Press Briefing

Mindanao Hour Briefing by Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella with China Jocson, Assistant to the Presidential Spokesperson and Maj. Gen. Restituto Padilla, Jr., Spokesperson of Armed Forces of the Philippines

Event Mindanao Hour Briefing
Location Kalayaan Hall, Malacañan Palace

OPENING STATEMENTS:

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Good morning. We’d like to begin with General Padilla as he gives us some updates.

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: The latest updates from Mindanao and specifically from the battlefront.

I’d like to give you the statistics. Shown on the screen are the latest that we have as of last night, the 8th of October:

For number of enemies killed, we are now at 774. [Give me a second please] There’s an additional three more enemies that were killed by our troops in the continuing firefight in the area.

Civilians killed, still numbered about 47, in the absence of any verification and any data that would change that otherwise.

For civilians rescued, it remains at 1,750. The increase recently with the 17 rescued hostages.

Firearms recovered, remains unchanged at 810.

For the unexploded ordnance that have been recovered. Quite a number have been recovered by our troops in the last few days, and the number was at 23.

Improvised explosive devices recovered from the area recently is at two.

Those killed in action remain at 158.

Thank God there have been no additional casualties nor wounded.

For the buildings cleared, we were able to clear 26 yesterday. And the day before that there were 43. But there remains still about more or less 200 buildings in about a five to seven hectare area where ongoing firefight is still continuing.

Our troops are concentrating in this area and where those more or less 200 facilities remain, which includes one mosque which we believe is likewise being used as a safe haven and as a storage area for arms, food, and whatever cache they have.

Our cash donations, as of 3 p.m. last Friday, before the close of banking hours.

For Marawi AFP casualties, they are at P102,080,969.03.

For Marawi internally displaced persons, it remains at P136,595.

This is our update for today regarding Marawi, as far as statistics are concerned.

Other developments in the area, there have been changes in leadership in Joint Task Force Marawi as you may have caught in some other news item.

With the appointment of Major General Rolando Bautista as the head, the new head of — or the new commanding general of the Philippine Army.

The Chief of Staff presided over the simple ceremonies to put in place in the command of Joint Task Force Marawi a new commander in the person of Major General Danilo Pamonag.

Major General Danilo Pamonag is a veteran of the Zamboanga siege and this was why he was chosen to lead the fight there from the very beginning as part of the ground commanders who comprised those that were helping General Bautista earlier on in May.

So other commanders that have been put in their new position include Brigadier General Roseller Murillo, the former commander of 101st Infantry Brigade that was and still is assigned to the area of Butig, the municipality of Butig.

This unit was the one that was heavily much involved with the fight against the Maute brothers at the very beginning in 2016.

General Murillo now takes over the 1st Infantry Division of the Philippine Army that will be based at Pagadian City in Mindanao.

He also is in Marawi as part of the staff of Joint Task Force Marawi because most of the forces there are also his and it is part of his area of responsibility.

These changes in leadership do not affect in any manner the operations we are conducting on the ground and the focused military operations that are continuing will be still unrelentless and will not stop until the last armed element in the area has been dealt with.

Regarding recent updates, based on the narratives of hostages, the debriefing that was conducted revealed that there remains about a minimum of about 40 to as much as 60 enemies that are still in the area.

So hostages, the numbers we got are about 40. So our operations will still continue in the same manner that they have been carried out ever since, because the objective of ground operations is not only to clear the area of armed elements but also to rescue all these remaining hostages from the hands of these rebels.

So we will be unrelentless here. We will continue with that and we will provide you updates as we gain more headway into the battle area.That is all for now. Thank you.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: For the updates on Bangon Marawi, we’d like to — Assistant to the Spokesperson Ms. China Jocson.

JOCSON: Thank you, Spox. Good morning, Malacañang Press Corps.

Task Force Bangon Marawi recently held its 4th All-Agency Meeting at the National Emergency Operations Center in Iligan City.

Updates on the ongoing activities of each sub-committee and support group were presented.

Likewise, the local government of Marawi City discussed the return plan for the IDPs and recovery, rehabilitation and

peace building plan for the province of Lanao del Sur.

The task force through DSWD and DOH continuously attend to the needs of the IDPs through distribution of food, non-food items and medicines and the provision of medical and counseling services. Moreover, the implementation of cash-for-work program is ongoing.

Various skills trainings on dressmaking, woodworking, vegetable production and food processing particularly in the production of Maranao delicacies are likewise continuously

being conducted through TESDA, OPAPP and DA.

These trainings are part of the livelihood programs for the IDPs both home-based and in evacuation centers.

On housing and reconstruction, the installation of distribution lines for the transitional shelter site in Barangay Sagonsongan, Marawi has already been completed.

Secondary lines connecting to the individual housing units are yet to be installed as source of power, while transitional shelters are being completed.

Plans for the permanent housing are being discussed in close coordination with the Marawi City LGU.

Social healing and peace building activities for the IDPs continue in various conflict-affected areas. Visits in evacuation centers and consultation with the local officials as well as community leaders in Marawi City still continue. Spox…

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Thank you. A few notes:

On the dismissal of Superintendent Lito Cabamongan:

The dismissal from service of Police Superintendent Lito Cabamongan, head of the Alabang satellite office of the Philippine National Police Crime Laboratory, highlights the efforts to rid the ranks of misfits and scalawags that destroy the integrity of the entire organization.

The removal of a high-ranking officer serves as a strong reminder to the uniformed personnel to honor and to uphold always their sworn duty to serve and protect our people and our country.

These efforts ought to have been standard practice in government.On the dismissal of Police Chief Superintendent Edgardo G. Tinio and Police Director Joel Pagdilao:

In line with the President’s promise to render the nation crime and corruption free, he has dismissed from service two presidential appointees who are officials of the Philippine National Police.

A decision signed by the Executive Secretary last Thursday, has found Police Chief Superintendent Edgardo G. Tinio and Police Director Joel Pagdilao of the Philippine National Police administratively liable for serious neglect of duty and serious irregularity in the performance of duty, and have been duly dismissed.

Evidence shows that both generals deliberately refused, without cause, to perform their duties as police officers resulting in the proliferation of the drug trade in their areas of jurisdiction. Thus, the President’s decision.

On the SWS Third Quarter Survey:

The Social Weather Stations Third Quarter Survey saw PRRD’s satisfaction rating at 67 percent and trust rating at 73 percent.

The change in the President’s satisfaction rating, from 78 percent in June to 67 percent in September, and trust rating, from 82 percent in June to 73 percent in September, is expected given the fact that people start measuring their expectations usually after the honeymoon period, or after a year in office.

Despite this public satisfaction remains “good” and public trust remains “very good.”

It is worth noting that surveys are snapshots of the public mood at a given time and the SWS survey was conducted between September 23-27, just 2 days after the National Day of Protest – the bold PRRD initiative allowing citizens to freely vent their grievances about the excesses and shortcomings of the government – and some sentiments may have spilled over.

But given the trust and confidence of a large majority, the Administration will continue to work harder to address the public’s urgent needs in order to bring a comfortable life for all.

We enjoin everyone to set aside self-interest and together build a nation worthy of the next generation.

We’re open to a few questions.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS:

Alexis Romero (Philippine Star): General Padilla, the military set another one week deadline for the Marawi operations. It this for real this time?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Thank you for the question, Ace. In fact, I was just asking our troops on the ground if any categorical statement was made regarding the deadline. I was informed there was none.

Except that we’re really aiming to have this concluded at the soonest possible time. So as the case is, even the Chief of Staff does not want to put pressure on the troops because we know that any kind of pressure might lead to action that may lead to more casualties on our part.

So we’re just being very careful about this. We really want to end this conflict as soon as possible. We’re employing all the means that we can to end it as soon as possible.

But just the same, we are doing this carefully, especially in light of new revelations that there remains still about 40 more or at least 40 more hostages in the area.

Mr. Romero: So the statement that it will be finished within a week is not official?

MAJ. GEN. PADIILA: That’s as far as I am concerned and as far as the reply I got is from the ground.

Mr. Romero: So there’s no definite timeline yet?

MAJ. GEN. PADIILA: Yeah, no definite timeline yet, except that we’re really aiming to do it hopefully this month.

And based on what was briefed to you earlier, ‘yung mga nasabi na sa ground kamakailan ng ating ground commanders na talagang lumiliit na ang mundo ng kalaban.

At bukod doon, napapansin din natin na manakanaka na lang ang kanilang pagsabay sa putukan na talagang pinipili na nila ang mga lugar kung saan sila ay nagdedepensa.

Hindi natin alam kung sila’y talagang nagtitipid at itinatabi nila ang kanilang mga nahuhuling bala at ammunition upang magsagawa ng last stand. Pero ito’y mga indikasyon na talagang napipinto na ang kahuli-hulihang mga araw nila.

Ang talagang issue dito ay ‘yung pagpasok nang maayos sa lugar. Dahil kadalasan ang pinagmumulan ng mga nasusugatan at maaaring ikasakit o ikamatay ng mga hostages ay ‘yung mga naiiwang mga IED, mga bomba, at mga hindi sumasabog na mga iba pang bagay.

So ‘yan ang pinag-iingatan ng ating mga kasamahan at ‘yan din ang nagpapabagal sa kanila.

So bigyan natin sila ng pagkakataon at hopefully, this month of October will really be it.

Mr. Romero: Thank you po.

Celerina Monte (Manila Shimbun): Good morning, sir. Celerina Monte sa Manila Shimbun. Sir, you have mentioned when I sent you a text message regarding the condition of Isnilon Hapilon and you told me that based from your interview with these former hostages, he was still the area, right?

MAJ. GEN. PADIILA: Yes, based on the narratives and what we gathered from the hotages that were recently rescued the presence — Hapilon is still indeed within the battle area.

Ms. Monte: What was his condition? May tama ba siya ng baril or still wala naman?

MAJ. GEN. PADIILA: Wala pong nabanggit. So ang assumption po natin ay nasa maayos pa siyang kalagayan.

Ms. Monte: How about the other leaders, like ‘yung sa Maute?

MAJ. GEN. PADIILA: Doon po sa bilang na sinasabi ng ating mga na-rescue na hostages na mga 40 to 60 na mga kalaban pang naiwan, karamihan po diyan ay sugatan.

So they may be holed up in the remaining mosque as wounded and probably hiding in the tunnels or the bunkers.

Pero karamihan sa kanila ay sugatan na. Kaya ‘yan ang nagbibigay ng confidence sa ating mga kasamahan na magsabi na maaari — nalalapit na itong kahuli-hulihang bakbakan na ‘to.

Pero gayunpaman din tulad ng aking nabanggit kay Ace, may mga kumplikasyon pa rin na naiiwan diyan. At pinag-iingatan natin na wala nang madagdag sa mga casualties na mga nagbubuwis ng buhay na mga kasamahan natin.

Ms. Monte: Sir, specifically, itong si Mr. Salic, who was being asked by U.S. na i-extradite, I believe he has also his participation in as far as this Marawi crisis is concerned. Specifically, ano ‘yung naging participation niya?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Ang bagay naman na tungkol kay Dr. Russel Salic, nasa pangangalaga na po siya ng National Bureau of Investigation.

Ang napag-alaman po natin dito is noong mga April 2007 — 2017 — when he found out that there was an arrest warrant for him, he voluntarily surrendered himself to the NBI.

But he was the subject of monitoring by intelligence agencies because of his involvement. Earlier, we understood that he may have been part of those who frequented the Butig Mountains and treated Maute rebels who were wounded.

Kaya nga ang kanyang nom de guerre o ang kanyang nickname sa loob sa aming nakuhang impormasyon ay “Doc” o doctor kasi siya’y — siya ang nangangalaga sa kanilang mga wounded.

Bukod dito, based on information that was also gathered from Interpol and other allied intelligence agencies, meron pa rin siyang kaugnayan sa mga iba pang grupo sa iba’t ibang dako ng mundo, kasama na diyan ang Middle East at ang United States.

As far as the US, is concerned, I think he was found out to have provided funds — a certain amount to three individuals who were trying to hatch a terror plot in New York. And I’m not aware if that was ever given to those. But it is a subject of investigation nonetheless.

Now, the aspect of his relationship to a former local government, he denies any link or any relationship with the former Marawi City Mayor.

So he is now the subject of a repatriation request from the US and I think the DOJ is the best agency who can answer this.

Ms. Monte: Can I follow up on that, kay Secretary Abella?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Yes?

Ms. Monte: Even if it’s the DOJ which will handle or who is handling this case, may we know how soon could the Philippine government extradite Mr. Salic to US?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: They’re working on it. But there’s no definite date that’s been given.

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: May I just add to that, ‘no? This just goes to show that the government and all agencies of government are closely watching any potential sources of linkages with other terror organizations.

So it is not only the Philippines, but it is the alliance of nations that are interested to keep their nations safe from the clutches of terror that is involved here.

So we continue to work with other agencies of government and other countries all over the world to protect our shores and protect others from the things that can be brought about by terror organizations everywhere.

Jopel Pelenio (DWIZ): Sir, last… Last briefing, sir, you said na may ibang grupo pa na gustong sumanib dito po sa Maute na BIFF. So kamusta, sir, ‘yung monitoring niyo regarding BIFF?

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Hindi po natin sinabing gustong sumali, kung ‘di sila’y — parte na actually sila dahil tumutulong sila ‘no.

So anong ginagawa nila upang makatulong? Ito ‘yung pagsasagawa nang pambobomba, panggugulo sa ibang lugar para maging source ng destruction sa loob ng Marawi.

Pero hindi ito matagumpay na nagagawa dahil may angkop tayong pwersa na nakatuon ng pansin sa kanila. At ito ‘yung mga elemento ng mga pwersa natin sa ilalim ng 16th Infantry Division sa may Maguindanao-Cotabato area na maganda rin ang kanilang pakikipag-ugnayan sa hanay ng MILF na tumutulong din sa atin.

Ms. Monte: Secretary Abella, regarding the administrative — the order of the President to dismiss two police officers. Will there be any filing of criminal charges also against these two officials?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: As far as I know, these are administrative charges only, and that they have been let go.

I don’t know… We’re not yet privy whether there are enough evidence to file criminal charges against them.

Ms Monte: Will there be any other police officials since the President mentioned before that there were several generals, narco generals. May we know if the other generals would also be administratively removed from office?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Until such time as he makes a report, we cannot speculate on it. Thank you.

Joseph Morong (GMA): Sakto naman, nag-shift na tayo. Sir, ano lang pa-elaborate lang nung sa admin case. What were the circumstances? You just said responsible for…

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Ang pagkakasabi lang po… Let me repeat, ang pagkakasabi lang “are liable for serious neglect of duty and serious irregularity in the performance of duty and they have been…” And it says that “this neglect…” “This neglect led to the proliferation of drug trade in their areas of jurisdiction.”

Mr. Morong: And the areas of jurisdiction of…

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Both Tinio and Pagdilao.

Mr. Morong: Saan po sila ano… AOR nila?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I think it is…

MAJ. GEN. PADILLA: Metro Manila.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Metro, Metro.

Mr. Morong: Okay, sir. Thank you.

Ina Andolong (CNN Philippines): Does that mean, sir, that the President knows who these police officials are protecting and what will be done with regards to that?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: We cannot speculate on what are the next steps of the President. But I’m sure that he — knowing this, he again and again he said that this is an apparatus. And that these are interlinked with other — with other — [what do we say?] — with other personalities.

Ms. Andolong: Can you tell us, sir, to what extent ang pagiging protector ng mga police officials na ito?

Because I’ll just clarify, sir, you said that their neglect of duty led to the proliferation of illegal drugs in their areas. So I would assume that they have been protecting in a way drug — drug lords in Metro Manila because NCRPO tsaka Quezon City po ‘yun.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Up to this stage, all information that we have been supplied has been there… The keywords are “deliberately refused to perform their duties.” In other words, neglect by default, by default.

Ms. Andolong: Can we say “protector?” If neglect…

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I cannot speculate on whether you can say or what.

But it seems that by… It seems that by default, they did not exercise any authority over — over these personalities.

Ms. Andolong: Have you found out, sir, if they’ve been or proven that they have received money in exchange for…

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: That is not yet part of the information as far as we have received. Thank you.

Ms. Andolong: Thank you, sir.

Mr. Morong: So, sir, ‘yon pong pagdi-dismiss, this is the decision ‘no? Meaning they were — there was an investigation prior to this, correct?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: We assume.

Mr. Morong: We assume?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I assume, okay.

Mr. Morong: Yeah, pero… Now, I see, sir. Thank you.

Mr. Romero: Usec. Abella, critics of the President are now reacting to the results of the SWS survey. One of them, Senator Trillanes, said, “the public is now seeing who the President really is,” and I quote, “a lying, rude, amoral, corrupt, and oppressive member mayor — former mayor who is incompetent about governance at the national level.” What is your reaction to his statement?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I was listening to the head of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce this morning and he was presenting an entirely different picture about the President’s — about the President’s style of management and governance.

He actually said that the President is not after — is not running a popularity contest, but his main interest is being able to set the clear foundations for what he calls “a comfortable life for all.”

Again, the President has said, “I will serve a full term.” He said it recently again. He said he will serve a full term, and that he is set — he’s really bent on making sure that he addresses the three campaign themes, which is crime, corruption, and illegal drugs.

Having said that, I think we need to understand that the President is playing actually a long game. In other words, he’s not just — he’s not running short term, trying to be popular like some other personalities out there who are so concerned about their ratings.

But he himself is basically concerned — even if it is an unpopular move — he is making sure that the Philippines will have the proper foundation: crime-free, drug-free and corruption-free.

That is the whole intention making sure that  — whoever, whichever, whichever next administration will follow through will be able to enjoy the fruits of the foundation that he has laid.

Mr. Romero: And then Senator Hontiveros said, “The writing on the wall is simple: The President cannot govern based on fear, lies and killing.” What do you say to those?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I think that’s another myopic point of view.

Mr. Morong: Myopic. So there’s no such thing?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I’m not saying there’s no such thing. I’m saying that, you know, she doesn’t seem to see… She doesn’t seem to be able to appreciate what the businessmen who really put their money in their mouth and, you know, put money on the ground are able to appreciate.

Mr. Romero: Thank you, Usec.

Ms. Sancho: Good morning, Secretary — Undersecretary Abella. Sir, regarding… Follow up lang po doon sa SWS survey. You think, sir, may kinalaman po ba ‘yung insidente po ng pagpatay ng mga menor de edad kaya bumaba ‘yung trust and satisfaction rating ng Pangulo?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: May kinalaman siguro dahilan sa — you know… It was the… The surveys were done just within days of the National Day of Protest. And during that time, people were giving full vent with whatever feelings that they had.

I’m sure there was a full spectrum of emotions out there, and some of these could have spilled over. Nevertheless, having said that, we also understand… We also need to appreciate the fact that the — it’s still good and, you know, the trust rating is still very good, I think, as far as we can see.

In other words, the trust… There was a dip, there was a dip, and that’s to be appreciated. That’s certainly a challenge. That’s certainly a challenge to the government in order to be able to deliver the full range, the full spectrum of public services.

However, we need to also appreciate the fact that the majority of people, a large people — a large number of… The majority of the Filipino people still have trust and confidence.

And bearing that in mind, I’m sure that the President and his administration will be able to deliver on the dream.

Ms. Sancho: Sir, ano pong assurance ang maibibigay natin sa publiko na wala nang insidente ng pagpatay doon sa mga menor de edad?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Ma’am, ‘yung mga sagot na ‘yan… I think the answer is… To properly frame it, I think it should be that the President is going to continue in his campaign in eradicating the drug apparatus.

And so I think there are, these are — that’s the way to properly understand it na, you know, this is… Ang kanya naman ay talagang — is we need to cooperate with that.

Pia Gutierrez (ABS-CBN): Good morning, sir. Sir, can we confirm reports that the President has already dismissed ERC Chair Jose Vicente Salazar?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Ma’am, we’ll have to check with ES, you know, if there are any things like that. We’ll have to check.

Mr. Morong: Sir, can I just go back a little bit on the SWS survey? What does the Palace make of the findings that sa net satisfaction, sir, it’s down 30% in Visayas, 22% in Balanced Luzon, 19% in Metro Manila, but still enjoys the high satisfaction in Mindanao, 76%. So let’s focus first on where he went down. Visayas, Luzon, and Metro Manila. What does the Palace make of that dip and what adjustments are you going to make?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Like I said, like I said, there was a… These are — a question of managing expectations, managing expectations. That some people during this particular honeymoon period, their expectations were high, and the actual wait for the implementation of these things may have led to the dip. However, people are still, in general, still satisfied.

Mr. Morong: Sir, paano po ‘yun… Does that mean that the public as far as at least those areas are concerned are disappointed or do not believe that the President…

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: No, I don’t think that’s a question of disappointment. It’s a question of managing expectations. It’s not a question of not believing it’s a question of managing expectations. You know, that’s — coming from…

I mean, the first year is basically a laying down of a foundation. And then it is from here that we expect that —  that’s why we want — we were wanting the public to have a buy in that we — that we all cooperate and wait and see these things through.

That’s exactly why we want the tax reform to be passed and all these other obstacles to be removed so that we can actually deliver on the campaign promises of the President.

Mr. Morong: You wouldn’t say it’s a failure of the drug campaign at least?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: It’s not a… I don’t think it’s a… I think it’s a question of being able to manage everything. It’s not a failure of one. It is a whole system approach.

You need to understand that the President is facing all… Just delivering on the three campaign promises is already a humungous job. So it’s something that we can fully appreciate. The people I believe appreciate that. The people continue to trust him, that he will come across and that the confidence that the people have I believe will make sure that the dream is fulfilled.

Mr. Morong: Are these ratings important to him?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Again, ratings in terms of popularity, not really. But if in terms of indicators, the President listens.

Mr. Morong: So, will you make adjustments because of this dip? Will he make adjustments?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I cannot speak for him, but I’m sure he listens.

Mr. Morong: Okay.

Ms. Gutierrez: Sir, also looking at the SWS survey. The President’s satisfaction rating stayed at “very good” in the upper to middle class A, B, C.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Yes.

Ms. Gutierrez: But fell from “very good” to “good” in class D and in Class E. Does it have anything to do with the impression that the drug war targets only the poor? And if so, sir, what are we doing to address this kind of impression?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I believe what is really necessary is to be able to deliver on the services that have been promised, especially to those that are affected. And the most affected are obviously the ones on the Ds and the Es.

In other words, if we facilitate, if we’re able to roll out all those — more jobs ,more jobs, more money in the pocket and more, you know, people can eat and the agriculture sector kicks in, I’m sure, I’m sure it will…Basically what we’re saying is that this is the whole of government approach and that it would be really key if all branches of government were able to cooperate and so that we can deliver on the needs of the people and not just our self-interest.

Ms. Gutierrez: Sir, but the impression that the drug war targets only the poor. Does it have anything to do, sir, with the dip in the satisfaction rating between people in the Class E and Class D?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I believe if I’m reading the statistics right, it is basically the — A major fact is… You know, the people are still expecting that rise, that the economic shift that will put more food on the table. It’s basically a lot — a matter of expectation.

Ms. Gutierrez: Thank you, sir.

Philip Tubeza (Philippine Daily Inquirer): Good morning, Usec.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Yes.

Mr. Tubeza: You’re saying this is just a question of managing expectations?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: It’s not just a question. It is a certainly a factor. Yeah.

Mr. Tubeza: Are you saying that the honeymoon is over, sir?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, I’m saying that the — These things usually happen. This is traditionally happening after a year, a year and a half, and you know, the love is still there.[laughs]

Mr. Tubeza: Sir, what about the 30-point decrease in Visayas. Related kaya ‘to doon sa ‘pag-abolish nung NIR? And then ‘yung attacks kay Mayor Mabilog kasi recently…

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: The survey does not deal with those items. But certainly there are factors in the shift in appreciation.

But again, let me just say. I believe as… If you look at it especially the Ds and Es, for example, the As and Bs, they’re not that affected.

But the Ds and Es were easily affected. When there’s food in the table, there’s health, and there’s education.

These are the people who are… They are definitely affected by any form of delay in the delivery of services.

Mr. Tubeza: Last question, sir. Meron po bang maging changes sa drug war natin after this?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I’m sure — like I said again and again, again and again. It’s not just a… You know, there is a continual recalibration of the way the operations are handled. The President is very sensitive to all of these things.

However, there will be no changes in the sense that the efforts will continue to make sure that the drug apparatus will be dismantled.

Mr. Tubeza: Okay. Thank you, sir.

Ms. Andolong: Sir, you said these things usually happen with regards to the ratings. Does this mean that you expect this to stay at this level or maybe continue its downward trend?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: No, I said…

Ms. Andolong: If so, sir, or are you looking at some initiatives now that may eventually pull it up?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: We say that usually there is… There tends to be a dip in any administration, there’s tends to be a drip around this time, a dip, not a drip — a dip around this time between a year, a year and a half.

However, like we said, in his — in the particular case of the President, the ratings remain high and we appreciate that.

And so, what are the efforts? Again, the President would say he continually lay the foundation for a more comfortable life for all, addressing his campaign issues.

He continues to trust the economic managers to be able to make sure that the prosperity is inclusive and that he also… He trusts the advisors to able to make sure that the peace processes will continue.

Mr. Morong: Sir, just a little bit. ‘Yun pong UN Human Rights Council saying that the Philippines’ membership to the council may be revoked because of our human rights records.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: We need to check that statement. We need to go back to…

Mr. Morong: You want me to read the summaries?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: No, it’s okay. But the fact is, the fact remains that, the fact remains that the Pre — the Human…

We have continually clarified the position and that while there may be noise on the side, we are assured that the Human Rights…

Let me just check, okay? All right. Your question was regarding economic sanctions?

Mr. Morong: Yes, sir. ‘Yun pong potential repercussion if we are ejected from the Council.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Okay.

The Philippine government’s campaign to rid the country of criminality, lawlessness and corruption, which includes campaign against illegal drugs, is in accordance with the Constitution — Okay? First and foremost — as well as the international norms and human rights treaties to which the Philippines is a party.

While there are those who call themselves watchdogs and tend to tell — foretell gloomy and depressing scenarios, the truth is, states and governments have strong trade relation — the states and other governments have strong trade relations with our country know better than that, than these gloomy pictures.

These countries continue to treat us with mutual respect; and cognizant of our sovereignty, and they continue to support us in dealing with our domestic challenges and in achieving our national goals without undue interference.

In other words, we’re saying that with those who really truly matter in terms of economics, they continue to have strong ties with us and they continue to…

They continue to have relationships with us and we’re on solid ground, solid economic ground. There’s no need to fear about any changes in relationships.

Mr. Morong: Thank you, sir.

 

 

 

— END —

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