USEC. IGNACIO: Good morning, Malacañang Press Corps. Happy Monday. Let’s now have Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo. Good morning, sir.
SEC. PANELO: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the Malacañang Press Corps.
USEC. IGNACIO: Secretary, you have announcement first?
SEC. PANELO: The former Congressman Karlo Nograles will be taking his oath of office this afternoon as Cabinet Secretary.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, elaboration on Cong. Nograles. Why he was chosen to replace Sec. Evasco?
SEC. PANELO: He enjoys the trust and confidence of the appointing power, the President.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: When did the President decide to appoint him and select him?
SEC. PANELO: I think as early as two weeks ago.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, si Senator Honasan, some of his colleagues in the Senate have already confirmed that he is going to be the DICT Secretary. Any word on our part, sir?
SEC. PANELO: There is no confirmation yet. I have not received the confirmation.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: We have asked naman, sir, wala pang ano, kino-confirm?
SEC. PANELO: Baka mamaya during the … or tomorrow during the Cabinet meeting.
GENALYN KABILING/MANILA BULLETIN: Sir, the Department of Labor and Employment has announced the 25-peso wage hike increase for Metro Manila workers. May we get your statement? Do you think this is fair, or too low or too high for workforce?
SEC. PANELO: Well, there has been deliberation on wage board; and apparently, that’s the decision. So let’s see.
GENALYN KABILING/MANILA BULLETIN: Do you think this is enough for the workers to cope with rising prices?
SEC. PANELO: Perhaps as of—presently, that is what they found out, that’s enough. But I guess it’s always subject to change, depending on the economic conditions.
JULIE AURELIO/PDI: Sir, iyong tinatanong ko kahapon, iyong reign of terror daw na sabi ni Sister Fox. Puwedeng paki-expound po?
SEC. PANELO: Perhaps what she refers to is a reign of fear on the part of those who violate the law. They know for a fact that there is a reign of strict enforcement of the law against violators of the law. There is a reign of fear on the minds and hearts of those violators because they know that law is running after them.
JULIE AURELIO/PDI: So Sister Fox is siding with the violators, sir?
SEC. PANELO: Well, she was a violator, that’s precisely why she departed from this country. But that is not to say that we are not thankful of her services. As we have said, we are grateful for the good deeds she has performed. But that will not exempt her from the punishment imposed by law arising from violations of the same.
JULIE AURELIO/PDI: Would you say, sir, that Sister Fox still has any right or moral ascendency to issue statements about the Philippine government considering that she is back in her own country?
SEC. PANELO: Well, she is entitled to her opinion.
HENRY URI/DZRH: Secretary, anong particular na batas ang nilabag ni Sister Patricia Fox, very particular law if she violates any?
SEC PANELO: Well, first, as we said, all foreigners who stays in as a journalists in this country do not have political rights, and that includes the freedom of expression. They cannot be joining rallies and join the mass action and speak against the government – they cannot do that. They should be first become citizens of the land to enjoy such rights.
HENRY URI/DZRH: So, you think any particular person or group na pupunta rito, if she is a foreigner para umatend ng mga political activities, hindi talaga pupuwede. Do you have any warning for them?
SEC PANELO: We already issued a warning. We said that the departure of Sister Fox is a timely reminder for those foreigners who come here that they do not enjoy the same political rights as the citizens of the land.
INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS. Sir, how about the vacancy left by Francis Tolentino, mayroon na po bang kapalit?
SEC PANELO: More likely tomorrow since there is a Cabinet meeting, the President would be announcing certain appointees to the Cabinet.
INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS. Sir, how about the EO on your office – OPS, what’s the status?
SEC PANELO: No executive order yet. I think still under … it’s being processed.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, remember doon sa …when you were in Boracay with Secretary Guevarra, he said that for the policy of President Duterte that no casino should exist and operate in Boracay, there should be an executive order. Is there such a thing already?
SEC. PANELO: It will be coming from the Office of the Executive Secretary. I haven’t received any draft.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: But do you think – do you share the opinion that he has – the President has to issue an EO to actualize, to operationalize that policy sir – that no casino should operate in Boracay?
SEC. PANELO: I think, so yes.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Because?
SEC. PANELO: The policy of the President is there should be no gambling casino inside Boracay because he feels that this is a family thing. Families go there, and he doesn’t want that there will be gambling inside Boracay.
JULIE AURELIO/PDI: Sir, over the weekend, during the long weekend, DOT reported that there were some vacationers in Boracay who were seen partying, drinking on the beach, smoking. Do you think the government is not being taken seriously by the tourists who are coming back to Boracay after the rehabilitation?
SEC. PANELO: If that is true, then they will be facing charges. But I have not heard of any violation yet. I’ve been there, but I didn’t see them.
PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Sir, can we get the Palace reaction on the report of the South China Morning Post that China has opened weather stations on their artificial islands in the South China Sea, installed daw on the Kagitingan, Subi and Panganiban Reefs?
SEC. PANELO: We have to get confirmation of that since that is merely a news report.
PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Follow up, sir. Pero sir, if proven true, will the Philippine government file an objection?
SEC. PANELO: Certainly, the DFA will do its work and make the necessary diplomatic protest.
PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Is the government alarmed po over reports that there are many developments on the artificial islands already?
SEC. PANELO: Again, these are news reports; we have not validated that. But if they are validated, I’m sure the new Secretary of Foreign Affairs will do his job.
PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Will the DFA file an objection, sir?
SEC. PANELO: We will have to ask the DFA Secretary. I would not want to preempt.
NESTOR CORRALES/INQ.NET: Sir, you mentioned last week that the Philippines and China will be signing three joint exploration deals during the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping. Any update on these? Has the President seen the draft, or on what stage na po iyong exploration deal between China and the Philippines?
SEC. PANELO: We’re waiting for the DFA to furnish us the agreements, and then we will release the details.
NESTOR CORRALES/INQ.NET: But the President is aware of these—
SEC. PANELO: Certainly, he is. He is always aware. The President is always aware.
NESTOR CORRALES/INQ.NET: Ano pong mga exploration deals ito, sir?
SEC. PANELO: I haven’t seen the agreement so I’d rather wait for the details. And they will release the complete contents of the agreement.
JULIE AURELIO/PDI: Sorry, sir, ibabalik ko lang kay Sister Fox. Puwedeng paki-clarify, sir, what you meant when you said that foreigners have no political rights? Does this include, to say, they have no freedom of expression, no right to seek redress of grievances, etc.? Does this cover these fundamental rights? For example, they were aggrieved, wala silang karapatang mag-ano?
SEC. PANELO: Of course, they—if any person whether foreigner or citizen who is aggrieved, who has been subject of any violation of his or her rights will necessarily be … have the right to complain and to prosecute the violator.
JULIE AURELIO/PDI: Would you like to clarify sir, what political rights, you mean na walang karapatan iyong foreigners?
SEC. PANELO: Well, you cannot rally against the government – that is one.
JULIE AURELIO/PDI: Iyon lang sir, complain against the government. Pero other political rights, ano—
SEC. PANELO: You cannot join political parties – that’s another. You cannot be speaking on radio and television attacking the government, that’s another.
DHAREL PLACIDO/ABS-CBNnews.com: Hi, sir. Back in May, when we were asking former Spokesperson Harry Roque about the deployment of Chinese missiles in the South China Sea, he said that the Philippines was actually in the process of acquiring instrument or equipment to verify such reports. Do you have an idea what is the update on this?
SEC. PANELO: We will ask the Department of National Defense on that, as well as the National Security Adviser, and then we will release a statement.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: The President, sir, keeps on saying that there’s a right time to bring up the CPA ruling and to—
SEC. PANELO: CPA? What’s CPA?
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Court of Permanent Arbitral Tribunal, sir, CPA.
SEC. PANELO: Ah, arbitration.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: He’s always saying that there’s a time to raise it ‘no. But we’re nearing the half, we’re half-way through the Duterte administration, when do you think is the right time? Xi Jinping is coming this November, and do you think it’s the proper time to maybe assert based on that ruling, our rights over the area, sir?
SEC. PANELO: We’ll have to leave it with the President’s judgment on when and where the perfect time would be made. He has six years within which to do it. So as you said, we’re still only coming in the half of his term.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: But given the activities in the South China Sea sir, do you think it might be a little too late when the President decides to assert?
SEC. PANELO: I do not think so because the arbitrational award will be there forever.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Correct, and China is not respecting it, sir.
SEC. PANELO: China is what?
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Not respecting it, not acknowledging it.
SEC. PANELO: Well, it has its own reasons, and we have our own. And there will be a time for all of that.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: And it will not be too late?
SEC. PANELO: I don’t think so.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Because, sir?
SEC. PANELO: It can never too late when you protest on a particular thing, especially when the award is yours.
USEC. IGNACIO: Thank you, MPC. Thank you, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.
SEC. PANELO: Thank you.
SOURCE: PCOO – NIB (News and Information Bureau)