Press Briefing

Press Briefing of Presidential Spokesperson and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Secretary Salvador S. Panelo

Event Press Briefing
Location New Executive Bldg., Malacanang

ALVIN BALTAZAR/RADYO PILIPINAS: …Chief Presidential Legal Counsel and Spokesman Salvador Panelo.

SEC. PANELO: Good afternoon, MPC. I’m ready.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: Hi sir, good afternoon. Sir, bakit po nagbago iyong pahayag ninyo kahapon magmula doon sa sinabi ninyo noong hapon na 3-day leave, tapos pagdating po ng gabi sabi ninyo work from home na lang pala.

SEC. PANELO: Hindi, hindi naman nagbago eh. Tingnan mo ang transcript, ang sabi ko ‘yun ang sabi ni Bong ‘di ba, Senador Bong. Tatlo kaming nag-uusap, hindi naman umimik si Presidente. Pero sabi ko, subject to change pa rin iyon, hindi pa sigurado iyon. Hindi ba inulit ko pa nga noong nag-ambush subsequent.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: So walang—wala pong ano, payo ‘yung mga doktor ni Presidente na magpahinga siya?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi ba sabi ko ‘baka’ so I was just speculating. Hindi, siguro mayroon but the problem is… the problem is the President is his own man. He determines when he is in good shape or not. Hindi ba tayo naman talagang mas marunong sa katawan, alam natin kung kaya natin o hindi.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: So—napagsabihan ba kayo ni Presidente tungkol doon sa statement ninyo kaya ninyo binago?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi. Never.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: Pero alam po niya na ganoon iyong pahayag ninyo noong—earlier.

SEC. PANELO: Oo, palagi kong pinapadala ang statement. I give it to 3 aides including him.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: Iyong statement po ninyo sa briefing, alam po niya na sinabi ninyo iyon?

SEC. PANELO: Siyempre, palaging may ano ‘yun… kung minsan nga nagmo-monitor iyon.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: So, hindi ninyo po napag-usapan iyon uli kagabi noong magkasama kayo?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi. Hindi naman kasi importante na iyon eh.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: Ah okay, thank you.

GENALYN KABILING/MANILA BULLETIN: Hello, sir. Sir, so will the President work from home this week?

SEC. PANELO: Yes! In fact nagtatrabaho na ngayon eh.

GENALYN KABILING/MANILA BULLETIN: So he won’t—he won’t go to the Palace. Sa bahay lang siya?

SEC. PANELO: No. Sa bahay muna siya. Madami siyang backlog ‘di ba? Madami siyang paper work, madami siyang babasahin.

GENALYN KABILING/MANILA BULLETIN: So tuloy iyong—he will rest after…—

SEC. PANELO: O ‘di ba pinaliwanag ko na. As he explained it to Mr. Lucio Tan, nagkukuwento siya kagabi eh. “Kasi at least sa bahay,” sabi niya, “‘pag tapos na ang trabaho, I can rest.” Hindi iyong ‘pag nandito ka sa opisina sa—sa bahay sa Davao. Unlike here, eh talagang maraming distraction, hindi ka makakapahinga talaga. But, he’s still working.

GENALYN KABILING/MANILA BULLETIN: Okay, sir.

TINA MENDEZ/PHILIPPINE STAR: Sir, you give us an assurance na talagang nasa bahay lang si Presidente o Davao.

SEC. PANELO: Ah oo, eh—bakit nasaan ba?

TINA MENDEZ/PHILIPPINE STAR: Baka later on, some photos of him going to Hong Kong o somewhere else will surface.

SEC. PANELO: Ah, hindi.

TINA MENDEZ/PHILIPPINE STAR: We have your assurance on that?

SEC. PANELO: Iyon ang alam natin. Magpapahinga lang iyon, talagang gusto lang noon mag-work—

TINA MENDEZ/PHILIPPINE STAR: So kung iyon ang alam ninyo ngayon sir, maaring magbago bukas o mamaya?

SEC. PANELO: Aba eh, hindi ba palagi nating sinasabi ‘subject to change without prior notice, depending on the circumstances.’

TINA MENDEZ/PHILIPPINE STAR: Sir right now, ano po bang state of the President’s health?

SEC. PANELO: Okay naman siya. Eh kita ninyo naman kahapon, ang ganda na naman ng itsura niya. Haven’t you noticed the pictures? ‘Pag nakakatulog talaga si Presidente maaliwalas palagi ang mukha, he walks briskly; pero ‘pag kulang sa tulog—pareho rin natin. Kagaya ko ngayon.

TINA MENDEZ/PHILIPPINE STAR: Kamusta iyong spine niya, sir? May kirot pa ba iyong spine?

SEC. PANELO: Wala siyang binabanggit.

TINA MENDEZ/PHILIPPINE STAR: Hindi na kailangan magtungkod?

SEC. PANELO: Wala. He walks briskly nga sabi ko.

TINA MENDEZ/PHILIPPINE STAR: Thank you, sir.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: Hi sir, good afternoon.

SEC. PANELO: Naka tatlong wakes, can you imagine tatlong wakes. Hindi nga ako tumagal eh, nagpaalam na nga ako. Iniwan ko nga siya doon sa third wake, nauna akong umuwi.

Q: [off mic]

SEC. PANELO: Aba eh, 2:30 na nandoon pa eh. Kasi dumating siya doon sa—I was in an event eh. When I went there, sabi nila 40 minutes na siyang nandoon. Eh dumating ako doon dati nang mag-a-alas dose.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: Hi sir, good afternoon. Sir, just to—para lang hindi kami magkamali sa paggamit noong term, because yesterday the way we understand it, 3-day break iyong ginamit natin na term. Does it mean that the President will not have a break this time?

SEC. PANELO: Walang—in the sense na break/leave, wala. In the sense na break, pagkatapos ng trabaho niya magna-nap o magpapahinga, mayroon. Pero walang 3 days.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: So, wala nang 3 days. Ilang days na, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Wala, basta magpapahinga lang siya.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: For how long, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Ah, hindi natin alam. Nasa kanya iyon eh. It’s his body.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: And when we say break, tama ba na gamitin pa iyong ‘break’ na term?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi. Basta he will work in his home.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: Okay. So, work from home – sa Davao.

SEC. PANELO: Yes, work from home.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: And does it mean na hindi siya mag-a-attend ng kahit na anong event for that specific period?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi ko alam kung papayagan siya—kung mayroong i-schedule iyong Protocol sa kaniya.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: So, may chances pa rin na mag-attend siya ng event?

SEC. PANELO: And knowing him, masipag iyon eh. Kagaya kahapon, akala ko nga wala na iyong Misuari, mayroon pa rin; akala ko wala nang wake, eh nandoon pa rin, tatlo pa. So… kasi he determines whether he—kaya niya o hindi eh. Siya lang nakakaalam noon.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: So technically, it’s not a work from home kasi kung mag-a-attend pa rin pala siya ng event. He will just stay in Davao for a certain period?

SEC. PANELO: Eh siguro, mas less kasi. ‘Pag Davao, less ang work kaysa dito. Dito talagang… hindi ba ang daming mga courtesy calls, may mga events. Eh doon medyo hindi masyado – at kung mayroon man, eh ang lapit from the house to… a few minutes. Hindi kagaya rito, lilipad ka pa, mata-traffic ka pa.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: Okay. So clear sir, magbabawas lang siya ng activities?

SEC. PANELO: I think so.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: Alright. Thank you, sir.

HENRY URI/DZRH: Secretary, para malinaw lang sa ating lahat, sa aming lahat at sa publiko ano ho. Hanggang saan ang sakop ng inyong kaalaman sa Pangulo, sa mga bagay tungkol sa kaniya, sa kaniyang mga schedule at sa kaniyang… dapat maipaalam sa amin?

SEC. PANELO: Hanggang doon sa sinasabi niya sa akin. Kung ano ‘yung sinabi niya sa akin, kung ano ‘yung naririnig ko sa kuwento niya sa iba, ‘di ‘yun din.

HENRY URI/DZRH: Okay. So kung mayroon kang banggitin na hindi galing sa kaniya, speculative iyon?

SEC. PANELO: Oh yes. Iyong sinasabi ko naman ‘baka’.

HENRY URI/DZRH: Okay. Sa tingin ninyo—tama ba na banggitin iyong ‘baka’ bilang official spokesperson ng Presidente? Hindi ba dapat lahat ay—

SEC. PANELO: Oo, kasi sinabi ko na ‘yung factual eh. Eh kung—kasi kung… kayo mapilit din kayong magtanong. O, so nilalagyan ko ng ‘it might’.

HENRY URI/DZRH: Okay. So itong mga schedule ni Presidente, hindi po lahat ay alam ninyo?

SEC. PANELO: Sinasabi sa akin ng Protocol. So ito ay palaging subject to change eh. Haven’t you noticed, hindi ba kayo binibigyan? O tentative… pagkatapos—hindi kayo sinasabihan? Tapos nilalagay doon, ‘removed from the schedule’… ang dami eh, nababago eh. Palagi si Presidente kasi ang nagde-decide.

HENRY URI/DZRH: So itong work from home, posible pa na may pagbabago na hindi sinasabi sa inyo?

SEC. PANELO: Lahat ‘yan mayroong—depende nga kay Presidente ‘yan eh. He tells us kung mababago or the Protocol tells us.

HENRY URI/DZRH: So baka magbakasyon siya sa isang lugar, baka pumunta siya doon o dito or—

SEC. PANELO: Ang pagkakaalam ko, hindi siya magbabakasyon sa ibang lugar. Ang alam ko diyan lang sa Davao ang trabaho niya.

HENRY URI/DZRH: Alright. Sige, salamat po.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, nangyari naman na umuwi siya ng Davao and then he stayed there and then work from there ‘no – this is not new. But now my question is duration. So he’s in Davao now, he went home last night ba?

SEC. PANELO: Yes. From the—early this morning, dahil pasado alas dos na.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Madaling araw, kanina po. And then, for how long is he going to stay there?

SEC. PANELO: Wala siyang sinabi. Basta ang sinabi niya, doon muna siya magwo-work.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Okay. Wala pa ring schedule going back to Manila?

SEC. PANELO: Wala pa akong nakikita.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Okay. So can we say that the President will be working from Davao indefinitely?

SEC. PANELO: Not indefinitely. Hindi natin alam kung indefinite o for a certain number. Kasi sinabi niya doon muna siya for a while.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Doon muna. It could be one day, two day, three days?

SEC. PANELO: It could be one day, two days, three days, hindi natin alam.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: And, this is because?

SEC. PANELO: Iyon ang sabi niya eh.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: No reason?

SEC. PANELO: Eh hindi natin alam kung ano reason niya, but that is what he told us.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Hindi na po ito ‘yung sinabi ninyo yesterday na because he is tired—he needs rest?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi ba sinabi niya nga, he also wants to rest.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Okay. So just to be very clear about it, the President will be working from Davao because he wants to rest?

SEC. PANELO: Siguro he wants to lessen his work para wala masyadong distraction. But he will be working.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Alright, thank you.

SEC. PANELO: Sabi niya—ang description niya ng presidency kagabi kay Mr. Tan eh, “You know why I dissuade my daughter from running? It’s a thankless job. It’s all work, work and work. Wherever you are, you’re still working.” Iyon ang pagkaka-describe niya sa trabaho niya.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: And, how do we interpret this sir, in light of…

SEC. PANELO: ‘Di ibig sabihin talagang maraming trabaho ang Presidente. Can you just imagine? You know if you read briefers… ako lang hindi—I cannot even—I can hardly cope with the briefers that the other agencies give me, ang dami eh. Magbasa ka lang noon, i-a-absorb mo lang, matagal talaga eh; tapos marami pang letters, you have to respond to all of them before the end of the day. Marami talagang trabaho si Presidente.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Ano ba ito sir, napapagod na siya?

SEC. PANELO: Dati namang—nakakapagod eh, lahat tayo napapagod eh. But like the man that he is, he really wants to work for as long as he is the President. He will perform his duty to the fullest and with passion and dedication.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Sir, reaction lang ng Palace, because in an interview Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said that administration’s build, build, build program is a dismal failure. He noted that only nine out of 75 build, build, build flagship projects have started and he doesn’t think that there will be any substantial progress to be achieved, kasi two and a half years na lang ang natitira sa administration?

SEC. PANELO: Ito namang si Senator Frank, my fraternity ka-batch brod. Senator Frank, look at the administration you previously belong, six years not a single infrastructure na nagawa. Malayong-malayo sa dami. Do you still have the copy of ano—ibigay mo nga sa akin, para sabihin na natin dito. I will enumerate to you the status of all the infrastructure program, ang dami.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Pero sir, responding to what the senator said about the administration’s build, build, build programs—

SEC. PANELO: It’s baseless.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Why is it baseless, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Eh marami ngang ginagawa ang administrasyon.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: He said that only nine out of 75 projects have already started.

SEC. PANELO: Hindi lang nine, I will read to you how many more. I read that in the Asia Forum ha, mahaba.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Sir he noted, sir, that the DPWH and the DOTr are slow to disburse iyong funds for the projects, that is the reason kung bakit daw ang bagal nung implementation nitong mga projects na ito?

SEC. PANELO: Eh siguro siya ang mag-DPWH Secretary para malaman niya kung ano ang ginagawa ni Mark Villar. Puring-puri nga si Mark Villar ni Presidente, magaling, maraming nagawa. Batang-bata pa.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Pero sir, based doon sa report ng Commission on Audit na they noted that the DPWH parang mabagal sila to spend their budget. They have only released only 39.7% of their budget in 2018.

SEC. PANELO: Mabagal siguro dahil maingat. Like for instance, kung meron kang isang project na hindi mo naman maumpisahan dahil walang right of way, ba’t ka magre-release ng funds, di ba? Depende, the fact remains: maraming projects.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Aside from iyong mga problems na ganoon, sir, right of way projects, ano pa kaya ang reason, sir, kung bakit mabagal?

SEC. PANELO: We will ask Secretary Villar.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: So, the administration is not faulting the DPWH and DOTr?

SEC. PANELO: No, pinupuri nga, di ba sabi ko sa iyo, pinupuri nga si Mark Villar.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Sir, so hindi kayo naka-attend pala kagabi sa birthday celebration ni Congressman Velasco.

SEC. PANELO: Hindi eh, dahil may kasabay.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Doon kasi nabanggit ng Pangulo na he will no longer intervene doon sa—

SEC. PANELO: Sino, who?

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: The President mentioned that he will no longer intervene with the term sharing issue, whether kung ipagpatuloy na lang ni Speaker Cayetano at hindi na matutuloy iyong pag-upo ni—

SEC. PANELO: Di ba iyon din ang sinabi ko na hindi siya nakikialam sa mga ganiyan, unless his advice is sought.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: So, it could be possible and acceptable to the President kung hindi na matutuloy iyong term sharing at si Speaker Cayetano na ang magtuloy-tuloy?

SEC. PANELO: You get your conclusion from what he said. I think his statements are clear enough.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: So, puwede nga na ganoon iyong scenario.

SEC. PANELO: Eh, ikaw nga ang mag-aano, kasi nagsalita na siya.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Hindi nga ako Spokesman.

SEC. PANELO: I’m just Spokesman, but the President has spoken, so I don’t even have to add anything to what he said which is very clear, so you reach your own conclusion.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Okay, relatedly. He also mentioned na parang—or his daughter Sara should not join the presidential race come 2022 elections?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi kung siya ang masusunod ayaw niya. Sabi niya, because she in my daughter, I pity her, sabi niya.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Oo, pero parang devil’s advocate, hindi ba parang pa-simpleng pagpapalutang din ito, kunwari hindi papayagan pero eventually parang—

SEC. PANELO: Siguro ikaw lang ang nag-iisip noon.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: So talagang ayaw niya.

SEC. PANELO: When the President says, he is always sincere in saying that.

MODERATOR: Salamat Reymund—

SEC. PANELO: Oh, gusto na ninyong marinig iyong infrastructure?

Number one, LRT Cavite Extension Baclaran-Cavite, that’s one; MRT Rehab, started in May 2019 expected to be completed by July 2021; Metr0 Manila Subway the groundbreaking ceremony was held on 27 Feb. 2019 – the 356 billion project is funded through an Overseas Development Assistance loan with the Japanese International Cooperation Agency; then we have the MRT Common Station which will connect MRT 3, MRT 7, LRT1 and the Metro Manila Subway. It is a 13,700 square meter concourse comprised of three areas: Area A under DOT, Area B under Ayala Land and Area C under MRT7 – project facilitation by San Miguel Corporation; then we have LRT 2 East Extension, construction started in 2016. As of August 2019, the project is 64.85% complete. Two stations shall be added in the existing LRT 2. This shall service additional 80,000 passengers daily when completed in the fourth quarter of 2020.

Then we have the PNR-Clark: Phase 1 – Tutuban-Malolos construction is ongoing. The groundbreaking was held on 15th February 2019. When completed in 2021, travel time between Tutuban, Manila and Malolos will be reduced from approximately 1 hours and 30 minutes by bus or car via MacArthur Highway to just 35 minutes; Phase 2 – Malolos-Clark. This project has an ongoing right of way acquisition and procurement for civil works and general consultancy. No date yet for the start of the construction. When construction is completed in 2022, it will cut travel time between Malolos, Bulacan and Clark International Airport to just 30 to 35 minutes and from Buendia, Makati to Clark International Airport from two hours via a car to just 55 minutes.

Then we have the PNR Bicol: Manila-Batangas-Sorsogon. There is an ongoing right of way and site acquisition and processing of loan agreement for the proposed management consultancy. It is targeted to be completed in 2022 which shall reduce travel time between Manila and Legazpi City from 13 hours to 6 hours.

And then we have PNR Calamba: bids submission for PNR Calamba package 1, one kilometer with Blumentritt Station, is on 5 November 2019. PNR Calamba is a 56 kilometer line from Manila to Calamba, Laguna. It will reduce travel time from three hours to just one hour from Manila to Calamba.

Then we have the Subic-Clark Railway: bidding documents are being finalized while there are ongoing advance works. This project will link Subic Port to Clark International Airport and the major economic hubs in Central Luzon like the New York City.

Then we have the Mindanao Railway Tagum-Davao-Digos: Construction will start on the first quarter of 2020 and target completion is set in 2022 with eight stations from Tagum to Digos. The Mindanao Rail shall reduce travel time from Davao Del Norte to Davao Del Sur from three hours to just one hour. It will service around 110,000 passengers daily.

Then we have the Bulacan Airport: Construction will start in December 2019 through public-private partnership with San Miguel Holdings Corporation and will take four to six years to be completed. It will decongest NAIA and complement operation of Clark International Airport.

Then we have the Sangley Airport: With an ongoing 24/7 construction, DOTr reported 72% of the project has been completed. The government targets to finish construction and start a general aviation appraises by November 2019. This will aid decongesting NAIA.

Then we have the NAIA rehabilitation: NAIA Terminal 2 Rehabilitation is ongoing which includes the expansion of the arrival baggage hall and departure check-in area to accommodate the growing number of passengers with additional air-conditioning system, power and lightings, fire protection, as well as electronics and communication system.

Then we have the Clark Airport Expansion: Construction of the new passenger terminal buildings started in 2018. As of August 2019, 74.58% of the project has been completed.

And then we have the DPWH completed construction: Three years after President Rodrigo Duterte took office, Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar reported the completion of 9,845 kilometers of road; 2,700 bridges; 4,536 flood control projects; 82 evacuation centers; and 71,803 classrooms.

With respect to roads, these include the Laguna Lake Highway; the Candon City Bypass Road in Ilocos Sur; the Slaughter House Road in Davao City; the Pulilan-Baliuag Diversion Road in Bulacan; the Calapan-Roxas Road in Oriental Mindoro; the Mandaue Causeway Road in Cebu; the Dipolog-Oroquieta Road in Misamis Occidental; the Dumaguete North Road to Negros Oriental; and the Taytay-El Nido Road in Palawan.

With respect to the bridges, these include the Anduyan Bridge in La Union; the Bolo-bolo Bridge in Misamis Oriental; the Kaguray Bridge in Occidental Mindoro; the Pasac-Culcul Pampanga; the Maddiangat Bridge in Nueva Viscaya; and the Pigalo Bridge in Isabela.

Relative to flood control projects, these include the pumping stations at Barangay Wawang Polo and Coloong; the Flood Risk Management Project for Cagayan River; the Flood Risk Management Project for Tagoloan River; the Leyte Tide Embankment Project; and the Pasig-Marikina River Flood Control Project.

Classrooms: To address the gap in physical facilities required for elementary and secondary schools nationwide, Villar said a total of 7,803 classrooms were constructed benefiting more than 3.2 million learners. Another 67,600 classrooms are in various stages of implementation. These accomplishments have eased the classroom congestion from a ratio of one classroom to 35 learners in 2016 to one classroom to 28 learners in 2018. So we have so many projects.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Sir, in numbers, sir, how many have started?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi ba binasa ko na? I already read it, hindi kayo nakikinig. Sana kinuha ninyo kung ano iyong nag-start…

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: In summary lang, sir.

SEC. PANELO: I-summarize ninyo na lang, binasa ko na nga eh para wala nang problema.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Okay. So iyong sinasabi po ni Senator Drilon na 9 out of 75 pa lang ang nasimulan, hindi totoo iyon?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi totoo iyan. Kailangan tingnan ninyo iyong mga binasa ko para he will educate himself. Kulang siguro iyong information niya.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Sir, how many are expected to be finished by the end of the President’s term?

SEC. PANELO: Oh di ba sinabi ko na rin, hindi ka naman nakikinig. Sinabi ko na nga, completed to be on so and so, completed to be… dapat you should have taken notes.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Okay, sir. Ganito na lang, sir, realistic expectations, sir. Iyong ilang percent of the flagship projects under the Build, Build, Build Program are expected to be finished—

SEC. PANELO: I will ask Secretary Villar. That is his turf, para sigurado.

ALVIN BALTAZAR/RADYO PILIPINAS: Sir, may Viber question lang from Aileen Taliping: Reaksiyon lang sa sinabi ni Joma against the President, “Duterte should yield to Leni.” – Joma Sison.

SEC. PANELO: He’s always talking nonsense. We will not respond.

Q: [OFF MIC]

SEC. PANELO: ‘Yaan mo na, paulit-ulit lang naman siya eh.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Sir, other topic. Si DFA Secretary Teddy Boy Locsin said na hindi raw niya papayagan na makapasok sa bansa si Mr. Phelim Kine.

SEC. PANELO: I agree. You know why? Because he has already reached a conclusion – this is a murderous country tapos sasabihin niya arestuhin si Presidente Duterte. Ano ba … ano ba iyan.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Pero you said yesterday, sir, that the administration will defer to VP Leni pagdating sa war on drugs.

SEC. PANELO: Sa pag-uusap, kung humihingi siya ng mga expert on… so-called experts. Pero hindi ba sinabi ko rin, ibang usapan iyon kapag mayroon ka nang conclusion tapos iyong pagpasok mo ay intrusion sa ating sovereignty.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Pero sir, looking at the Vice President’s statements, she herself—she thinks that itong war on drugs has many senseless killings—

SEC. PANELO: Has many what?

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Maraming senseless killings she said so herself.

SEC. PANELO: Kasi nga ang feeling ni VP Leni noon – siguro hanggang ngayon eh wala pa siya sa ground eh – senseless iyong killing. Ang hindi niya nari-realize—that’s why precisely I suggested na maybe you should be joining the raid. Whether you go there by yourself or by security, or you just monitor the screen para alam mo kung bakit nagkakaroon ng patayan o bakit nagkakaroon … bumubulagta iyong suspected criminal at bumubulagta rin iyong pulis. Iyon ang kaniyang pananaw sa ngayon dahil hindi pa siya pumapasok eh; and we will respect that.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Sir, where does the administration draw the line pagdating sa mga tao, sa mga … like, the Vice President said that she will consult with UN officials and US officials. So paano natin malalaman kung sino doon ang mayroon nang sariling conclusion at sino ang puwede niyang kausapin?

SEC. PANELO: Malalaman natin kasi they come out openly with a statement, like that Kine person, hindi ba.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: So does she need to ask the permission of the Duterte administration, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Sabi nga natin, diskarte na ni VP Leni iyon. We will let her do her job. Eh limang araw pa lang naman yata siya. Limang araw ba o six? Six days? Parang tinanggap niya yata Miyerkules.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Sir, last na lang. Sa mga personalities, sir, sino iyong mga personalities na na-note ninyo na hindi puwedeng pumasok dito sa Pilipinas, kausapin—

SEC. PANELO: Basta anybody who gives a conclusion that there has been killings, murders without justification eh may problema sila.

Oh by the way, the VP wants to augment iyong income ‘no. The President and I talked about this, and he said, iyon ang problema kasi nasa budget na. Kung ano iyong nandoon sa budget, iyon na iyon. Kaya Congress na lang ang dapat niyang hingian. Hindi na mababago na iyon—

Q: [OFF MIC]

SEC. PANELO: Eh hindi, kasi kung ano iyong for this year, iyong 15 million iyon na iyon eh, iyon ang budget.

JOPEL PELENIO/DWIZ: Sir, can you confirm po—good afternoon, sir. Can you confirm, sir, kasi may info lang po na si General Danao na daw po ang napiling next PNP Chief?

SEC. PANELO: Wala pang sinasabi si Presidente.

JOPEL PELENIO/DWIZ: Galing daw po dito sa Palace iyong info?

SEC. PANELO: Wala, wala pa. Sana mayroon nang sinabi si Bong or naikuwento niya sa akin or na-text na ako.

JOPEL PELENIO/DWIZ: Pero napag-usapan po, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sabi ni Aaron Aquino, sir, before ‘di ba, the Director Aquino, in-invite niya sa VP to join the operations. Palace’s perspective—

SEC. PANELO: Hindi ba ako nga ang unang nag-suggestion ninyo ‘di ba during the press briefing na she can join para she will know the realities on the ground. And the President also mentioned that.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: That?

SEC. PANELO: That she can also—now that she is the czar, baka malaman niya na iyong mga reyalidad na naririnig niya lang, na hindi totoo.

But first and foremost, gaya ng statement ko, without risking her security, nasa sa kaniya iyon kung gusto niyang sumama. And there are many ways naman of monitoring eh, ‘di ba? Pareho nung ginagawa ni Mayor Duterte when he was still mayor, lahat ng kalsada sa ano … kapag nanood ka, alam mo na kung ano ang nangyayari.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Not physically, not necessarily?

SEC. PANELO: Oo, not necessarily. But you can still monitor.

CHONA YU/RADIO INQUIRER: Sir, you were with the President last night, did you ask him kung kailan ang meeting nila ni Vice President Leni Robredo?

SEC. PANELO: No. Hindi na namin napag-usapan.

CHONA YU/RADIO INQUIRER: And did you also ask him kung what kind of powers is he willing to give to—

SEC. PANELO: Hindi na namin—basta noon pa—‘Di ba, kung ano ‘yung sinabi niya noon naibigay ko na sa inyo.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: Sir, do we have details about the meeting of President Duterte and Nur Misuari last night?

SEC. PANELO: What I know, as related to me, is that it was a continuation of the meeting when chairman Nur Misuari came I think last August. Ang usapan nila magmi-meet ulit sila because there are suggestion that there should be a committee that will help in the peace process, kaya ‘yung coordinating committee kriniate [created] ‘yun. In fact, the government panel is composed of Esperon, myself, sino pa… si General Galvez and a lawyer from I think DFA. ‘Yun ang alam ko.

So, they will be meeting again in Davao by December to finalize. The purpose of course, is to have peace with the MNLF and to ensure the success of the government.

CHONA YU/RADIO INQUIRER: Sir, what’s the Palace statement? For the first time tinalo ng Pilipinas ang China – we are now the biggest rice importer.

SEC. PANELO: Importer? That’s a—then congratulations to us!

MPC: [off mic] What?

SEC. PANELO: Tinalo natin sa pag-import?

MPC: [off mic] Yes!

SEC. PANELO: Ah, pag-import. Akala ko nag-export… akala ko export. Well, eh kung hindi pa natin kaya eh, ganiyan talaga.

MPC: [off mic] One clean statement. [laughter] Ulit, sir.

SEC. PANELO: Congratulations to them!

CHONA YU/RADIO INQUIRER: Sir, anong implication—

SEC. PANELO: Ano bang percentage ‘yung ano… ‘yung lamang nila sa atin? Pero I’m not surprised. China is such a huge country, tayo naman maliit lang.

CHONA YU/RADIO INQUIRER: Kaya nga sir, malaki iyong population ng China tapos tayo—

SEC. PANELO: Eh kasi ang China naman mayroon silang rice production sa kanila.

CHONA YU/RADIO INQUIRER: Mayroon din tayo.

SEC. PANELO: Maliit lang naman ‘yung atin. Hindi ba ang dami ngang reklamo mga farmers natin, wala tayong rice—walang tayong tubig – irrigation. ‘Yan ang nagiging problema samantalang sa China, punta ka dun. Iba ang production dun.

CHONA YU/RADIO INQUIRER: So, what will the government do about it, sir? Kasi ‘yung mga farmers—

SEC. PANELO: ‘Di ba may programa si Presidente diyan. Gusto niya libre ‘yung lahat ng irrigation; at nag-umpisa na ‘yun ah!

MPC: [off mic] Unclear.

SEC. PANELO: Huh?

MPC: [off mic] Unclear.

SEC. PANELO: Ginagawa na naman ni Secretary Dar ang kaniyang mga pamamaraan to solve whatever problems confronting the farmers.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, hindi ba siya indication that we have a problem in our rice industry?

SEC. PANELO: Eh, ‘di ba dati naman tayo—we recognize that problem. Ever since ‘yan ang nagiging problema natin. ‘Yung mga tinuruan nating mga taga-Thailand ang gagaling. Nag-aral lang dito pagkatapos talo na tayo. Kasi nga… ‘yun nga hindi ba? Ever since ‘yan ang naging problema. Marami tayong rice land pero hindi pumapasok ‘yung mga tubig. Kaya we had to—we really have to improve more on our irrigation system para maganda ang production.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So, aside irrigation, I was gonna asked where do you attribute the problem if you acknowledge that there is a problem in the rice industry. You mentioned irrigation, what else?

SEC. PANELO: ‘Yun ang alam kong problema ng ano—‘yun ang problema ng rice production, kasi kung walang irrigation, papaano ka magpo-produce ng rice – walang tubig?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Any posi—I mean, any solution?

SEC. PANELO: I will leave that to the Secretary of Agriculture.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Okay.

CHONA YU/RADIO INQUIRER: Sir, the President signed the Free Irrigation Law in February 2018. So, when do we expect it to be felt by the farmers who obviously are expected to benefit from it?

SEC. PANELO: Since Secretary Dar is on top of that, we’ll have to defer to whatever he says on the matter.

CHONA YU/RADIO INQUIRER: Sir, what does it say about the government’s programs and policies on rice sufficiency?

SEC. PANELO: Secretary Dar has been placed there precisely to undertake measures to solve whatever problems that confront the industry.

CHONA YU/RADIO INQUIRER: Sir, isn’t it ironic na we are an agricultural country and yet we are the number one rice importer?

SEC. PANELO: Eh, ang problema nga gaya na nga ng sinabi ko noon, eh may problema tayo sa irrigation nga eh. If your land is not fertile to produce, how can you expect production? Eh, water ang pinaka-basic na kailangang ingredient hindi dumarating doon sa land, eh papaano? We just rely on ulan which is not enough.

CHONA YU/RADIO INQUIRER: Sir, is Palace alarmed about this?

SEC. PANELO: We are concerned precisely that’s why nandiyan si Secretary Dar eh, kaya siya in-appoint.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Sir, maliban sa irrigation, it’s the—clear kasi na kulang talaga na government support sa mga farmers specifically ‘yung NFA kasi bakit tinitipid ‘yung pagbili ng mga palay produced ng mga magsasaka kaya tuloy the lowest ‘yung sa amin sa Ilocos Sur is as low as eight pesos per kilo ‘yung palay. And even sa Visayas—Chona, magkano? Fifteen pesos. Tapos ‘yung NFA magkano lang ‘yung maximum nila? Seventeen pesos. So, kahit sinong magsasaka ay tatamarin na magtanim kung ganun din, lugi rin ang pagtatanim nila ng palay. So, why—bakit ‘yung gobyerno tinitipid ‘yung mga magsasaka? Bakit hindi natin buhusan?

SEC. PANELO: Tatamarin? Eh, kahit naman masipag ka kung wala ka namang lupa na magbibigay sa’yo ng produce eh ‘di wala rin. You know, with respect to that, may programa ang gobyerno diyan at ang nagpapairal diyan si Secretary Dar. Inilagay siya ni Presidente diyan at President believes in his competence. Dati siyang nandiyan eh, kaya nga siya kinuha.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Kasi, ang parang paliwanag ng mga magagaling na mga economic managers ay inflationary effects daw pagka taasan ng NFA ‘yung buying price doon sa palay ng magsasaka. So, is that justifiable?

SEC. PANELO: I’m sure Secretary Dar knows the problem and he will introduce measures to solve the same.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: So, we expect a higher buying price from NFA?

SEC. PANELO: We expect Secretary Dar to implement measures that will make our rice produce increase.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Tsaka even doon sa—samantalahin ko lang – sa Baguio, ‘yung kumbaga vegetable granary natin dun. Ang daming ano ‘di ba parang nabubulok na lang na mga sayote—

SEC. PANELO: Vegetables.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Oo. Patatas, etc…

SEC. PANELO: Dahil?

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Hindi nailalabas kasi mas mahal ‘yung gastos pa ng mga magsasaka kung ibebenta pa, ilalabas, ita-transport mula sa kabundukan ‘yung mga produce. Kasi pila-pila doon sa parang buying station doon sa Benguet. Bakit hindi na lang Department of Agriculture for example, the government ‘yung bibili sa mga vegetable ng mga magsasaka doon na nakapila tapos ibabagsak sa mga key cities like Metro Manila?

SEC. PANELO: Eh, siguro ‘yung problemang ‘yan pinag-aaralan na ‘yan ni Secretary Dar. I’m sure mayroon na siyang mga plano diyan.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Okay.

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Sir, given that the President signed the Rice Tariffication Law—

SEC. PANELO: The what?

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: The President signed the Rice Tariffication Law earlier this year which ostensibly opened ‘yung market natin to rice from other countries. Given na we’ve overtaken China in terms of rice imports, how does the government planned to balance ‘yung fact na mas marami na nga tayong mag-import than China and because of the Rice Tariffication Law and the fact na medyo problematic ‘yung state ng farmers natin?

SEC. PANELO: Again, I will repeat what I said: Secretary Dar has been appointed there precisely because he used to head that department and he was successful during his stint. So, he would be knowledgeable on how to curb whatever problems that are existing today.

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Sir, in recent Cabinet meetings na—may mga nabi-bring up po ba na proposals si Secretary Dar regarding the rice farmers?

SEC. PANELO: Marami siyang proposals. Ang alam ko, isa sa mga proposal niya ‘yung dadagdagan mo ang suporta ang mga farmers – subsidy.

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: And the President is welcome—

SEC. PANELO: In fact, the Cabinet approved that.

JINKY BATICADOS/IBC: Hi, sir!

SEC. PANELO: Yup!

JINKY BATICADOS/IBC: Sir, doon lang sa incident po, piracy incident na nangyari sa West Africa. Anong masasabi ng Malacañang doon sa—kinonfirm na rin—

SEC. PANELO: Anong incident sa West Africa?

JINKY BATICADOS/IBC: West Africa…

SEC. PANELO: Which incident?

JINKY BATICADOS/IBC: It’s actually a kidnapping incident, sir; eleven Filipinos daw, sir, kinonfirm ng DFA. What can the Palace say about it?

SEC. PANELO: Siyempre, we are concerned about the kidnapping and Secretary Bello is handling it.

JINKY BATICADOS/IBC: Walang update sa inyo ang DFA?

SEC. PANELO: Wala pa siyang binibigay na report.

JINKY BATICADOS/IBC: Okay. Thank you, sir.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Kahapon daw doon sa birthday ni Congressman Velasco.

SEC. PANELO: Ano raw? What?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: The President said something about Manny Pacquiao and the presidency.

SEC. PANELO: Wala ako doon eh kaya—I was not privy to any conversation.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Okay.

MODERATOR: Maraming salamat, MPC. Thank you so much Chief Presidential Legal Counsel and Spokesman Secretary Sal Panelo.

SEC. PANELO: Thank you.

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Source: PCOO-NIB (News and Information Bureau-Data Processing Center)

 

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