Press Briefing

Press Briefing of Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque

Event Press Briefing
Location Malacañang Press Briefing Room, New Executive Building

ROCKY IGNACIO/PTV4: Magandang umaga Malacañang Press Corps, magandang umaga sa ating mga bisita. Welcome sa press briefing ni Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

SEC. ROQUE: Magandang umaga Pilipinas, at magandang umaga sa lahat ng miyembro ng Malacañang Press Corps.

Mabuting balita! Doon sa nakalipas po na meeting ng Gabinete, eh nagkaroon po ng anunsiyo ang DSWD at saka DOTr tungkol ito po doon sa mga hakbang na ginagawa natin para maibsan iyong epekto ng TRAIN ‘no. At ang sabi po ng DSWD, eh iyong unconditional cash transfer para po sa sampung milyong pinakamahihirap na mga Pilipino ay mabibigay nang buong-buo by July of this year ‘no. Mayroon pong sampung bilyong piso ang ipamimigay natin sa mga pinakamahihirap na ating mga kababayan para nga maibsan ang epekto ng TRAIN sa kanila. At sampung milyong mga Pilipino po ang makakatanggap nito.

Pangalawa po, doon po sa Pantawid Pasada Program ng ating DOTr naman, ay nagkaroon po ng anunsiyo si Secretary Tugade na magsisimula na po ang pamimigay noong mga jeepney vouchers sa mga may-ari ng mga PUJ at ito po’y magsisimula itong Hulyo. Now, hindi pa po pinal iyong halaga ng voucher pero mahigit kumulang po limang libong piso po kada owner ng jeepney ang maibibigay, pero hindi pa po pinal ang halagang ito dahil iyong halaga po ay nakadepende kung magkano talaga ang makokolekta dahil po sa TRAIN ‘no. At ang pinaplantsa na lang po, eh para maiwasan iyong karanasan natin noong nakalipas na administrasyon na pati iyong mga walang prangkisa at saka iyong mga hindi nagmamay-ari ng PUJ ay nabigyan ng subsidy ‘no. So iyon lang ho ang pinaplantsa at handa na po silang ipamigay itong mga vouchers.

More good news! The Central Bank reported that foreign direct investment inflows amounted to 2.2 billion for the first quarter of 2018 – this is a 43.5 increase from the 1.5 billion dollars in the same period in 2017.

And a short statement on the Kadamay’s attempt to occupy PNP housing in Rizal: Well in the past, the President allowed Kadamay to occupy government housing project intended for soldiers in Pandi, but if you will recall, the President said that would be the first and the last. Given this latest attempt, the President has given directives to the police that Kadamay should not be allowed to take over these housing units, and an order has been directed to the NHA to explain why we have idle housing units and when they intend to give these housing units to the intended beneficiaries.

Questions, please…

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Sir, sinabi po ng Pangulo kahapon – regarding Boracay – na gusto ninyo raw bigyan ng titulo iyong mga tao roon especially iyong mga katutubo para pagdating daw ng panahon ay puwede na itong ibenta sa mga malalaking negosyante. Ngayon sumagot iyong NDFP, sabi nila may kasunduan daw po ang NDFP at ang GRP sa mga nakaraang talks nito like 2017 na dapat daw po sana ay mas hikayatin at suportahan iyong mga katutubo, mga tao roon na i-develop or i-till iyong land na ibibigay sa kanila sapagkat iyon daw ay agricultural. Ito po ba, iyong statement ng Pangulo, hinihikayat niya iyong mga tao roon na ibenta pagkatapos ng distribution?

SEC. ROQUE: Hindi po. Ang sinabi niya, unang-una, ibibigay niya ang pupuwedeng ibigay sa Boracay doon sa mga katutubo ng Boracay, dahil ayaw niya na nakikinabang lamang sa Boracay ay iyong mga malalaking negosyante, iyong mga malalaking resort owners – ‘yan po talaga ang kagustuhan ng Pangulo. At noong last Cabinet meeting nga at sinabi naman ng Kalihim ng Agrarian Reform na mahigit-kumulang may mga 100 hectares ang pupuwedeng ipamigay sang-ayon dito sa Land Reform Program ‘no.

Now ang sabi ng Pangulo, “Kaya ko naman ibibigay ‘yan, for whatever its worth, later on they may decide to sell, but at least they will benefit from the sale.” Pero hindi naman niya sinabi na ibibigay niya so that they can resell, hindi po. He wants the indigenous people na bumalik sa kanilang katutubong lupa, nais niyang mabuhay sila sa pamamaraan na nakagisnan nila, at nandoon though iyong possibility na kung ibebenta, at least makikinabang iyong mga katutubo mismo. So, iyon po iyong konteksto ng sinabi ng Presidente.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Sir another issue, may pinapatanong po iyong Mindanao correspondent namin. Zamboanga City Mayor Climaco claims President Duterte and Defense Secretary Lorenzana have assured her that they will grant the longstanding request for the national government to buy the Cabatangan property owned by the ARMM. ARMM however says it knows nothing of such intent to purchase and they have not been consulted on the matter.

SEC. ROQUE: I don’t have information on that still, up to now ‘no. I’ve been trying to get the feedback from the Department of National Defense as of yesterday, and they have not actually given us any information on this so-called transaction.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Okay sir, salamat.

DEXTER GANIBE/DZMM: Sir, good morning. Sinabi ni Pangulo sa kaniyang talumpati kahapon, i-quote ko lang, sabi niya, “I will go for the sin taxes. I know that’s your favorite. We go for a higher diyan sa sugar, and we discussed so many things,” ibig niyang sabihin siguro sa Cabinet meeting, “and where we can trace everything and I would just tell the people that you know, if you want improvement on anything, practically all aspects of our governance would depend on taxes.” Na-discuss ba iyong hakbang na itaas ang sin tax sa mga sugar sweetened products?

SEC. ROQUE: Itinaas na po because of TRAIN. Now ang konteksto po niyan was, all the departments were made to report on the impact of TRAIN. At ang lumabas nga po, bagama’t tumaas ang mga presyo ng bilihin, hindi po ‘yan dahil sa TRAIN – dahil po ‘yan sa pagtaas ng presyo ng krudo at ng langis; dahil po ‘yan sa pagtaas ng presyo ng bigas.

At dahil na rin po ‘yan, mas maraming pera po ngayon ang taumbayang Pilipino, pera na nanggaling doon sa hindi na binabayad na buwis, pera na nanggagaling doon sa libreng tuition, pera na nanggagaling doon sa conditional cash transfer, unconditional cash transfer, at iyong pera na dahil nga sa Build, Build, Build ‘no. At ang estimate nila diyan, there’s additional 35 billion disposable income na hindi naman sini-save ‘no, at ito po’y ginagamit din para gastusin kaya siyempre tumataas ang presyo ng bilihin.

Now sinabi po ‘yan ng Presidente dahil doon sa kaniyang sinabi na hindi pupuwedeng i-suspend ang TRAIN dahil magsa-suffer nga iyong mga proyekto ng gobyerno gaya ng libreng tuition at libreng miscellaneous para sa state universities and colleges. So ang pinatawan naman po ng mas mataas na excise taxes, kasama na po diyan iyong mga matatamis na inumin dahil talaga namang hindi po ito sang-ayon sa kalusugan lalung-lalo na ng ating mga kabataan. At nagsalita nga po si Secretary Leonor Briones ng DepEd ‘no, na sa ating mga pampublikong mga eskuwelahan ngayon, pinagbabawal na iyong mga drinks na matatamis lamang at walang ikabubuti na ibibigay sa kalusugan ng kabataan.

DEXTER GANIBE/DZMM: So ibig sabihin Secretary, walang ibang hakbang na dagdagan pa iyong pinapataw ngayon na buwis dahil sa TRAIN, doon sa mga sugar sweetened?

SEC. ROQUE: Wala po. Kung ano po iyong nasa TRAIN ngayon, iyon na po iyong pinapatawan ng mas mataas na excise tax. Kumbaga, the President was just justifying the higher excise taxes imposed on sweet beverages ‘no, because these beverages are not healthy to begin with, in the same way that he justified the very high excise tax imposed on tobacco, because the President as a former smoker himself – no one should actually continue smoking because it is deleterious to our health.

DEXTER GANIBE/DZMM: Another matter, Secretary. Parang umaaray na itong mga kababayan natin, mga Overseas Filipino Workers at iba pang mga kumukuha ng pasaporte dahil bago ka makapunta sa mga DFA Consular Offices ay kailangan mong mag-register online o magpa-schedule online. Kaya lang ang nangyayari raw po ay wala nang slot online sa government website ng Consular Office ng DFA, pero may mga in-allot ang DFA doon sa mga ibang private offices na puwede ka doon magpa-book online. Kaso ang nangyayari, iyong sa mga private, sila iyong—nagbabayad ka na doon, pagdating mo sa DFA may bayad pa – parang nadodoble raw iyong kanilang binabayaran. Kung dati ay diretso sila sa Consular Office, isang bayaran lang.

SEC. ROQUE: Ipararating ko po ‘to sa Department of Foreign Affairs ‘no, dahil hindi ko po alam kung alam nila na nadodoble ang bayaran ‘no. So ipararating ko po ‘to kay Secretary of Foreign Affairs, but I don’t know enough of the facts here and I think the DFA would be the better position to address this.

DEXTER GANIBE/DZMM: Parang lumalabas kasi Secretary na iyong mga private na nagpapa-book or nagpapa-schedule online at kinukuha nila iyong mga slot sa DFA website at binibenta nila doon sa mga fix—

SEC. ROQUE: Ang alam ko po marami na ring hakbang na ginawa ang DFA para mapabilis iyong pagkuha ng appointment. Nandiyan na po iyong mga caravans at ang alam ko po nagkaroon na rin sila ng initiatives, para mas lalo pang mapabuti iyong kanilang online appointment system. Pero your specific concern – I will communicate to the DFA.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: Hi good morning, sir. Sir, parang kahapon magkaiba iyong pahayag ninyo ng Pangulo tungkol po doon sa pagpatay sa mga pari. Kayo po parang –yung normal lang na makikipagtulungan iyong estado sa simbahan para malutas ito. Tapos iyong speech po ni Presidente nung gabi, may ano na naman po, parang blackmail ang dating noong speech niya sa simbahan na ilalabas niya iyong matrix. Pero ano ho iyong paninindigan dito, may space po ba for dialogue ang Malacañang sa mga kaparian or like the CBCP para po ma-patch up itong, apparently, eh lumalalang iringan ng simbahan at ng Malacañang?

SEC. ROQUE: Well, ang pinag-uusapan po natin iyong patayan ng mga pari at patayan sa lipunan at iisa lang po talaga ang kasagutan ng gobyerno diyan; mayroon pong obligasyon ang estado na imbestigahan, litisin at parusahan ang mga pumapatay. At pagdating nga dito sa pagpatay ng pari – hinding-hindi naman po sasabihin ng Presidente na patayin ninyo ang mga kaparian – hindi po niya sasabihin iyan. At hindi po iyan ang kanyang paninindigan. Mayroon po siyang sariling mga paninindigan na taliwas sa paninindigan ng Simbahang Katoliko, pero iyan po naman ay karapatan ng lahat, magkaroon ng pananampalataya o huwag magkaroon ng kahit anong pananampalataya.

So sa akin po, iyan naman po ay normal sa isang demokrasya, pero kung dayalogo ay talaga naman pong bukas ang Presidente, bukas ang Palasyo lalung-lalo na po ngayon na ang Secretary-General ng CBCP ay taga-Davao din. Sa tingin ko po iyan iyong isang advantage na kababayan ni Presidente ang tumatayong representante ngayon ng CBCP.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: So ano po ang assurance ng mga Katoliko at ng simbahan na medyo magla-lie low ba o babawasan ng Presidente iyong kanyang pagbatikos sa Simbahang Katolika ngayong open naman pala sa dialogue iyong Malacañang?

SEC. ROQUE: Well sa tingin ko po, personal na paninindigan ni Presidente iyan. Pero ang aming assurance po, ang gobyerno po ay gagawin ang kanyang katungkulan, para po pigilan, itigil itong kultura ng impunity; hindi lang po laban sa pagpatay sa mga kaparian kung hindi sa pagpatay din ng mga media practitioners at pagpatay ng lahat pang ibang klaseng mga Pilipino.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: So, in the near future po, puwede iyong dialogue?

SEC. ROQUE: Ay opo, opo. At in fact tingnan po natin talaga on how to institutionalize this dialogue dahil personal namang kakilala at hindi naman po—wala naman pong sama ng loob ang ating Presidente sa tumatayong Secretary-General ngayon ng CBCP; kabayan niya.

Q: Sir, on Kadamay. Will the government file charges against those who are forcibly taking the housing units intended for the police?

SEC. ROQUE: Well, they were not successful yesterday. If they were, they would be forcibly taken out and charged. But since they did not succeed in their attempt yesterday, possibly, there will be no charges filed. But the warning has been given by the President. Nagbigay na ako nang minsan, that will be the last and they cannot take the law into their own hands.

Q: And what will the government do, pag inulit pa nila ulit?

SEC. ROQUE: Then, they will have to deal with the full extent of the law. The role of the President is to implement the law, he will implement the law.

TINA MENDEZ/PHIL. STAR: Sir any update or ano ang outcome noong joint command conference ni Presidente with the AFP and the PNP?

SEC. ROQUE: Well, they dwelt on the ongoing peacetalks. You can appreciate that the President also wants a cooperation of our men in uniform in the peacetalks, and it appears that both the PNP and the AFP are fully supportive of the peacetalks; although there was a warning that in the past, the CPP-NPA will take advantage of peacetalks to regroup and to strengthen their ranks. But the President assured them that we need to give the peacetalks a chance, we need to end what the Guinness Book of World Records has described as the longest ongoing insurgency in the planet. And there was also some discussion whether or not Joma Sison could actually come to the Philippines, because he is in the list of terrorists maintained by the state department – ang sagot naman kahapon ay wala namang outstanding warrant of arrest si Joma Sison.

So probably there’s no basis for him to be apprehended. So, there is no impediment for him to come home. But what was clear yesterday is that the peacetalks will have to proceed. There’s a preference for the peacetalks to proceed in the Philippines, however when we are in the process of communicating with OPAPP, Secretary Dureza said that he will issue his own statement, after it has been cleared by the Palace. So we leave it at that.

TINA MENDEZ/PHIL. STAR: Sir, as such, iyong mga pending warrant of arrest sa mga leftist groups or individuals eh ipo-put on hold ba, may moves ba na dapat i-apila sa court?

SEC. ROQUE: I think in the Manila RTC, at least four individuals were allowed to travel, to participate in the peacetalks and this will include the Tiamzon spouses.

TINA MENDEZ/PHIL. STAR: What about sir, follow up on the statement na gusto ng Pangulo ng radical change sa pag-implement ng peace and order. May specific directive sa PNP?

SEC. ROQUE: There were two aspects that were mentioned apparently on the radical change. One of which is the jurisdiction over the Philippine Public Safety College, which right now is not under the PNP and another is the rank classification of the police, which will be addressed through the issuance of an executive order.

Pero iyong sa Philippine Public Safety College, that will require legislation. So, draft legislation will be prepared and submitted to Congress.

TINA MENDEZ/PHIL. STAR: Sir, those are on the administrative side. How about on the operational side:

SEC. ROQUE: Nothing mentioned yesterday, because much of the discussion focused on the peacetalks.

JOSEPH MORONG-GMA7: Sir, sino po iyong nag-raise ng concern na the Reds are using the period of the peacetalks to regroup?

SEC ROQUE: I do not know, but there was just a warning. The President advised that let us, you know, give them the presumption of good faith and that let’s allow the process to continue.

JOSEPH MORONG-GMA7: Any target dates that were floated?

SEC ROQUE: I believed, Secretary Dureza will issue his statement and this will be included in his statement.

JOSEPH MORONG-GMA7: So si Joma, sir is supposed to come home here or outside?

SEC ROQUE: I leave that to Secretary Dureza. The policy of OPAPP is that everything about the peacetalks is better discussed privately than publicly and so, I asked in fact for a statement for today and they said, it will be forthcoming as soon as it is cleared.

CELERINA MONTE/MLA SHIMBUN: Sir, there was a proposal before by Joma Sison na siya at saka si President would rather meet like in Vietnam or Norway. What happened to that proposal?

SEC. ROQUE: That’s a proposal, again whatever is ongoing – the peacetalks is better left to be in private for now.

CELERINA MONTE/MLA SHIMBUN: Sir, regarding the regrouping of the NPA. What do you think the government should do in order to prevent this possible na pag-regroup again pagka nag-resume iyong peacetalks?

SEC. ROQUE: Well, unang-una this is just a concern raised, hindi naman siguro mangyayari iyan. Iyan ay isang concern lang na nilabas ng ating mga kapulisan at kasundaluhan. Ang isa pang concern, eh habang nagpi-peacetalks baka mangolekta na naman sila ng revolutionary tax. Pero ang sabi nga ng Presidente, isa yan talaga sa precondition niya, tigil ang revolutionary tax. So again, we will have to accord them the presumption of good faith, pero the President has clearly communicated to our men in uniform that we should give the peacetalks a chance.

CELERINA MONTE/MLA SHIMBUN: Sir, iyong pag-regroup is that a condition also that they should stop iyong recruitment nila.

SEC. ROQUE: Hindi naman po naging kondisyon iyan. Ang ini-emphasize ng Presidente ay hindi dapat mangolekta ng revolutionary tax. Ang concern ng militar ay baka samantalahin lang for purposes of regrouping. Pero hindi naman naniwala na gagawin iyon ng NPA at CPP at ang sinabi nga ng Presidente. “We need to continue the process of trying to arrive at permanent peace”. Dahil hindi naman pupuwede; we have the longest running insurgency in the whole planet.

CELERINA MONTE/MLA SHIMBUN: Sir, iyong June 21 na sinasabi ni Joma Sison na magkakaroon ng ceasefire and the resumption will be on June 28, tama ba iyon?

SEC. ROQUE: Well, unang una, I’m not the Spokesperson for Joma Sison. So please ask him.

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: From the government side—

SEC. ROQUE: But as far as the government is concerned, a statement is forthcoming from Secretary Dureza. Hopefully today.

HENRY URI/DZRH: Secretary, magandang tanghali po. Sa bawat talumpati ng Pangulo palagi niyang binabanggit iyong galit na galit pa rin niyang kampanya laban sa iligal na droga. Pero ang PNP may pag-amin na hindi nila alam ngayon kung saan ba nanggagaling iyong san-tambak pa ring mga shabu dito sa ating bansa. Anong radical change ang naiisip pa ng Malacañang, ng Pangulo para dito sa bagay na ito?

SEC. ROQUE: Well, hindi pa po nadi-discuss kung ano iyang mga radical change na iyan ‘no. Pero siguro iyong pag-amin na iyon kung mayroon man ay nagsa-suggest na hindi lang isang lugar ngayon ang pinanggagalingan ng shabu. Dati rati kasi iniisip natin isa lang ang pinanggagalingan, ngayon mukhang marami ng places ‘no. Pero hindi naman po ito talaga news dahil alam natin na bukod sa shabu eh tumataas na rin ang cocaine ‘no na pumapasok sa ating bansa at hindi naman nanggagaling iyan sa traditional sources ng shabu ‘no. So sa akin ang pahiwatig ng PNP eh siguro to underscore the fact na marami pang dapat gawin dito sa ating kampanya laban sa pinagbabawal na droga.

HENRY/DZRH: You are saying marami pang mga iba’t ibang lugar. Anong mga lugar ito? Are we talking about, iba’t ibang bansa o dito lang ba sa Pilipinas ito?

SEC. ROQUE: Hindi naman po ako nagsabi noon. Ang sabi ninyo PNP ang nagsabi ‘no. I’m taking it on its face value because they know better. But I leave it to the PNP to better explain ‘no kung saan nanggagaling itong mga droga na sinasabi nila.

HENRY/DZRH: Opo, hindi ho ba naisip ng Pangulo na magkaroon na tayo ng state of emergency laban sa droga?

SEC. ROQUE: Mayroon pa po tayong current state of national emergency—

HENRY/DZRH: Pero iyong naka-focus lang ho sa illegal drugs?

SEC. ROQUE: Well, I don’t know if that is a possibility; pero ngayon po kasi mayroon ng state of national emergency imposed nationwide.

ROSALIE COZ/UNTV: Hi sir, good morning po.

SEC. ROQUE: Yes, good morning.

ROSALIE/UNTV: Sir, pa clarify lang po. Iyon pong binanggit ni Pangulo kagabi about sa rice self-sufficiency na hindi siya naniniwala na magiging rice self-sufficient ang Pilipinas in contrast sa sinasabi po ni Agriculture Secretary Piñol?

SEC. ROQUE: Well, there’s nothing to add to what the President has said ‘no. We will forever aim to be rice sufficient. All administrations have wanted to become rice sufficient but the President stated the truth, until now we are not rice sufficient. So if it will happen, it will happen; but the reality is for now, we are not completely self-sufficient.

ROSALIE/UNTV: And may tinutukoy po siya na Cabinet member na kailangan pong alisan ng ibang tungkulin dahil sa turf war?

SEC. ROQUE: Wala pa po akong nalalaman tungkol diyan.

ROSALIE/UNTV: Pero nananatili pa rin po bang Cabinet Secretary si Sec. Evasco?

SEC. ROQUE: Member pa po ng Gabinete si Sec. Evasco. Siya pa rin po ang Cabinet Secretary. He was there in the last Cabinet meeting.

ROSALIE/UNTV: Last question po. Kailan po ini-expect na magpalabas ng EO para po formally iyon pong paglipat noong NFA, Philippine Coconut Authority at saka iyong FPA sa DA. Hindi pa raw po kasi makapag-perform ng maayos si Secretary Piñol regarding—

SEC. ROQUE: Well, I’ll have to inquire from the Office of the Executive Secretary. But I can assure you, sometimes EOs take time. The EO on my office has not been issued either. [laughs] So let’s all hope that these EOs will be issued soon. [laughs]

HANNAH SANCHO/DZAR: Good morning, Secretary.

SEC. ROQUE: Yes, Hannah.

HANNAH/DZAR: Sir, open po ba kayo sa panukala ni acting Chief Justice Carpio na mag-file po ng isa pang case laban sa China dahil doon sa ginawa ng mga Chinese fisherman na destruction doon sa ating coral reefs at humingi ng compensation doon?

SEC. ROQUE: Nag-issue na po ako ng statement kahapon. Ang sabi ko po, hindi siguro tayo magsasampa ng panibagong mga kaso ‘no dahil unang una, tayo naman po ay mayroon ng bilateral mechanism para i-address itong mga ganitong mga complaints ‘no at pagsasamantalahan na lang natin itong bagong mekanismo, na wala po ito dati noong panahon ng nakalipas na administrasyon. At bukod pa rito dahil mayroon naman tayong bagong respeto at pagkakaibigan sa bansang Tsina, tingin ko pupuwedeng pag-usapan ito at hindi demandahan kaagad. Wala naman hong pagkakaiba ang demandahan sa lokal na hukuman at sa demandahan sa international field. Kung mapag-uusapan, pag-usapan and litigation is always a last resort.

HANNAH/DZAR: Sir, regarding doon sa mga kasama ninyong fisherman last time dito. Nagkaroon po ba ng pagkakataon na makausap sila ng Pangulo?

SEC. ROQUE: Hindi nga eh. I was hoping that they would get that opportunity. That’s why I rushed them to the Guest House ‘no. But after I rushed them to the Guest House, we really tried to at least to sneak them in ‘no in between meetings pero hindi po nangyari ‘no. In fact I had them available because they said the President could be available as early as 12:30 so they had to be there at 12:30 but it did not happen. But nonetheless ‘no, the President knows about the issue as you know and he has addressed the issue squarely.

HANNAH/DZAR: Sir last na lang po. According to news report po kanina sir, nakarating po ba sa Palace na—doon sa mga fisherman sinasabi nila iyong isyu po ng barter po na unfair naman po daw kung barter daw ang itawag doon kasi kung 15 kilos ng magagandang catch nila sir kapalit lang ay 2 bottles of water lang tapos 1 box of cigarette. Unfair po iyon—

SEC. ROQUE: Unang una, hindi po natin tinatanggap na barter iyon. Kaya iyong mga balita na ako raw ang nagsabi ay barter. Ang sabi ko nga po ‘fish thievery’ pero tagalugin na natin ‘pangongotong’ I think o pangingikil ano ba mas maganda… or pagnanakaw ‘no. Pero parang mas maganda iyong pangongotong ‘no.

So for lack of a better word, let’s call it pangongotong in Tagalog, which is fish thievery ‘no. So we—I have never really addressed it as barter but there’s a possibility given the language barrier that they consider it as a barter but from our point of view it is not.

HANNAH/DZAR: Thank you sir.

SEC. ROQUE: I hope that’s clear.

CHRISTINE AVENDAÑO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Sir, doon sa rice sufficiency. The President said na iyong—what Secretary Piñol said na we would be rice sufficiency by the end of the year, ang sabi niya parang story lang ni Secretary Piñol iyon. So where—what’s his basis for saying that? Did he get any new information or data saying na—because he did say yesterday na we will have to resort to importati0n in the next couple of years?

SEC. ROQUE: Well, I do not know what his real basis is other than historical fact that all administrations have attempted to be self-sufficient in rice. And remember what Secretary Piñol said was this year. So the President believes it will not happen this year. We will continue to strive to be self-sufficient in rice although the reality is hindi pa nga nangyayari. I remember even as a child, all Presidents have promised self-sufficiency in rice. At least itong Presidenteng ito, you know, says it as it is. So iyon lang po. It is a statement of fact. Hopefully, we can meet our goals but if we don’t, it’s a reality to accept.

CHRISTINE/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Does this mean that Secretary Piñol is changing if ever iyong what he said for this year?

SEC. ROQUE: I don’t think so. Secretary Piñol could still meet his target and I think the President would want to be proven false… in this instance. But we have already resorted to rice importations, obviously it will not—it’s not happening this year.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, apparently—with regard to the fishermen. Hindi lang pala sa Masinloc ito. Mayroon din na mga Pangasinan fishermen natin na kinukunan ng mga isda. So do we—

SEC. ROQUE: What’s the question?

JOSEPH/GMA7: I’m going there. Do we consider this still as an isolated incident?

SEC. ROQUE: Well, what I’m saying is, if it’s happening, it’s wrong. And we have communicated the fact that we view this to be wrong and the Chinese have said that they’re looking into it. Let’s await the results of their investigation.

JOSEPH/GMA7: Sir, iyon pong—what do you say about the statement of China na they are allowing our fishermen out of goodwill?

SEC. ROQUE: Actually I don’t care what the reason is. But as Counsel for the fishermen, they are able to fish now under the administration of President Duterte and to me as their Counsel, as their former Counsel, that’s what matters because when sued China it was for violation of the right to life and the right to livelihood. They have—they now have the livelihood, I leave it there for now.

JOSEPH/GMA7: Okay. When they say out of goodwill, does that mean and do we concede that they own it?

SEC. ROQUE: We do not concede and I cannot answer anything in that regard because we would have to ask the Chinese authorities.

ROCKY IGNACIO/PTV4: Okay thank you, Joseph. Last question kay Ina: Kailan daw po—Ina Andolong, kailan daw po pupunta ng Kuwait si Presidente?

SEC. ROQUE: No fixed date po. He has been repeating that he will go but it has not been included in his schedule.

ROCKY/PTV4: Okay, thank you. Thank you, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

SEC. ROQUE: Thank you very much. See you on Monday.

ROCKY/PTV4: Thank you Malacañang Press Corps. Back to our main studio sa Radyo Pilipinas and People’s Television Network. Thank you.

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

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