Press Briefing

Mindanao Hour Briefing by Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella with Romina Marasigan Chief and Spokesperson Public Affairs Office – Office of Civil Defense

Event Mindanao Hour
Location Kalayaan Hall, Malacañan Palace




On behalf of AFP Spokesperson Padilla, we’re happy to inform the public of the President’s successful fifth visit to our troops in Marawi.

The troops were once again energized to finish the fight and to liberate Marawi at the soonest possible time.

The Commander-in-Chief also announced that he will lift martial law in Mindanao as soon as the clearing operations are done and the city is fully liberated.

This was the first time it was covered by media, an indication of the continuously improving conditions on the ground.

Likewise, a few updates. I think it would be best if we just went into the cash donations.

As of 12:50, September 20, 2017, here are the status of the cash donations:

Marawi AFP casualty, P81,060,578.23; and

Marawi IDPs, P993,340.21

To give us an update on Bangon Marawi, we have the Office of Civil Defense Chief of Public Affairs Office and Spokesperson Romina Marasigan.

Ladies and gentlemen of the Malacañang Press Corps, let us all give Ms. Marasigan a warm welcome.

MS. MARASIGAN: Thank you, sir. Good morning, Malacañang Press Corps.

For the latest activities of Task Force Bangon Marawi, here are the updates:

On Wednesday, September 20, Task Force Chair and National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana presided an executive committee meeting attended by all the sub-committees and support groups and they presented the latest activities by each of the sub-committee and all the initiatives on rehabilitation and recovery.

In housing, the transitional shelters site development is still ongoing.

The Department of Public Works and Highways have completed the access roads in the transitional shelter site.

Through our Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council, the units which will be used for the transitional shelters, which in consultation with our stakeholders and our IDPs, they have chosen a steel wall sandwich model.

This is a pre-fabricated house which is single detached, with toilet and bath. And they are also having a 22 square meters area. But the lot area would be 54 square meters.

Also in the transitional shelter site, not only houses will be built, there will be common facilities which shall be built as well.

You have mosques, madrasah, outposts, livelihood centers, recreational facilities, and police and barangay outposts.

The coordination with the Local Water Utilities Administration is still ongoing to identify the water source for the said site.

On business and livelihood, our IDPs will have a chance to showcase their products at the Noel Bazaar.

This is a Christmas expo which will be held at the World Trade Center. A Bangon Marawi pavilion shall be put up during the fair dates of November 16 to 19 and November 24 to 30.

The Department of Trade and Industry will be assisting our IDPs in the presentations of their packaging, labeling of all of their products.

Also, the DTI will provide sewing machines for our IDPs so that they could use them for clothing production.

On health services, more than 1,265 IDPs availed of the free medical and dental services, which was held at the Sta. Elena evacuation center in Iligan City and led by the Department of Health.

Medicines were provided to the IDPs based on… after the results of the consultations that they have undergone.

On mental health and psychosocial support, an expressive art therapy was conducted for the IDPs, especially for children.

This is a chance for the children with… come up and actually have drawings. Some would actually be dancing, singing. So these are art activities which is part of our ongoing psychosocial interventions.

And also, we have coordinated with our Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process. It’s going to be a celebration of the closing of the National Peace Consciousness Month and this will be done on October 1st.

They will be doing this in Iligan City and have invited our IDPs to showcase on this date their products.

And we are enjoining all our citizens, all our Filipino brothers and sisters. Come visit Iligan City. This will be a chance to help our IDPs.

They will be showcasing their products, they will be showcasing their produce. And we could actually support the IDPs by buying these products come October 1.This will be done in the city plaza of Iligan City.

And that will be all from the Task Force Bangon Marawi. Thank you.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Thank you. We’re open to a few questions.


Joseph Morong (GMA): Ma’am, ‘yung the way you discussed ‘yun pong temporary shelters ‘no. This looks like you’re going to build a parang mini city ‘no. When will this start to rise and for how long will they be staying in that area? And where is this again, sorry?

MS. MARASIGAN: Okay. ‘Yung sa transitional site, that’s Barangay Sagonsongan and this area, ang… The reason kung bakit ginagawa na ‘to na parang city na siya ‘no, parang development na ito na isang komunidad because inaasahan natin it would still take a lot of — I mean initially ‘no.

Sa initial pa lang naman na discussions ‘to kasi hindi pa tapos ang ating assessment, mga around two, three years kasi tinitingnan natin ‘yung — sabi nga ni ating butihing Secretary Lorenzana, “Hindi tayo magre-repair, magre-rebuild talaga tayo in Marawi City.”

So nagbubuo tayo ng community kasi itong inaasahan natin, ‘yung kailangan may feeling ‘yung ating IDPs — ‘yung community building ulit, ‘yung pagbabalik sa community and may semblance of normalcy in the transitional shelters.

So meron din tayo na mga iba pang facilities ‘no, para doon sa ating transitional shelter site. ‘Yun ‘yun… Kaya ‘yun tinitingnan nila doon sa area.

Mr. Morong: How far is this from the city proper?

MS. MARASIGAN: Okay, if this… if we’re from the ground zero and to the transitional shelter site, this is approximately 3.6 kilometers.

Mr. Morong: And the two to three years, that’s the duration…

MS. MARASIGAN: For the Marawi City rebuilding. So kaya ‘yung inaasahan natin na pumili na mag-stay sa transitional shelter, mga around those time kasi ‘yun ‘yung nakita na initially pa lang na it will take around two to three years to rebuild the entire Marawi City.

Mr. Morong: Okay ma’am. Thank you.

Leila Salaverria (Philippine Daily Inquirer): Good morning. Ma’am, how many transitional shelter sites are you planning to build? And how much is the budget for these?

MS. MARASIGAN: Okay, for the transitional shelter site, we have only a program of the initial budgets for this. This is approximately 160,000 per unit.

We are looking into these units, mga initially 1,100 shelters for the initial 10-hectare land that was approved already for the transitional site.

But we are looking into doing a 14-hectare site which will be probably around 1,500 units.

Ms. Salaverria: Ma’am, are these enough for the displaced residents? Because there are over 200,000, if I remember it right.

MS. MARASIGAN: This is an initial… And this is only transitional sites. Remember, hindi po ito para lang sa transitional shelters, we have permanent shelter housing as well.

So hindi lang ito ‘yung pinaplano natin na housing. And there are also other areas that we are discussing with our local government on other areas pa na pwede natin pagtayuan ng ating sites.

Meron na tayong iba pa ‘no na other ilang hectares din ng land, like with the discussion with the Mindanao State University. Meron din tayong tinitingnan na area diyan.

But as of this time, hindi pa natin nakikita kung gaano talaga in total. Ito, initial pa lamang ito habang hindi pa naman po tapos ‘no ‘yung ating conflict in Marawi City. Tinitingnan na natin na ‘yung initial na pwede nating gawin, magbu-build na tayo.

Ms. Salaverria: Thank you.

Rose Novenario (Hataw): Hi, good morning ma’am. Ano po ‘yung… Kasi sabi niyo kanina mga hanggang three years pa ito. So ano po ‘yung plano natin sa mga internally displaced persons, magmula po ngayon hanggang doon sa tatlong taon na sinasabi niyo? Kaya po bang sustenahan ng pamahaalan ‘yung kanilang lahat ng pangangailanagan? At saan po manggagaling ‘yung budget?

MS. MARASIGAN: ‘Yun pong sinasabi natin na two to three years, ito po ‘yung sinasabing development mismo ‘no nung Marawi City.

And looking into the situation, tinitingnan naman natin, initial din naman nagsabi na tayo, ‘yung unang budget na tiningnan natin was five billion for the initial help that we will be giving to our IDPs.

‘Yung ginawa na natin ngayon na mga pondo na kinukuha natin ‘yung bawat government agency natin, meron po tayo sinet (set) aside na mga pondo depende doon sa role mo doon sa Bangon Marawi natin na Task Force.

Meron tayong pondo na binibigay diyan at nilalagay, at we are still exploring based on our executive committee meeting last Wednesday, sinabi din ng Department of Budget and Management, na tinitingnan din natin baka meron tayong ma-source out sa mga savings ng ating mga departments.

Ito ‘yung mga tinitingnan at ine-explore natin, para ma-sustain ‘yung ating pagbibigay ng ayuda sa ating mga kababayan na nandoon ngayon sa Iligan at ‘yung other pa na mga areas sa evacuation centers.

At bukod doon, meron din tayo na tinitingnan pa na mga programa, kaya meron tayo na rebuilding ng communities, meron din tayong livelihood para sa kanila. So initially, meron nang magagamit ang ating mga kababayan na na-evacuate — na nag-evacuate dahil sa conflict na ito.

Ms. Novenario: Kasama po ba dun sa psychosocial intervention ‘yung anti-terrorism seminar para imulat po ‘yung ating mga Marawi residents dun sa ills — sa masamang epekto nung terorismo sa bansa at sa kanilang kabuhayan?

MS. MARASIGAN: Actually, siguro hindi niyo lang po napapansin ‘no Hindi lang naman kasi natin dina-dub ‘yan na, “O, anti-terrorism na psychosocial intervention ito,” but in the psychosocial intervention, what are we looking into is that ‘yung pagtitingin ano at pagbibigay respeto natin sa kultura ng ating mga kababayan, ng ating mga Maranao.

Bukod doon ay ‘yung pagtitingin na rin natin nung sinasabi nating — kaya moral recovery ‘no, ‘yung ating psychosocial intervention.

Ito rin ‘yung pagtitingin natin nung sinasabi natin na pagmumulat sa mata ng ating mga kabataan ng masamang epekto ng armed conflict.

So, isa ‘to sa mga programa not only for psychosocial interventions, so that’s not only mental health and psychosocial services, but do — we are doing this in partnership with the Department of Education, and also the Philippine Information Agency.

Para meron pa tayong ma-develop na mga materials that we could share for our other IDPs, para maiwasan na ‘yung ganitong sitwasiyon.

Ms. Novenario: So ma’am, sa palagay — sa opiniyon po ninyo, simpleng armed conflict lang ba ‘yung terorismo?

MS. MARASIGAN: Hindi po simpleng armed conflict po ito ‘no. Ang sinasabi po natin, hindi lamang po isa ‘yan sa ina-address natin na situwasyon ngayon. Hindi lang siya pinapangalanan na “anti-terrorism” ‘no.

Meron po tayong iba’t ibang programa kaya po ‘yung mga activities na ginagawa natin para sa ating mga pamilya —may counseling po tayo, meron pong art therapies, at iba pa po ‘no, na mga interventions na ginagawa ng ating mga health workers and ating mga social workers para po dun sa ating mga communities para po maiwasan ‘yung ganitong similar na situwasyon.

Ms. Novenario: Ah kasi po ano eh, sabi ni Presidente, kaya inilunsad ‘yung pag-atake sa Mara — ah kaya inilunsad ‘yung — ‘yang ginagawa nila sa Marawi, dahil dun sa terorismo. So siguro po kailangan maimulat naman sa — kahit sa mga bata ‘yung ano ba ‘yung terorismo, diba? Hindi lang simpleng armed conflict.

MS. MARASIGAN: Oh, what — what I was saying is — is hindi lang po…

Ms. Novenario: Kasi last time, kung hindi po ako nagkamali, parang last month, parang ‘yung mga bata, parang nagkaroon sila ng Stockholm syndrome diba? Na parang iniidulo na nila ‘yung mga Maute, may mga ganung ulat eh. Kaya ko naitanong ‘yun.

MS. MARASIGAN: Opo. Ah actually, ang sinabi ko lang po, hindi lang po dina-dub ‘yung — kumbaga ba, hindi lang po pangangalanan siya na “anti-terrorism” ‘tong kampanya, at pagsa-psych — pagka-counsel natin sa ating mga kabataan.

But this is part doon sa ating pagmumulat ng mata ng ating mga kabataan ng masamang epekto nito. Hindi lang natin siya pinapangalanan na “anti-terrorism” move ito, parang ganun lamang po. ‘Yung pangalan lamang po ng intervention.

Ms. Novenario: Thank you.

Pia Gutierrez (ABS-CBN): Good morning, ma’am. Ma’am, you said that it would take approximately two to three years to rebuild Marawi. How did we get that estimate po, and what would that rebuilding entail?

MS. MARASIGAN: Okay. Ang sabi ko nga, Pia, this is initial ‘no. ‘Yung sa — from the outside pa natin nakikita ‘to. Hindi pa naman nakakapasok ang ating assessment team.

Remember, hindi pa natin kumpleto ang ating Post-Conflict Needs Assessment.

Ito, initial, nakikita natin. Kasi, nung base dun sa ating usapin ay nakikita natin na hindi maganda kung ire-repair lang. Kung sira-sira ‘yung bahay mo, repair na lang natin.

Mas maganda talaga, magre-rebuild tayo. At meaning, ang ibig sabihin nito talaga, ‘yung mga sirang mga buildings, sisirain na lang ‘yun completely, babag — tatayuan natin ng bago.

So ‘yun ‘yung nakita na initial assessment nung mga engineers natin and the architects that we were discussing the rebuilding with. And ‘yung — itong sinasabi pa nga natin na tuloy na ang ating mga programa, eh hopefully, kapagka nakapag-kumpleto na tayo ng ating rehabilitation and recovery plan, mas magkakaroon na tayo ng mas malinaw pa na picture ‘yung mga rebuilding na nakikita natin para sa ating mga — sa Marawi City at ‘yung other communities na na-apektuhan.

Ms. Gutierrez: So, there’s a possibility ma’am, na mas matagal ‘yung rebuilding once we get the complete picture?

MS. MARASIGAN: It is possible. Depende sa magiging resulta, or even earlier. Depende ‘yun sa ating magiging resulta ng ating assessment ng mga assessment teams natin.

Ms. Gutierrez: Ma’am, there was a suggestion before na completely iwanan na lang ‘yung Marawi and then rebuild a new city from scratch. So, ano na po ang naging desisyon ng Task Force Marawi on that?

MARASIGAN: Alam mo, ongoing naman ‘yung ating consultation ‘no? Kasama sa ating Task Force — they are the local government units, ARMM, Lanao Del Norte, Lanao Del Sur, the governor is part of the Task Force as well.

May mga — may mga gusto sana tayo na parang iwanan na natin ‘yung mapait nating nakaraan. Mag-rebuild tayo ng bago.

Pero, marami pa rin sa ating mga kababayan na, “Ayaw kong iwanan ang lugar kung saan ako lumaki, kung saan ako nagmulat ng aking mga mata.”

So these are actually ongoing consultations. Kaya ang ginagawa natin, we go to the IDPs, we go to the families, “Ito ‘yung nakikita natin ngayon, ito ‘yung situwasyon ngayon. Anong — anong gusto niyo? Magkokonsulta kami sa inyo.”

Sila ang magde-decide dito. Hindi ito desisyon ng government. This — ongoing ang ating consultations because we would want to rebuild Marawi City better, if we are to rebuild it.

Kung sa ibang lugar ‘yan, that would be a call of the IDPs, of those affected kung ano ‘yung nangyari sa lugar na ‘yan.

Ms. Gutierrez: Thank you po.

Rosalie Coz (UNTV): Hi, ma’am. Good morning, ma’am Mina.


Ms. Coz: Regarding po dun sa transitional shelters, may timeline ba kung kailan na pwedeng patirhan na sa mga displaced residents?

MS. MARASIGAN: Actually, Rose, ang currently ‘no na — na nangyari doon is ‘yung curing pa lamang ng flooring. Kasi, ‘yung — pati ‘yung access roads natin.

Nung tiningnan kasi ng ating mga engineers, ‘pag aspalto ang gagamitin, Cagayan de Oro is the closest area ‘no na panggagalingan nito.

‘Pag nag-transfer ka from Cagayan de Oro to the — to the evacua — to the transitional shelter site, titigas na, nalalamig na masyado ‘yung aspalto, hindi na natin magagamit.

So sinabi, kailangan ngayon, semento. ‘Pag sinabi natin semento, may curing ‘to at pinakamabilis na nito, mga two weeks ‘no. So, currently, nagle-lay down pa lang tayo ng ground.

May mga target dates na rin tayo initially, napag-usapan natin, sa pangunguna ng ating HUDCC Chair Del Rosario, na sabi nga niya hopefully, baka by the end of October, masa-start na natin makita ‘tong mga bahay na ‘to.

Pero, ayaw natin kasi magbigay ng ano eh — ng mga hopes sa ating mga kababayan. Depende pa rin ‘to sa weather ‘no, depende pa rin sa magiging epekto pa ng iba pang mga situwasyon.

So, ang sinasabi natin is hopefully, by the end of this year, meron na tayong mga pamilya na nakatira na sa ating mga transitional shelters.

Ms. Coz: And then, ma’am, may mga IDPs din po na nagsa-suggest na kung pupuwede po silang manirahan sa ibang lugar aside from…

MARASIGAN: Yes, yes.

Ms. Coz: Ano po ang tugon ng mga local government units? Open po ba silang kupkupin na po ‘yun pong mga Marawi residents?

MARASIGAN: This is an ongoing discussions with all our local government units, kung saan na napupusuan nila ‘no, na sila’y makakalipat. At hindi lamang kasi ‘yun ang tinitingnan natin ano.

Ang tinitingnan natin is how the government could also help them ‘no. Magtatayo tayo ng mga permanent shelters. Kung saan-saan lugar na ito, we will be able to give you a clearer picture kapagka natapos na, na pag kumpleto na natin ang ating rehabilitation and recovery plan. Thank you.

Pia Ranada (Rappler): For Spokes Abella. Sir — Usec., yesterday, the President mentioned that he wiretapped certain narco-politicians and then he mentioned, he might have listened in to conversations of Iloilo City Mayor Jed Mabilog. Could we just confirm if it was Jed Mabilog he wiretapped or was it Mayor Parojinog?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: That’s something that we have to clarify.

Ms. Ranada: And then, sir, when he said all were tapped, did he mean all of the people in his drug list were tapped? What does he mean by “all were tapped”?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: That, we also have to clarify.

Ms. Ranada: If he ordered these wire — these suspects to be wiretapped, did he wait for a court order before giving this instruction?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I’m sure that being a lawyer, he was operating within bounds of legality.

Ms. Ranada: Okay. And sir, going on to the plan of Senator Antonio Trillanes to file criminal and administrative charges against Asec. Mocha Uson, any reaction from the Palace?


Ms. Ranada: And sir, third question from me. Because the Vice President was again not invited to the LEDAC two nights ago, I think. And he — and it’s the second time already that she wasn’t invited. She was only asked to send a position paper. Does this mean that this will be a long-term policy of the administration to not invite the Vice President to the LEDAC meetings, even if she’s a member of the LEDAC?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: It simply means that she was not there in the second meeting. Thank you.

Ms. Ranada: But sir, she was not invited. The… Malacañang would have invited her —

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I would not say that’s policy.

Ms. Ranada: So, it’s not a long-term policy?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I would not say it’s policy.

Ms. Ranada: So, it’s possible for her to be invited in the future?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: All I’m saying is that at this stage, it’s not policy, it’s not stated, you know.

Ms. Ranada: Okay. Because in the law, the Vice President is a member of the LEDAC and the LEDAC council is supposed to meet regularly, so…

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: All right. So, all I’m saying at this stage is that she was not there for the second meeting.

Ms. Ranada: All right.

Tina Mendez (Philippine Star): Sir, good morning. Once and for all, can you please…


Ms. Mendez: Once and for all, can you please clarify the trip of Madam Honeylet Avanceña to the New — to New York?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I imagine I already said it once and for all yesterday. That she was — she was invited, she received an invitation to attend an event given by — hosted by the First Lady of the United States and that she went on a personal — on a personal capacity.

Ms. Mendez: Sir, why on a personal capacity, when he — when we know that she is duly recognized as a Presidential Spouse and that the invitation came from the First Lady of the United States?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: They chose to act within those parameters.

Ms. Mendez: Why?


Ms. Mendez: But, sir, it’s an official function as — as spouse of the President —

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Ma’am, it was — by the way, I have to check — to call you out on that. I did not say it was a formal invitation. It was an invitation, okay? It was an invitation coming from — I believe it was a side event.

Ms. Mendez: Whether it’s a side event or the main event, sir, it’s an invitation.


Ms. Mendez: From the United States…

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: That’s right, yes. But it was not a formal invitation to attend the UNGA.

Ms. Mendez: There was no mention that it was a formal invitation sa UNGA, sir —


Ms. Mendez: — But by the First Lady of the United States.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: So what is your question now?

Ms. Mendez: What’s the difference that you are classifying it as a personal trip —

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: It was a personal choice. Yes it was an—

Ms. Mendez: —And not an official one as spouse of the President.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Okay. As far as I know, she was not part of the list of contingent, okay. As far as I know. I may be wrong regarding that matter, but as far as I know, she was not part of the list of contingent. The contingent.

Ms. Gutierrez: Sir, following on that. So kung pumunta siya dun on her personal capacity, it means that she paid for everything for the trip?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I assume that she was… that would include… it’s just an assumption. That when she went on a personal capacity — I cannot categorically say but I am simply assuming that that includes paying for her own fare.

Ms. Gutierrez: Pero sir, on the video that was taken of her dun sa New York, it was clear that she was being attended to by members of the PSG. So if personal capacity ‘yun, sir, why are there PSG attending to her?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I suppose she was being given port courtesy. Usually people of a certain stature are also given port courtesy without having to spend for them.

For example, if you go to… if you go to… if you’re a Cabinet official, you go to the States, the local — [what do you call it?] — the local consulate will usually attend to you.

Ms. Gutierrez: Is that policy, sir, for —?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Ma’am, that’s called port courtesy.

Ms. Gutierrez: Even for personal trips?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: If you are… if you’re an official, and you are there, usually this is… this is… it is usually extended as a courtesy.

Ms. Gutierrez: So ‘yung mga guards niya sir came from the Consulate, or hindi po nanggaling dito sa —

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Ma’am, I cannot answer you on that. We can find out.

Maricel Halili (TV-5): Sir, good morning.


Ms. Halili: Sir, just a few clarification. ‘Yung tungkol dun sa PSG. So who paid for their —


Ms. Halili: Okay. Pero sir, clarification din, what particular event did Honeylet Avanceña attend —

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: As far as I know, it was a din — it was an event hosted by the First Lady for other First Ladies.

Ms. Halili: And sir, ‘yung sinakyan nila na… I think it’s a limousine? Who also paid for that, sir?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: We can find out. It can had been provided by the Consulate.

Ms. Halili: Sir, when did the First Lady invite Ms. Honeylet?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I don’t have the actual invitation on hand, but I have the Viber picture, we can find out.

Ms. Halili: But may we know the details, like did the First Lady call Ms. Honeylet for the invitation?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: We can find out about these niceties that you want to find out.

Ms. Halili: Sir, ano ‘yung Viber picture that—?


Ms. Halili: Ah, all right. So there’s…


Ms. Halili: Sir, pahingi.


Ms. Novenario: Hi. Good morning, sir.


Ms. Novenario: Sir, sa 36th Session ng United Nations Human Rights Council, nanawagan muli ‘yung European Union sa Philippine government na imbestigahan lahat ng pagpatay, lahat ng naganap na patayan sa panahong isinulong ang drug war mula day one po ng Duterte administration. Ano po ‘yung pahayag dito ng Palasyo?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Ma’am, sa simula’t sapul, hindi — even without the call of the UN, we have already said that we’re looking into those matters.

Ms. Novenario: So ongoing po ‘yung probe?


Ms. Novenario: Thank you.


Ms. Salaverria: Good morning, sir.


Ms. Salaverria: Sir, you said yesterday the protests were an opportune time for those in government to hear the voices of the governed. What message did Malacañang take away from the mass actions yesterday?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, for the action yesterday? First and foremost, we’d like to thank the public for making the first National Day of Protest generally peaceful and orderly.

There were no untoward incidents. And also, most of it… most of the discourse was regarding people’s issues and most of it was not regarding personalities.

So the focus of yesterday’s rallies were a significant development, which sort of elevated the quality of public discourse in the country, you know.

In other words, it was — aside from a small group that burnt effigies, it was basically issue-oriented.

So good governance, as we all know it, is a two-way process. And as we demand good leaders, we must likewise show that we are good citizens as well.

This message was clearly sent across and heard by everyone. I believe people cooperated along that line. And that’s our takeaway.

Ms. Salaverria: Sir, isa na lang.


Ms. Salaverria: There was also a pro-administration or pro-Duterte rally at Plaza Miranda. Were you satisfied with how it was —

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I wasn’t there, actually. I didn’t —

Ms. Salaverria: Hindi niyo napanood, sir?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I just saw some clippings of it. I don’t know if you’re calling me — if you ask me if I’m satisfied. I think people were venting their sympathies.

Ms. Novenario: Sir, may ano, may mga reports po na nahakot daw po ‘yung mga nagpunta doon sa pro-Duterte rally. At may ilan daw pong opisyal ng gobyerno ‘yung naghakot para magkaroon ng warm bodies po doon sa pro-Duterte rally. Ano po ‘yung masasabi natin dito?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Like I said, hindi ko po… I’m not familiar with the process that happened. Yes ma’am?

Ms. Ranada: Usec., the Palace has also held a narrative that it’s only a small group of Filipinos who opposed the drug war and the majority support it. The protest yesterday where thousands showed up —


Ms. Ranada: — does this challenge the narrative —

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Excuse me. The narrative, by the way, is supported by the survey, right? That most people — I think about a high of 82 percent as of the last ano — that most people in general, understand and sympathize with the moves of the government. So I think it’s not just a narrative, it’s actually based on fact.

Ms. Ranada: So does the Palace limit itself to surveys and listening to the public and knowing the sentiment of the public? How about protests like yesterday? Doesn’t the Palace also consider the show of forces, of protesters —


Ms. Ranada: — as a way to gauge public sentiment about the drug war?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: No, in fact, it was called a National Day of Protest. In other words, the Palace recognizes that there are varying — there are different voices, and thus… and it is quite open.

Again, and even — in fact, if you… I think we need to appreciate the fact that the President himself said to the police, to the Armed Forces to distance themselves.

In other words, to let people express themselves. I think that’s one of the things we can actually take away.

Ms. Ranada: So the Palace considers the message of the protesters yesterday? They were demanding for a stop to the drug war, or at least to put an end to impunity of police forces.


Ms. Ranada: Impunity.


Ms. Ranada: Of police forces.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Impunity? Like I said, even to… in the response, even before the UN and even before yesterday’s meetings, they were already… there’s already been investigations going on, these matters are being looked into.

You know, we don’t… the President… the administration is not just waiting… is not just in a reactive mode. It’s actually in a very… quite a proactive mode.

It’s a little bit slow, of course, considering they are dealing with the bureaucracies, but there is a healthy response to these matters.

Ms. Ranada: Thank you, sir.

Ms. Gutierrez: Sir, can we get more details on Secretary Salalima’s offer to resign from the Cabinet, sir?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I think it was given two weeks ago, like you said. And I think the keyword there was “delicadeza.” Delicadeza. But like you said, he has… he used to work with another IT company.

Okay, so, it is to avoid… I think to avoid being misconstrued, and I think he submitted his resignation.

Ms. Gutierrez: So bakit ngayon lang, sir? Considering na ilang months na siya?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Maybe, revelation. Maybe he was enlightened recently.

Ms. Gutierrez: Pero si President Duterte, is he inclined to accept his resignation?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I think he said — he did yesterday. Yeah. I think he said that in Marawi.

Ms. Gutierrez: Kay Ma’am Marasigan. Ma’am, na-cancel ‘yung National Earthquake Drill kahapon. So can we get details kung kailan and ano pong details nun?

MS. MARASIGAN: Yeah, it was postponed ‘no yesterday, kasi there was a call for no classes to work sa government.

So we rescheduled it to ensure the maximum participation of our students and our communities. It is set to be done on September 27, at 2 o’ clock in the afternoon.

The pilot area would still be in Bacoor City for the nationwide drill. And there are also other communities which will be doing the drill.

Remember, this is a nationwide activity, so there will be other areas in the entire country which will be doing the drill.


Ms. Mendez: Sir, pahabol.


Ms. Mendez: Sir, sabi ng Pangulo kahapon… kagabi sa Marawi, il-lift niya ‘yung martial law in Mindanao pagka tapos na ‘yung clearing operations?


Ms. Mendez: Sir, what’s your understanding? Mali-lift na ba ito bago mag — sa hanggang extended deadline na December 31, even before that, pwedeng i-lift ng Pangulo?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Ma’am, I’d rather not speculate on when. But the President himself has said that that is his intention, so I’d like to go by his intention.

Ms. Mendez: Okay, sir.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I’d just like to end with — on the Horacio Castillo III hazing:

We strongly condemn the senseless killing of Horacio Castillo III. Government agencies are now conducting an investigation on the matter.

End of statement. Thank you.