Press Briefing

Bangon Marawi Press Briefing by Secretary Martin Andanar Presidential Communications Operations Office with Secretary Francisco Duque III Department of Health and Major General Restituto Padilla, Jr. Spokesperson, Armed Forces of the Philippines

Event Bangon Marawi Press Brefing
Location Malacañang Press Briefing Room, New Executive Building

OPENING STATEMENTS:

SEC. ANDANAR: Good morning, members of the Malacañang Press Corps. Good morning to all watching on PTV and our Facebook page and to all those watching the other network.

And good morning also to Secretary Duque who is here with us today to answer your controversial questions. And we also have here our, one of our mainstays, General Padilla, good morning to you, sir.

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Good morning, Secretary.

SEC. ANDANAR: He’s missed. And good morning also to General Ayuyao from JAGO, Armed Forces of the Philippines.

We also have a guest among you guys, it’s [Sol?] from the Rolling Stones magazine. And Mother Jones magazine. He just flew in from New York so I hope you welcome him.

[laughs] [Ready to rock and roll]

Ladies and gentlemen of the Malacañang Press Corps, good morning once again. We are pleased that our efforts to restore Marawi City and other war-torn areas continue to move forward.

Joining us, of course I mentioned earlier, is Secretary Duque and we have General Padilla.

As more IDPs come home, we strive to keep our hopes up that they would go back to a peaceful and prosperous Marawi. Because this is a predominantly Muslim City, it is important to enjoin leaders of the faith in this cause.

In line with this, ulamas, imams, and other Muslim religious leaders gathered at the grand mosque to pray for their people.

Please watch this short video on the grand mosque as the sacred structures… structure not only symbolizes the damage of this catastrophe but also the resilience and hope of Marawi’s people.

SEC. ANDANAR: Given their predicament, we are committed to help these people get back on their own feet.

On December 5 and 6, a small business corporation, a government corporation under DTI that assists the micro, small, and medium enterprises will distribute up to P10,000 worth of loans to each of 100 eligible IDP borrowers to help them start businesses.

The subcommittee on business and livelihood also continue to provide sari-sari store kits, sewing tools and machines, carpentry and electronic technicians kits to the IDPs in different evacuation centers and to those residents who have already returned home to Marawi.

Further, during the coordination meeting for the harmonization of programs, projects, activities for Marawi City rehabilitation and reconstruction on Wednesday, NEDA Undersecretary Adora Navarro emphasized the need to integrate in the PPAS, the livelihood programs especially for the youth.

She also suggested to the Marawi LGU and Lanao del Sur provincial government to create a local artisan’s group that will help promote Maranao arts and crafts as a means of livelihood for Marawi residents.

Aside from livelihood opportunities, the IDPs have concerns that require our immediate attention and they need motivation to get their normal lives back.

With this in mind, we look back at their stories from the second leg of the Mashwara, information and serbisyo caravan.

SEC. ANDANAR: On the progress of the IDP return efforts, the Marawi LGU already conducted community mapping in barangays under cluster no. 3 for the forthcoming next leg of Kambalingan.

The result of the community mapping will be triangulated with the DSWD database. The concerned barangay LGUs will also submit a master list of the returning IDPs.

There is no final schedule yet for the Kambalingan to cluster 3. And please wait for further announcement of the Marawi LGU.

The latest count of returnees as of yesterday, December 7, 2017 are: In 19 barangays, 14,319 families or 71,595 persons. On the supply of electricity, 54.12 percent of Marawi City is energized, according to the Lanao del Sur Electric Cooperative.

This includes barangays where residents have already returned during the first and second batch of Kambalingan.

LASURECO, in cooperation with other electric cooperatives in Mindanao have completed 73 percent of the primary electric lines in Barangay Sagonsongan, where the transitional shelters for IDPs are being constructed.

Let us go to the updates on health and social welfare. 68 of 135 evacuation centers in Region 10 and ARMM remain open. As of December 1, 10,576 families, from clusters 1 and 2, who have already returned to their respective barangays have already accessed DSWD support and maintenance services amounting to P116,530,934. This includes financial assistance, pabaon food packs, hygiene and kitchen kits.

As for those who have not yet returned to Marawi City, DSWD is conducting continuous coordination with the barangay local government units or BLGUs regarding the distribution schedule.

The Bangsamoro Umpungan sa Nutrisyon team or BANGUn is continuously providing hot meals to the returning families as well as the Kambalingan team.

Meanwhile, DepEd is set to launch Brigada Eskwela sa Marawi or BESM on December 13 at Amai Pakpak Elementary School with the actual implementation beginning on December 14 to 15.

Each division office in the country will be paired with the Marawi City division school to assist. Only the Mindanao offices will facilitate the actual implementation, while the DOs from Luzon and Visayas will mobilize the resources they would need.

After the kick off, quick school level programs will be conducted, which will consist of a community signing session for a manifesto ensuring schools as zones of peace.

In light of this, a press briefing will be conducted by the DepEd on December 12 in Iligan City on the BESM purpose and program flow. And another briefing will take place at Amai Pakpak Central Elementary School after the kick off on December 13.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday denied three motions for reconsideration and stood by its earlier ruling to uphold martial law in Mindanao, voting 10-3-1.

Now, to give us updates on the Marawi situation. We have Major General Restituto Padilla Jr., the spokesperson of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and for updates on the efforts of the Health department in the rehabilitation of Marawi City, we also have Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III.

Secretary Duque is not new as a Secretary of Health, since he was also appointed to the same position in 2005.

Other notable positions the good Secretary held were, a Chairman of the Government Service Insurance System; Chairman of the Civil Service Commission; President and CEO of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. among others.

Ladies and gentlemen of the Malacañang Press Corps, let us all give a warm welcome to AFP Spokesperson Resty Padilla and Secretary Duque. [applause]

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary. Secretary Duque, thank you. Kanina po akala ko kayo mauuna eh.

In any case, I’m happy to inform you that the role of the Armed Forces in securing Marawi as it rises up from the ashes continues progressively, but unfortunately there has not been any additional barangays that has been opened for the return of IDPs.

Previously, we were talking about nine barangays having been opened for the return of residents and then an additional 10, and this was the subject of the report earlier of Secretary Andanar.

So of the 19 barangays, you’ve had the statistics, the remaining 36 barangays that are still close for returning residents remains part of the main battle area, and hence cannot yet be open for any return.

However, there are certain protocols that are now being established by our Joint Task Force Marawi under Brigadier General Ros Murillo who is leading the effort on the part of the Armed Forces.

And these protocols — I would like to make mention our — for the possibility of some residents to visit or inspect their places of residence as soon as our teams who are clearing the ground of IEDs and unexploded ordnance, and other booby traps declare these areas as safe or open for any possible visit.

The reason why these remaining areas remain close is because of the slow turnout of our progress of clearing, ang — ‘yan po ang kadahilanan.

Ang rason po ng hindi pagbabalik dito sa mga naiiwang 36 na mga barangay na siyang nasa loob ng main battle area o kung saan nagkaroon ng malalim at mapusok na labanan sa pamamagitan — sa pagitan po ng ating pwersa at ng mga terorista dun ay ‘yung mga pananatili ng mga IED o mga bombang hindi pumutok at iba pa pong mga maaaring naiwang patibong.

So nauunawan — sana po nauunawaan po ng ating mga kababayan diyan sa Marawi ang ating kinakailangang gawin upang ganap nating masabi na ito’y maayos na at maaari na nilang balikan ng hindi sila mapeperwisyo ng anumang klaseng hazard o anumang patibong o IED.

So that is all I have for Task Force Bangon Marawi. Our Engineering Units remain proactively engaged with their other counterparts from the other agencies of government to pursue the continuous reconstruct — reconstruction — construction of temporary shelters that is now being undertaken in the designated area.

Meron din po pala akong nais idagdag, ‘yung sinimulan po ni General Bautista na tulungan sa isang foundation na base sa Tarlac ay nagpapatuloy at itong 500 na mga tirahan — the temporary shelter na may sariling maaaring pagtaniman, a small garden and decent place to stay, ‘yung bahay na gawa sa native materials ay patuloy na tinatapos po nila.

At ito po ay isasalin na sa ilang mga residente habang nakakatapos po tayo ng ilan-ilan.

So ‘yun lang po ang aking nais iparating sa inyo para ho sa aming panig sa Armed Forces, in as far as Marawi is concerned.

SEC. ANDANAR: Thank you, General Padilla. Secretary Duque, you now have the floor.

SEC. DUQUE: Okay. Thank you very much, Secretary Martin and my greetings to General Padilla, and the Judge Advocate General’s Office ‘no, okay, and to all our friends in the media.

With regard to Marawi, I know you’re all hot to ask questions about the Dengvaxia [laughter] but let’s have some kind of a very important report in the meantime.

We have stepped up, the DOH, the ongoing efforts in rebuilding the city of Marawi since its liberation from the Maute terrorist group as declared by President Rodrigo Duterte on October 17.

I, together with the central as well as regional officials of the DOH, visited the cities of Iligan and Marawi last November 10 in compliance with the President’s directive to assist in the rehabilitation of the cities that were affected by the five month long siege.

And as Marawi enters its seventh week of freedom from the hands of the terrorist group, the DOH continues to respond to health challenges faced by displaced families who may have their homes and even lost their loved ones.

And these people who took shelter in evacuation centers are referred to as IDPs, and I think all of you know that.

And they were given checkup or the Tamang Serbisyong Pangkalusugan para sa Pilipino Services, which included provision of medical supplies as part of the ongoing medical assistance to all IDPs, whether staying in evacuation centers or home-based.

Moreover, psychological intervention has been made available to affected families and service providers in an effort to address their mental health needs.

Nutrition, especially of the young children and the elderly, is another important consideration being responded to.

And then the most recent data from our DOH Health Emergency Management Bureau indicated that the fighting displaced a total of 77,955 families or 367,000 thereabout individuals.

Seventy-six evacuation centers are still in operation harboring 2,532 families or 8,574 individuals.

A total of 86 deaths were recorder from May 23 up to the present. With common causes being pneumonia, sepsis, cardiovascular diseases, acute gastroenteritis and prematurity.

To date, a total of 18,801 families or 106,598 individuals from 40 barangays in Marawi have already returned home.

Marawi hospitals, namely the Amai Pakpak Medical Center and the Doctor Abdullah Hospital are on 24/7-operation, providing relevant medical services.

There are 27 active referral hospitals near the city and currently, there are 22 serviceable barangay health stations and outposts in Marawi City open to the public.

The DOH central office as well as its regional offices and partner agencies have given a total of P222,388,985 worth of logistics and funding assistance to the hospitals as well as to the evacuation centers in the concerned areas.

We, at the DOH, assure the people of Marawi that we will not waiver in our efforts to rehabilitate the city through ensuring that their health needs are met on a day-to-day basis, and we ask our fellow Filipinos there to stay strong and be resilient in the everyday challenges of life.

And let us be optimistic that one day, we will regain the glory of Marawi.

Thank you.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS:

Maricel Halili (TV-5): Hi, sir. Good morning. General Padilla. Sir, I understand that Secretary Cuy already confirmed that PNP has recommended Malacañang for a one-year extension for martial law in Mindanao. May we know what’s the recommendation of AFP?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Our recommendation has been submitted to the Secretary of National Defense and the Secretary, after duly studying it, has forwarded the recommendation to Malacañang.

The recommendation, I don’t have the details of as to the length but the — as far as I’m concerned, there is a recommendation to similarly support the recommendation of the Philippine National Police.

But I am not privy to the whole report and I am not at liberty to discuss whatever it is that has been placed in the recommendation until such time that the decision has been made.

Ms. Halili: Meaning, sir, extension of martial law, is it within Mindanao also or —-

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Yes.

Ms. Halili: —on particular places?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: It is for the Mindanao area.

Ms. Halili: May we know, sir, the reason behind for a recommendation for an extension?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Well, let me discuss the statistics just so everybody can be clarified on why such a recommendation is being made.

I am not privy to the report as I mentioned, but we did several briefings for members of the media earlier on.

At itong mga briefing na ‘to na ginawa natin nung kamakailan, naihayag natin sa — para malaman ng ating mga kababayan ang rason at ‘yung mga bagay na kinakailangan nating pagtuunan ng pansin.

At itong mga bagay na ito ay ‘yung mga iba’t-ibang armadong grupo na nananatili sa kabuuan ng Mindanao.

I’m sorry, there’s a foreigner in the group so may I just —[laughter] also translate what I’m saying in the — in Tagalog.

As I was saying, earlier on we did a briefing for the members of the media in order to communicate the basis for the extension of — or the declaration of martial law previously and the many threats that we still face in the island of Mindanao, particularly.

Now, in the island of Mindanao, as you are all well aware of, the most significant that you have been following has been the Daulah Islamiyah, where the Maute, the ASG and other terrorist organizations are part of and they were the ones responsible for the siege in Marawi.

Now, they still remain to be a threat, although they have significantly been degraded in terms of capability and manpower, those who survived that siege still remain at large and are attempting to recover by recruiting other members of the society, particularly the vulnerable sector of our population, and they are students, children, women and the like, as well as relatives of those who lost their lives in the fight.

So they are attempting to do that and the primary means for which they are doing that is through enticements of cash rewards and the like.

So ito pong kanilang pagre-recruit ay isang bahagi ng kanilang effort upang magpalakas uli at kanilang inaasahan, maari sigurong bumawi kaya’t nananatili pa rin silang isang banta sa seguridad, lalo na ng Marawi at ayaw nating mangyari ‘to.

This is something that we don’t want to happen, for this group to come back again with a vengeance, that is.

And besides this group, we still face significant violent activities that are possible from the groups of the BIFF over in Maguindanao, Lanao and Cotabato.

As well as the threats brought about by the existence, continued existence of ASG forces in the islands of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.

The group over in Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi has had quite a challenge already because our troops have been focused; Joint Task Force Sulu under Brigadier General Sobejana, Joint Task Force Tawi-Tawi under General Parcon are doing a splendid job of keeping the peace there.

And as you may well have noted, the statistics will bear me out that the incidents and attempts for getting mariners from international freighters or ships that are plying that route is almost — is zero.

There were attempts to kidnap but they were done in the proximity of the islands and targeted were locals — local fishermen and local mariners, but we have had no incident pertaining to international and maritime freighters or shipping.

In addition, our engagements with Indonesia and Malaysia that is included in our trilateral agreement with them continues to be very relevant and very significant.

This trilateral arrangement includes maritime patrols through ships and boats, and patrol craft, and also air patrols using our air assets, Indonesian air assets and Malaysian air assets.

So by and large, this international engagement with our neighbors is helping a lot as we continue with our own efforts on our side of the border.

So this is keeping these enemies at bay, but we still need to continue and we still need the cover of martial law to address that bigger threat that they pose in other areas.

Now, in other areas in the whole of Mindanao, following the declaration of the President of the formal end of peace talks with the CPP-NPA-NDF.

Also, increasing violence initiated by the left is something to watch out for and something that we have to prepare for and confront. That’s part of the reason why martial law may be needed to cover other areas where potential terrorists are in hiding.

Just to highlight the significant increases in these violent incidents — from the period of January to 30 November this year, there has been a tremendous increase of 65 percent overall for Eastern Mindanao and Western Mindanao, with the majority falling over in the area of Eastern Mindanao, of violent incidents perpetrated by the NPA.

There were a total of 617 incidents for the whole of the year and 382 of them were committed in the Eastern Mindanao Command area and 18 in the Western Mindanao Command area by the NPA.

Of these violent incidents, the telltale effect has been one to note because in 2016 where the damage we have computed or [estimated] was at about over a hundred million.

There was a 2,000 percent increase in the amount on the effect of the violent incidents on business alone — 2.4 billion per our estimate was the amount of establishments, assets of government, construction companies and other businesses that have gone up in flames. It’s arson alone ‘yan.

So itong mga patuloy na ginagawang karahasan at kaguluhan na nagsisimula sa hanay ng New People’s Army ay isang bagay na seryoso nating tinitingnan dahil nakakaapekto na ito sa ating ekonomiya.

At ang mga seryosong naapektuhan ay ang mga maralita na sa kanila nakatuon ang mga imprastrukturang proyekto na ating ginagawa kasi karamihan sa kanilang inaatake ay pag atake sa mga construction companies na nagsasagawa ng ‘pag… na imprastrukturang proyekto, tulad ng farm to market roads at mga iba pang infrastructure projects.

So we cannot let this continue and I think the President is fully aware of this, that is why he had to formally end peace talks because of these continued violent incidents and its effect on our economy.

Now, just to segue a bit, nais ko lang pong ipaliwanag sa karamihan na hindi nakakaintindi na bakit natin kailangang seryosohin po itong mga nangyayari ngayong huling mga linggong ito ay dahil ang panig po ng Armed Forces at ng ating buong gobyerno, ang hinahangad po natin ay magdulot ng maayos na kabuhayan sa ating mga mamamayan.

We desire to improve the economy, particularly in the area of Mindanao, and we cannot do that unless there is stability, and stability can only be had if there is peace.

‘Yan po ang ating inaasam at hinahangad, na nais pong magdala ng napakaraming imprastrukturang proyekto ang ating gobyerno upang maibsan po ang kahirapan na nararamdaman ng ating mga kababayan at magbago at mag-improve, o umangat ang kanilang antas sa buhay.

Pero hindi ho mangayayari ‘yan lahat kung ‘yung stabilidad o ang kapayapaan ay hindi mangingibabaw.

At ‘yan po ang unang hinangad ng ating mahal na Pangulo sa unang kanyang ibinigay na SONA.

In the first State of the Nation Address of the President, let us remember that he tried to lay the predicate for peace by initiating a unilateral ceasefire on the part of government, which, initially, was very promising.

Pero unfortunately, 2017 February, was when it started to end. The left themselves did not want to pursue the ceasefire and just wanted to fight than talk.

Now, it was during that period when many of the violent incidents reached its height.

When they ended the Peace Talks in February, the incidents, numbered 78 at the end of January-February first two weeks; 82 towards March; 71 incidents in April; 72 again in May and 80 in June.

This by far this year, these were the most number of incidents, violent incidents perpetrated by the NPA.

So you can see that they were trying to talk peace but they were not sincere. Hindi nila pinakikita ang kanilang sinseridad dahil sa statistics —- sa akin pong binanggit at ibinigay sa inyong statistics, na maliwanag po dito na habang nag-uusap po tayo ng kapayapaan, doon po ‘yung pinakamadami at pinakamarahas na mga insidenteng kanilang ginawa.

‘Yan po ‘yung sa parte ng Eastern Mindanao. Habang tayo po ay kaharap naman natin ang mga terorista sa may panig ng Western Mindanao, ito naman po ang ginagawa ng kaliwa sa may panig ng Eastern Mindanao.

Kaya batay po dito sa nakikita nating mga banta, ‘yan po ang maaaring naging dahilan ng ating rekomendasyon na nagbuhat sa pulis at nanggagaling po sa ating Armed Forces. Sana maliwanag po ‘yun.

Rose Novenario (Hataw): Hi, good morning, General.

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Magandang umaga.

Ms. Novenario: Sir, ano ho ‘yung nakikita niyong dahilan sa paglakas ng pwersa ng New People’s Army, particular po dun sa sinabi niyo sa Eastern Mindanao, considering po na since last year sa Davao bombing ay nakataas naman po ‘yung state of emergency. At nung panahon po ng May hanggang ngayon ay umiiral ‘yung martial law. Papaano pa po sila nakapagpalakas ng pwersa kung may umiiral pong batas militar sa Mindanao?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Tandaan po natin, ang batas militar po na unang pinatupad natin ay nakatuon ng pansin sa mga terorista sa may lugar ng Marawi, Lanao, Cotabato, at ibang parte ng Western Mindanao.

Atin pong kasalukuyang isinasagawa ang usapang pangkapayapaan nung mga panahon na ‘yun kaya wala po tayong masyadong military action diyan po sa may lugar ng Eastern Mindanao.

The question was… Sorry, I have to translate. [laughs] Why was the number of incidents highest at that time in the Eastern Mindanao and what were we doing about it? I guess that was the question.

So our attention was focused on addressing terrorist threats in the area of Western Mindanao, and Eastern Mindanao remained to be relatively untouched because we were just performing normal military functions on these parts because of the ongoing peace talks at that time. Thank you.

Ms. Novenario: Oh, okay, sir. Sir, nung panahon na may ano pa, Marawi crisis, meron po kayong binaggit na ibang mga sinasabi niyong prenteng organisyasyon para… na nagtuturo po dun sa mga lumads po. Ito pong mga nakaraang araw, may mga pahayag po ‘yung ilang human rights groups na meron daw pong mass evacuation sa ibang lumad community at nagpapatupad daw po ng food blockade ang AFP. At medyo nagugutom na raw po ‘yung mga katutubo natin dun. Ano po ‘yung pahayag niyo rito?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Unang una, nais ko rin balikan ‘yung unang tanong mo. Ang pinakamalaking bilang ng armadong grupo ay nasa Eastern Mindanao as far as Mindanao is concerned.

So, sa bawat apat na armadong myembro ng NPA, tatlo dun lumad. ‘Yan ay batay sa aming pag-aaral.

Ang rason kaya ‘yang bilang na ‘yan ay nakikita natin ay dahil mas mainam nilang nare-recruit ang mga katutubo natin dahil mas madali nilang lokohin.

Karamihan sa ating katutubo, maaaring hindi masyadong mataas ang kanilang pinag-aralan at nasa kabundukan sila at malayo sila sa kabihasnan kaya hindi sila masyadong sanay sa mga galaw na maaaring ginagawa nitong mga kaliwa.

Kaya mas mainam nilang nare-recruit itong mga vulnerable na katutubo natin. So that is what we have in the statistics now.

As we have ended formal peace talks and as we pursue them, we expect the similar tactics or methodologies that the left has been using.

They will try to entice, they will make our indigenous peoples in the mountain go down to the city centers as evacuees and confront local governments and national governments and give demands, which they have been doing ever since.

If I may bring you back to the early days of 2016 before the switches in the administration occurred, there was such a thing as a lumad march to Manila.

And again, the big bulk of those people who made their way from Mindanao to Manila were also our IPs or our lumads.

So batay sa kanilang ginagawang mga galaw tulad ng mga nangyari nung early 2016, ine-expect (expect) namin na ganun uli ang kanilang gagawin.

Kaya itong mga evacuation, ang mga bakwit at ganun, expected na po ‘yan.

Ms. Novenario: So wala pong food blockade na pinapa —

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Wala po kaming pinasasagawang food blockade at lahat po ng tulong na napupunta po sa ating IDPs, kung meron man, o evacuees ay nasa puder na po ng local government at kami lang po ang nagbibigay ng seguridad.

Ms. Novenario: Sir, last na. Last na lang, sir. Sir, synonymous po ba ‘yung pagdedeklara ng Pangulo sa as terrorist organization sa CPP-NPA sa all-out war po ng AFP versus NPA?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Wala tayong pinag-usapan na all-out war pa dito ‘no. Ang deklarasyon ng ating mahal na Pangulo sa grupo ng NPA bilang isang terrorist organization ay isang proseso na sinimulan pa lang.

So if I may say it, and I brought along our Judge Advocate General because I need a lifeline for legal matters. I’m not a lawyer myself, but based on my understanding, ang ginawang hakbang ng mahal Pangulo ay nagsimula ng isang proseso.

So itong proseso na ngayon ay sinusunod natin. At sana matapos ito kaagad. So kinakailangan pa nating ihain ang isang petisyon sa korte upang ganap na matawag nating kaliwa — o terrorista itong mga maka-kaliwa.

Reymund Tinaza (Bombo Radyo): Sir, just a quick two points. Sir, considering that the Maute Brothers and Isnilon Hapilon were already killed, do we have any information on who will call the shots now to do the recruitment of possible new numbers of the ISIS-inspired group?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: For… probably what you are alluding to is the group of the Maute group that was in Marawi, tama ba?

Mr. Tinaza: No — now, who is or what group or who are the leaders, considering the Maute brothers, the Maute leaders, and Isnilon Hapilon were dead. So, who are now recruiting?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: I understand. Well, first off, the group we’re talking about is an aggrupation of several groups. Itong Daulah Islamiyah ay… or DIWM ay grupo ng mga nanggaling sa Maute, grupo na nanggaling sa ASG na pinamunuan ni Hapilon, grupo ng nanggaling sa iba pang maliliit na teroristang organization na nandyan sa Mindanao, katulad ng AKP at iba pa.

So… and we call this group the Daulah Islamiyah. So if you are talking about that group, there is no clear evidence that they have a new leader.

There is no… they’re in… they are still scattered all around, disorganized, and no leader — leaderless. So we are closely watching and monitoring and we have determined that there are attempts to once again build up their forces through recruitment.

And ‘yung target ng recruitment ay ‘yung aking binanggit kanina, itong mga kamag-anak ng mga namatayan diyan na mga fighters nila, ‘yung mga vulnerable part ng ating society tulad ng mga bata, estudyante, at mga kababaihan.

Mr. Tinaza: There are reports that during the peace talks, the NPA are busy recruiting and strengthening their forces. So can we admit that actually, the peace talks period became advantageous or edge for the NPA to, I mean, recruit more members and strengthen their ranks?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Well, it was only logical that because of the period of peace brought about by the peace talks and the relative lack of concrete government action to check on their movements.

It was apparent that they would have used that as — to their advantage and that, I would say is, one, that they wanted to increase their membership through recruitment or their areas of movement to other areas.

Joseph Morong (GMA): Sir, sa martial law.

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Yes.

Mr. Morong: Tama ‘no, we will be basically just retaining the existing martial law as far as the coverage is concerned, Mindanao?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Again, as I mentioned, the AFP forwarded the recommendation and the Secretary of National Defense submitted that recommendation to the Palace.

Now, our recommendation is separate and different from the recommendation of the police, which shall form the body of recommendations that will be used in deciding for its extension.

Now that there is no definite decision yet, we cannot comment on it. So hindi pa natin alam kung ito ay papayagan o aaprubahan, pero, be that as it may, masasabi lang namin is naihayag, naibigay na namin, naisumite na natin ang ating rekomendasyon.

So ‘yung desisyon na lang ang ating hihintayin.

Mr. Morong: Just on the recruitment, how widespread is this and what are we doing to counter it?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: There were two questions on recruitment, recruitment by the terrorist organization Daulah Islamiyah, and the recruitment of similar to the NPA. Which of these two are…?

Mr. Morong: The Maute.

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: So when it comes to the terrorist organization, the Daulah Islamiyah, yes, there is recruitment being conducted. And I cannot — I’m not at liberty to discuss this because if I tell you the areas from where they were monitored, they may — we may unduly disturb what is currently being done to address all of these.

Mr. Morong: Alright, fair enough.

Ms. Novenario: Hi sir, isa na lang po. Sir, meron pa pong mga reports sa presensya ng foreign jihadist po sa Mindanao?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Yes. Meron.

May patuloy pa rin po tayong nakikitang ilang presensya. May mga foreigners pa ring nananatili diyan.

Doon sa atin naging krisis sa Marawi, may 32 po tayong foreign terrorists na namonitor at may katibayan po tayo sa lahat ng ito.

Pero may naiiwan pa rin pong iilan sa iba’t-ibang bahagi ng Mindanao, maaari. At hindi ko lang po batid kung ano ‘yung mga pangalan nito.

Ms. Novenario: So may — wala po —

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: ‘Yung iba po dito, matagal na. Matagal na na pumasok bago pa man po nagsimula ang kaganapan sa Marawi.

Ms. Novenario: So wala pong kasama doon sa classified as foreign terrorists po sa — ng US State Department?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: I’m not aware. I will get back to you. I will check.

Mr. Morong: Just from Carol Arguilles from MindaNews ‘no. Phone in. In which areas in Mindanao is the threat from ISIS or NPA most prominent? And so why all over ‘yung cover? And is it justified to declare or to extend martial law to cover all of Mindanao, sir?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Again, in answer to that question, may I go back to my previous statement that it is merely a recommendation that comes on the part of the Armed Forces.

The approving authority will always be our civilian leadership.

So whatever recommendation was forwarded, it shall not be asked, we shall say so if it is approved or not.

That’s why we could not comment if it will be continued or not because the recommendation stays as a recommendation until such time that a decision has been made.

Now, in reference to the question on the threats in Mindanao, I just laid down the predicate when I cited statistics a while ago of what kind of threats are confronted in Western Mindanao as well as in Eastern Mindanao.

Now, the basis for military action and security action in Mindanao is actually to stabilize Mindanao so that we can create a stable environment to make room for economic development.

And economic development is very important because that is what we actually aspire for. A progressive and all-inclusive growth in the area.

When I say “all inclusive,” we are aiming to have this development trickle down to the very lower members of society so that they can feel they can have what they truly deserve, okay. And this is the aspiration of the government and I can tell you that it is the aspiration of every soldier on the ground.

Now, we have rules of engagement. I know that in the minds of many, there may be apprehensions on the continuation of martial law.

Again, we are not saying it’s going to be continued because no decision has been made.

But for the period that we have implemented martial law in the whole of Mindanao, if there were any serious offenses committed by the military, we’re open to any investigation and we have said that.

We are a transparent organization, we abide by human rights, and we respect human rights, and we abide by international humanitarian law.

We clearly make this as a part of our rules of engagement. And in the coming years, should it be approved, we can guarantee you that the Armed Forces will continue to be the same professional organization that has been implementing martial law these past few months.

And if there are any complaints again, again, we are a transparent organization. We are open to investigation.

And we will make accountable anyone among our ranks who have violated anything.

Ms. Novenario: Sir, anong short message lang po kasi kahapon po sinabi ng Commission on Human Rights na paiimbestigahan daw po nila ‘yung engkwentro ng AFP sa Batangas na ikinamatay nung labin limang —

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Okay. Hindi lang po ‘yun. ‘Yung engkwentro sa Batangas, ‘yung kaganapan na nangyari sa Mindanao tungkol sa pagkamatay ng ilang mga magsasaka, isa rin po ‘yun — isa rin po ‘yun sa mga issue na ating nababasa po ‘no. Pero isa lang po ang sasabihin ko bago ko sagutin ‘yung sa Batangas.

‘Yung issue po sa Mindanao, karamihan po na nagko-complain at nag-iingay tungkol sa mga kaganapan diyan ay hindi ho taga-Mindanao. Taga-labas po, taga-Luzon.

At karamihan diyan ay alam naming, mga maka-kaliwang organization. Kasi mainam po ang aming pakikitungo.

Let me just state — mainam ang aming pakikitungo sa mga nasa baba. At ang aming mga commanders on the ground are directly in touch with the community and are ably explaining the consequences.

Now, all the incidents that we have had by far with the NPA have been legitimate and deliberate military operations that have targeted known members of the NPA.

Now, as far as the Batangas incident is concerned where 15 members of the NPA were killed in an operation by combined forces from the police and the Armed Forces, as well as the recovery of 15 firearms, may I emphasize that — there were 15 firearms that were recovered — is a legitimate military operation.

And if the CHR wishes to investigate, yes, by all means, please do so. So that the truth will come out.

And we have nothing to fear, we have nothing to hide, we will openly and we will support the CHR in its investigation because we are confident that we are on the right side here.

SEC. DUQUE: Okay, so thank you again, Secretary Martin and General Padilla.

We at the Department of Health have created a task force for the management of concerns related to the school-based immunization initiative using the [inaudible] dengue vaccine.

And this is part of the agency’s commitment to closely monitor and attend to the health of those immunized with the vaccine even after this immunization activities were put on hold by us at the DOH last week.

The task force is composed of top management officials of the DOH Central Office and of the affected regions along with its attached agencies, namely the Food and Drug Administration, PhilHealth, and the National Children’s Hospital.

This task force is — this task force, rather, will conduct a thorough review of the dengue vaccination initiative which started in March 2016 and the new evidence on safety provided by Sanofi.

This shall guide the Department of Health in responding to the safety concerns relevant to the use of this vaccine and how to proceed with the dengue program to ensure safeguards and prevent similar incidents in the future.

We at the DOH reiterate our commitment to heighten surveillance and monitoring activities on all 800,000 students vaccinated with Dengvaxia.

We will be hiring 30 additional surveillance officers to be deployed immediately to its — to our hospitals in the four regions where these anti-dengue vaccination activities were conducted.

We will be deploying them immediately for active surveillance and data collection in these hospitals. Surveillance will be done for five years. And this is part of our commitment to the parents and children who were immunized with the anti-dengue vaccines.

The Health department is currently updating the master list of children with — rather given Dengvaxia in coordination with our DOH field offices and the Department of Education.

The task force on Dengvaxia will have a legal team to look into the accountability of Sanofi Pasteur, the company which marketed Dengvaxia with an initial claim that the vaccine was safe and effective for all individuals aged 9 to 45 years old.

The French pharmaceutical giant later on acknowledged that the vaccine is not recommended for people who have had no prior dengue infection, lest the vaccination increases the risk of severe dengue.

As this disclosure was made only after the Health Department had already vaccinated thousands of school children.

And of course, the news, as you are all very much aware of, created a scare among our parents and the Filipino public.

We will demand the refund of the three billion paid for the Dengvaxia and that Sanofi set up an indemnification fund to cover the hospitalization and medical treatment for all children who might have severe dengue.

I also announced that the PhilHealth is ready to cover the expenses of any child who may be hospitalized for severe dengue.

PhilHealth’s dengue case rate can cover up to 16,000 for severe dengue, which includes hospitals and physician fees as well as hospital — other hospital support interventions in the management of the dengue cases.

We will continue to be vigilant in monitoring our children for any adverse event following immunization and we will strengthen the readiness of our public hospitals in attending to any severe dengue cases that may occur.

Thank you. Questions?

Hannah Sancho (SMNI): Good morning Secretary.

SEC. DUQUE: Good morning.

Ms. Sancho: Sir, meron na po ba kayong reports na natanggap na may mga bata na po na naimmunize po ng Dengvaxia na nagkaroon po ng malubhang sakit po?

SEC. DUQUE: Meron tayong isang nakuha na ulat mula sa Region III at ito’y patungkol sa isang — this is about a 12-year-old female, a student from Tarlac, I am not at liberty to disclose the name of course, who was initially admitted at a private hospital, Jecsons. And then later on, while there, she was diagnosed to have a positive dengue virus using the antigen NS1 and positive for IGM, the antibody present normally against dengue virus.

And then also the symptoms of low platelet count, reaching 24,000 and the normal is 250,000 to about 450,000. And then with hypotension, not hypertension as the newspaper mentioned, it’s hypotension, low blood pressure, probably about 64 over 40 and so that was the diagnosis, severe dengue with hypotension and bradycardia, means slowing of the heart rate, okay.

So this was now transferred to JB Lingad Hospital, this is a DOH-retained hospital, where consistent with the initial diagnosis, they reported the same to me but luckily after some time, the child has recovered.

And thank God that she has recovered after having been managed quite effectively by our physicians from the JB Lingad Hospital.

So that’s one. And we’re waiting another one that’s anytime coming soon from Cebu.

It will take a little bit more time because we don’t want to be giving out very patchy information or data. So we need to validate all of these so as to ensure the credibility of our report, okay.

This is so far what I can give you as an update.

Ms. Sancho: Sir, anong message niyo doon sa mga magulang po ng mga bata, sir? Assurance na ‘yung government, tutulungan ‘yung mga anak nila or information na ibibigay sa kanila na kapag napansin nila na may signs and symptoms ng dengue, ano ang dapat nilang gawin? Ire-report ba agad nila sa hospital na ‘yung mga anak nila ay isa doon sa thousands na mga bata na nag-undergo ng immunization para alam din nung mga hospitals or doctors ‘yung gagawin po?

SEC. DUQUE: Yes, thank you for answering some of your questions yourself. Sorry.

Ito po ang gagawin ng inyong Department of Health. Limang bagay.

Number one, we will now complete the master list of all the 830,000 thereabouts of vaccinated children in Regions III, IV-A, NCR, and of course, Cebu province and its component cities, Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu City, and Mandaue City. That’s number one.

Number two, we have set up a dengue hotline for the benefit of our parents of the children that were — who were vaccinated, and the hotline — hotlines I would say, would be 711-1001, and 711-1002.

I’ll give you now, the later on rather, the hotlines that we have established for Regions III, IV-A, and also NCR pa rin, and Cebu province ‘no. that’s number two.

Number three, we’re going to heighten surveillance. And under a more profound or heightened surveillance, we will do the follow things:

  1. We will have a mandatory history taking of the immunization of all the vaccinees.
  2. We will have a mandatory reporting of all hospitalized cases of vaccines, irregardless of their symptoms. Para matutukan po natin ‘yan, aalamin natin kagaya ng ginawa natin, dito natutukan po natin. At sa mga, itong mga nagkakasakit na mga nabakunahan.
  3. There will a mandatory investigation of each of these cases. And then, of course, we will also have a post-vaccination five-year surveillance from April 2016 or rather March 2016 when the vaccination began.

So kailangan magmatyag ho tayo, maging mapagmatyag ang inyong DOH para ma-monitor natin and report and analyze the data. And so kailangan ko din hong bigyang diin sa atin pong mga magulang, naintindihan po natin ang inyo pong nararamdaman, ang inyong pangangamba.

Natural lang po ‘yan sa bawat magulang. Ako po’y magulang din. In fact, ako din po ay nagkaroon ng dengue, kaya alam na alam ito… anong pakiramdam.

Tama po kayo, meron naman talaga hong pangamba na inyong nararamdaman.

Ngunit, ang programang dengue vaccination ay hindi ho pwedeng isipin ito na hiwalay doon po sa mga ibang pamamaraan na matugunan ang problemang dengue.

So in other words, it has to be complemented. The vaccination program has to be complemented with the Department of Health’s 4S.

What is the no. 1 ‘S’? It’s search and destroy ‘yung mga pamugaran ng mga lamok at kiti-kiti at maglinis ng mga kapaligiran.

Number two ay self-protective measures. Wearing of long sleeves, long pants, application of insect repellants. This will help ‘no.

Number three, which to me is one of the more important of the 4S ‘no, it’s seek early consultation when there’s fever, high fever lasting for more than two days and then showing constitutional symptoms such as headaches, body malaise, severe pain behind the eyes, headache, abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting ‘no, and also rash, skin rash usually in the trunk or the abdomen.

So of course, say yes to selective fogging when there is evidence of outbreak in your communities.

So ito po ay kailangan may complementation. At bakit ko po binibigyan diin ito? ‘Yun pong mga pamilya na may mga anak naman na nabakunahan, eh hindi naman lahat ng anak nabakunahan. May mga ibang hindi rin nabakunahan.

So mahalaga na talagang sundin itong 4S ng inyong Department of Health.

So ako po’y nananawagan sa inyo na maging mapagmatyag din po kayo bilang mga magulang. Bantayan niyo po ang mga sintomas na akin pong nabanggit at huwag na po kayo mag-atubili o mag-dalawang isip pa.

Mangyari lang pong dalhin niyo na sa inyong pinakamalapit na doktor or pagamutan. At mahirap na ho ‘yung sa bandang huli tayo magsisisi.

So I think kinakailangan pagkaisahan po natin ito. Ayaw po natin ‘yung nangyari. Ngunit andiyan na po ‘yan. Kinakailangan po pagkaisahan natin matugunan ng epektibo itong hamon na ito para sa ating lahat.

JP Bencito (Manila Standard): Hi, Secretary. Good morning po.

SEC. DUQUE: Good morning.

Mr. Bencito: Sir, can I go to the legal case? Opo. I believe the gover — you said in a television interview yesterday that the government is preparing a legal case against Sanofi. Sir, how high, how high ‘yung level na pwede natin, ‘yung pwedeng maging implicated dito sa mga cases na ‘to? Sino pa kaya ‘yung ibang officials that could be liable for this mess?

SEC. DUQUE: Well, for one, I don’t want to preempt ‘no the outcome of the investigation which the Senate and the House of Representatives will conduct Monday and Wednesday respectively.

And then the DOJ, I heard, has already signed the order for the NBI to begin its in-depth investigation of those who might be accountable for, you know, this problem with Dengvaxia.

And so we’ll have to await as the investigation progresses. I’m sure that some of the information that you’re asking for will be known. So just wait. But the DOH, for its part, has to cooperate here. Certainly, it will provide the important, pertinent documents ‘no.

Mr. Bencito: Sir, the purchase of the vaccine was made during the time of Health Secretary, former Health Secretary Garin and during the Aquino presidency. Sir, could they be included in the lawsuit that could be filed? Also, can we get your thoughts, sir, on there were some reports and some rumors from the medical community that allegedly, the good Secretary Garin flew to Paris to meet with officials of Sanofi. Sir, as the current…

SEC. DUQUE: Who are you referring to ‘the good Secretary,’ this Secretary?

Mr. Bencito: Garin. Opo. The other good Secretary Garin, yeah. Sir, as the current Secretary of Health, what are your thoughts on this — that the Secretary of Health allegedly met with a manufacturer, a supplier for an intended purchase of government medicines or procurement?

SEC. DUQUE: Well, I heard that too ‘no. But it’s hard to second-guess the former Secretary of Health and also the former President. But it’s really up to them if they would like to clarify several issues on the matter because they were the ones who make the very vital decision to procure the vaccines.

And the circumstances around which that decision was made, is — or something that I’m really, I’m not privy to ‘no. So we will just have to await what their testimonies will be.

But it will be good for everyone. I believe very strongly it is going to be good for everyone to come forward and to say his or her piece and to explain.

Otherwise, there will be too many speculations ‘no and sometimes there are innuendos, very toxic speculations or innuendos ‘no.

So to prevent that from snowballing, might be good, sabihin na lang kung ano talaga. Because I’m sure they actually meant well. I have no doubt that they did mean well.

The President and the Department head were guided based on the feedback and from the documentary evidence that the WHO guidelines were in fact followed, which were three.

The guidelines include, number one, giving the vaccines to communities where there is 70 percent of the population that has been exposed to the dengue.

Number two is that this should be given to children ages nine to and individuals 45 years of age ‘no, nine to 45.

And last, and lastly, is the giving of the three vaccines, to complete it ‘no.

But of course, a lot has changed after the Sanofi’s disclosure in or rather on November 29 when they said that for those that have not had any history of dengue infection and had been vaccinated with Dengvaxia, that they have observed severe dengue reaction or disease once that vaccinated child or individual gets bitten by a mosquito and had the dengue virus ‘no.

So then the WHO, my latest information is that, the strategic advisory group of experts will convene on Tuesday and Wednesday and we are awaiting the new recommendation.

It’s going to be a one-pager recommendation from the WHO and that will influence a great deal the next steps that we will pursue at the Department of Health.

Mr. Morong: Sir, so far the DOH is willing to admit that there are two cases so far ‘no?

SEC. DUQUE: One is validated, the other one is being validated as we speak.

Mr. Morong: The Cebu one? Okay, so dalawa ‘yun sir, officially?

SEC. DUQUE: Yes, sir.

Mr. Morong: Alright. So if we have cases like this, I’m going to the effectivity of the vaccine ‘no. If you have cases like these, I think you have two populations here ‘no. Ang concern natin is ‘yung those that did not have dengue and got Dengvaxia. Correct? So ‘yung dalawa sir, came from that population?

SEC. DUQUE: Well, the one I can say with certitude. And I forgot to include in my information report, that the girl, 12-year-old student from Tarlac had the history of Dengvaxia vaccination in March 2016 and then followed by October of 2016, and then the last one being August of 2017.

Now, this is very important for you to understand. I did say earlier press con, that according to Sanofi’s disclosures and studies. They’ve said that it will give 30-month protection more or less.

For, even those group, for even the group of vaccinees that had no prior dengue infection and had been vaccinated, okay. But I started counting.

So if you start counting from March ’16 to when we found out the case this week, that’s like 20 months and that’s a far cry from the 30 months they were saying.

So this is one thing that I wanna ask them, okay. Now that’s assuming that you are beginning from the first time that student got vaccinated. But if you were to take the last date of vaccination, which is like two, three months ago, that is really, truly a cause for concern.

Because we really don’t know whether was it the first one that instigated that reaction or is it the last one? Okay.

So there are many now areas or facets of this, a very difficult issue that’s unraveling ‘no. Because — are we talking also about the possibility that the dengue vaccine might not be effective? Kasi you know, people get bitten by the mosquito. ‘Di ba? That’s the way we get infected, right?

Now, do we know that that vaccine is effective or not? Although, they keep saying that for those who’ve had prior infection…

Kasi ganito ‘yun ‘no. Let me explain. If I had dengue infection, assuming dengue strain no. 1, I get a lifetime immunity from dengue strain 1. The problem is I’m not protected against dengue strains 2, 3, and 4. And that’s the logic and the rationale why you’re being vaccinated. So I hope that’s very clear.

However, let me also just highlight the fact that the protection of the vaccine is not 100 percent ha. It’s from a range of 40 to about 80 percent, again depending on the strain that infected you.

So I just want the parents to understand that this is not a 100 percent protection. So that kahit na meron ka ng bakuna, still you have the possibility, though slight, of still contracting the infection, okay?

So ‘yun ang gusto ko lang linawin.

Mr. Morong: Yeah. But just focusing on Dengaxia, does it… do they claim, the Sanofi claim that it’s going to protect those vaccinees from all types of strain?

SEC. DUQUE: Well, that was the…

Mr. Morong: Claim?

SEC. DUQUE: Information. That was the claim. Although they never said it’s 100 percent protection.

Mr. Morong: Yeah, okay. So sir, just on the official position of the DOH. Given that case in Tarlac, are you saying that the effectivity of the vaccine is under question?

SEC. DUQUE: Most certainly.

Mr. Morong: Okay, sir. So, sir, when we purchased the vaccine in March, did we know that there’s going to be a pending study such that we could have maybe postponed it until we have that kind of study?

SEC. DUQUE: I think the study is… there had… Again, the information — I’m only relatively new on the job. I mean, it’s my first month ‘no.

Mr. Morong: Yes, sir.

SEC. DUQUE: And so I’ve been told that the information — there’s a possibility, a strong possibility that they might have not disclosed an information with regard to findings of severe dengue reaction, severe dengue infection in children who never had the infection but got vaccinated.

Para may ganun eh, na sinasabi it was not disclosed and that has been there. Now, although, of course, just like most medicines, like our vaccines, there’s always a long term, you know.

The studies are long-term because certainly, there will be certain outcomes ‘no that you didn’t expect were gonna come out.

But ganun talaga eh. Ganun naman ang science of, you know, medicines, vaccines. Why do I say this? You remember the drug regrow for the hair? Sorry for those who have lost their hair ‘no. [laughs]

Okay. The hair regrow was the initial indication for that was for hypertension. So they started drinking it. That’s minoxidil.

Then afterwards, people who started drinking it, started saying, “O, lumalago ang buhok.” Their hair was growing, you know, thick and long and so they were saying…

So this was an observation. So the company that manufactured it said, “O teka, that’s a serendipitous finding.”

So now, nag-shift na ‘yung business model niya from an anti-hypertensive drug to a hair regrow formula.

Okay, remember the Viagra. Okay.

Mr. Morong: I don’t know what that is though. [laughter]

SEC. DUQUE: Me too. [laughs] I don’t even know how it looks and the color, ‘di ba.

Well anyway, let me just tell you. This is a bit interesting, okay. The Viagra’s original indication was for hypertension also.

So a cohort of students from certain universities in London had been, you know, volunteered to be a sort of a guinea pig, so to speak ‘no.

They would try this and then… but I can’t really — subject to your validation. And then they were saying, once they were given this — Natapos na ‘yung study. So tapos na. But they started coming back and then they will say, “Pwede bang pahingi pa?”

Humingi pa ‘yung mga volunteers sa clinical trial. So nagtaka ‘yung mga tao. Sabi nila, “Bakit ganun?”

So they were saying ano, ‘yun pala ‘yung side effect niya ‘no. Hello. [laughter]

Mr. Morong: Just going back on the subject matter, sir. [laughter] Just going back on the subject matter.

SEC. DUQUE: In a way, in a way…

Mr. Morong: You know, we have a party later. You can come over and then let’s talk… [laughter]

SEC. ANDANAR: Meron pang ano, the mouthwash.

Mr. Morong: Now, okay, so going back, sir, to a very serious matter, sir, which is Dengvaxia.

SEC. DUQUE: Of course, of course.

Mr. Morong: So, sir, you said that there’s a possibility that Sanofi did not disclose that they still have a study that they have to do. Correct?

SEC. DUQUE: Yeah.

Mr. Morong: So did we purchase the vaccine prematurely?

SEC. DUQUE: Again, I cannot definitely answer that, definitively answer it with a “yes” because I’ve not really read or [inaudible] the voluminous materials.

You know, ang dami niyan. Because you’re talking about historical documents dating back to 2015 ‘no. So I’ll have to pore over all of these documents and then hopefully be able to come close to an answer that will satisfy you.

Mr. Morong: Just one last point, sir. How was it funded?

SEC. DUQUE: I think it was funded — originally, the source was from the proceeds collected from the sin taxes. Yes. And then this was used…

I think there was a savings. I don’t know if it was from the PS savings. It’s a kind of patchy information that I have, but there was the money, yes.

Mr. Morong: Is it DOH fund or some agencies?

SEC. DUQUE: I don’t think it was a part of the DOH budget. It wasn’t.

Mr. Morong: It wasn’t?

SEC. DUQUE: It wasn’t.

Mr. Morong: Kanino, sir?

SEC. DUQUE: They just had a… There was an instruction to the PCMC to purchase the vaccine —

Mr. Morong: PCMC?

SEC. DUQUE: — using that budget. Philippine Children’s Medical Center.

Mr. Morong: Okay, so for PCMC’s use?

SEC. DUQUE: For — no, for all.

Mr. Morong: This is DAP, sir? Is this DAP?

SEC. DUQUE: I don’t think so.

Mr. Morong: Why, sir?

SEC. DUQUE: I don’t know, probably it’s the better answer is I don’t know.

Mr. Morong: Kasi sir, ‘di ba ‘yung realignment, unless it is savings, you cannot do that?

SEC. DUQUE: I don’t know.

Mr. Morong: Pero sir, you will confirm that PCMC budget?

SEC. DUQUE: It’s not PCMC budget. It’s a budget that was given to PCMC because the instruction was for it to do the procurement.

Mr. Morong: But was it in the g— sir kasi sa budget, line item tayo diba? If Congress says, “DOH will give budget A to PCMC,” that’s for expense A.

SEC. DUQUE: That’s right.

Mr. Morong: It cannot be expense B, C, D —

SEC. DUQUE: Unless there’s a realignment.

Mr. Morong: So it’s a realignment, probably?

SEC. DUQUE: But we don’t know the originating fund.

Mr. Morong: It’s kind of — it’s going to be problematic sir, just in case.

SEC. DUQUE: Yeah, yeah. Well, but we’ll wait, I’m sure that all of these will surface once the investigation is begun.

Mr. Morong: Alright sir. Thank you.

Leila Salaverria (Philippine Daily Inquirer): Sir, on the demand for refund, how are we going to ask for this? Is this — is there a clause in our contract that request Sanofi to return the amount we paid them in case of developments like this?

SEC. DUQUE: Well, we’ll look at the stipulations in the contract entered into by the DOH and Sanofi.

Right now, the legal services group of the DOH is looking into the contract and the undertakings and the agreements.

So if that’s part of the grandfather clause that says, you know — at least the bottom line is for the unused vaccines, we ought to be reimbursed for them, okay, to protect the interest of the national government.

And then put up an indemnification fund, okay. Precisely to get the money, to pay for hospitalization costs of students or individuals that had been vaccinated and manifested severe symptoms of dengue infection.

Only for those group. For that group. One group lang ’no. Sa iba naman, there’s evidence that ‘yung nagkaroon na ng exposure sa dengue, effective naman ang kanilang bakuna, okay.

So suffice it to say that the indemnification fund, this is a mitigating measure. One of the mitigating measures, at least the parents will say “hindi na namin poproblemahin ‘yung pondo.”

Pero kasi I mentioned earlier, PhilHealth will pay for the dengue case ‘no. At the case rate of eight and 16,000.

Pero kung tumaas pa doon sa babayaran ng PhilHealth, ‘yung Sanofi na ang sasagot. O kung hindi, kung mainit din ang ulo ng PhilHealth, sisingilin din niya ang lahat nung mga ginastos niya, why not?

I mean, you know, that’s something that can be explored. It’s not an improbability.

Ms. Salaverria: Sir, has Sanofi given any indication that they’re willing to return the amount we paid them?

SEC. DUQUE: No, I cannot second-guess them. I’ll find out once we get to talk [to] them, I’m inviting them together with the ExeCom. You know it’s going to be the whole ExeCom of the DOH.

Q: [off mic]

SEC. DUQUE: Huh?

Q: [off mic]

SEC. DUQUE: Well, that’s the ideal scenario is to get back all three billion. But of course that will — you know, you’ve got to prove a lot first, you know.

Kasi in the other vaccinees naman na benefit from the protection, baka hindi muna pwedeng bawiin ‘yun, ano.

So mahaba ito, I’m sure I’ll look at it quite easily, it’s gonna end up in a long drawn possibly — in a long drawn mitigation ano.

Ms. Salaverria: Sir, the task force that you created, will this also look into the previous actions of the health officials if there had been any negligence or impropriety?

SEC. DUQUE: Well, all of that will have to be allowed to surface in the investigation.

Because DOJ is investigating, Senate, and House of Rep., and plus of course with DOH. And then our own task force.

So we will — we’ll complement, ‘no.

Mr. Tinaza: Good afternoon, secretary. Sir, hi. Sir, why is it that when Assistant Secretary Lyndon Lee Suy conducted a press con here, he sounded like as if that Dengvaxia was a manna from heaven. So… And now, as I can sense, you are saying that this is something questionable or doubted the efficiency and [safeness] of the medicine. So why it? Where is he coming from?

SEC. DUQUE: Well, I don’t know, I wasn’t here. But I know he has changed his tune because remember, the Sanofi press release the other day, after this, November 29, nag-press release sila, diba?

Ang sabi nila, “Yes, we’ve seen dengue symptoms grades two, three, but not grade four.” Okay, I questioned that yesterday in my interview.

I said, “Okay, you did see symptoms categorized under grades one and two by WHO of dengue infection, okay, dengue hemorrhagic fever.

And you said you didn’t see dengue grade four, okay, symptoms. What happened to the grade three? How come you’re not mentioning the grade three? And I’ll read to you the grade three.

Grade three classification of dengue symptoms necessarily includes one and two, right? And grades three, there’s rapid, or there is rather circulatory failure, rapid and weak pulse, narrow pulse pressure, hypotension ‘no, ‘yung nabanggit ko. Now hypotension, cold clammy skin.

‘Di ba, doesn’t that sound familiar with the case — one case? O, so I told Usec. Lyndon about that. So you cannot say — you cannot say that the symptoms are limited to grades one and two classifications of the WHO.

So we have to be prudent here. And we have to, you know, be as accurate as we can possibly be ‘no. Otherwise, we will be perceived, you know, as something else.

Mr. Tinaza: Sir, last one. You said that PhilHealth will shoulder the expenses. What about those non-members of the PhilHealth?

SEC. DUQUE: Well, highly unlikely. Because we have 92 percent coverage. So that’s 92 million Filipinos are covered with PhilHealth insurance.

Rocky Ignacio (PTV): Pero sir, kinausap kayo ni Presidente, ni President Duterte about Dengvaxia, ‘yung nangyayari?

SEC. DUQUE: Well, alam na nila because we give reports, so I’m sure the President is aware of these developments.

SEC. ANDANAR: Thank you, Rocky, Thank you so much, Secretary Duque. Thank you so much, General Padilla.

I would like to remind everyone who is watching, if you need more information about Bangon Marawi, you can check out bangonmarawi.com, the website.

And also, an announcement from the Mindanao Development Authority, that they still continue to address home-based Marawi IDPs together with the Cabinet Spouses Foundation.

Thank you so much and have a great afternoon.

— END —

source: PCOO-PND (Presidential News Desk)

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