Press Briefing

Press Briefing of Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque

Event Press Briefing

SEC. ROQUE:  Good morning, Pilipinas! We’re conducting our press briefing today in Panacañang, and good morning to the ladies and gentlemen of the Panacañang Press Corps. Good morning as well to the Malacañang Press Corps of course, please send in your questions by text or any other means.

Let me begin with the good news. Good news for Davao Region, the Davao Region ranked as the second fastest growing economy region-wise in the country as it grew by 10.9% in 2017 backed by positive growth by the industry sector and by agriculture, hunting, forestry and fishery sector. In particular, industry grew by 19.1% in 2017 led by expansion of construction at 38.2% and manufacturing – 11.4% subsectors. This is followed by agriculture, hunting, forestry, and fishing with its 1.7% growth, brought by the 1.9 percentage recovery of agriculture and forestry subsectors. The government is committed to accelerate the growth of the country within the 7 to 8 percent range this year. We are confident that this target can be achieved through the full implementation of the Build, Build, Build program.

Another good news: We are pleased to announce that the Philippines continues to be the growth leader in Asia, according to ASEAN Plus Three Macroeconomic Research Office, a regional think tank and trusted policy and adviser to the ASEAN Plus Three Region. The AMRO reported that the Philippine economy remains robust and is expected to grow by 6.8% in 2018, and 6.9% in 2019. This is because of the buoyancy of the country’s exports and improvement on the budget execution. The implementation of the Build, Build, Build – the government’s biggest infrastructure program is also expected to boost growth momentum.

And third good news: We welcome the latest Social Weather Station report, showing that 1 out of 3 or 30% of Filipino families escaped poverty. The Duterte administration as we all know, has espouse inclusive, sustainable and resilient growth. We have broaden access to free education, medicine and healthcare and other basic services to ensure that our people directly benefit from the country’s economic gains, while reducing the vulnerability of families to our Conditional Cash Transfer programs and employment facilitation, and microenterprise projects.

Questions? Panacañang Press Corps first, alternating with Malacañang Press Corps. Who is our emcee to ask the questions from Malacañang? Sorry ha, nag-start na ako without your intro.

FRANCES MAE/PIA:  Good morning, Secretary. I’m Frances Mae Macapagat from the Philippine Information Agency. Miss Ruth here will read the questions from the Malacañang Press.

RUTH/MODERATOR:  From Ms. Pia Ranada Secretary: What are the diplomatic means the +Philippines intends to pursue to deal with the new missile deployment in the Spratlys; and what will be the end goal of these means? Is the Philippines going to file a diplomatic protests?

SEC. ROQUE:  It includes everything that’s provided for in the UN Charter; that includes resort to diplomacy, resort to diplomatic protests if the DFA deems it fit, but it resorts to all forms of peaceful resolution of disputes. And of course, we capitalize on the fact that we have very good relationship with China.

Q:  Follow up sa question ni Pia. May recent na incise ba si President sa inyo kaugnay nga po doon sa missile system na iyon, after sabihin ng DFA na they’re still verifying it? May additional comments ba iyong President about it?

SEC. ROQUE:  Eh kagabi po nagsalita naman ang Presidente, ang sabi niya eh talagang sana po eh may nagawa iyong nakalipas na administrasyon diyan dahil ang mga artipisyal na isla namang iyan ay hinukay, ginawa at binuo noong panahon pa ng nakalipas na administrasyon, pero dinatnan na po iyan ng ating administrasyon. Hindi naman po tayo talagang nanunuro lamang, pero ang katunayan po eh we have to live with reality na naririyan na ‘yan nang pumasok ang administrasyon na ito. At ang tingin nga natin, dahil sa matinding pagkakaibigan ng mga bansang Pilipinas at Tsina, eh wala namang banta ang mga pangyayari dito sa mga artipisyal na isla na ito sa ating bayan. Dahil nga ang magkakaibigan naman, eh hindi gumagamit ng dahas laban sa isa’t isa.

Q:  Tapos, sir nabanggit po ni President bakit hindi daw po kumbaga pinuntahan noong time noong administrasyong Aquino after noong ruling. Pero iyong ruling daw po yata was released noong second week noong administration ni President Duterte.

SEC. ROQUE:  Correct po. Oh, ano po ang tanong?

Q:  Kasi parang sinasabi niya, bakit hindi raw iyong administrasyong Aquino iyong nagpunta roon para manita to enforce iyong ruling.

SEC. ROQUE:  Hindi po. Ang sinasabi lang ni Presidente, eh talagang iyong buong proseso po ng pagre-reclaim at pagtatapos noong islang iyon, nagawa po iyon sa administrasyon ng Presidente Aquino.

RUTH/MODERATOR:  For Atty. Roque: Sir may we know the latest pronouncement of the President on the 60-million deal with DOT and PTV? Kasi sabi ni SAP Bong Go, iyong investigation nandoon na iyong mga documents, nandoon na sa table ni Executive Secretary Medialdea.

SEC. ROQUE:  That’s still the latest. When I had my last press briefing last Thursday in Malacañang, I could only say that it was being investigated by the Office of the President. Well now, kung gusto ninyong mas maliwanag na eksplanasyon, nasa lamesa na po ni Executive Secretary ang lahat ng mga datos, at pinag-aaralan po iyan ni Executive Secretary.

RUTH/MODERATOR:  Sir, follow up lang from Ms. Leila of Inquirer, sir: Report say Roberto Teo is still with TIEZA as private sector representative. Does the Palace consider this as conflict of interest?

SEC. ROQUE:  Hindi po ako sigurado kung siya ay talagang nasa TIEZA pa, pero aalamin ko po ‘yan. At sa Lunes po, sa regular press briefing ko ay sasagutin ko po iyan. Aalamin ko po, sa Lunes sasagutin ko iyan, pero hindi ko po alam kung talagang nasa TIEZA pa ang mister po ni Secretary Teo.

Q:  Good morning, Sec. Follow up ko lang ulit doon sa paglalagay ng China ng missile. Are we not treating it as a threat sa atin or any other claimant countries?

SEC. ROQUE:  As I’ve said yesterday in my press release, we view this matter with concern. It is because we know that any form of militarization, but we are not concluding that actually this is because we’re still verifying. Let me begin by saying we are still verifying. Everything that we have read on the papers is based on a US media report, which really we should not completely rely on, okay. So we are first verifying if it is true, and we have not had any verification. Number two, if it is verified of course, we view it with much concern, because any form of militarization of, really, in the West Philippine Sea is worrisome given that it is one of the busiest sea lanes in the world. Okay, so that is our concern. It is a concern common to the international community.

Q:  So, has there been any effort to summon the Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines?

SEC. ROQUE:  Hindi pa po naman, dahil ang sabi ko nga po eh ini-explore naman lahat ng diplomatic possibilities.

Q:  Punta naman tayo sa Kuwait, sir. Ano na po iyong pinaka-latest natin na—doon sa Kuwait controversy po na na-involve iyong ating embassy?

SEC. ROQUE:  Ang masasabi ko lang po ay, marami pong usaping nangyayari ngayon pero maraming mga bagay po na hindi naman pupuwedeng isa-publiko sa ngayon dahil nakasalalay po ang safety ng napakarami nating mga mamamayan. So, konting pasensiya lang po.

Q:  Opo. Last question. Iyong MOU natin sir, ano sa palagay ninyo, tuluy-tuloy pa rin po ba ‘to?

SEC. ROQUE:  Eh habang may buhay, may pag-asa [laughs].

Q:  Good morning, Sec. On the poverty incidence, it has lowered—

SEC. ROQUE:  Bumaba po.

Q:  Yes. And then, what is the Duterte administration is doing to further bring down the poverty incidence? And, ano po iyong mga programa ngayon na pinu-push ng Duterte administration to really bring down the poverty incidence especially in the countryside?

SEC. ROQUE:  Naku napakadami po niyan. Nandiyan nga po iyong ating Build, Build, Build na talagang mayroon pong katumbas iyang Build, Build, Build – ang tawag naman Jobs, Jobs, Jobs. Dahil siyempre habang maraming proyekto, maraming hanapbuhay na magagawa iyan. Pangalawa po eh nandiyan din iyong patuloy na implementasyon ng 4Ps, at mayroon pa nga tayong additional ngayon na binibigay sa mga 4Ps beneficiaries dahil nga doon sa TRAIN, para maibsan iyong epekto ng TRAIN; at binibigay na po ‘yan ng ating DSWD ngayon, 200 pesos kada pamilya na miyembro po ng ating 4Ps.

Q:  Sir, another question. There’s a report that the land prices in Marawi are increasing, would this not hamper the government project to rehabilitate Marawi?

SEC. ROQUE:  Siyempre po naging mas mahal iyong halaga ng pag-rehabilitate ng Marawi kasi iyong mga pagbili po ng lupa, hindi lang para sa mga pabahay kung hindi doon sa iba pang mga developments eh naging mas mahal ngayon sa Marawi. Pero iyan naman po ang ina-address ng ating gobyerno at ang mahalaga naman po ay patuloy na umuusad iyong rehabilitation ng Marawi at kung magkano man ang cost to rehabilitate ng Marawi kakayanin po natin iyan dahil ang pangako ng Pangulo pababangunin po niya ang Marawi.

Q:  Wala po bang policy ng Presidente, just to prevent land speculation?

SEC. ROQUE:  Well, alam ninyo po mayroon naman tayong batas, puwede natin i-exercise ang power of eminent domain and the Supreme Court naman po eh kinilala na ang housing is properly within the coverage of eminent domain. Pero according to the Villar law din po, kinakailangan ang cost of expropriation will be fair market value. So they will have to be determination of what the fair market value would be in Marawi, dahil iyan po ang nasa batas.

Q:  Hi sir. Sir, you already answered earlier na you will check kung nasa TIEZA pa si Mr. Bob Teo pero during the press con Secretary Wanda, she said na nasa TIEZA ba si Sir Bob. Do you think sir na for delicadeza’a sake he should resign or what do you think po about that para—kasi iyon po iyong mga sinasabi ngayon kay Secretary Teo, may conflict of interest daw po?

SEC. ROQUE:  Delicadeza is addressed to the public office concerns. So it’s not for me to answer that. I do not know if he is in TIEZA. And I do not know kasi may mga reports din that he was there during the time of previous administrations.

Q:  Was appointed daw po?

SEC. ROQUE:  Oo, so in fairness he must have been appointed not by President Duterte. So kaya nga po hindi ako makakumento kasi hindi ko alam ang facts and if we are talking about delicadeza, it’s not for me to answer that question, it’s for Secretary Teo to answer that.

Q:  Sir, may timeline po ba—follow up lang po. May timeline po ba doon sa investigation ng Malacañang with regard to the 60 million pesos TV adds?

SEC. ROQUE:  Wala naman pong timeline iyan pero marami naman pong precedents na naimbestigahan po ng Office of the President at umaksiyon naman ng mabilis ang ating Presidente.

Q: Okay, thank you sir.

Q:  Sir, follow up lang. Will the Palace just examine documents or will the President ask DOT Sec. Teo to explain?

SEC. ROQUE:  Hindi ko po alam kung anong gagawin ni Executive Secretary but that’s up to the Executive Secretary who’s conducting the investigation.

Q:  So wala namang plano si President to talk to Secretary Teo or—

SEC. ROQUE:  Ang imbestigasyon po is being conducted by the Executive Secretary. So the Executive Secretary will probably submit his recommendations to the President.

Q: Walang timeline sir?

SEC. ROQUE:  Wala namang timeline pero mabilis namang gumalaw ang mga tao sa Malacañang. I can assure you that. At nakita ninyo naman mabilis naman talagang gumalaw.

Q: So another question from Panacañang Press Corps?

SEC. ROQUE: Panacañang or Malacañang?

Q:  Panacañang.

SEC. ROQUE:  Ah. [laughs].

Q:  About ILO151 last year na nag-promise si Secretary Bello na President Duterte will sign it?

SEC. ROQUE:  What is ILO151, I’m sorry po hindi ko memorize lahat iyang mga ILO na iyan?

Q:  International Labor Organization?

SEC. ROQUE:  Yes, but what is 151? Did we not just do that with Executive Order 51? I am convinced that with Executive Order 51 the President has done all that he could do within his power to end illegal contractualization, to end ‘cabo’ to end 555. Hanggang doon na lang po ang magagawa talaga ng Presidente dahil wala naman po siyang legislative powers, executive powers lang po talaga siya. Kinakailangan po talaga ng polisiya galing sa Kongreso.

Q:  Follow up lang ulit sir with all these controversies involving some Secretaries, is the President still trusting them?

SEC. ROQUE:  Well I think the President—the President unless he fires a Secretary, has trust and confidence in them but I think you know when there are controversies he will investigate and he will make decisions in full as they may be, but I think he already has a track record—I think the people can trust the President that he will do the right thing.

Q:  Yes kasi the latest controversy is being questioned by some sector saying na while the President was quick to fire some officials in the past, ngayon medyo hindi daw yata ganoon—

SEC. ROQUE:  Allan wala pang isang Linggong lumabas itong impormasyon na ito. I don’t think that’s fair. [laughs]. Araw pa lang ang binibilang natin nang lumabas iyong COA report. Hindi ba po? Hindi naman ito taon na, araw pa lang. Kailan ba lumabas ito, parang naitanong ito yata Thursday, lumabas yata ito Wednesday? Oh, hindi naman yata fair iyon na matagal, na hindi mabilis.

Q:  Medyo matagal sa tingin ng iba sir.

SEC. ROQUE:  Ay, wala pa pong isang Linggo. Huwag naman Allan.

Q:  Sir, balikan ko lang iyong EO sir 51 since private companies naman daw iyon? How about in the government?

SEC. ROQUE:  In the government?

Q:  Yes sir.

SEC. ROQUE:  Alam mo ang gobyerno po kasi were governed by different sets of laws. So siyempre po mayroon ding gagawin ang Presidente dapat siya at ang gobyerno, ang problema po kasi kinakailangan may mga plantilla positions para mawala ang contractualization at para magkaroon tayo ng mga bagong plantilla positions, dapat iyan ibigay din ng Kongreso sa pangtaunang budget. So again, it lies with Congress noong nasa Kongreso pa po ako sinabi ko kinakailangan ng Department of Public Works ng parang 30,000 more posts. Pero of course, DBM could not give them 30,000 more plantilla post, so kaunti lang iyong naibigay. Hindi ko maalala ngayon kung ilan iyong bagong post na naibigay sa 2018 budget.

Pero ganoon po naman iyong dilemma pagdating sa gobyerno. Gustuhin man natin eh kinakailangan mai-provide iyang mga plantilla post na iyan sa pamamagitan ng provision sa National Appropriation Law. So actually po mas complicated pagdating sa gobyerno kasi usaping kinakailangan talagang bumuo ng batas at usaping pera kung saan kukunin iyong pera para ma-support iyong mga actual plantilla positions para hindi lang pre-contractual iyong mga taong gobyerno.

Q:  Sir, doon sa peace talks with NDFP, clarification lang doon sa 60-day na sinasabi po ni President Duterte. When would that start?

SEC. ROQUE: Eh mukhang wala pa pong acceptance naman eh na tuloy na ang NDF peace talks. So kinakailangan ko muna mag-agree iyong parehong partido sa usapin na simula na iyong usapin, eh wala pa yatang ganoong kasunduan pero I understand maski hindi pa pumapatak iyong 60 days eh may mga usaping tahimik na nangyayari naman.

Q:  Aba ay ano po ba sir, follow up doon sa mga call ni Presidente from the government or from the NDFP that they are willing but they are still discussing among them members ng NDFP panel to push this one?

SEC. ROQUE:  Hindi ko po alam kung ano talagang kondisyones at kung ano iyong nangyayari sa panig ng NDF, siguro po sila ang tanungin natin. Ang alam ko lang po bIsing- busy si Secretary Bello dahil din sa Kuwait. Hindi ako head of the Philippine Panel; he is also preoccupied.

Q:  MPC question pa rin po from Rose Novenario.

SEC. ROQUE: Hi Rose.

Q:  Oo hinimok ni Duterte iyong publiko na tangkilikin ang PTV ngayong nabulgar na malaking pondo nito napunta sa pribadong kumpanya. Anong gagawin niya?

SEC. ROQUE:  Anong tanong? Hindi ko maintindihan.

Q:  Iyong pondo daw po.

SEC. ROQUE:  Pero what’s the question po? Rose hindi ko maintindihan ang question.

Q:  It was a case on PTV-DOT sa documented alleged plunder sa ilalim ng Duterte administration.

SEC. ROQUE:  Anong tanong hindi ko maintindihan?

Q:  Ang sabi ni Rose na hinimok ni Duterte iyong publiko na tangkilikin ang PTV. So ngayon na nabulgar na iyong malaking pondo nito napunta sa private company lang iyong Bitag nga ng mga Tulfo?

SEC. ROQUE:  Pero what’s the question hindi ko maintindihan, Rose ang question?

Q:  Ano daw gagawin ni President dito sir?

SEC. ROQUE:  Naimbestigahan na po. Iniimbestigahan na po itong bagay na ito, Rose. And as you know investigations will eventually lead to decision. Iyon po. Okay?

Q:  So ano iyong latest kay Secretary Cayetano sir na may mga panawagan ngayon for his resignation?

SEC. ROQUE: Well ang sinabi ko lang po, I’m not in the position to comment on the calls for him to resign because that’s addressed to him. But the President continues to have full trust and confidence on Secretary Cayetano.

MODERATOR:  May mga tanong pa po? Kung wala na—

SEC. ROQUE:  Okay, thank you very much Panacañang and thank you very much, Malacañang Press Corps. Magandang umaga po dito sa Davao at sa buong Pilipinas.

MODERATOR:  Thank you, Secretary.


Source: PCOO-NIB (News and Information Bureau)