon, we don’t want to go into measures that will be no controversial. What is important kasi is the outcome na kailangan doon sa baba. Okay? I hope nakatulong iyon, ma’am.

Ms. Novenario: Yeah, ang point ko, sir, kasi iyong prevention ng corruption.

ASEC. SORIANO: Ay totoo iyan, ma’am. We will not…Of course, this administration is standing very strongly against corruption. And we will not provide any mechanisms that ‘yung…

Ms. Ignacio: Okay na tayo? Pero, sir, ‘yung ano, saan ang Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program under Duterte administration, sir?

ASEC. SORIANO: Right now, ito ‘yung inaayos po ni Ma’am Judy. You know, when she first presented it to some discussions during the social development cluster, she was already telling of we have to improve on this kasi it’s one of the programs na talagang direct ang impact talaga sa tao.

So hopefully, when she gets invited also in this affair, she can share to you what are the latest strategies they’re going to use for it. And I think the framework is a framework of not only providing provisions for your ability to work out your daily needs but how does it connect to also economic and adventurous. Kasi ang lumalabas, a big portion ng mga tao iyong question ng nutrition mukhang naayos na eh.

Ang problema nakakakain sila, nakaka-ano — at least for the target 4Ps but hindi… Wala silang livelihood, eh di wala rin. How do we connect? And that…And her administration and DSWD is working very hard on this.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I would like to thank Asec. George for a very substantial explanation regarding the programs that attend to the social needs of the government.

Okay. I just like to touch on two or three points and then we can — we are open to questions.

Number 1, Palace invites the UN to probe killings. Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said the Palace has sent the invitation to UN Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard and is awaiting her response. In its invitation, the Palace also urged — and I think this is notable — the UN rapporteur to include in her investigation the killings of law enforcers by drug suspects so that she could obtain an accurate perspective of the drug problem in the country.

Next, Senator Leila de Lima is threatening to file charges against her detractors including President Rodrigo Duterte for the blatant abuse of power. She said she would seek the Supreme Court a writ of amparo and habeas corpus — and habeas — and come up with a test case on the limits of presidential immunity.

This has been referred… I referred to Secretary Aguirre regarding this matter. And he said that the issue will not prosper.

Also, third, President Rodrigo Duterte reiterated that he will not stay in position any longer once Filipinos ratify the new government. “If these guys can hammer it out… Itong hinihingi ng ating mga kababayang Muslim na federal government. If we can finish it in two or three years, I will go. I will resign.”

While adoption of the federal form of government still in process, Duterte said he will focus on solving the country’s drug problem first, because ‘pag hinayaan ko, it will destroy the next generation.

There are other issues, but we would like to open to questions.

Ms. Novenario: Good morning, sir. Iyong case po na ifinile (file) ni Senator De Lima against President Duterte at iba pa. Tingin niyo po ba squid tactic ito para mailihis po ‘yung drug trafficking case laban sa kanya?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, it does…It seems like it’s a some sort of a move to elude the focus on her. Okay, thank you. It looks like.

Chona Yu (Radyo Inquirer): Sir, how about  ‘yung invitation sa EU at saka kay US President Barack Obama, meron na po ba?


Ms. Yu: Invitation.


Ms. Yu: Obama and EU. Kasi sabi ninyo po sa UN pa lang kanina.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: It’s about ano to investigate the UN rapporteur, yes. Okay.

Ms. Yu: Kay Obama, sir, and EU, meron na rin po ba?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Ah wala pong nababanggit na ganun.

AC Nichols (CNN Philippines): Hi, good morning, sir. Sir, about the invitation to the UN, can you give us a date when it was sent? And can you give us little idea kung ano po ‘yung content nung mismong invitation, aside from the fact that the President is also asking them to look into the killings of law enforcers? Meron pa po bang ibang nakalagay doon sa letter?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I can get you the details regarding that but…

Joseph Morong (GMA-7): The invitation, sir?


Ms. Nichols: A copy?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: A copy? We will see what we can do regarding the matter. Thank you, next question please.

Ms. Nichols: Sir, on another topic. Can we get your reaction on an opinion piece posted on the Bangkok Post its entitled: “Manila sows ASEAN unease.”  And it’s basically about the supposed ongoing threats made by the President on ending friendships with allies and it’s saying that this would create policy problems for the Philippines and its friends and neighbors. Can we get a reaction?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Basically, we very well know that the relationships of… The relationship of the Philippines with the rest of the neighbors, ASEAN neighbors are strong. And as witnessed by the fact that there will be… Trips have been made and assurances have been made on both sides. And also the coming — the rest of the — the coming trip to Brunei, for example.

So, as far as we know, our relationships, and based on policies also, our relationships with the ASEAN countries remain fundamentally solid.

Ms. Nichols: Sir, you don’t believe that the public pronouncements can affect the relationships?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: As you very well know he has been received very well by ASEAN countries, by ASEAN leaders. In fact, even Japan, the Emperor was supposed to be looking forward to meeting up with President.

Ms. Ranada: Sir, the President will meet with the Emperor of Japan when he visits Japan?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, it has been spoken about.

Ms. Ranada: Sir, my real question is doon po sa invitation sent to the UN rapporteur, was there any mention of his invitation to an open forum for him to question the UN rapporteur, the team?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I am not privy to the details, but we will find out about the details. Okay, thank you.

Mr. Ganibe: Good afternoon, sir. Sa pagiikot ng aming mga kasamahan kaninang umaga sa mga punerarya sa Metro Manila, marami ng mga bangkay ang hindi nake-claim. Merong isang instance na isang punerarya dito sa Lungsod ng Maynila na from August to October, 31 ‘yung unclaimed, ‘yung mga binabanggit na mga napatay sa war on drugs at walang mga kamag-anak na nagke-claim. Ang problema ngayon kung papaano ito…May, may, may…May ano ba may hakbang ba ang gobyerno para dito kasi ang binabanggit kapag hindi na-claim sa ganitong period ay ‘yung punerarya na mismo ang magpapalibing at gagastusan nila pero iyon ang claim nila na hindi naman nila na anon a…I mean ‘yung mga namamatay sa mga kalye.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: It’s a matter we refer to…We can forward the information to either to DSWD or the DILG. Thank you.

Ian Cigaral (BusinessWorld): Hello, sir. Since the recently concluded military exercises are already deemed to be the last under his term, according to the President himself. And military exercises are under the Visiting Forces Agreement, is he expected soon to advise the Department of Foreign Affairs to serve notice of the VFA’s termination?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: As far as we know, the exercises were the last for this year. And I’m sure the matter will be under discussion with the department. Thank you.

Tina Mendez (The Philippine Star): Sir, good afternoon. In line with the President’s visit to China, there is a call at the Senate to ratify the treaty on the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank where we are a founding member. How soon can we get any call from the Palace to expedite this?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: We also have to check on that with the Office of the Executive Secretary regarding the timeline. Thank you.

Mr. Morong: Sir, good morning po. Yesterday si Justice Carpio was guest at the Phiblex closing and then he said that it is our duty — the government’s duty to protect the EEZ and we do that by joint patrols which the President does not want. So, the implication is — the insinuation is that — kung hindi ipagpapatuloy ‘yung joint patrols, the President might be amiss in his duty as per Constitutional requirement, sir?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: As per the President’s — as per the President’s decision, this has, which has been carefully considered. He has his own alternatives regarding the matter. And he is fully aware of his responsibility regarding the EEZ. Thank you.

Mr. Morong: So, sir, he maintains na tama ‘yung direction niya as far as, you know, stopping the joint patrols?


Mr. Morong: Is he open to probably talking to the President, I mean, talking to the Justice Carpio, because he’s one of the individuals who raised the case to —

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I’m sure… If the Justice were to approach him, they would have a dialogue.

Mr. Morong: So he’s open?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: That’s my, that’s my considered opinion. Yes.

Mr. Morong: Okay, sir. Sige, sir. Eh ‘yung kay Senator De Lima, you said that Justice Aguirre said it will not prosper. How?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Simply because the President enjoys immunity while in office. Okay.

Mr. Morong: It cannot be challenged?


Vanz Fernandez (Police Files): Sir, good afternoon. Reaction po, sir, to what FVR said last night that President Duterte lacked a long-term strategic vision for the Philippines. Any reaction on this?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: In fact, the President does have a long-term vision for the Philippines. Especially based on the “AmBisyon 2040”, which extends all the way to 2040.

The President does have this… The President does have a long-term vision. And, in fact, what Asec. George has came out with — came up with has been the short, medium, towards the long-term vision. I just… It hasn’t really been expounded on, it’s not public knowledge, but he does have a vision for that.

In fact, even in his inaugural speech, he already said a comfortable life for all. It is basically a short common phase in order to be able to articulate what is already articulate — fully articulated in “AmBisyon 2040”.

Ms. Fernandez: Sir, he also said that the country does not need to leave the US in having friendlier relations with China—


Ms. Fernandez: Any reaction on this?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: True. The President in fact, he’s talking about, not just moving from an exclusive to an inclusive relationship. Basically, he’s just being open… The President is opening up his options. Thank you.

Ms. Fernandez: Sir, he also said on drug war that law enforcers should just shoot to dissolve, not to shoot to kill. Do you agree?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: He said… That is the President… That is FVR’s opinion, that it should shift from shoot to kill to shoot to disable.

Ms. Fernandez: Okay. Thank you, sir.


Ms. Nichols: Sir, about the China visit lang, would you know now who’s going because there’s information that it’s going to be a huge business delegation?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I’m not sure if it’s huge but it’s gonna be very large.

Ms. Nichols: May any prominent personalities that you can tell us now who’s going?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: At this stage, no. I think it’s the… I think it’s still being kept under wraps. Thank you.

Hannah Sancho (Sonshine Radio): Hi, sir. Patanong lang, sir, ‘yung status po daw nung Executive Order kung kalian po mapipirmahan?


Ms. Sancho: ‘Yung nationwide smoking ban, ‘yung full implementation ng RH Law and ‘yung Negros Island Region, sir, na dahil hindi nakasama sa budget?


Ms. Sancho: And one more, sir, sinabi ni Comelec Chair Bautista pinirmahan na daw last week ng Pangulo ‘yung regarding po doon sa hindi na pagtuloy sa elections, barangay elections?


Mr. Ganibe: Secretary, short follow-up lang doon sa question kanina ni Vanz. Doon sa, kasi sa rules of engagement ‘di ba, wala namang shoot to kill, just shoot to disable?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, basically the shoot to kill thing was in defense of oneself. You know, if you’re…  The President’s usual statement is that if you see that you’re life is under danger, then you are to defend yourself properly.

Mr. Ganibe: Pero, sir, nandoon ba sa principles, sa rules of engagement ng military or sa pulis?


Mr. Ganibe: ‘Yung self-defense na you have to kill talaga or you have to disable lang ‘yung–?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, according… Let’s put it this way. Based on what the President is saying, he said that if your life is under threat or your companion, then you are meant to defend yourself.

Mr. Morong: Sir, how are you going to, regarding China, how are we going to use the ruling of the tribunal to our advantage?


Mr. Morong: The tribunal decision, sir. How are we going to use that to our advantage?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, basically the President has said that it, whatever negotiations eventually will be done, will have to be done within the, within the confine, within the perimeter, within the framework, tama, within the framework of the tribunal ruling.

So but, he’s not going to begin with that. He’s going to begin with negotiations with the — as he calls it, a “soft landing”. Okay.

Mr. Morong: Sir may reports yata na ‘yung may mga Chinese coast guard, I think, that are patrolling and they’re shooing away our fishermen. Is this not a cause for concern for the government? China is flexing its muscle despite the ruling, sir.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, we, as I said, war is not an option. Force is not option coming from us. Thank you.

Shiela Frias (IBC 13): Sec, si Pangulo po ba ang mag-oopen up about doon sa South China Sea issue or he will wait lang po na i-open up ito ng China?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, they’re going to be having conversation. So let’s let it unfold. Let’s let the diplomatic processes unfold. Thank you.

Ms. Nichols: Sir, can we just can get your reaction on a tweet by the UK ambassador, sir. Meron siyang tin-weet (tweet) na photo listing ‘yung aid na natatanggap ng Philippines from other countries, third ‘yung US, sir. This is particularly for victims of Yolanda. So it seems like he’s saying na we are, you are getting a lot of help from foreign, from other nations. After sir, ‘yung sinabi kasi ni President na dini-dare niya na mag-withdraw ng aid ‘yung ibang countries. So, can you give a reaction on that tweet na parang pinapaalalahanan tayo ng other countries about the aid?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: As far as I understand the President, it’s precisely this kind of, you know, precisely this kind of attitude where, which he — I would say that he responds to. That it should be aid and should not be used as a tool. You know, it should not be used it as a tool. But more than that, from where the President is coming from, he is trying to remind the Filipino people to regain some sort of — to gain some just self respect na — to gain some self respect.

Yes, we accept aid and we respect and we are very grateful for these things but these are not things that we depend on. These are not things that we seek out or are willing to — are willing to back off on our principles simply because we are afraid to lost aid.

So, I believe in this case, he’s making a differentiation between state building and nation building. I believe the President, at this stage is building up a case for nation building where the Filipino should begin building up on his character and to gain a sense of identity as Filipinos.   

Mr. Cigaral: Sir, President Duterte po mentioned in his recent speeches po na Imee Marcos helped fund his presidential campaign. Pero may news po kahapon na lumabas na ‘yung, ‘yun po, ‘yung contribution po na iyon ni Ms. Imee Marcos sa campaign po ni President Duterte ay hindi po nakalagay sa Statement of Contributions and Expenditures na ipinasa po niya sa Comelec. So what’s the Palace’s reaction po on this?


Mr. Cigaral: ‘Yun po, hindi daw po naka-declare ‘yung donation po or ‘yung, opo, hindi po siya naka-ano sa SOCE na ipinasa po ni Duterte.


Thank you very much.

— END —

source: PCO PND Transcriber