Press Briefing

Mindanao Hour Briefing by Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra with Assistant Secretary Kristoffer James Purisima, Spokesperson of Task Force Bangon Marawi and Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr., Spokesperson of the Armed Forces of the Philippines

Event Mindanao Hour Briefing
Location Kalayaan Hall, Malacañan Palace

OPENING STATEMENTS:

SENIOR DEPUTY EXECUTIVE SECRETARY GUEVARRA: Good morning ladies and gentlemen. To start, let me give you an update as to what’s happening in Marawi City as of 7 p.m. July 30, 2017.

Number of enemy killed 491. There was an increase of nine casualties on the part of the Maute group.

Number of civilians killed 45. There was no change since the last reporting as of Thursday last week.

Firearms recovered 584, an additional four firearms recovered.

Civilians rescued, there has been no change. The number still stands at 1,724.

Buildings cleared on July 29, 23; and on July 30, yesterday, 15.

Killed in action, on the part of the government troops, 114, the same figure as of last Thursday, no change.

As to the status of the cash donations, as of 28 July, 2017, at 3:20 in the afternoon, for the LBP account intended for AFP casualties, amount stands at P108,044,253.23. That represents an increase of something like P16,500.

For the LBP account pertaining to the internally displaced persons or IDPs, amount is P850,515.21. So an increase of P16,500 since the last reporting as of Thursday last week.

Thank you very much. That’s for the update on Marawi City. May I now turn the floor to General Resty Padilla Jr. of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Thank you very much, Secretary.

The current operation inside Marawi is ongoing and the focus is particularly in areas where quite a number of unexploded ordnance and IEDs are still present.

The report, as you have seen, has indicated a slowdown of the clearing of buildings.

Previously, we were hitting about 50 or more than a hundred per day. But unfortunately as we get into the main battle area, the complexity of clearing operations becomes all the more compounded.

Primarily because of many more unexploded ordnance. In fact, our EODs are putting their lives at risk, very much at risk, because of this very careful and very tedious task.

The reason why we are doing this is to ensure that upon the return of residents soon, sometime in the future, we will not experience the complexities that were faced in the areas such as Cambodia, areas of Vietnam, wherein after the war so many unexploded ordnance affected so many lives.

You know, after the war ended in those areas, the fields were littered literally with unexploded ordnance. And this is what is happening in Marawi right now.

And upon the return or the go-signal for the return of so many residents, we do not want them to be exposed to that same kind of danger, wherein we will experience the loss of limbs, the loss of lives at the worst case for our particular residents.

Naka-libre po sila sa matagal na panahon ng pakikipag-sapalaran sa evacuation center, pero pagbalik naman po nila, eh sila ay maaapektuhan nitong mga nakakatakot na mga bagay na ito.

Kaya nga po hinihiling namin sa kanila na konting pasensya po dahil pati kami ay nagmamadali upang maisagawa itong mga clearing na ‘to.

And in line with that, there was a pronouncement and I’d like to clarify the earlier pronouncement of the go-signal for the return of our residents to their places of abode.

We would like to clarify and I have a statement here that I’d like to read:

So we would like to correct recent news regarding the return of IDPs to their areas and we would like to set the record straight that current plans to allow the return of residents to their places of residence applies to IDPs who are residents outside the city of Marawi.

In particular, these municipalities within Lake Lanao and not IDPs from Marawi City itself.

So I’d like to clarify the signal for the return of the residents applies only to those from outside municipalities not within Marawi, but those within the vicinity of the lake.

So residents of municipalities within Lake Lanao and outside of Marawi City can now go back to their respective residences passing through alternate routes, from Saguiaran-Piagapo road, which is the north part or Malabang to Lanao Del Sur road, which is at the southern part.

IDPs from Marawi City who desire to stay with their relatives from these localities or these municipalities along Lake Lanao can do so voluntarily and they may leave their current evacuation centers, but still receive relief assistance from government while they are there.

They only need to register with the MSWD of the municipality for accounting purposes and distribution of relief goods.

There is no need to get passes since they will not pass Marawi City itself, in getting to their destinations.

So again, I’d like to clarify, the opening of the return of residents to their own abodes are for those who live outside of Marawi City itself.

So essentially, malayo po ito sa mismong siyudad ng Marawi at ito po ‘yung mga nasa paligid ng Lake Lanao na siyang nagsilikas noong panahon po ng kasagsagan ng bakbakan dahil sa takot na baka sila ay maapektuhan nitong mga kaguluhan.

So they may return using the roads that we have mentioned, either the north and south portion, skipping Marawi City itself.

And their safe return is our concern as well so that we can assist them continuously because one of the concentration of the Armed Forces, the local government and the government itself, together with the offices of the DSWD from the province and the national government, is to have all the relief assistance reach them even while they are there in the — with their relatives outside.

So mag-rehistro lang po kayo sa mga MSWD ng inyo-inyong mga munisipalidad para ma-account po at maipaabot sa inyo ang angkop na tulong.

So ‘yung mga tiga-Marawi po na mga residente, nais ko pong bigyan ng abiso na hindi po sa inyo nag-a-apply ito at huwag muna po kayong babalik sa inyong mga bahay dahil malaki pa po ang risk o malaki pa po ang danger na inyong haharapin.

Katulad nga po itong isang huling ulat na nakuha natin. Hindi pa po natin nakukuha ‘yung report mismo. Pero naibalita po sa atin ng mismong hepe ng Western Mindanao Command na si General Galvez, na may mga ilang residente po na nagpumilit na bumalik.

At ang nangyari po kamakailan ay may isa pong residente na tinamaan ng stray bullet, pero sa mabuting palad ay hindi po ikinamatay ito.

So ito po ‘yung patuloy na hinaharap na mga danger ng ating mga residente na — kung magpupumilit ay baka mailagay sila sa alanganin.

Tulad nga po ng nabanggit ko kanina, nakalibre po kayo, naka — na-save po kayo sa halos mahigit pitong linggo na pananatili sa evacuation centers. Pero ‘pag kayo’y nagpumilit bumalik, baka naman ikamatay niyo po ‘yung pagbabalik na ‘yan at hindi na kayo maka-survive.

So, hini… Hinahangad po namin na maayos ang inyong pagbabalik na hindi nalalagay sa alanganin.

So ito po ‘yung mga huling nakuha nating talaan. At doon naman po sa nakuha niyong balita over the weekend na nagsasabing namatay na po daw ang isang leader ng grupo ng Maute, raw information lang po itong nakuha natin batay po sa mga sources na nagbigay po sa atin ng ulat.

Sinisikap pa po ng Joint Task Force Marawi na alamin ito at ikumpirma kung totoo nga po.

May mga nakukuha rin po tayong impormasyon sa mga nakatakas na mga residente diyan at patuloy nating bina-validate ang mga balitang ito.

Doon naman po sa naipaulat natin na nagbigay daan na po tayo sa pag-resume ng MSU ng operation, nais ko lang pong i-clarify na patuloy po kasi ang usapan sa hanay po ng security forces doon at sa awtoridad ng MSU at napagkasunduan po na hindi muna ho panahon para bumalik ang ating faculty at mga estudyante dahil mismong ang MSU ngayon ay tinatamaan ng mga stray bullets.

So para mailayo po sa panganib ang buhay ng ating mga tagapamahala ng MSU pati na po ng kanilang mga estudyante, ipinagpapaliban po muna ‘yung pagbabalik nila hanggang sa katapusan ng buwan.

So negotiations are ongoing with our security forces to ensure that once the go- signal is given, the risk posed on the lives our students and the faculty will be zero. That is what we seek.

Along this line, the relocation area that we are preparing for the evacuees in relocation areas — I mean in evacuation centers — is ongoing and I think there will be a report provided by Asec. Purisima later.

But, we just wanted to convey that even the relocation area is being hit by stray bullets up to this moment.

But the workers doing their part who are preparing the relocation areas continue to work even at the risk of their lives because they need to do what they need to do in preparation for the return of the residents.

And they are willing to put themselves at risk. We heard it from themselves, from the workers themselves na walang problema po maski kami nalalagay sa alanganin basta ang titirahan po ng ating mga evacuees ‘pag natapos po itong putukan na ‘to ay nasa maayos.

Hindi po tent ang inihahahnda kung hindi mga maaayos na lugar na maaaring tirhan nang maayos.

So ‘yan po ang ating buod ng maibabalita po sa inyo sa araw na ‘to. Maraming salamat po.

SENIOR DEPUTY EXECUTIVE SECRETARY GUEVARRA: We now turnover the floor to Asec. Toby Purisima of the Office of Civil Defense.

ASEC. PURISIMA: Thank you, sir. Good morning to the panel. Good morning to Malacañang Press Corps.

I just like to emphasize several things. First, as I previously reported last Friday that a Rapid Damage Assessment and Needs Analysis refresher has been conducted. Now it’s done the actual RDANA is done — has been conducted over the weekend and we expect the report to be out this week.

Now, this report of the Rapid Damage Assessment and Needs Analysis will be the basis of our post-conflict needs assessment. So that’s a process.

First, we do an RDANA. Then we do a PCNA.

And the team that is set to conduct the post-conflict needs assessment for Marawi and other affected localities has arrived in Iligan City for the conduct of an orientation and refresher course as well as orientation for the Maranao-speaking members of the assessment team.

So this will be ongoing. This is the next phase ‘no. Of course, the priority still is the clearing of Marawi City and other affected localities as General Padilla mentioned earlier before we conduct the full-blown recovery and rehabilitation.

The sub-committee on housing, one of the eight sub-committees of Task Force Bangon Marawi shall again meet tomorrow to inspect the possible areas for the building of transitional shelters. Again, what will be provided to the IDPs are not tents but transitional shelters.

And as I reported last Friday, this is in conjunction also with the National Housing Authority, which will be the agency that will approve the actual transitional shelters that will be distributed to our IDPs.

And again, the information management and strategic communication sub-committee is also meeting to develop ways and means to address the situation of our IDPs.

And I would also like to update the body that several television sets have been provided to the evacuation centers as part of morale boosting — boosting their morale for — because we understand their situation, we understand their plight and so we’re providing all these in conjunction also with all psychosocial interventions that has been provided through the DOH.

So those are the updates on my part and any questions are welcome.

SENIOR DEPUTY EXECUTIVE SECRETARY GUEVARRA: Before we proceed, may I just add certain developments on the battlefront.

On the government’s control of the Mapandi bridge. We have a statement saying that government forces have taken control of what is considered as the gateway to Marawi City proper and that’s the Mapandi bridge.

This is an important development as we continue to gain ground in the main battle area and expand our vantage position.

Military operations will remain intense and focused with the safety of the hostages in mind in the hope of bringing a quicker end to the rebellion and liberation of Marawi from the hands of the Maute terrorist groups.

If you have any further questions pertaining to this particular development, General Padilla will be here to answer any follow up questions.

Well, I just… First of all, I just want to formally announce that the President has signed last Friday Executive Order No. 36 suspending the implementation of EO 203 on the compensation for GOCCs and adopting an interim arrangement in the meantime.

If you have any questions, I’ll be willing to answer.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS:

Pia Ranada (Rappler): Sir, I just wanna clarify your statement earlier about the Rapid Damage and Needs Assessment. Sir, the RDANA was the one finished over the weekend or was it the refresher that was finished?

ASEC. PURISIMA: RDANA. The actual RDANA because the RDANA is — was done in the evacuation centers.

So before Saturday up until Friday last week, they were — the Office of Civil Defense conducted a refresher for those who will be doing — who did the RDANA over the weekend. And so their report will come out this week.

Ms. Ranada: So right now we don’t have the figures yet of the damage?

ASEC. PURISIMA: Yeah, because… The purpose of the RDANA partly is to establish the baseline data — baseline data for IDPs and their needs which will be further validated during the PCNA.

Ms. Ranada: Sir, when this week can we expect the —

ASEC. PURISIMA: I will update you this week.

Ms. Ranada: Thank you, sir.

Patricia Mangune (TV-5): General Padilla, hello sir.

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Yes, Patricia?

Ms. Mangune: Sir, you mentioned that minamadali na po ‘yung clearing operations sa Marawi. Meron bang deadline, sir? When can we allow residents to go back na?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Yes, minamadali natin in the sense na we’re doing our very best to expedite it.

But we’re not setting any deadlines whatsoever because of the complexities that we still face on the ground. So let’s leave it at that because if we unduly hurry, we put more lives at risk.

Ms. Magnune: But, sir, can you estimate how long will it take before — ?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Well, if I give you a number that would be a deadline as well.

But we’ve gone to the last one square kilometer of the problematic area which is two more barangays.

So these two barangays confined in that one square kilometer area — actually less ‘no — is where most of the heavy engagements are happening now.

So once we get those areas settled, then the clearing operations will be faster.

Ms. Magune: Thank you, sir.

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: You’re welcome.

Joseph Morong (GMA): Sir, just on the control of the Mapandi bridge. Since when have we taken over?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Well, the Mapandi bridge has been totally in the hands of government since last week.

Mr. Morong: Sir, how is this going to — the control of the bridge — how is this going to affect our offensives?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: The entry of our troops, equipment, logistics will be expedited all the more because we don’t have to go around.

We have direct access to the interior of the city, the area where I mentioned a while ago in answer to Patricia’s question.

So we have now direct access to the — to ground zero if I can say it.

Mr. Morong: Okay. Thank you.

Tina Mendez (Philippine Star): Good morning, sirs. May we have an update regarding sa rehabilitation shelters. Saan po ito nakalagay? Sino ang lead agency? Or military engineering group ba ang namumuno dito? Number two po, I noticed may 491 terrorist killed. Meron ba tayong sistema kung paano sila sa burial? Kasi po baka may concerns sa sanitation and health.

ASEC. PURISIMA: First, on the transitional shelters. The proposed area is in an 11-hectare location in Barangay Sagunsungan, Marawi City.

Now, meron na hong ground development na ginagawa ang DPWH dito sa area.

Bukas, pupunta ang sub-committee on housing para tingnan kung paano pa ma-improve ‘yung area na ‘yun.

Wala pa ‘yung actual transitional shelters dahil sa pagkakaalam natin ito ay kailangan aprubahan ‘yung specs nito ‘no, ‘yung standards ng NHA

At part naman ng NHA — part ng NHA ang Task Force Bangon Marawi and all other government agencies that would need to help out in finishing this transitional shelter location.

So tuluy-tuloy ‘yung ating — tuluy-tuloy ‘yung ating improvements doon sa area. Kung meron pang ibang suitable locations, ina-identify rin natin ‘yun para ma-accommodate natin ‘yung pangangailangan ng ating mga IDPs.

Ms. Mendez: Sir, government lot po ba ito o private?

ASEC. PURISIMA: Well, kung merong mga private sector groups and organizations na gustong tumulong, lahat ng ito ay kailangang i-course through sa Task Force Bangon Marawi para maayos ‘no — para maayos ang coordination, para alam natin ang kailangan nating ibigay.

Kasi ‘yung mga nais ibigay ng ating mga private sector groups, mga cause-oriented groups, kailangan naka-align ‘yan sa pangangailangan ng ating IDPs

Kaya tayo nag-conduct ng ating RDANA over the weekend at PCNA para malaman talaga natin kung ano ‘yung tunay nilang pangangailangan para maging comprehensive.

Kasi after ng post-conflict needs assessment, ang magiging kalabasan nito ay ang CRRP na tinatawag natin Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Program for Marawi.

So ‘yun ‘yung magiging output document aside from the RDANA and the PCNA.

Ms. Mendez: Sir, ‘yung 11-hectare lot po ba gobyerno po ang may ari o private group?

ASEC. PURISIIMA: Sa pagkakaalam ko gobyerno. It’s a private property. It’s a private property that’s why we’re also looking into fixing all the legalities also that comes — that’s part of it.

Ms. Mendez: Sir, as regards —

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Dagdagan ko lang muna, ‘no, before leaving that topic. Based on the feedback from Joint Task Group Ranao which is working closely with our local government at tsaka ‘yung sa Task Force Bangon Marawi, ‘yun pong lugar na 11 hectares na paggagawan ng initial relocation area ay pribado po ang may-ari at ipinahihiram po ito sa atin para po sa panahon na kakailanganin sa interim lang, interim.

Kasi eventually itong mga evacuees natin na mananatili doon ay babalik at babalik din sa kanilang mga — ‘yung tinitirahan nilang mga lugar.

Ms. Mendez: Sir, if… If may I… Ito po ba ipinahihiram, ano ibig sabihin magli-lease ang gobyerno, may deed of donation, libre?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Wala pong bayad Wala pong bayad ito.

Ms. Mendez: In exchange of anything? Tax rebate? Ano pong terms? Anong legalities po ang kailangan pang ayusin?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Batid po namin na walang bayad. Ipinahihiram po ito sa panahon na kakailanganin ng gobyerno kasi ‘yung nagmamay-ari ay residente din ng Marawi at kanyang nararamdaman ang paghihirap ng kanyang sariling mga kababayan kaya kusang-loob niyang ibinigay ito nang walang kapalit.

Pero kung ano man ang legalities na kinakailangang pirmahan, willing naman po ‘yung party na nagpapahiram naman po na pumirma at ‘yun po yata ang gagawin ng Task Force Bangon Marawi.

Ms. Mendez: Sir, last na lang on that part. May we know the identity of this land owner? Is he a businessman? An organization?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Ipagpaumanhin niyo kasi kailangan may permiso po upang ipa-abot kung  sino ‘yung nagmamay-ari. Kung papayag po siya. Tatanungin po natin. Papangalanan po natin.

Ms. Mendez: For transparency lang, sir. Sa second question po, paano po ‘yung 491 terrorist killed? Paano po sila binibigyan ng burial, sanitation areas sa ano ng health. Paano po? May tagging po ba ‘yun? May DNA testing? Paano po sila —

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: ‘Yung portion nung bilang na ‘yan ay mga labi na nakuha natin so kulang-kulang mga dalawang-daang labi ‘yung nakuha na ‘yan. At matapos na sila ay ma-document at makuha ‘yung mga identification, mai-file, binibigyan sila ng karapatang — ng angkop na respeto ng paglibing.

So they are accorded the same rights as any Muslim would be accorded one. So sinisikap natin na gawin ‘yung documentation na ‘yun sa araw na na- recover sila at ilibing sa araw din na natapos ‘yung araw mismo na na- document, nakuha sila. So alinsunod sa kanilang ritual.

Kung hindi kakayanin dahil sa dami po at kakulangan ng mga gumagawa ng paghahanda ng katawan, nade-delay ng konti. Pero hindi ‘yun nagpapahiwatig na dini-di — it’s a disrespect for them it’s just because walang pwedeng mag- prepare nung mga bangkay kaagad.

Ms. Mendez: Sir, meron po bang designated area like mass grave o kung saan sila natagpuan may vacant lot lang doon ilalagay or may isang grave — ?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: ‘Yun pong bagay na ‘yan ay nasa kamay na ng nagma-manage ng — nagre-recover ng dead — so Bureau of Fire at tsaka ‘yung local government. Ang aming pakiwari, ‘yung mga initial na na-recover, nailibing po mismo sa mga public cemeteries at isa diyan ‘yung sa lugar ng Iligan kung saan dinala ‘yung mga ibang nahanap na mga unidentified at ‘yun namang iba ay nandiyan sa mismong Marawi sa public cemeteries.

Henry Uri (DZRH): Asec. Purisima, magandang umaga po sa inyo. Ilang mga pamilya ho ang nawalan ng tirahan at ito ho ba’y bibigyan lahat ng libreng pabahay? Paano po ang mangyayari sa kanila?

ASEC. PURISIMA: Actually, patuloy ‘yung ating verification doon sa actual number na nawalan ng bahay ‘no. What we have — the data that we have as of now is that in terms of IDPs, meron tayong 100,000 — 104,000 families IDPs.

This translates to 467,000 persons as of late last week. Ngayon, inaalam — ‘yan ‘yung — kasama ‘yan doon sa RDANA at PCNA natin na alamin talaga kung ilang bahay ang nasira, ilan ang kailangang i-rebuild for rehabilitation and recovery purposes, ilan ang kailangan ilipat sa transitional shelters or kung merong mag- a-avail, ilan ang gustong makakuha ng tents dahil meron akong mga tents on the ground and we’re prepared to do tent areas. Not necessarily tent cities, but tent areas.

We recognize the sensitivities, the cultural sensitivities, the religious sensitivities of our IDPs. Kaya po full ang coordination natin sa kanila through the local government units para malaman natin kung ano talaga ang preference nila.

Kaya hindi tayo — nagmamadali tayo in the sense na gusto na natin silang bigyan ng any form, every form of relief ngunit nais po natin makipag-coordinate sa kanila nang kumpleto para sa kanilang sensitivities po.

Mr. Uri:  ‘Yung mga mabibiyayaan po ng pabahay walang counterpart na manggagaling sa kanila like percentage of any amount na bibitawan nila para mapa sakanila ‘yung bahay? Libre po ba ito?

ASEC. PURISIMA: Kasama ‘yan sa pinag-aaralan ng Task Force ‘no. Meron ding legal support sub-committee ang Task Force Bangon Marawi at kasama ‘to sa pinag-aaralan ng legal sub-committee para ayusin lahat ng mga legalidad na involved dito kung pwede ba sila bigyan nang buo, kung kailangan ba nila mag-contribute. Depende ‘yan sa pangangailangan at sa ating mga batas ‘no.

So kasama ‘yan sa pinag-aaralan natin and kasama ‘yan sa CRRP, ‘yung Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Program.

Mr. Uri: Habang sila’y naghihintay, anong option nila para may maayos silang matitirahan?

ASEC. PURISIMA: Tulad ng sinabi kanina ni General Padilla, lahat ng pwede ng palipatin outside of Marawi City, pwede ng lumipat doon.

At handa tayong tingnan kung meron ding mga nasirang areas doon at handa natin ‘tong tugunan ‘no.

Doon sa mga pwede ng… Once military operations are done, kapagka tapos na ang ating clearing operations, dahil siyempre may factor din dito, tulad nga ng sabi ni General Padilla ng IEDS ‘no. Mahirap naman ‘yun. Hindi ‘to basta-basta normal disaster zone tulad ng nakasanayan natin sa mga typhoons ‘no.

So napakahirap na bumalik diyan basta-basta. Ngunit, ‘pag handa na, may go- signal na tayo, titingnan rin natin kung nais nilang makakuha ng tents for example sa tabi ng kanilang mga kabahayan, kung pwedeng maglagay ng tents doon sa areas or sa ibang common areas, maglalagay tayo.

Kung inelect (elect) nila na dito na lang muna kami sa evacuation centers, we have 75 evacuation centers now. Kung nais pa rin nilang manatili doon, patuloy pa rin natin silang bibigyan ng relief at ‘pag handa na ang transitional shelters, ililipat na natin sila sa transitional shelters doon sa area for transitional shelters.

So lahat ng ito medyo pinag-aaralan pa nating lahat. Ngunit, kung ano man ang gagawin natin, makakaasa ang ating taong-bayan na lahat ito’y pinag-aralan at napag-aralan na lahat natin ang phases dito pati ‘yung legality nito.

Mr. Uri: May sapat na pondo pa ho o sapat pa ‘yung ating nakalaang pondo o kinakailangan pa natin augmentation?

ASEC. PURISIMA: Sa ngayon, ang alam ko na naglaan na at in accordance with the SONA of our President and with the earmarking of budgets this year and next year, sapat po ang ating pondo dito.

Ngunit, kung meron nga, tulad nga ng nasabi ko kanina, kung merong mga private groups or ibang mga grupo na nais na rin tumulong, eh ito’y kailangang i-course through lahat sa Task Force.

Mr. Uri: Thank you, sir.

Rosalie Coz (UNTV): Hi, sir. Good morning po. Regarding po sa transitional shelters, ilan po ‘yung target po nating itayo? At sa isang shelter, ilan po ‘yung kayang i-accommodate na family member? And time frame po kung kailan pwede ng tirahan? And paano po makapag-avail ‘yun pong mga IDPs?

ASEC. PURISIMA: Number one, dun ho sa size, nais ho nating maglagay ng isang pamilya sa isang transitional shelter. Ngayon, ‘yung actual size nito ay pinag-aaralan pa rin ho sa ngayon ‘no.

Wala pa tayong final size, but we have an idea. We have an 11-hectare area and we may identify other areas that may be suitable for transitional shelters. Pagka… Depende ho dun sa size na maaprubahan at sa standards na maaprubahan, dun ho natin malalaman kung ilan ‘yung malalagay natin sa isang transitional shelter area.

So mahirap pong magbigay ng figures ngayon, mahirap hong magbigay ng actual sizing or actual number na magbe-benefit, ngunit patuloy ho ang ating verification dito. At sa pag-avail naman po nito, meron ho tayong systems. Gumagana ho ‘yung system natin sa sub-committee on housing.

Pati ho ‘yung ating National Incident Management Team at ang ating National Emergency Operation Center na nasa Iligan, patuloy ho ang coordination nila with our IDPs through our LGUs para ho malaman kung sino ho ‘yung nangangailangan talaga.

Kasi pagkatapos ho ng assessment, kung… As a result of the RDANA and the PCNA, eh makita natin na meron pang areas na pwedeng balikan ng ating mga IDPs, siyempre bawas na po ito doon sa mga bibigyan natin ng transitional shelters.

So medyo fluid pa ho ‘yung ating datos at bibigyan ho namin kayo ng periodic updates doon.

Ms. Coz: Sir, doon po sa 11 hectares, ilang transitional shelters po? Bilang? Wala pa rin pong figure?

ASEC. PURISIMA: We still have no idea because of the size. Because of the… Pupunta doon bukas ang sub-committee on housing. They were there the previous weeks, pupuntahan ulit bukas. At kung may klaro ng size, malalaman na natin kung ilan talaga ang pwede nating ilagay doon na transitional shelters.

Ina Andolong (CNN Philippines): General Padilla, good morning.

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Good morning.

Ms. Andolong: Is there any update on the big mosque earlier mentioned by the President? ‘Yung meron daw pong about 300 hostages? Have we made any… I don’t know… May mga napakawalan po ba? Have our troops been able to penetrate the mosque now?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Well, the mosque is within sight, that I can tell you. But unfortunately, we are bound by a protocol that we cannot hit the mosque because of our high regard for the religious practices of our Muslim brothers.

We’d like to preserve it as much as possible, and keep it intact for the eventual return of our Muslim brothers and sisters so they can use it immediately.

Yes, the mosque is a safe haven. That is true. But we will do our part and we have other means to be able to get to the enemies inside the mosque.

Ms. Andolong: So for now, sir, 300 pa rin ‘yung hostages sa loob? And is the strategy still to wait it out, as what the President said?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: I-clarify ko lang ‘no. Doon sa talaan ng local government, they mentioned that there are about 200 to 300 who remain unaccounted from Marawi.

Out of that number, based on the pronouncements of the commander on the ground, si General Galvez of Western Mindanao Command, they estimate about 80 to 100 who are hostages remaining in the hands of the terrorists.

And the estimate of the number of enemy that we are still facing, are up against with, they number to a maximum of about 40 to 60. Again, those are estimates, they can go up, they can go down. Because we don’t have the exact number of the people we actually face and the number of hostages. But these are fair estimates based on our assessments.

So ‘yung sa 300 po na sinasabi natin na unaccounted, 80 to 100 po hostages ‘yan. ‘Yung 200, maaaring residenteng patuloy pang naiipit na natatakot lumabas.

Eh hari nawa po mga buhay pa sila dahil sa tagal na po ng panahon. Pero sinisikap po nating gawin na tugunan ‘yung guidance ng ating mahal na Pangulo na ma-save silang lahat.

Ms. Andolong: Ilan dun, sir, ‘yung nasa mosque? I’m sorry I have to press doon sa mosque because the President has been saying that it has been somewhat a setback because that mosque also has tunnels, and is being used by the enemies to stockpile their weapons. I mean have we also discovered how much more weapons are there? ‘Yung nandoon?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Yes. Openly, that’s what I can, as far as I have right now, tell you. But there are matters that are operational that I cannot yet reveal.
Because you know, our main objective is to rescue the hostages. That’s the critical component of our plan. And unduly revealing any other information might compromise that plan. So I hope you understand.

Zen Hernandez (ABS-CBN): Hello, good morning, sirs. General Padilla, I know that you said that we still have raw information regarding the death of Abdullah Maute.

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Yes.

Ms. Hernandez: But I just wanted to know kung may progress na ba ‘yung validation natin of this information since there are reports that we have this information for two weeks now. And also, kahit ‘yung brother, si Omar Maute, parang a month ago has been announced as possibly dead. So anong progress natin doon, sir?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Meron tayong progress kasi may mga nakakatakas na mga dating bihag. At base sa mga salaysay nitong mga nanggaling na mismo sa loob, may mga nakakita na may ilan doon sa mga leader na ‘yon ay namatay.

Pero hanggang sa ngayon, hindi kasi natin natutukoy ‘yung pinaglibingan. So kaya kinakailangan natin matunton itong mga pinaglibingan na ‘to nang sa ganon makakasigurado tayo na tunay nga silang namatay.

So we do trust the narratives of our escapees from inside. But then we need verifiable proof before we can come out with a categorical statement.

So that is why it is taking a bit of time. Because for all we know, they were buried just close to where they are right now, and we have not gone to these areas yet.

Ms. Hernandez: So, sir, ‘yung ibang residents outside of Marawi, you said can go back na ‘no to their homes? Does this mean na confident na tayo na hindi nakalabas any of the leaders or perhaps Maute terrorists from Marawi City?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Sa assessment po ng ating Task Force diyan, amin pong pinaniniwalaan na nandiyan pa po ‘yung mga leaders sa loob.

Kung saka-sakali man po na later on mapatunayan na si Hapilon ay nakalabas, eh malaking dagok po ‘yan sa kanyang persona dahil inabandona niya ‘yung kanyang mga kasamahan.

At sa labanang tulad nito, sa mga sundalo, ganun din sa mga mujahideen, no-no ho ‘yung ganung klaseng mga gawain. So that’s what we believe. They are supposed to be there up to now.

SENIOR DEPUTY EXECUTIVE SECRETARY GUEVARRA: Do you have any questions?

Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star): Secretary, about EO 36, what prompted the President to release the EO? And can you give us details on the compensation being received by the state-run firms that the President might have viewed as inappropriate?

SENIOR DEPUTY EXECUTIVE SECRETARY GUEVARRA: Well, as to your first question — what prompted the President to issue this EO? Well, this problem pertaining to the compensation of GOCC officers and employees has been nagging for quite sometime.

They have been complaining about their salaries being — or lagging behind. Let’s say the national government agencies. So it was really the right time to issue this executive order.

The reason for this is that — if you will remember, last March — rather March of last year — an executive order was issued for the compensation system — Position and Classification System for GOCCs. That was Executive Order No. 203.  

All right. But when the new administration came, there was a felt need to review this, so that any excessive bonuses and allowances will have to go.

And it appears that some government agencies also could not comply with the requirements under EO 203. All right. Maybe for some requirements like rationalization or the budgetary requirements and so forth and so on.

So that’s why the President thought it proper to suspend in the meantime the implementation of EO 203. All right. To address… So the question now is what will be the compensation system for GOCCs?

Then that same EO has provided for an interim compensation package for GOCCs, and that is contained in Section 2 of that EO.

I hope copies of this EO were provided to you much earlier. But, of course, you know by now, that in the interim, those GOCCs covered by the SSL — Salary Standardization Law — which pertains to the national government agencies, all right, may adopt that system of compensation under EO 201 which applies to national government agencies. All right?

For those which are exempt from the SSL, they have the option of either maintaining their current compensation framework or similarly adopt the modified salary schedule under EO 201, ‘yung applicable sa national government agencies.

In either case, the approval of the GCG or the Governance Commission for GOCCs will have to be secured prior to implementation.

Please take note that this will retroact to January 1, 2017.

Mr. Romero: The President mentioned during his last SONA that he is not inclined to give increases sa state-run firms. Medyo mainit si Presidente doon sa excess na perks ng GOCCs. Meron na ba kayong nahanap na excess perks? Can you give us example?

SENIOR DEPUTY EXECUTIVE SECRETARY GUEVARRA: Perhaps it’s the GCG which is in a better position to give details as to which GOCCs give out excessive bonuses, allowances. But for now, we do not have the data as to which GOCCs and which allowances we are referring to here.

Mr. Romero: Kahit ballpark figure? Kasi nabanggit natin —

SENIOR DEPUTY EXECUTIVE SECRETARY GUEVARRA: No, I wouldn’t have even a ballpark figure.

Mr. Romero: Nabanggit kasi ni Usec. Pernia ‘yung mga honoraria, tapos tuwing may meeting, may matatanggap sila. Did you receive those reports also?

SENIOR DEPUTY EXECUTIVE SECRETARY GUEVARRA: For the purpose of this executive order, we did not get the necessary details. We just processed the executive order, reviewed it, and so forth and so on.

Mr. Romero: May timeline ba kung kailan po ‘yung bagong system? Or kung kailan matatapos ‘yung pag-aaral nitong system na ‘to? Kasi sinuspend ‘to ‘di ba pending ‘yung review? So when will we complete the review?

SENIOR DEPUTY EXECUTIVE SECRETARY GUEVARRA: No specific deadline, but I suppose the GCG was instructed to expedite the review of the implementation of 203, EO 203.

Mr. Romero: Thank you, Secretary.

Ms. Mendez: To Deputy ES, good morning.

SENIOR DEPUTY EXECUTIVE SECRETARY GUEVARRA: Good morning.

Ms. Mendez: Sir, may ongoing probe sa Senate ngayon tungkol dun sa Customs, ‘yung entry of 6.4-billion shabu shipment apparently from China. Si Commissioner Faeldon, nainterview earlier, saying he sent a letter to President Duterte asking to investigate this issue. Did the Office of the President already receive any letter regarding this at may particular instructions po ba ang Pangulo?

SENIOR DEPUTY EXECUTIVE SECRETARY GUEVARRA: I have not seen a copy of that letter sent by the Customs Commissioner to the President so far. But we realize that the matter is under congressional investigation already.

So maybe… It may be more prudent that such congressional investigation going on be conducted first.

Ms. Mendez: Thank you, sir.

Ms. Ranada: Sir, can we just get an update on the bills for extending the validity of drivers’ license and passports? We heard it’s with the President but he hasn’t signed it. If… Has he signed it and if not, what are the reasons for not signing it?

SENIOR DEPUTY EXECUTIVE SECRETARY GUEVARRA: We have elevated enrolled bills, which pertain to the extension of the validity of drivers’ licenses and also the extension of the validity of passports to the President for his signature.

We have strongly recommended that he sign both enrolled bills. But as of this morning, I have no information whether he has actually signed the enrolled bills.

Ms. Ranada: Sir, did he give any… Was there any reason given for any matters that have to be studied on the bill which is causing the delay of the signing?

SENIOR DEPUTY EXECUTIVE SECRETARY GUEVARRA: I don’t think there is any problem with the enrolled bill.

Tuesday Niu (DZBB): To Senior Deputy Executive Secretary.

SENIOR DEPUTY EXECUTIVE SECRETARY GUEVARRA: Yes, ma’am?

Ms. Niu: Sir, may nasabi po kamakailan si Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte na any investigation na involving his soldiers and policemen, kailangan po idaan sa kanya muna. Meron na naman pong statement coming from the Commission on Human Rights that they would investigate itong Parojinog case. And meron na po bang instruction si Presidente or would you advise the CHR or would they rather mag-submit muna ng request letter to the President para masimulan itong planned investigation?

SENIOR DEPUTY EXECUTIVE SECRETARY GUEVARRA: The Commission on Human Rights and the Office of the Ombudsman are both created under the Constitution and they are supposed to be independent.

They have to do their own mandates. When the President said that he’d be informed if any soldier or law enforcer will be undergoing any investigation, I presume he was speaking as Commander-in-Chief and not as Chief Executive.

In other words, it’s just a matter of saying that since… As Commander-in-Chief, since you will be investigating a law enforcer or a soldier or an officer under my command, it would be a lot better if you let me know about this investigation

That’s how I understand the President’s statement, all right? He is a lawyer. He is a prosecutor, okay? He knows criminal law, criminal procedure very well, and he knows the limits of what he can do and what he can’t.

Ms. Niu: So, would the Palace expect na magsa-submit ng request or notice ang CHR to the President before undergoing the investigation?

SENIOR DEPUTY EXECUTIVE SECRETARY GUEVARRA: The President has already made his statement. The ball is now in the hands of the Ombudsman or the CHR.

Ms. Niu: Thank you, sir.

SENIOR DEPUTY EXECUTIVE SECRETARY GUEVARRA: Yes, Joseph?

Mr. Morong: Hi sir, good morning po. Sir, just related on the Parojinog case, si Vice Mayor Nova, she was able to — she was able to be interviewed and she said… She called on the President to investigate if there were any irregularities with the operation. Any response from the Palace, if there is one?

SENIOR DEPUTY EXECUTIVE SECRETARY GUEVARRA: Well, that is bound to happen in incidents like these, when, you know, raids result in deaths. And some people would claim that there was, you know, some over… This… This usually happens.

So I guess, the normal — normal procedures and the normal investigative procedures will have to be observed if there is any claim of some, you know, improper implementation of the search warrant.

Mr. Morong: I understand, sir, that this is a law enforcement thing, but if any, what role did the President play in this operation?

SENIOR DEPUTY EXECUTIVE SECRETARY GUEVARRA: As far as I know, aside from his general instruction to eliminate drugs and all people who supported the illegal drug trade, he has no particular or specific participation in any of actual police operations.

Mr. Morong: All right, sir. Just a… Just for fairness’ sake, there is a report from Al Jazeera that quoted several fishermen who were instructed by police operatives to dispose of the bodies in the drug war into Manila Bay. What do you think of that kind of report, sir?

SENIOR DEPUTY EXECUTIVE SECRETARY GUEVARRA: Well, as far as we are concerned, those are mere allegations. If there are no evidence to back that up, then that remains as hearsay.

Mr. Morong: Sir, last. May order po si Presidente sa PNP, would you confirm, ‘yung to wipeout the NPA? And that does that mean, sir, that we are going to be sending an official notice of termination to the NDF with regard to the peace talks?

SENIOR DEPUTY EXECUTIVE SECRETARY GUEVARRA: As to the statement of the President to wipe out the NPA, I guess that’s just colorful language, all right? To mean, actually, “let’s go and deal with this longstanding problem,” all right?

This has been going on for a long, long time and it’s just a matter of priorities. We now have the Marawi problem so we deal with that first, we focus our attention on that.

Then after that, well, the government will just continue with what it has been doing before. So, I guess that’s what really the President meant. Unless, General Purisima… Sorry, General Padilla would like to add. [laughs]

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: It’s a classic Commander-in-Chief’s reaction ‘no. Kasi if you recall, itong nakaraang mga araw, ang pinupuntirya ng NPA ‘yung least defended. Alam niyo ba kung papano nangyari itong mga sunud-sunod na mga pagkamatay ng ating pulis?

Very treacherously planned, ‘yan ang masasabi ko diyan. Very treacherously planned. Kasi, nagkaroon ng kunwaring kaganapan ng kaguluhan sa isang lugar, nagtawag ng responde at siyempre ang nagreresponde diyan ay ang kapulisan.

Tapos tatambangan nila ‘yung pulis na magreresponde at papatayin nila ito. So ‘yung magreresponde na iilang pulis, tulad ng tatlo o apat, lima, o pito na nagresponde dito sa Negros, tinambangan ng 30. So anong laban nung kakaunti na ‘yan?

So very treacherous talaga. Traydor, traydor na traydor. At nagpapatupad ng batas sa ating lipunan, alam naman nating lahat eh itong sundalo at ang kapulisan, nangunguna ang pulis siyempre sa mga siyudad. So nakakaawa po ang mga pulis natin.

Kaya napipikon na po ang mahal na Pangulo, kaya nga kinansela niya itong ating peace talks at although wala pang pormal na paghahain, itong kaniyang pagkapikon ay ramdam niyo talaga.

Kasi hindi ho biro ang mawalan ng breadwinner sa family at madami na po tayong pulis at sundalong nawawala. Para ho sa bayan ‘yan at para sa bawat mamamayan ng bawat sulok ng kapuluan.

Mr. Morong: Sir, ibig sabihin ba niyan, the formal notice of termination is forthcoming or wala naman ‘yan sa radar, sir?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Hindi ko pinangungunahan ang Peace Process Office natin. Sila po dapat ang sumagot niyan.

Mr. Morong: Okay, of course. Sir, just one last ‘no. Related to the Reds pa rin. Anong status nung tatlo nating left-leaning Cabinet given what the President feels about the Communist Party of the Philippines. There’s a call for them to be sacked or whatever?

SENIOR DEPUTY EXECUTIVE SECRETARY GUEVARRA: As far as the Office of the President is concerned, we see no reason why the three so-called leftist members of the Cabinet will have to be removed.

The President continues to repose trust in them. And if you will remember, the Anti-Subversive Law — Subversion Law has already been repealed a long time ago in 1992, all right?

So the very purpose of that repeal of the Anti-Subversion Law is to ensure that people who advocate Communism, Socialism, Marxism, Maoism, et cetera, will not go underground and that they join the legitimate organizations, so that they can espouse whatever they want to espouse.

That’s why we have these groups also in Congress. So if we have these groups in Congress, why don’t we have them as well in the President’s Cabinet?

Mr. Morong: All right, sir. Thank you for your time, sir.

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: May rejoinder lang ho. ‘Yun nga ho ‘yung paanyaya kaya dapat ibaba na ‘yung armas. Kung mas maayos po tayong nagkakaroon ng talakayan, malayang usapan, mas maganda kung ibaba na ‘yung armas. Mag-usap na lang.

Mr. Romero: Secretary Gueverra, so clarification lang para malinaw. So would you require the CHR and the Ombudsman or anybody who will investigate the Parojinog incident to send a letter to the President with regard to the probe of security forces involved in that raid?

SENIOR DEPUTY EXECUTIVE SECRETARY GUEVARRA: I don’t think that will be necessary.

Mr. Romero: Bakit po no need?

SENIOR DEPUTY EXECUTIVE SECRETARY GUEVARRA: Well, the President has already made a statement in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief, all right?

But as I said, he is also a lawyer and he knows that these other agencies have their own mandates, have their own procedures.

So they are free to do what they want to do in accordance with their own mandates.

Mr. Romero: Thank you, Secretary.

 

— END —