Press Briefing

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

Event Press Briefing
Location New Executive Bldg., Malacanang

USEC. ROCKY IGNACIO: Good afternoon MPC, kasama na natin si Chief Presidential Legal Counsel and Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

SEC. PANELO: Good afternoon! Parang… nasa ano lahat yata, Black Nazarene iyong reporters ha. There are only six of you—ah, sampu lang pala.

Anyway, we would like to confirm the enactment and the signing of the Salary Standardization Law for 2019. You recall that this was certified as urgent by the President, and in fact during the State of the Nation Address he mentioned about this. Of course the desire of the President is to upgrade the standard of living of government employees.

And this measure will rationalize the compensation of all civilian personnel including those in the Legislative and Judicial branches as well as of the Local Government Units under certain conditions. The purpose of which is to create an atmosphere which would promote excellence in the service providing for a performance-based incentive scheme to reward outstanding public servants.

Let me say that this was the initiative of the President and has in fact—he has a strong support during the deliberations in Congress. I’m sure this law will benefit those hardworking men and women in the government including the most neglected sector in the bureaucracy – and I refer to the teachers and the nurses. End of statement.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: Sir, did the President adopt the version of the Congress?

SEC. PANELO: Since I haven’t seen the law itself, I cannot…

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: Sir, mayroon kasing nilabas na statement iyong Teachers Dignity Coalition saying that although they are thankful that the President has recognized their need for the salary increase, they’re still disappointed kasi kung in-adopt daw iyong version ng Congress, mas mababa pa rin daw ito doon sa promise na ten thousand peso hike for the salary of teachers.

SEC. PANELO: Well as we have said before, the promise of the President will be complied with – maybe not this year but his term has not yet ended. You must remember that the increase will depend on the funds that this government has.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: So meaning sir, there’s still a chance to meet the promise—

SEC. PANELO: Of course!

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: —before his term ends?

SEC. PANELO: For as long as there is tomorrow, there is hope.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, iyong sa effectivity lang po, sa January 1, 2020 ‘no? So ibig sabihin—

SEC. PANELO: Up to ano ‘yan ha, up to 2023, four tranches.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: But as far as the first one is concerned, January 1, 2020. So, kailan nila matatanggap ‘yan dapat? January 15?

SEC. PANELO: Ah, hindi ko alam ang parteng iyon.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Fifteen ba iyong suweldo ng government?

USEC. ROCKY: 15-30

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: 15-30. So dapat 15 mayroon na?

SEC. PANELO: I do not know the immediate implementation of this law—

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: If it’s effective January 1st, so…

SEC. PANELO: Hindi, nandoon iyon sa batas eh. I haven’t seen the law itself.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Correct sir – January 1, 2020. So, puwede bang mag-asa na sila na by the 15th mayroon na?

SEC. PANELO: Ayoko silang umasa. I haven’t seen the law, kasi nandoon iyong sa batas eh kung kailan effective.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Iyong first tranche nga sir 1 – January 1, 2020. So kailan iyon?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi ko nga… Hindi ko pa—it is in the law itself and I haven’t read it.

TINA MENDEZ/PHILIPPINE STAR: Pero—so what is definite is, effective January 1 iyong effectivity.

SEC. PANELO: What is definite is there is an increase in the salary grade – that is definite.

MPC: You can’t say when?

SEC. PANELO: Eh, darating iyon.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, regarding Iraq and Iran ‘no. The latest statement by the US President, he said that Iran appears to be standing down ‘no. Ibig sabihin they might not be—

SEC. PANELO: Good news! Good news for all of us. If the conflict has deescalated instead of escalating, then that’s good news for everyone especially for our overseas workers. But nevertheless, the move to evacuate and repatriate is still going on.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: With regard to what country is safe?

SEC. PANELO: Iraq and Iran, and most likely Libya—or Lebanon ba iyon? Lebanon.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Okay sir, so just to be clear about it: Tuloy iyong evacuation – Iraq, Iran, Lebanon.

SEC. PANELO: Yes, unless the de-escalation reaches a point where the safety of our countrymen are no longer in peril.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Okay sir, thank you.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: Sir, can you explain what will be the strategy of the government in evacuating the OFWs in Middle East? I mean, once ba na nag-express na iyong OFW that they want to leave the country, they can be easily bring to other countries. Is it like that or—

SEC. PANELO: What I know is that there is a place where they will have to be evacuated, not repatriate kaagad. Iyon ang alam ko. For those who would want, kasi you cannot also force our overseas workers if they prefer to stay like in Iran where they’re married to Iranians.

MARICEL HALILI: I mean, sir is there any—halimbawa may nag-express na isa, can you easily evacuate iyong nag-iisang iyon or do you have to wait for, let say 25 or 10 Filipinos?

SEC. PANELO: I do not know the mechanics. I have to consult Secretary Bello on that.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir comment lang ng mga devotees’, mukhang medyo parang mahigpit iyong pulis natin this year. Kasi they were saying na mga naka-combat boots, tapos parang may mga areas that they were not allowed to go near the Nazareno?

SEC. PANELO: May mga naka-combat boots iyong mga devotees?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Hindi sir, iyong mga police po and that cause several—some injuries to the devotees, with regard to the—iyong latag ng security ng PNP. Do you think –some of them or at least think na medyo parang—medyo mahigpit, what’s your comment on it?

SEC. PANELO: Well, the PNP is certainly asked to undertake measures that will provide for the safety of those devotees. It may be strict, but the goal is to protect them from any harm.

TINA MENDEZ/PHIL STAR: Sir related sa security. We noticed that there is tightened security inside the Malacañang compound today compared to yesterday and the Presidential Guards are in full combat uniform, Is there a threat at all?

SEC. PANELO: None that I know of, unless that is becomes standard.

FRANCIS: Sir, water issue lang. May update po ba tayo sa kontrata na dina-draft?

SEC. PANELO: Wala pa, sabi ni Secretary Guevarra, it may take six months because there are many matter that have to be discussed and completed.

FRANCIS: Six months ang parang time table na binigay ni Secretary Guevarra, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Iyon ang sabi niya eh.

FRANCIS: Sir, comment lang po sa banner ng Tribune po na allegedly Maynilad, Manila Water and MWSS colluded for profits, that is why masyado raw tumaas ang–

SEC. PANELO: Would what?

FRANCIS: Nag-collude daw ang MWSS, Manila Water and Maynilad.

SEC. PANELO: Nag-collude?

FRANCIS: Yes, sir para tumaas ang profit nila.

SEC. PANELO: Aling tatlo.

FRANCIS: MWSS, sir kasama po.

SEC. PANELO: What is apparent to the President is that there has been a conspiracy between certain parties to commit this colossal fraud and rip-off. That is what is certain. Who are involved in this conspiracy is another matter and if we find out who they are, then the law has to take its course. Regardless of who are involve.

Let me comment by the way by a statement I read about when Secretary Guevarra mentioned that it might take 6 months to complete the contract. Some of those concessionaires stated that it may affect the service because no banks, loans are forthcoming, nabasa ko iyon eh. Sabi ko, may reaction is, excuse me, you have reeked billions of profits during the years from 1997 up to the present, what do you need loans for? You have the money in your pocket.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Sir, once the new contracts are completed, will Malacañang publicized these documents?

SEC PANELO: As soon as the contract is given to them and they accepted it or decline it, then we will have the necessary publication.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Kasi ito po iyong sinasabi ng Bayan Muna, Malacañang should first publicized the supposed water concession agreements to make sure that there are no longer onerous provisions in the new deal and it is not exude for group and individuals closed to the President, sabi ni Bayan Muna representative Carlos Zarate.

SEC PANELO: Ito namang si kaibigang Congressman Zarate, kaya nga nagkagulo diyan dahil may onerous provisions, kaya nga ayaw ni Presidente, huwag kang mag-aalala wala lahat iyan.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Sir, balik po doon sa mandatory evacuation, May mga OFWs po particularly sa Baghdad na humihingi ng tulong sa gobyerno kasi apparently, hindi daw po sila pinapayagan na umalis sa kanilang mga employers, iyon iba pinapagbayad pa ng as much as 8,000 US dollars bago sila pakawalan. So, what will the government do to help these OFWs sir?

SEC PANELO: I will leave that to Secretary Bello because he is the one in charge.

JULIE: Sir, pa-clarify lang po. May statement po si Secretary Bello earlier today na sabi niya the Filipinos in Iran and Lebanon are no longer covered by the mandatory repatriation. Ang required na lang daw po is iyong mandatory evacuation for OFWs in Iraq. So ano po iyong –puwede pong palinaw noon sir, may kinaibahan po ba iyong repatriation sa evacuation?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi ko alam iyon, iha. I have to ask Secretary Bello, why. Bago sa akin iyon. Mayroon ba kayong signal, pati Globe wala rin?

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