Press Briefing

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

Event Press Briefing
Location New Executive Building, Malacañang

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

SEC. PANELO: Good afternoon, MPC. I’m ready if you are…

CHONA YU/RADIO INQUIRER: Sec., kahapon po nag-meeting sina Health Secretary Duque and DFA. Any update to that… doon sa meeting kung anong naging recommendations nila kay President?

SEC. PANELO: Wala naman, iyong kung ano ‘yung sinabi niya ‘yun na ‘yun.

CHONA YU/RADIO INQUIRER: Did he recommend doon sir sa pag-repatriate sa mga Filipinos who are in Wuhan City?

SEC. PANELO: Si Secretary Duque? Wala akong narinig. Basta ang sabi niya, “‘Pag kailangan na, eh ire-repatriate natin.” Pero teka muna, alam mo mahirap din iyong repatriation kasi mayroon ding—ang Chinese government hindi nila pinapaalis iyong mga tao doon eh, to contain. Mayroon na nga silang mga… stopping certain flights from Wuhan. ‘Di ba ini-stop nila iyong pag-alis at pagpasok.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: Sir, you mentioned na baka nga may konting issue on possible repatriation efforts because—

SEC. PANELO: Because may travel restrictions din ang Chinese government.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: But as far Malacañang—for Malacañang, do you the need for it? I mean, disregarding whatever challenge—

SEC. PANELO: Even if we want to repatriate them if there is a restriction on travel there, what can we do?

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: Okay. Now sir, there have been increasing confirmed cases of the Corona Virus in different countries. Although wala pa dito, is there any effort or plan to maybe create a task force or a team to manage itong—the situation?

SEC. PANELO: What I know is si Commissioner Morente, mayroon siyang inisyung direktiba regarding the visa upon arrival policy, sinuspend niya iyon – that’s partially to restrict travel. So wala pa siyang—according to him, wala pa akong nakukuhang directive from the Office of the President or the Department of Health to make it permanent.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: Again, but a specific team to manage the situation or maybe assign a point person to make sure that the situation in the Philippines, you know, is managed, talagang—

SEC. PANELO: I think the Department of Health is managing it quite well.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: Okay, thank you sir.

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Sir, if ever po na i-recommend ng DOH and DFA iyong repatriation, given that you said that it could be quite difficult to repatriate dahil nga sa lockdown sa Wuhan. Would the Palace recommend again and would you recommend to the President na not to push through even if ni-recommend siya ng DOH and DFA?

SEC. PANELO: Kung iyon ang rekomendasyon ng DOH, the President will consider it.

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: As far as we’re concerned sir, halimbawa given na may restrictions sa Wuhan ‘di ba tapos—

SEC. PANELO: Kung may restriction, what can we do?

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: So, powerless iyong Philippines—

SEC. PANELO: Kasi unang-una, kaya nila nire-restrict para hindi mag-spread. Eh kung kukunin din natin at papapasukin dito, eh baka naman mag-spread naman dito sa atin. So, we have to be very cautious.

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Okay, sir. So ibig sabihin sir, walang kapangyarihan iyong Philippines right now to have government-to-government talks to get the Filipinos out of Wuhan kung iyon ‘yung magiging rekomendasyon?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi ‘yung kapangyarihan kundi that can be threshed out in a formal talk with respect to that. But we must consider the health issue on the spread. Ano bang mas makakabuti, they’ll stay there for awhile until the crisis is over or we’ll get them and bring them here and open the possibility of spreading it here?

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: How about sir the possibility of repatriating Filipinos from countries na affected by the Corona Virus? Is the Palace more open to that? Kumbaga iyong countries na wala namang lockdown.

SEC. PANELO: Pag-aaralan lahat ‘yan kasi nga bringing them here might also open to spreading the disease unnecessarily. Pag-aaralan lahat ‘yan, kung ano ‘yung makakabuti.

ROSALIE COZ/UNTV: Sir, can we have a general statement from the Palace na i-discourage muna iyong mga Filipinos to travel any part sa China since marami nang area iyon pong nag-spread na po ‘yung virus ng Wuhan?

SEC. PANELO: I will ask the President this afternoon if he is going to issue such statement.

ARIANNE MEREZ/ABS-CBN NEWS.COM: Sir, last Friday sabi n’yo po nag-request si Ambassador Sung Kim ng meeting with ES?

SEC. PANELO: Ah hindi ko alam kung natuloy sila, wala akong balita doon. I will ask ES.

ARIANNE MEREZ/ABS-CBN NEWS.COM: And then sir, iyong sa Coronavirus lang, sir. I understand na sinuspend na iyong visa on arrival for Chinese nationals. What about for other—

SEC. PANELO: Sinuspend.

ARIANNE MEREZ/ABS-CBN NEWS.COM: What about for other countries, sir, na may confirmed cases ng Coronavirus?

SEC. PANELO: That goes without saying kung meron din, ganundin ang gagawin ng Immigration Commissioner.

ARIANNE MEREZ/ABS-CBN NEWS.COM: I re-restrict din natin, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Sa tingin ko.

Q: Kahit US?

SEC. PANELO: Eh kahit na anong bansa kung meron ba eh.

ARIANNE MEREZ/ABS-CBN NEWS.COM: Is this a policy na sir from—is this a policy statement or kino-consider pa lang?

SEC. PANELO: What I am saying is: if the Commissioner think that particular policy endangers the safety of our people, then logically it will apply to other countries that may have the same disease being spread.

ARIANNE MEREZ/ABS-CBN NEWS.COM: So sir right now, is the Palace recommending that?

SEC. PANELO: No! We are waiting for the recommendation of the DOH and the World Health.

TINA MENDEZ/PHIL. STAR: Sir, has the Palace coordinated with Ambassador Sta. Romana regarding the real situation of Filipinos in China?

SEC. PANELO: The Ambassador is communicating with the Secretary of Foreign Affairs regarding that.

TINA MENDEZ/PHIL. STAR: Kasi there are OFWs sending messages to their families here that they are being locked inside the condominium units of their employers and not allowed to go home?

SEC. PANELO: Because of the disease?

TINA MENDEZ/PHIL. STAR: Yes.

SEC. PANELO: Eh kung because of the disease, that’s for their own safety.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, suppose a Filipino family or Filipinos want to go home to the Philippines. Kasi, I think si Senator Go said there is 50 from Wuhan who wanna go home. So, what are we going to do about it?

SEC. PANELO: If we can bring them here, then we will bring them here. We will have to do some protocols to make sure that if they have the disease they will not spread them.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Okay, we will bring them home?

SEC. PANELO: If it is possible given the restrictions being given by the Chinese government.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir sa Senate, I think there’s an investigation on the POGO industry and one of the angles there is dumadami daw po iyong prostitution because of the proliferation of the POGO?

SEC. PANELO: Then we will have that investigated. If that is true, then we have to do something about it.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Like what, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Like stopping prostitution and arresting those who are involved in it.

HENRY URI/DZRH: Secretary, iyong sa mga evacuees lang sa Taal na bumalik na ng bahay. Marami hong umaapela sa Pangulo na mabigyan sila ng… ngayon, maayos uling tahanan sapagkat nasira, nagiba na iyong mga bahay nila at iyong iba ay ayaw nang bumalik kung maaari doon sa lupa kung saan sila nakabili ng bahay. Meron na bang update po doon sa paglilipatan sa kanila, saan na po ito dadalhin lalo na po iyong Pulo, iyong Taal lake area, saan na sila dadalhin, saan sila i-e-evacuate?

SEC. PANELO: Vice Governor Leviste has issued a statement that they are addressing that concern. In fact they are preparing to transfer them to two places, I forgot the place; also if I remember right, Palawan has also offered to bring them to the province. There are two—basta nabasa ko iyon eh. They are open to it.

HENRY URI/DZRH: Pero as far as the President, the Palace is concerned, ano ho ang plano ng Pangulo sa kanila?

SEC. PANELO: Eh iyon na nga, kung iyong dalawang lugar ay nag-o-offer na, ano pa bang gusto mong … ia-assist mo na lang sila in their evacuation.

HENRY URI/DZRH: Walang identified na bayan o probinsya ang Palasyo kung saan?

SEC. PANELO: Mayroon. I don’t remember the two places pero may binanggit si Vice Governor Leviste – dalawang lugar.

HENRY URI/DZRH: Was it initiated by—

SEC. PANELO: Ang sabi niya, ang priority nila ay iyong nasa seven kilometer radius.

HENRY URI/DZRH: Opo. Who initiated that, the LGU of Batangas or the Palace mismo?

SEC. PANELO: The local governments, kasi sila ang mas ano doon eh, mas nakakaalam.

HENRY URI/DZRH: Wala pang direktiba ang Pangulo about it?

SEC. PANELO: The President’s directive is always to secure their safety. So necessarily, all the appropriate agencies will respond the directive.

HENRY URI/DZRH: Okay. So ano ang sagot ng Palasyo doon sa mga nananawagan at humihingi ng tulong sa Pangulo na bigyan—

SEC. PANELO: Tinutulungan na nga sila ng local governments eh. So their concerns have been addressed.

HENRY URI/DZRH: But they are specifically asking for help from the President?

SEC. PANELO: Eh ano pa ba—humihingi ka ng tulong sa Presidente, kung binigay na iyong tulong sa iyo ng local government, ano bang kailangan gawin ni Presidente? Kung may kulang pa, doon papasok si Presidente. But meanwhile, we are assisting in the evacuation.

HENRY URI/DZRH: So you’re assuring—

SEC. PANELO: Oh definitely, yes. Like pagdating sa transportation, kung kulang, nandiyan ang military to help them.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, sa NCoV lang po. Iyon pong mayor ng Olongapo, hinihingi niya sa SBMA to stop iyong arrival ng isang cruise ship from Hong Kong tomorrow because of, you know, obvious fears. Papaano ba iyon, sir, pipigilan natin na dumating iyong—

SEC. PANELO: Sino bang … iyong mayor? Addressed to whom?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Iyong mayor asking the SBMA.

SEC. PANELO: Then, SBMA should consider it. Our primordial concern always is the safety and to stop the spread of the corona virus.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Should we stop the ship from arriving?

SEC. PANELO: Eh kung—is there a reason for stopping it. Why? Mayroon bang mga tao doon na may sakit, na afflicted? Eh kung wala naman, bakit mo naman iistapin.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So sir, kapag may afflicted, saka pa lang. But otherwise, you’re okay with the ship arriving—

SEC. PANELO: Eh kung wala namang sakit, ano ang magiging basis mo, legal basis mo to stop them from coming over.

HENRY URI/DZRH: Sir, balikan ko lang iyong sa corona virus. Wala bang advisory or directives ang Pangulo sa mga government officials na magta-travel sa China na pansamantala ay huwag na munang lumipad patungong China?

SEC. PANELO: Wala pa. Pero baka mamaya, I will directly ask him that question.

HENRY URI/DZRH: Oho. May mga LGU officials pa rin daw ba pumupunta ng China.

SEC. PANELO: I will ask him during the tête-à-tête, so that if he has any directive it will be stated immediately for compliance.

HENRY URI/DZRH: But do you think sa ngayon, hindi talaga muna dapat i-consider ang anumang seminars, business trips or whatever?

SEC. PANELO: Eh kung pagpunta mo roon you will opening yourself to the virus, eh bakit ka pa pupunta roon. And those who are intending to go there should think about their own health safety.

HENRY URI/DZRH: Okay. So sa mga pupunta at hindi mapigilan, what do you want to say?

SEC. PANELO: Pigilan nila ang sarili nila kung gusto nilang nasa mabuting kalagayan ang kalusugan nila. Kasi you’ll be exposing yourselves kung pupunta ka roon. Eh nagla-lockdown nga roon eh. Moreover, baka naman hindi sila makapasok din doon kung may restriction ang travels.

HENRY URI/DZRH: Kung sir, halimbawa may imbitasyon kayo, you yourself, will you go there?

SEC. PANELO: Eh di siyempre hindi ako pupunta.

HENRY URI/DZRH: From the Chinese President, from your counterpart?

SEC. PANELO: I will ask him to come here instead.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Sir, going back lang doon sa sabi ninyong we will investigate the prostitution. Who will spearhead the investigation, DOJ or Office of the President?

SEC. PANELO: PNP, kasi that’s a crime.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: And then, sir, doon sa tête-à-tête ninyo later, you mentioned corona virus kasama and also Taal. What other issues, national issues are to be tackled?

SEC. PANELO: Lahat ng issues of national concern.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Like, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Like VFA siguro, I’ll touch on that.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: What else, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Basta lahat. Magbigay kayo ng ano, itatanong ko. Give me some questions and I’ll relay the questions.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Water concession agreement, sir? Will that be part?

SEC. PANELO: Ano?

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Water concession agreements?

SEC. PANELO: Oo, siguro I’ll touch that.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Okay. Thank you, sir. Sir, magsu-submit kaming questions ha?

SEC. PANELO: Oo ba!

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Okay. Thank you, sir.

FRANCIS WAKEFIELD/DAILY TRIBUNE: Sir, kakapasok lang na balita.

SEC. PANELO: Uy… may bago ah!

FRANCIS WAKEFIELD/DAILY TRIBUNE: Hindi sir, may breaking—

SEC. PANELO: Ano ililibing na si Kob?

FRANCIS WAKEFIELD/DAILY TRIBUNE: Hindi, ‘yung mga employers daw ni—

SEC. PANELO: Kobe. Sino?

FRANCIS WAKEFIELD/DAILY TRIBUNE: ‘Yung employ—

SEC. PANELO: Employee?

FRANCIS WAKEFIELD/DAILY TRIBUNE: ‘Yung employers raw ni Filipina worker Jeanelyn Villavende has been formally charged with murder sa Kuwait po sir. Kuha lang kami ng comment, sir. ‘Yung employers nung slain Filipina worker?

SEC. PANELO: Eh ‘di okay ‘yun. Kasi ‘di ba ‘yun ang hinihingi natin – justice, na magdemanda sila. We welcome that.

FRANCIS WAKEFIELD/DAILY TRIBUNE: ‘Yung total ban, sir?

SEC. PANELO: ‘Yung alin?

FRANCIS WAKEFIELD/DAILY TRIBUNE: How about ‘yung total ban sa mga workers, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Ganun pa rin.

FRANCIS WAKEFIELD/DAILY TRIBUNE: Ganun pa rin, sir.

SEC. PANELO: Temporary ‘yung ban.

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Sir, ‘yung question lang po ni Henry kanina na about ‘yung plea ng mga residents ng Taal volcano for help from the President. You said na kung ano man ‘yung pagkukulang ng LGU doon mag-ii-step-in ang Malacañang. With that line, nag-request kasi si President Duterte ng supplemental budget from Congress precisely for the rehab, relocation of those affected by the eruption. Can the President compel na big part of that fifty billion will go for the Taal volcano residents themselves for their relocation? Will the President order that?

SEC. PANELO: As I said, ang palaging iniisip ni Presidente ‘yung safety ng mga kababayan natin. kung kinakailangan na maglagay ng pondo roon, maglalagay si Presidente.

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Does the President see the need for that right now?

SEC. PANELO: Tatanungin ko mamaya.

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Thank you, sir.

ROSALIE COZ/UNTV: Sir, patanong lang sa office regarding sa visa cancellations ni Senator Bato dela Rosa. Kasi yesterday you said US should have given us the reasons therefore nung pong visa cancellations. Is that not intrusion? Because you yourselves said when Hong Kong banned former Secretary Albert del Rosario and former Ombudsman Morales na prerogative po ‘yun nila.

SEC. PANELO: Oo, pero sinabi nila kung bakit.

MPC: [OFF MIC] No, they didn’t do it.

SEC. PANELO: They did not? Hindi… ang sinasabi ko kahapon ‘yung—pero alam ko sinabi nila ‘yun eh. Basta may nakausap ako ‘yun ang reason. Anyway, kasi dinemanda nga nila si… si Presidente ng Tsina eh! What I’m saying is we stated why we’re banning the senators from coming here as a matter of courtesy. And among allies, courtesy also requires – we’re not demanding – but as a matter of courtesy, sinabi rin sa atin. Especially because it happened prior to the approval of that amendment.

MPC: [OFF MIC] (unclear)

SEC. PANELO: Yes.

TINA MENDEZ/PHILIPPINE STAR: So, why is Senator Bato so special that the US Government deserves the—parang an explanation is needed why his visa was—

SEC. PANELO: Hindi naman siya ang humihingi ng explanation ah.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: [OFF MIC] Why is the Palace asking?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi… courtesy lang ‘yung atin kasi—

TINA MENDEZ/PHILIPPINE STAR: What’s so special with Senator Bato na—

SEC. PANELO: No, not special kasi sinabi natin when we banned the senators, we stated the reasons why. Oh, they’re banning also a senator! Pareho lang.

TINA MENDEZ/PHILIPPINE STAR: Nonetheless sir, si Senator Juan Ponce Enrile also Senator Gringo Honasan in previous years na ganiyan din ‘yung visa nila eh, na-invalidate pero—why so much fuss now?

SEC. PANELO: Eh, ang gobyerno noon hindi sila concerned; itong gobyernong ito concerned sa lahat ng ating mga kababayan. Tandaan mo, mga senador din ang bin-an (banned) natin eh and we told them exactly why we are banning them. So, dapat siguro as a matter of courtesy, sinabihan din tayo. Hindi niya nga alam kung bakit siya na-ban eh!

TINA MENDEZ/PHILIPPINE STAR: Sir, hindi ko lang alam kung—would you happen to know kung anong nauna? ‘Yun ban with—

SEC. PANELO: Nauna nga ‘yung ano… ‘yung cancellation.

TINA MENDEZ/PHILIPPINE STAR: Kay Bato bago sa senado—

SEC. PANELO: Bago ‘yung sa senado na-approve.

TINA MENDEZ/PHILIPPINE STAR: Hindi, before that ‘yung sa—Ah, okay. Thank you.

USEC. ROCKY: Okay. No more questions? Okay, no more questions. Thank you, Secretary Panelo!

SEC. PANELO: Thank you!

USEC. ROCKY: Thank you, MPC!

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