Press Briefing

Press Briefing of Presidential Spokesperson and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Secretary Salvador Panelo with other officials

Event Press Briefing
Location New Executive Bldg., Malacanang

ROCKY IGNACIO/PTV4: Magandang umaga Malacañang Press Corps at sa atin pong mga guests, nandito na po si Presidential Spokesperson and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo. Good morning, sir.

SEC. PANELO: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the press. I’m not supposed to be here, I cancelled my joining the President because I’m supposed to be sick. My voice shows it, I got clogged nose, sore throat and slight fever. But obviously I miss you dearly, so I’m here.

And we have guests, so—[nasaan na iyong listahan ng mga guest natin?] We have guest from DENR… [let me see… wala rito ah…]

ROCKY IGNACIO/PTV4: Sir, we have DENR Undersecretary Jonas Leones; DILG Assistant Secretary Jonathan Malaya; DOTR Assistant Secretary Mark De Leon; and, TIEZA Assistant COO Nestor Dimalanta ng Boracay.

SEC. PANELO: So, you can ask your questions directed to anyone of them. We can start…

ROCKY IGNACIO/PTV4: Sir, request lang po ng MPC, can we have… parang iyong question muna po addressed to the Spokesperson. Question MPC…

SEC. PANELO: By the way, later on the President might come in so we will have to cut the presscon, baka pumasok eh.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Good noon Sec. Panelo, sir. Sir, what’s the Palace view and position with regards to the Makati RTC Branch 148 ruling to the petition of the DOJ for warrant of arrest against Senator Trillanes, because the camp of the senator is claiming victory due to the said ruling by the court?

SEC. PANELO: Well, it’s one of a pyrrhic victory because if you noticed the court decided that the proclamation issued by the President is valid. They are claiming at the time that the President does not have the power to void any amnesty, and the court said he has.

Now, the court is saying that it cannot issue the warrant of arrest because of the principle of immutability of judgment. But I’m wondering why, because effectively that would mean it has no jurisdiction over the case. But then again the court took jurisdiction, and in fact the parties submitted their respective positions and evidence. Because if it has no jurisdiction, then the court should have dismissed outright the motion filed by the court and say that it has no jurisdiction.

Now I have gone over the decision… there are procedural matters decided by the court which to my mind are erroneous, how it accepted evidence despite the fact that they are all secondary evidence. So there are questions that can be properly raised in the Court of Appeals and subsequently doon sa Supreme Court.

What is important to my mind right now is that, our theory from the very start is that the President can void an amnesty granted to anyone – and that was upheld by the court. I’ve talked with the SolGen and he said he will not file a motion for reconsideration, but go immediately to the Court of Appeals and appeal the ruling of the court with respect to the issuance—or the non issuance of the warrant of arrest.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Sir, you are still confident that you are—you will be seeing a detained Trillanes in the future?

SEC. PANELO: Well as we said earlier, this administration will always observe the rule of law; any violation of any law, it is mandated to prosecute. We saw that there has been a violation in the grant of amnesty, and that is precisely why a proclamation was issued to declare its nullity. So until this is decided by the Supreme Court said we’re wrong, we will consistently make our stand that we are right.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Thank you, sir.

ROCKY IGNACIO/PTV4: Sir, basahin ko lang question from Pia Rañada: “Judge Andres Soriano concluded in his decision that Senator Antonio Trillanes IV indeed applied for amnesty and admitted guilt. This form the very basis of Proclamation No. 572, does the Palace still assert that Trillanes did not file for amnesty; if so, on what basis?”

SEC. PANELO: Precisely I was telling earlier that the court made that conclusion on the basis of secondary evidence which should have not been given due course. He said the issue was only to the existence and due execution of the document – I disagree, because the very issue is not only the due execution of the document, but the very contents itself. Did he really apply as provided by law? Did he really admit guilt? Did the document shows on its face, as well as the required narrative? Those are questions that should have been addressed by the court, but it said that it’s irrelevant because the only issue is the due execution and existence of the document.

Excuse me, I’m sorry. How would you know if he really applied if you don’t see the document itself and see for yourself if those forms are filed up to the letter and the required narrative of his participation was included therein. He admitted the testimony of one witness who certified that he issued a certification to the effect that he was granted amnesty and yet during the hearing he said that he made the certification only on the basis of a memorandum he read that there was such one. In other words, this is hearsay. He has no personal knowledge. But the court admitted that, and to my mind it is wrong.

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: Good afternoon, sir. How did the President react with that decision of the court?

SEC. PANELO: We have the same reaction, that what is important is the proclamation was there to declare to be a valid; and it was not in violation of the Constitution, that it’s purely an executive act; that it does not violate the equal protection of the law clause of the Constitution; that it is not a bill of attainder; that it does not encroach on the function of a coequal branch of government; that it does not require the concurrence of Congress – those were more important issues and questions addressed by the Court.

CELERINA MONTE/MLA SHIMBUN: So more or less what will be the basis of this appeal that the SolGen will be filing with the Court of Appeals?

SEC. PANELO: With respect to the conclusion that it cannot issue a warrant of arrest; and also the fact that he admitted secondary evidence and not primary evidence.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, in other words, you are saying… iyong position ninyo from the very start: where is the document? Iyon yun ano? And the court has not seen that, 148 has not seen that. So therefore, there is no application. That’s your point ‘no?

SEC. PANELO: Yes.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Okay. So how soon will you go file at the CA, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Very soon, because they are preparing already the petition in the Court of Appeals… to be filed at the Court of Appeals.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, louder please, sorry.

SEC. PANELO: The SolGen is already preparing the petition to be filed

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So, right now, we have two different interpretations – appreciation of evidence, 148 and 150. How do we resolve this, sir?

SEC. PANELO: The Court, the higher courts will have to resolve it… they have to resolve that.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: CA you mean ‘no.

SEC. PANELO: CA and then eventually the Supreme Court.

LLANESCA PANTI/MLA TIMES: Good morning, sir. Last na lang doon sa Trillanes case. What makes this appeal worth it considering that the amnesty has also been granted to other mutineers and other soldiers in the past, kahit iyong mga nagkudeta during the presidency of Corazon Aquino. What makes this case of Senator Trillanes worthy of an appeal? Kasi, sir it appears that the administration is prepared to go all the way to the Supreme Court to get a favorable ruling.

SEC. PANELO: You must remember that out of all the amnesty applicants, only Trillanes’ grant of amnesty was questioned from the very start. Two years ago, you were the one who raised that issue to me and I said, since there were questions being raised, let us evaluate if its indeed there was erroneous grant of amnesty; and that was what happened. And even the court said the Proclamation refers only to Trillanes. And since we said from the very start that this administration will prosecute anyone and correct any violation of law, that is why we are pursuing this to the end.

CELERINA MONTE/MLA SHIMBUN: Sir, regarding the pag-convene ng military tribunal, will there be any plan for that after this decision of the RTC?

SEC. PANELO: From what I gather, even prior to the issuance of the decision of the Court, the military said it was going to reconvene the court martial.

CELERINA MONTE/MLA SHIMBUN: It will reconvene?

SEC. PANELO: Yes.

CELERINA MONTE/MLA SHIMBUN: How soon?

SEC. PANELO: Then, you will have to address that to the person’s concerned.

CELERINA MONTE/MLA SHIMBUN: Is that the directive of the President being the Commander-in-Chief?

SEC. PANELO: No. As we said repeatedly, the President will allow all offices and branches to their thing. So, he will leave them to their best.

CELERINA MONTE/MLA SHIMBUN: So most likely, pag reconvene na itong military tribunal, Senator Trillanes will be detained in Aguinaldo, tama po ba?

SEC. PANELO: We will be speculating, we don’t even know if they are going to reconvene or not, until such time—

CELERINA MONTE/MLA SHIMBUN: You just mentioned that—

SEC. PANELO: No. They said that was their intention, now whether they are going to do it or not, remains to be seen.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Sir on other topics. Is Malacañang supporting the call of labor groups to increase the minimum wage in Metro Manila, inkresan (increase) daw po ng P334. The ALO-TUCP cites in their petition the rising inflation rate. What’s the Malacañang stand on this?

SEC. PANELO: You know, our wage board and this wage board will determine after accepting evidence on both sides, whether or not there is a need for an increase. So the Palace will respect whatever the decision of the wage board is.

ROICES /TV5: Hi, sir. Any directive from the President doon sa nangyari sa Sagay City iyong pagka-massacre po doon sa siyam na magsasaka or sugarcane farmers. Meron po bang utos ang Pangulo?

SEC. PANELO: Yes, the directive is to investigate it. That is why precisely he is going there to see the situation and to condole with the families of the victims.

ROICES/TV5: Sir, apparently, hindi yata ito iyong first time na na-harass or nagkaroon ng ganitong incident sa mga magsasaka na humihingi ng lupa under the CARP Law and apparently iyong Hacienda Nene na iyon is not part of CARP, hindi daw po siya sakop. Ano po siguro—iyong tanong po kasi is ano raw po iyong maitutulong ng government? Because apparently, according to DAR, marami pa pong mga lupa na available na puwedeng ibigay, but then marami pa pong mga kababayan, mga magsasaka na wala pa ring nakukuhang lupa until.

Meron po bang siguro gagawin ang Palasyo para mapabilis man lang iyong proseso ng pagbibigay po ng lupa doon sa mga magsasaka?

SEC. PANELO: Last night, he mentioned to me when we were talking in Davao that he will implement fully the agrarian reform even if it includes properties of the government. That is what he said to me. Most likely he may make an announcement later.

ROICES/TV5: Sir, just reaction. Sabi po ng ICC patuloy pa rin po iyong preliminary examination nito sa Duterte administration sa drug war kahit po nag-withdraw na ang Pilipinas sa ICC.

SEC. PANELO: Again, we will repeat what we said. First we did not withdraw, that so called withdrawal was a mere notice to the ICC that we have not become a member of that organization at the very inception because the Rome Statute was never enforced as a law in this country, it has no jurisdiction over us.

And even their position now that preliminary examination—even assuming that we are bound by the Rome Statute, even assuming that the ICC has jurisdiction, their stance that preliminary examination will proceed despite… assuming that there is a withdrawal, is wrong. Because the very Rome Statute says it will presume preliminary investigation, not preliminary examination. In other words, ICC is violating its own rules and provisions.

LLANESCA PANTI/MANILA TIMES: Para mabilis na lang, sir, dalawahin ko na. Sir, can you confirm lang iyong mga new nominees for National Artist kasi may mga lumabas na initial names. Can you confirm if these are the individuals—

SEC. PANELO: What I know is that there were names submitted. I do not know exactly who the names are.

LLANESCA PANTI/MANILA TIMES: Sir, submitted ba iyong name ni Ms. Nora Aunor po?

SEC. PANELO: I don’t know about the Ms. Nora Aunor. Ang alam ko lang ay maraming names doon.

LLANESCA PANTI/MANILA TIMES: Sir, last from my end. Sir, Facebook shot down some pages po supportive of the President because of spam content and violations of other regulations po ng Facebook on authenticity. Do you think this reflects on the support, kind of supporters that the President have?

SEC. PANELO: Not necessarily. Facebook must have its rules and regulations. If they are implementing that, then that’s their own rule.

Now, if the concern is, there will be no more avenues, there are so many avenues. We have Twitter, Instagram and many others where the advocates can express themselves in support of this administration.

Oh by the way, speaking of Facebook, you know that I exposed to you a scam on my Facebook account. Two days ago, again there’s a mayor from Cagayan who was complaining that another one was communicating with this mayor and as if I was the one communicating with him. That he was included in the drug list and so, therefore, he has to give some money so that his name would be removed. And yesterday, the exchange relayed to me and it says, ‘I’m opening an account, and the name is Kim Arogante in Cebu Branch BDO. And please deposit the 100,000.’ But at least, this time—because the last two victims didn’t have the common sense to call me, this time, this mayor said he doubted it because in the first place he said, I don’t think Panelo will be speaking in Filipino in communicating with a mayor. Second is that, this is not his style. So I did not deposit.

But just the same, I called the NBI Director and gave him the facts and so they are on it now. So let me forewarn again the public, please, all your friends who have Facebook accounts, before you even consider communicating with anybody who pretends to be that Facebook owner, you call, call them. Call us.

RALPH VILLANUEVA/MANILA TIMES: Sir, will the Palace support Speaker Arroyo’s proposal to pull the Philippines out of the Inter-parliamentary Union po?

SEC. PANELO: Well, from the very start, our position is: No international human rights organization has jurisdiction over us. They have been giving conclusions even prior to the investigations and they’ve been besmirching this country; that is precisely why we do not want them to be doing that. And I support the call of Speaker Arroyo.

You know, the Inter-parliamentary Union, they came here and investigated De Lima, and I think si Senator Trillanes. And then they made a finding that it seems to them that there was a violation of human rights, that no due process was given to them. And yet—in effect they’re saying that our judicial system is not functioning.

In effect they are saying that the court that has acquired jurisdiction over De Lima was wrong in determining probable cause. And there’s ongoing trial, and then they are saying already that, ‘No, they were not given fair trial.’

They’ve been giving pre-judgments. And to our mind, that’s an intrusion, an insult, offensive to the decency of this country, as well as an intrusion to our sovereignty.

RALPH VILLANUEVA/MANILA TIMES: Sir, this is the Palace’s stance po ‘no, hindi po personal stance?

SEC. PANELO: No, it’s the Palace’s stance. Ever since this is the stance of the President. We’ve been hearing him making speeches in the same tone.

USEC. LEONES: Secretary Sal, members of the inter-agency, members of the press, a pleasant good afternoon to everyone. My only statement is that the inter-agency is already ready to open Boracay by Friday, October 26. Some safeguards have already put in place.

And in terms of addressing major environmental problems in Boracay, we are optimistic and confident that these issues were already resolved by the inter-agency. Although, we can say that we’re not yet hundred percent complete, but we’re going to that direction. And at least we can say that at least we are now 80% restoring the pristine beauty and original situation of Boracay Island.

ASST. COO DIMALANTA: Good afternoon po, Secretary, and good afternoon everyone. The project of TIEZA in Boracay is the expansion of the drainage system, Phase 2. And we are on schedule as of today. And we’ll finish the project by the end of 2019.

ASEC. MALAYA: Let me just say that the DILG is pleased to be working very closely with the other members of the Boracay Inter-agency Task Force. And we conducted an inspection last week during the dry-run. And we are happy with the progress that has been in Boracay. Of course, there’s a lot that remains to be done. But given the time that was given to us by the President, I think a lot of improvement has been done. And the Filipino people will see that when the island opens to the rest, to everybody else this coming October 26.

Now, in relation to this, we’re not only looking at Boracay; we’re also looking at other beach destinations in the country. The Secretary, Eduardo Año, issued a memorandum circular for all of our field officials across the country to monitor the compliance of all island resorts and beach tourism destinations with environmental laws, ordinances and other pertinent laws. Meaning, there has been a lot of reports already that other parts of the country, in particular beach destinations, are also having problems with compliance with local laws and environmental laws. So we directed our field personnel to take a look at the provincial city and municipal ordinances relative to environmental conservation, building, construction and easement regulation. Also, the status of sewerage treatment facilities, status of power and water supply service capacity, and the status of the zoning ordinance and comprehensive land use plan.

Meaning, we’re not—of course, we’re focused on Boracay but we’ll also like to take a look at the other places in the country. And this we’d like to do in cooperation also with the other government agencies. Thank you.

ASEC. DE LEON: Good noon, everyone. Unknown to many, while DENR, DILG, and DPWH are rehabilitating the island, DOTr in cooperation with the LTFRB, will be improving the transportation system of Boracay. And we have a very short audio-video of this project.

[AVP]

ASEC. DE LEON: Sec., that is the presentation of DOTr and LTFRB.

So basically we’re solving the problem of—those who are familiar of Boracay, common knowledge is the overcharging of fares of the tricycle drivers. Some tourists complaint charging of 100 to 150 pesos per ride sa mga tricycles; and with this new system ‘no, we will be using an app where all of the passengers will be able to pay their rides through this wristband or tap card system. So you will just pay one daily pass or a weekly pass. You’ll just pay an amount, you can ride all you can. So you don’t need to bring in your cash or you don’t need to haggle your fare to the drivers, just tap the card or the wristband. And it will solve a lot of problems, it will solve congestions. It is very popular that this tricycle drivers just stand around the corners of the road ‘di ba waiting for passengers and if they actually promote iyong congestion in the already congested roads of Boracay.

So by doing this system, we are providing efficiency, we are providing reliability, we are providing convenience to the passengers. So that’s the transportation ‘Hop-on Hop-off’ system of DOTr-LTFRB.

HENRY URI/DZRH: Good afternoon ho… the DENR. Kamusta na ho iyong plano ng Pangulong Duterte na ipamigay sa mahihirap iyong mga lupain sa Boracay?

USEC. LEONES: Salamat sa katanungan. Sa ngayon po ang status po ng pag-distribute ng land, the DENR and the DAR has been closely coordinating with each other. In fact, based on our records, the DENR has already transferred the approximately 8 hectares of land to the DAR for distribution. But based on my updates this morning with the DAR, they are now preparing… parang tenurial instruments doon, parang CLOA o Certificate of Land Ownership Agreement. But they are still evaluating the status of the land. Kasi the inventory of the IPs, the indigenous peoples there, may mga 31 na pamilya kasi iyong bibigyan doon, so they are still discussing within the DAR how to undertake iyong distribution. Sa ngayon the DAR has not given us updates but the land is already available for distribution. It is a matter of determining how the process will be undertaken.

HENRY/DZRH: Para po sa mga umaasa, kailan po ito maipamimigay sa kanila?

USEC. LEONES: Siguro within the week, the DAR will be giving updates. Kasi ang instruction po ng ating Pangulo ay madaliin na. In fact there is a presidential directive received by our office, directing us to facilitate and… iyong distribution ng land. So siguro pinag-uusapan lang para hindi naman magkagulo din, within the week there will be developments—

HENRY/DZRH: Puwede na po ba naming ibalita na bago magpasko ay maipamamahagi na ang mga lupaing ito?

USEC. LEONES: Sa palagay ko naman masyado nang matagal iyong pasko, because during the last Cabinet meeting daw, we received a directive that they need to report regular updates to the OP regarding the distribution of these lands.

HENRY/DZRH: One question for DOTr. Napansin ho namin naka-tie up na iyong Grab doon po sa inyong projects sa Boracay. Ano pong eksaktong partisipasyon ng Grab?

ASEC. DE LEON: They will be provided the franchise to operate jeepneys that will operate in Boracay.

HENRY/DZRH: Kung sakali pong may lumutang na issues against sa inyo na baka may conflict of interest dito sapagka’t may mga usaping kinakaharap ang Grab, I understand sa inyo pong tanggapan, paano po ninyo ito sasagutin?

ASEC. DE LEON: It will be treated separately, iyong conflict of interest, hiwalay iyan sa pag-o-operate nila nitong jeepney system in Boracay.

HENRY/DZRH: Alright, thank you.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Sir, regarding doon sa bagong jeep po, paano siya makakatulong doon sa—iyong pagli-limit natin ng capacity noong isla. And another question: Ito na po ba iyong talagang magiging transportation doon, lahat ng tricycles bawal na sa island?

ASEC. DE LEON: Actually, the transport system is a combination of a fixed route jeepney ‘no, may fixed route… jeepney routes. It will be a total 0f 50 jeepneys which will operate in Boracay, then around 500 e-trikes to provide point to point service. So it will be a combination, it will be an integrated system wherein iyong tap card mo na ginagamit sa jeepney can also be used doon sa e-trike. What it will do is iyong mga tao instead of—they are currently riding now iyong mga habal-habal. So instead of hailing iyong mga habal-habal, which are very irregular or sabihin na nating illegal, they will just use this organized system. Franchise ito, may franchise and fixed fare. Sinasabi ko nga, you just need to pay an amount, a daily amount or a weekly pass wherein you can ride all you can. Kung daily pass, ibang kulay lang iyong wristband, kapag weekly pass, you just pay an extra amount. And what’s beautiful about this project is it will have discounts and—to senior citizens, even free to PWDs and mga children below 12 years old, free iyong ride.

And the proponent, in the coordination with Secretary Tugade, has promised free rides starting now up to December. So now up to December, we will have 4 units of e-jeeps, they will be bringing in another 4 more by December. So these jeepneys will provide free ride for the island.

JOYCE/DZMM: Going back to—iyong first part ng question ko. So how will this help sir, inyong monitoring ng capacity ng island kasi ‘di ba siyempre kailangan sila ang magsuot ng something ‘pag enter nila ng island o most probably sir kapag nag-open iyong island baka may mga mag-attempt na pumasok doon sa island kahit beyond the capacity na. So papaano makakatulong itong transportation system natin to avoid that?

ASEC. DE LEON: That monitoring system will be handled by… iyong interagency but not specifically doon sa transport system. But probably they will be using this system to ride on to that monitoring system. Kasi kapag may day pass ka, you can only use that day pass for that day lang.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: Hi sir, good afternoon. Bakit po hindi na lang gobyerno iyong nag-operate noong jeepney transportation doon? Bakit kailangan pa pong ipagawa ito sa Grab at hindi po ba puwedeng magtayo ng halimbawang transport cooperative para po doon sa mga residente, para magkaroon naman po sila ng hanapbuhay sa halip po na Grab na isang malaking kumpanya na?

ASEC. DE LEON: Actually ma’am, the companies that will operate this system is already in coordination with the coop, the existing coop – Boracay Land Transport Multi-Purpose Cooperative. So it will be a joint venture by the coop and this fleet management service company.

So to answer your question, there will be partnerships with the coop and in fact some tricycles will be provided to the Atis’ to provide some means of additional livelihood to them.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: Pero, may mga kasunod pa po iyon maliban po doon sa sampung binanggit ninyo?

ASEC. DE LEON: Depending on the results—the final passenger demand analysis ‘no. As we know na mayroon na tayong carrying capacity study, so depende ‘yan sa magiging ridership analysis natin. We might need additional units, so it will be a continuing study.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: Thank you.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Good afternoon, gentlemen. Siguro anybody from the task force. Sir practical advice lang, halimbawa turista ako or anyone, ano iyong una kong gagawin dahil nga sa limitasyon ng capacity ng turista sa Boracay, anong una kong gagawin: magpa-book sa hotel accredited or magpa-book sa airline? Kasi baka nag-book ako doon, pero pagdating ko doon hindi naman ako makasakay; magkaroon ng problema. Tapos pagdating ko naman wala na pala akong hotel, so…

USEC. LEONES: Salamat sa tanong. As of now, the DOT has released a list of complying/compliant hotels. As of last submission, there are already 115 hotels, compliant hotels approximately about 5,000 rooms. So ang suggestion namin diyan, before they—which is also the DOT, so the suggestion is before booking sa airlines, maganda magpa-book muna doon sa compliant hotels. Kasi puwede din naman na airlines muna kaya lang when they arrive doon sa Boracay and naka-book sila sa non-compliant hotels, we warned them that we will not be allowing them to open iyong hotel na ‘yan.

Mayroon naman din na tinayo ang DOT doon na parang counter or parang table doon that in case wala silang hotel, they can be assisted by the DOT to look for compliant hotels. But for ano naman, para naman medyo maayos din, ang suggestion ng DOT din before going to Boracay, maybe look for booking only in compliant hotels. Because based on inter-agency requirement, we will not be allowing hotels to operate unless they comply with the requirements of the DILG, DENR and the DOT.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Sir, kapag—last point, senaryo… okay. Nag-book ako doon sa accredited hotel, pero upon booking naman sa airline, fully booked na. Eh nag-down ako, nagbayad na ako doon sa hotel, so paano iyon?

USEC. LEONES: Usually ang ginagawa natin diyan, it’s very critical that malaman din ng publiko iyong carrying capacity result. Based doon sa carrying capacity result natin, iyong monthly arrival ng tourists, may mga peak months lang kasi eh – February, April and May. So siguro ang suggestion natin diyan sa public, they should be at least looking those months na hindi naman—iyong mga lean months lang, para naman—kasi kung magsasabay-sabay sa peak months, talagang mauubusan ka ng airlines, mauubusan ka rin ng hotels. Kaya nga maganda rin iyong result ng carrying capacity, because this can guide tourists and visitors when they should plan their visit to Boracay Island.

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: Several questions po. Sa DOTR: What will happen to those drivers who will be displaced? If there are any drivers who would be displaced, how many if ever; and what will happen also to the tricycles, to the habal-habal?

ASEC. DE LEON: Actually there will no displacement of tricycle drivers. The existing number of tricycles in Boracay is 500, so we’re maintaining that existing number of tricycles. We’re just replacing the units to electric tricycles. And in fact, we’ll be adding more drivers. The 50 units will be requiring more drivers, 15 units of the jeeps. So in fact, there will be additional employment for everybody. Aside from drivers, the operator will need a fleet management operators, maintenance operators… so there will be more jobs for everyone.

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: So, what will happen to the old habal-habal?

ASEC. DE LEON: Iyong habal-habal… we will remove the habal-habal, because it’s not allowed.

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: Ida-junk na sila or what?

ASEC. DE LEON: Hindi, ah—

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: Kasi they will not be given any franchise or permit to operate ‘di ba?

ASEC. DE LEON: Iyong habal-habal, iyong single motorcycle – hindi ‘yan allowed.

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: How about the tricycles also?

ASEC. DE LEON: The old tricycles that are not compliant ‘no, they will be shifted to another place, to the main island – iyon ‘yung agreement.

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: So, outside Boracay na?

ASEC. DE LEON: Yes.

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: Okay. Regarding naman po sa DENR. Sir so far, 8 hectares pa lang iyong na-identify na mapapamigay. Ano iyong target na… if ever na idi-distribute? Tataas pa ba iyon?

USEC. LEONES: Palagay ko iyon na iyong pinaka…

evaluation bumababa. The final figure now as submitted by the DENR and DAR is about 7.8 or 7 hectares… less than 8 hectares. Ito, nai-turnover na ng DENR sa DAR, and the DAR now is studying and evaluating the area on the feasibility of making this an agricultural area. Kasi ang mangyayari diyan, if we will distribute iyong ganoong kalaking hectares sa individual families, baka maliliit na lang ang makuha nila, so hindi na—magiging parang residential na ‘yan instead of agricultural area. So ito ngayon iyong tinututukan ng DAR, and perhaps sabi nga siguro before Christmas, the DAR can already resolve how to distribute these lands.

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: So sir, this 8 hectares will be distributed among the 31 families lang?

USEC. LEONES: Yeah…

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: Wala nang other recipients?

USEC. LEONES: Yeah. Because these are identified as the… mga original talaga eh, iyong mga IPs natin, and that is part of the directive of the President.

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: That is how many percent of the total land area of Boracay, iyong idi-distribute?

USEC. LEONES: Maliit lang, kasi iyong agricultural land based doon sa Proclamation 1064 is about mga 600 hectares lang eh; 600 hectares iyong A and D, iyong agricultural A and D. So out of the 600 hectares, mga 8 lang talaga iyong possible na puwedeng i-distribute.

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: Last, sa DILG po sir. Sir, you have mentioned that there are other areas na you’re checking if they are compliant already with the local laws. May we know if you are expecting any closure of any other tourist destination after Boracay? May ina-eye na ba kayo?

ASEC. MALAYA: Well, medyo mabigat na desisyon ‘yan. That will have to be in coordination with the Boracay Inter-agency Task Force ‘no, kasi ito na iyong parang working group diyan sa mga ibang lugar na ‘yan. And of course, that would also require presidential approval. So as of now, we really don’t have plans of shutting down any other beach destination in the country.

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: Pero alin iyong critical so far na tinitingnan ninyo na kailangang tutukan right now?

ASEC. MALAYA: Well in our discussions with DOT, we would like to take a look at Coron and El Nido, because we have been receiving reports of some problems in those areas.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: DOTr. Sir, tuloy ba iyong TAP? Last time we were there in TAP, tuloy iyon hindi ba?

ASEC. DE LEON: Yes, it will push through.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Okay, sige, sir. Anybody can answer. Water quality, sir, can we have the latest test results?

USEC. LEONES: Iyong ating… based sa water quality sampling na ginawa natin sa front beach, ito iyong papaliguan sana, we can safely say that they are already within the standard of class SB of the DENR. Meaning, it is already safe for swimming.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: And the (unclear) is?

USEC. LEONES: Maybe, I can give you later.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sa Bulabog part, sir?

USEC. LEONES: Sa Bulabog, doon medyo may kaunting problem pa, kaya nga we will not be allowing tourist to ano doon… muna, dahil medyo may problema pa iyong ano doon, iyong water quality doon.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: We will not allow what specifically, cause that’s a water activity site.

USEC. LEONES: Any sports activity or swimming pa doon, doon lang nagko-concentrate sa front beach muna.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Even if you open on the 26th?

USEC. LEONES: Front beach and the Puca beach.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Ok, sir. Some clarification. Meron yatang PCO, iyong Pollution Control Officers, na nanghuhuli… hindi naman nanghuhuli o nagsasaway ng mga Frisbee players and the locals didn’t like it, kasi parang discrimination, the kids’ have been there for the longest time and sinasaway siya. Ano talaga iyong policy?

USEC. LEONES: Ano iyong PCO again?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Pollution Control Officer.

USEC. LEONES: Usually ang sa guidelines ng DENR ang Pollution Control Officers wala naman silang enforcement at magbawal. Ang PCO is required under our guidelines sa DENR to make sure that the establishments or hotels will be complying with our environmental regulations, like for example in the—they should be complying with the requirements of the Clean Air Act, clean water, solid waste management. But we will check, kasi kung—hindi naman sila dapat iyon, dapat doon iyong mga patrollers doon siguro or citizens pero iyong PCO, I don’t think they have the right to stop.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Pero bawal ba iyong Frisbee?

USEC. LEONES: What is in in our guidelines – correct me if I am wrong, Asec ano – ang bawal doon iyong mga sports activities, plus there will be no partying there and then there will be no sand castle making, but then iyong mga simple mga laru-laro naman siguro, hindi naman siguro bawal iyon. Lalo na kung kids ang mag-aano, for as long as we cannot really—

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: These are competitive athletes ha, Frisbee.

USEC. LEONES: Frisbee parang hindi—palagay ko wala naman sigurong ano, wala namang masama doon, for as long as we cannot hurt anybody, baka mamaya makatama di…

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So, puwede iyon, sir. Iyong mga dogs, you have seen the video ano? Iyong mga dogs na hinuhuli kasi.

USEC. LEONES: Bawal na po iyon, based sa regulation sa last inter-agency meeting, mga pets, mga dogs will no longer be allowed roaming the front beach.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Kahit magpa-picture lang?

USEC. LEONES: Iyon ang sabi eh. Kasi nga medyo… iyon ang nasa guidelines, bawal iyong mga roaming na pets doon.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Status ng circumferential road, pagdating ba na, pag—open sir sa Cagban na tayo o sa front beach ang baba ng mga tourist?

USEC. LEONES: On October 26 we will be unveiling the Cagban Port, it will be a different facade, it’s a new facade, unlike with prior to the closure makikita kaagad natin iyong Petron, iyong police stations. But these structures were already removed and it will be a beautiful place or sabi nga ng DOTr hindi na magulo iyong daan doon, maganda-maganda, it will be a surprise from the inter-agency.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Status, sir, ng circumferential road?

USEC. LEONES: Iyong circumferential road, medyo ano pa, sa pinakita kanina, medyo hindi pa. Ang natatapos lang natin siguro iyong from Cagban Port to Hue Hotel, about 60% ng ano niyan and then from Hue Hotel to Elizalde property, about 60% din. Tapos iyong sa Bulabog portion, may mga mga 80% na iyong tapos diyan.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: But, sir from what you should be doing, ilang percentage nung circumferential road, kasi you mentioned 60, 80. But the whole project?

USEC. LEONES: Siguro mga nasa, I can say na based doon sa latest namin, mga about 70% na iyan. But the DPWH is – based on the last I heard interview of Secretary Villar – they can finish the road within the end of the year.

LLANESCA PANTI/MLA TIMES: Sir, do you confirm that Cabinet secretaries asked the Pagcor to revoke the licenses of all casino business in Boracay even those which are already operating prior to the closure?

USEC. LEONES: Based on the latest reports ‘no. The three secretaries, namely Secretary Cimatu as chair of the Boracay Interagency Task Force, Secretary Año of the DILG and Secretary Berna of DOT, had already written Pagcor requesting the cancellation or revocation of the license na inisyu nila.

Ang latest update eh, may mga existing casinos that have already submitted iyong certification that they will not operate iyong kanilang casino, pero may mga hinihintay pa rin iyong DOT para doon sa submission existing casinos kung mag-o-operate pa sila.

But the stand of the interagency to ban casino is consistent with the pronouncement of the President that there will be no casino in Boracay Island.

LLANESCA PANTI/MLA TIMES: Last na lang, sir. Kasi prior to the closure, it has been reported many times that 36,000 jobs will be affected with the closure of the island for six months. So what happened to these jobs? Are these restored by October 26? How many jobs are there at the moment, can you provide us update?

USEC. LEONES: Ganito kasi iyong profile sa Boracay Island. Based from the carrying capacity result, iyong population sa Boracay should only be 54,000. But based on the study it exceeded to 70,000 individuals sa Boracay Island, na sumobra na siya. Iyong sobra iyan consist of at least 22,000 stay in workers, 13,000 na residents, about 16,000 na mga migrant workers.

So tinatanong mo sa amin kung may mga workers na na-displace, palagay ko meron ding madi-displace because most of these workers were employed doon sa mga hotels, hotels na not compliant. So ang magtatrabaho lang talaga siguro ang tingin namin iyong compliant at dati nilang mga tauhan. But ang assurance diyan, if the hotels can comply with the requirements of the three agencies and then they will have at least authority to rehire these mga workers nila; but for the meantime kung wala naman silang trabaho doon, wala naman talagang magagawa doon.

ROCKY: Thank you, sirs. Thank Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

SEC. PANELO: Thank you. We would like to let you know if we are going to have a Thursday news briefing, eh paano kung bigla akong down, but we will let you know the night before.

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

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