Press Briefing

Press Briefing of Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque with DOF Assistant Secretaries Paola Alvarez and Teresa Habitan

Location Malacañang Press Briefing Room, New Executive Building, Malacañang

ROCKY IGNACIO: Good morning, Malacañang Press Corps, happy Monday. Let’s now have Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

SEC. ROQUE: Magandang umaga Pilipinas. Magandang umaga po sa mga miyembro ng Malacañang Press Corps.

Mayroon po tayong dalawang resource persons ngayong araw na ito. Sila po ay magdi-discuss tungkol sa Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion, TRAIN law. At ang ating mga panauhin po ay ang Assistant Secretary ng—at Spokesperson ng Department of Finance, si Attorney Paola Alvarez; at saka ang Assistant Secretary rin po ng Domestic Finance Group, si Assistant Secretary Teresa Habitan. So please let’s welcome Attorney Paola Alvarez and Assistant Secretary Teresa Habitan. Thank you. The floor is yours.

ASEC. ALVAREZ: So good morning everyone. Today, we’ll give you a short presentation and explanation on TRAIN and its impact to inflation. So I’ll try to do it in English and Filipino para it’s easier for everyone to understand and para it’s easier to digest. So initially, as a recap—please—okay. As a recap, so what did we do in tax reform… so the package one. So ngayon ang naririnig po natin karaniwan iyong mga excise taxes pero ang hindi natin nabanggit is what did we do to also contribute funds to the general public.

So first, we simplified and we lowered the personal income tax. So we also restructured the tax for self-employed professionals at a flat tax of 8 percent. So we also reduced and restructured the donors’ tax to a single tax rate of 6 percent. And (unclear) tax also for those exceeding standard deduction of 5 million, we also increased it to 10 million. So what else did we do? We broadened the VAT system by removing—reducing the number of exemptions. We staggered the increase of excise taxes on petroleum products. We simplified the excise tax on automobiles, introduced the sugar-sweetened beverage tax and introduced other taxes as well.

So, what has been the government—what has the government been doing? So first, we—and as you can see the year-on-year. So iyong quarter one of 2017 and quarter one of 2018, if you compare them, the tax collection of both BIR, BOC and the other offices actually increased and our non-tax revenues as well also increased. On our expenditure effort, it means that we have been investing more on infrastructure and we have been adding more to our economic growth. So even our expenditure effort is also growing.

So what has been the initial effect of this tax reform effort? So according to S&P credit ratings, we were increased from stable to BBB plus. So this is positive for our economy because it signals abroad and the international market that we are a very investible country.

Okay. So historically, okay, so a lot of people have been talking about inflation. So if you would look at it historically, inflation is very moderate. It’s normal for inflation to be increasing year-on-year because every year historically it really increases. But what we want to look at is if it is increasing on a moderate pace or if it is spiking up very-very quickly. If you would look at the graph, as of the moment, our inflation rates are increasing moderately. And this is normal for a growing economy. But if you look at the month-to-month progression of the impact of TRAIN on inflation, it is actually decreasing. So it means that the effect of the TRAIN on inflation is actually softening.

So what are the 10 drivers of inflation? So in a commodity group, we chose the top 10 of the most commodities that are contributing to inflation. And these are fish—these are those that we are flashing on the screen. Now, what does this mean? How do we relate this to what actually happening? What we are trying to say is that when you look at inflation, it’s not all about TRAIN.

So—what we have is that TRAIN only gave an impact of 0.4 percentage points to the overall inflation rate. And it is not only TRAIN that is contributing to inflation because number one, we had to consider global prices of oil. Okay. So although it is increasing, we heard from the OPEC countries and Russia that they are in talks of increasing oil production so we are looking forward to the effects that this will give to our supply of oil.

Number two, what we also have to consider is the decreasing value of peso. So okay, with the decreasing peso it is not entirely bad. Number one, it’s decreasing because interest rates in the United States are increasing. So it’s normal that the people would pull out their money and bring it the United States. Number two, we have been contributing to—giving more money in people’s pocket. So how do we explain this? For example, when we lower the personal income tax, we actually gave money to the people for them to spend; when we gave unconditional cash transfers, we also increase the spending power of the people as well as when we—now we are going to give free education, that will also contribute to inflation, because once you give more money in the market, right now people instead of saving, they actually spend.

And you can see this because the amount of income of Jollibee of McDonalds actually increased. So you would see that people are actually spending and this is also contributing to inflation. Okay.

So for oil excise, as you can see although the gas and diesel prices actually increased, only the top percent or the one highlighted in pink is because of TRAIN. All the other factors or the bigger factor beneath that is actually because of international prices.

Okay. So when we calculated for the impact of TRAIN to inflation, what we did was to have a standard of 50 to 60 pesos—50 to 60 US dollars per barrel. But as you can see the Dubai Crude oil actually increased in a fast pace. So it wasn’t accounted for but now we have—we actually inserted buffer provisions in the TRAIN law wherein once the average oil, international price reaches around 80 US dollars then we can actually suspend the implementation of the next tranche of increase in the excise prices of oil in the succeeding years.

So this also, as we were mentioning earlier, because of the devaluation of the peso which is also because of a larger imports of capital equipment, of heavy machinery because right now we are doing build, build, build also so a lot of manufacturers and businesses, they are importing capital goods. So because they are importing the demand for dollar actually increases, that’s why the peso is also going down. But this is not entirely bad because if you look at it on the other side, the remittances of OFWs actually are increasing because of the higher exchange rate of the dollar. So the ones entering the market, the money flowing inside the country is actually also increasing.

So this also contributes to the rapid increase in retail of gas prices. But as we earlier mentioned we are looking forward to the discussions of the OPEC countries and Russia in increasing output of oil.

Okay. So another concern is that inflation is now one of the top concerns of Filipinos; although this is true, it is not only now that we are concerned about inflation. If you will look at it historically even in 2010 ever since inflation regardless of whether it’s going up or if it’s going down has always been on the top 3 concerns of every Filipino.

So what we want to show is that while inflation is moderately increasing, the SWS survey on self rated poverty and hunger actually decreased. So it means that people feel that they have more money. So it actually our—national—iyong hunger, how people see themselves if they are poor or not, it actually decreased. So this is actually good because although a lot of people are saying that the poverty rate would be increasing because of inflation, it’s actually not true because self rated poverty, if the people itself—they themselves already rate themselves as it actually decreasing. So what else do we have to consider? So another thing that we have to consider is that aside from the implementation of the TRAIN, we also have new laws for example iyong ating Tariffication Bill which is already in the process of—in the legislative mill, once this is passed, we assume that—we think that it will lower the impact of inflation because it will increase rice importation in the Philippines and it will also be subject to tariffs.

Number two, we think that the passage of the National ID System  will help us efficiently administer the unconditional cash transfers, because it would be easier now to determine which of the people are the beneficiaries. Because one of the problems in implementing the conditional and unconditional cash transfers is that not all Filipino’s have proper identification.

So, siyempre, lalung-lalo na po iyong nasa rural areas, like iyong nasa probinsya, hindi naman po lahat sila may ID. And it is very hard to determine sino ba talaga iyong dapat covered ng conditional and unconditional cash transfer. So ngayon, na we already have iyong national ID, mas madali pong maibigay iyong transfer sa mga tamang tao.

So that’s our presentation and if you have any questions or clarifications, we can answer you.

ROSE NOVENARION/HATAW:    Hi good morning, Ma’am. Ma’am, sa haba po ng paliwanag ninyo ‘no, ang gusto lang pong malaman ng pangkaraniwang mamamayan: paano po maiibsan iyong kanilang paghihirap sa sunud-sunod na pagtaas ng presyo ng lahat ng produkto? Sa langis po, kulang-kulang na pong 20 times na tumaas ang presyo ng langis mula po nang ipinatupad ang TRAIN. Ano po iyong maitutulong—15 or 16 times na po. So, that’s less than 20.

Ano po iyong maitutulong natin para maibsan po iyong pahirap considering na walang wage hike, meron pong mga petisyon para sa fare hike. Ano po iyong gagawin ng gobyerno rito, eh sumusugat na po ito sa kabuhayan ng mga mamamayan?

ASEC.HABITAN:  Meron tayong slide kanina na ipinakita tungkol doon sa presyo ng—ito ‘no, I think siguro i-highlight natin dito. Sabi nga kanina ni Asec. Paola, karaniwang isinisisi sa TRAIN iyong buong bilis ng taas ng presyo sa market, iyong increase in inflation. Siguro kailangan lang nating linawin, na ang pinagbubuhatan ng pag-increase ng price ng petrolyo for example ‘no, hindi naman po lahat galing sa TRAIN. Kasi kung titingnan ninyo iyong taas ng diesel prices for example around P10.20, ang dahil lang po sa TRAIN diyan na diretso ay iyong P2.80. Dahil iyong P2.50 na itinaas ng… na ipinataw na excise tax at iyong kaakibat na VAT. So ano iyong pinanggagalingan nung ibang increase na ito, iyong balance na P7.40. Iyan iyong sinasabi namin na nanggagaling from the higher prices of petroleum products coming from abroad. Kasi ano tayo eh, we are huge importers of oil.

Most of our demand for oil, imported po lahat iyan. So talagang kinakarga natin iyong presyo ng galing sa abroad dito sa ating mga domestic prices. Tapos kasama pa iyong depreciation nga po ng peso, dahil din po sa increase ng Fed rates doon sa US. So, nagkaroon po ng shift ang investor sentiment from emerging economies, like the Philippines, marami pong investable funds na pumupunta ngayon sa US. Tapos dahil nga, medyo iyong ating investment outlook mas maganda, iyong ating pong mga kapitalista dito, iyong businessmen – let’s call them businessmen – meron po tayong nakikitang surge ng importation ng capital equipment. So, iyon yung nagiging dahilan nung ating pagtaas ng… sa depreciation ng peso.

Iyon pong tungkol naman sa kung papano natin matutulungan. Meron na pong 4.2 million families na nabigyan ng DSWD ng unconditional cash transfer; ito iyong isang ipinangako natin under the provisions of the TRAIN. At ang anticipation po natin, by September, sana po lahat ho ng tao na gusto nating bigyan and this is around 10 million families all in all, mabibigyan po natin ng tulong na unconditional cash transfer.

At ang atin naman pong DOE at DTI katulong din natin dito para bantayan naman, kung medyo nagiging mas-exuberant iyong taas ng presyo na tinatawang nating unwarranted.

ASEC. ALVAREZ:  To answer you, iyong sa tanong mo. Unang-una sa lahat, iyong ating DOE is already implementing a straighter control doon sa ating presyo ng langis, kasi nga meron pa ring mga reports na iyong profiteering. Isang halimbawa diyan kunwari iyong nangyari sa Yellow Cab, sinabi nung kanilang mga empleyado na kaya raw nag-increase ang presyo nila dahil daw sa TRAIN. Pero pagkatapos noon, nag-isyu sila ng public apology, na hindi naman pala dahil sa TRAIN kaya nag-increase iyong presyo, pero dahil sa global prices of cheese at saka iyong sa renta nila.

Pangalawa, iyong ating DOE rin nakikipagtulungan sa mga petroleum companies para magkaroon tayo ng discount para sa ating mga public utility vehicles. So ang gusto nating tulungan, is siyempre iyong mga public utility vehicles. Kasi kaya rin naman natin i-increase iyong presyo din ng langis kasi noong nakaraan nasa-subsidize natin is iyong mga mas mayayaman o iyong may private vehicles dahil sila ang mas may maraming kinukonsumong langis. So ang nangyayari, dahil mababa iyong presyo, parang sina-subsidize mo iyong mga private vehicles.

So pangatlo, ngayon at sinusubukan natin iyong ating implementation or iyong ating restrictions on oil smuggling, inaayos din natin. So ngayon nakikipag-ugnayan din tayo sa BOC at saka sa DOE paano natin mali-limit iyong mga pumapasok na langis.

So meron tayong mga hakbang na ginagawa rin sa BSP, para iyong ating, kumbaga iyong sinasabing interest rates magkakaroon tayo ng fiscal policies para ma-limit natin ito.

So pang-apat, ang isang magiging dahilan kaya mahal ang mga produkto dahil kulang na kulang tayo sa logistics, iyong ating mga daan, at saka iyong means of transportation, para ilipat mo ang isang good sa isang lugar, papunta sa isa ay mahal, kasi kulang nga tayo sa infrastructure. Kaya ngayon, binibilisan na natin ang pagko-construct nga, kaya tayo nagmamadali sa ating build, build, build, para naman mas mapadali natin ang pagta-transfer ng goods from one place to another.

ROSE NOVENARION/HATAW: Ma’am, ang question ko po, eh iyong kagyat na solusyon po… iyong kagyat, iyong ngayon mismo na solusyon. Kasi iyong epekto po nito ay pang-araw-araw po sa kabuhayan ng mamamayan. Iyong mga binanggit po ninyo, makakatulong po ito sigurado po iyan, pero baka po medyo magtagal pa bago maramdaman ng mga mamamayan. Iyong kagyat pong solusyon iyong kailangan po ng mamamayan. Considering po may babala din po si Senator Ping Lacson na ito pong nangyayaring ito ay baka raw po snowball into a people power revolution, dahil po kumakalam na ang sikmura ng mamamayan.

ASEC. ALVAREZ:  Opo. Iyong diyan naman po—unang-una nga po, sinasabi natin na iyong survey nga po, ang self-rated poverty at ang hunger bumababa po. Ibig sabihin bumababa naman po iyong number ng mahihirap. Pangalawa po, iyong ating unconditional at saka conditional cash transfers, ine-increase na po natin; tapos magbibigay rin po tayo ng libreng edukasyon. Ang kailangan po kasi nating maintindihan is para po para umangat sa kahirapan ang ating mga mamamayan, kailangang bibigyan mo sila ng edukasyon, kailangan po nila ng trabaho.

So paano po natin gagawin iyon kung hindi tayo magsisimulang mag-reporma. So nandiyan naman po iyong mga subsidies na ating ibinibigay, lalung-lalo na po iyong sa healthcare, dinadagdagan po natin iyan. So iyong kumbaga eh, imbes na pambibili mo ng gamot, nababawasan na iyong babayaran mo doon, kasi nga nag-i-increase na tayo ng pondo para diyan.

So, ang kailangan naman po talaga nating tingnan, eh hindi naman po lahat ng mga reporma ay madali-dali nating makukuha. So kailangan din po nating balanse, nagbibigay naman po tayo ng tulong lalung-lalo na po iyong unconditional cash transfers doon po sa pinakamahihirap na household.

So sa tingin po natin, ito naman po ay nakakatulong at sapat na po.

SEC. ROQUE:  Sagutin ko lang din. Well, tatlo iyong na-anunsyo over the weekend, iyong pagpapabilis ng proseso ng pag-angkat ng diesel man lang na kalahati ang presyo galing pala sa Russia ano. So meron na pong standing order at itong linggong ito, expect na kakalampagin talaga ang DOE at saka ang DFA na mapapabilis iyong posibilidad na mag-angkat ng mas murang diesel at least sa Russia.

Pangalawa, iyong order nga po sa DTI na habulin iyong mga lumalabag sa suggested retail price. At bukod pa po diyan, well nakatulong naman po ang gobyerno ng ating Presidente, dahil ngayong Hunyo po, lahat ng mga estudyante sa state universities and colleges, at least libre na po ang tuition at matrikula ano. So hindi na poproblemahin iyon.

Alam namin po, humirap ang buhay, alam natin na ang pagtaas ng presyo ng mga bilihin ay dahil sa pagtaas ng presyo ng krudo sa pandaigdigang merkado. Kaya nga po patungo tayo sa hakbang na humahanap tayo ng mga alternatibong mga supplier at ang projection naman po, dahil nga ang mga bansang Russia ay hindi miyembro ng OPEC at nag-i increase sila ng production eh may posibilidad na mapababa ang presyo.

Pero sa ngayon po ang prayoridad talaga, subukan nating mag-angkat ng diesel man lang na galing po sa Russia. So panimula pa lang po iyan at inasahan natin na sa Cabinet meeting sa darating na a-onse lahat po ng departamento at magsasubmit din ng kanilang reports para sa alleviation measures’ no. Dahil ito naman po talaga ay hindi inaasahan na biglang nagkagulo ng kaunti sa Middle East at naging dahilan kung bakit tumaas din ang presyo ng krudo sa pandaigdigang merkado.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW:  Last na lang po. Sir, ano po iyong paninindigan ng Palasyo doon sa gumugulong po na panawagan din ng mga senador na suspendihin pansamantala iyong implementasyon ng TRAIN Law?

SEC. ROQUE:  Alam n’yo po tagapagpatupad lang ng batas ang Presidente; ang Kongreso po may ganyang kapangyarihan. So, ang gagawin po ng Presidente, kung ano ang nakasaad sa batas – tatlong buwan na 80 ang Dubai, eh pupuwedeng ma-suspende iyong mas mataas na excise tax. At meron pang posibilidad na masu-suspend din iyong VAT ‘no, may probisyon din ata na titingnan—well anyway, may probisyon akong nakita di ba na, meron dong posibilidad na iyong VAT na—kasi ba pa iyong sa excise tax sa VAT.

Pero iyon po ang kasagutan, nakoh, kailangan po ng batas. Kapag ang Presidente po ay nag-suspindi, iyan naman po ay paglabag sa Saligang Batas dahil kami po ay kinakailangan bigyan ng implementasyon ang mga batas, hindi po kami pupuwedeng gumawa ng batas.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: So, pabor po kayo doon sa sakaling manalo iyong suspension ng ano—

SEC. ROQUE:  Nasa Kongreso po iyan. Kung talagang magkakaroon po ng batas, susunod po tayo na hindi natin kokolektahin iyan; pero ang pakiusap lang po, hindi naman po permanente itong nangyayaring krisis. Talaga naman pong krisis, nakaka-abala ang pagtaas ng presyo, dahil mahigit 200% ang itinaas ng presyo at hindi natin iyan talaga inaasahan, dahil  medyo stable naman iyong presyo ng krudo ‘no.

Pero temporary po ito, tingnan natin kung anong mga pangyayari. Gaya ng sinabi ko, iyong Russia ngayon, nag-i-increase ng supply nila, pati Estados Unidos po ngayon biglang nag-increase ng exports nila ng krudo. Dati-rati po, hindi naman exporting country ng krudo ang Estados Unidos, ngayon ang pinakamalaking buyer niya ng krudo eh ang Tsina. So isa rin po iyan sa pag-aaralan. Kung ang Tsina umaangkat sa Amerika, bakit hindi rin tayo umangkat. Halos pareho naman ang distansiya diyan, magkasinglayo rin iyan sa  Middle East ‘no.

So lahat po iyan ay tinitingnan ngayon ng gobyerno dahil hindi katanggap-tanggap na habang tumataas ang presyo ng krudo eh wala tayong hakbang na ginagawa. Ang assurance lang po ni Presidente: hindi po tayo nakaupo lamang, tinitingnan po natin lahat ng options at kung pupuwedeng makahanap ng paraan, eh hahanapin po natin iyan.

CELERINA MONTE/MLA SHIMBUN: Good morning. Regarding the—some lawmakers are apparently hesitant to pass the… another package of this CTRP. How confident are you that your target will be met and if not, how would it affect the cash flow of the government?

ASEC. ALVAREZ:  For package 2. What we are actually looking at is rationalizing fiscal incentives. So what we want to do, number one, is to decrease the corporate income tax of Small and Medium Enterprises. Kasi if you look at it, mas malaki iyong population kumbaga ng Small and Medium Enterprises and it’s unfair that they are paying a higher income tax as compared to bigger companies with incentives.

So number two, what do we want to do with the fiscal incentives. Hindi naman totoo na tatanggalin natin silang lahat. What we want to do is to rationalize them, to make them time bound, efficient, transparent and target-based. So ano ang ibig nating sabihin dito? Gusto natin na once nakuha mo na yung iyong pinuhunan, kumbaga, hindi forever ang iyong incentives, dapat nagko-contribute ka na sa gobyerno.

Pangalawa, transparent, kasi gusto natin lahat ng fiscal incentives nakikita natin. Meron tayong isang body na nagtitingin kung anu-ano ba iyong mga binibigay ng gobyerno.

Pangatlo, targeted, because what we want is those companies that are actually giving back to the people, like for example iyong nagbibigay ng training sa kanilang mga empleyado, nag-i-increase ng kanilang productivity or nagbibigay ng bagong technology, innovations.  These are the types of corporations that we want to give incentives.

So as long as you are doing these things – you are giving targeted, they are transparent, they are time-bound and then they are efficient, then hindi tayo dapat mag-worry na tatanggalan tayo ng incentives. Kasi puwede ka namang mag-apply uli ng incentives as long as meron kang idinadagdag na bagong innovation, nagdadagdag ka ng tulong sa mga tao. Kumbaga, it’s a growing process.

So kailangan laging may innovation, para iyong progress mo, habang nagbibigay ka ng incentives, dire-diretso pa rin. So, right now, we are having healthy discussions with our legislators and tinitingnan naman po nilang maigi kung ano ang magiging impact nito at paano iyon makakatulong sa kani-kanilang mga distrito.

CELERINA MONTE/MLA SHIMBUN: Are you still optimistic that this will be passed within the year, kasi I believed that’s the target of the government?

ASEC. ALVAREZ:  Yes, we are still optimistic, since we are already in the committee level and we are having healthy discussions regarding the bill.

CELERINA MONTE/MLA SHIMBUN:  Another question. Are you still also optimistic, I think by 2022, you are targeting to lower poverty rate by 14%. With what is happening right now, are you still confident that this target on  reducing poverty would still be met?

ASEC. ALVAREZ:  Yes, Ma’am. Because as we already stated, the surveys actually show that the self-rated poverty and hunger is going down. And also, we are increasing education funds, hospital funds. So, we think na the basis for you to reduce poverty is, number one, to increase education.

This is primordial, because we want—one of the things that investors are looking at a country is the people or its work force. So right now, we have our demographics, we have a higher percentage of young people and we have good supply of young people and what we need to do is to educate them well. Para iyong mga papasok na jobs ay high-paying jobs on a higher bracket.

So these are the steps that we want to take, kaya tayo nagpu-push ng TRAIN para mapondohan natin itong mga ito, para in the long run, iyong ating target of reducing poverty, would be achieved.

DREO CALONZO/BLOOMBERG: Hi Ma’am. To the DoF. Ma’am, balikan ko lang iyong isang point kanina. So what’s your stand on the calls from the lawmakers to rollback the excise tax… fuel excise taxes?

ASEC. ALVAREZ:  Okay, so number one, hindi po kasi natin puwedeng gawin na it’s just an executive order, kasi po kapag nasa sa batas, kailangan po para ma-amend natin, mag-pass tayo ulit ng batas.

Pangalawa po, iyon nga po, meron tayong ine-insert na mitigating measure na kapag umabot na po ang crude oil sa $80, isu-suspend na po natin sa succeeding year. Ang crucial po kasi dito is, we cannot just suspend it, kasi po iyong ating mga funding, lalung-lalo na po iyong sa free state universities, lahat po iyan iyong ating mga gustong pondohan, iyong mga increase sa salary ng ating personnel, ng ating mga guro, lahat po iyon, iyong plans natin to find all those, mahihirapan na po tayong pondohan iyon, kung ating isu-suspend iyong ating mga provisions nga po na ating binanggit.

DREO CALONZO/BLOOMBERG:  So, you don’t support this po?


DREO CALONZO/BLOOMBERG:  Tapos, Ma’am, just to give us some figures, how much do we stand to lose if this succeeds?

ASEC. ALVAREZ:  We will give you the figures.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN:  Ma’am, clarify ko lang po iyong buffer na nilagay sa TRAIN. You said that when the oil prices reach $80 per barrel for a period of three months, what we will suspend is tax rate increases.

ASEC. ALVAREZ:  For 2019.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN:  For 2019. So hindi po iyong parang pinaniniwalaan ng taumbayan na iyong excise tax mismo, automatic.

ASEC. ALVAREZ:  You cannot do that. Because the provision of the law is very specific also, that when the Dubai crude oil hits $80 per barrel at an average, it will be the next tranche in 2019 that we will suspend and it’s also hard for us to suspend, midyear, because you have already projected in your appropriations, in your revenues and in your budget, those things that you will fund and your budget allocations are also set in place.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN:  Do you see that being much of a relief sa taumbayan, lalo na ngayon po talaga nararamdaman iyong epekto ng pagtaas ng presyo ng gasolina?

ASEC. ALVAREZ:  Iyon nga po. So we are trying to implement iyong unconditional cash transfers, kasi po iyong naging kanilang binatikos nga po, hindi po lahat ng beneficiaries, nakakakuha. So, since naipasa na po nila iyong National ID, then it will be easier for us to implement that. So, iyong ating ating mga buffers like iyong conditional cash transfer, unconditional cash transfers at saka iyong ating mga subsidies, talaga pong ngayon po niro-roll out na rin po natin. DWSD also can give you figures on that.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN:  Last na lang po. Considering the situation right now, how lightly does the government see iyong suspension ng further tax rate increases on excise oil?

ASEC. ALVAREZ:  For the oil, we are really looking forward with the meeting of the OPEC countries with Russia. Because that would be a really big help for us, if they increase oil production. Kasi one of the reasons why it’s actually… the price of oil is increasing, because there is a shortage of supply. So if they plan to increase the output, then it would have a better impact, kasi it will lower the inflation rate, kasi dadami nga iyong supply of oil,  eh di bababa iyong presyo mo sa market. So in the long run, we think na hindi iyan aabot sa $80 sana, kasi nga magpo-produce sila ng more output of oil.

ROCKY IGNACIO/PTV4:  Okay, MPC I’m sorry, may prior appointment ang ating mga guest so Rosalie Coz… Limit your questions ha, iyong may follow up question and Joana muna.

ROSALIE COZ/UNTV:  Hi Ma’am, kay Asec. Alvarez po. Nabanggit ninyo po kanina na isa sa mga contributory doon sa inflation iyon pong pagdadagdag ng purchasing power sa mga mamamayan. Ano po ang stand ng DOF pagdating sa proposal na i-increase iyong national minimum wage nang 750?

ASEC. ALVAREZ: Hindi na po kasi iyan scope ng… opo, ng DOF—

SEC. ROQUE:  Anyway, may batas po diyan, Regional Wage Boards po ang magde-determine. Hindi na po tayo pupuwedeng bumalik sa National minimum wage ng wala pong bagong batas galing sa Kongreso… so ngayon po talaga Regional Wage Boards. Pero tinawagan na nga ako ‘no, nag-issue na ng mandato ang Presidente sa lahat ng Regional Wage Boards na magpulong nga at pag-aralan kung kinakailangan ngang itaas ang mga regional minimum wage.

JOANNA:  Yes, Ma’am itanong ko lang po. I don’t know kung scope pa rin ito ng DOF but I’ll ask it anyway. Since tumataas po iyong presyo ng langis ‘no sa world market and ever since maraming kritiko po ang nagre-raise noong oil regulation law as the culprit. Would the DOF recommend review or like revisit man—at least revisit on the law?

ASEC. ALVAREZ:  Opo. Iyong diyan po kasi iyong lawmakers po talaga ang ano diyan—kapag nagbibigay po sila ng mga ganiyang criticism, ang nangyayari po sa regular course of business ng ating dalawang Houses of Congress, hinihingian lang po nila kami ng position. Kumbaga hihingi lang po iyan ng posisyon sa Executive branch, pero at the end of the day sila pa rin po talaga ang nagde-determine kung anong gagawin nila po sa batas.

JOANNA:  Pero may study na po ba kayo or anything?

ASEC. ALVAREZ:  Now we have no position as of the—we haven’t been asked yet.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Ma’am halimbawa iyong crude oil price pumalo more than 80 and we cannot do anything about the excise taxes ‘no. Papaano iyong scenario natin doon? So magtitiis-tiis muna tayo?

ASEC. ALVAREZ:  Once it reaches 80 iyon na po, iyong the DBCC would already convene to suspend. So 80 po talaga iyong cut off, hindi natin siya puwedeng palampasin ng 80—

JOSEPH/GMA7:  Ah okay, kapag pumalo tayo ng 80—


JOSEPH/GMA7: Suspend na what?

ASEC. ALVAREZ: Iyong implementation of—

JOSEPH/GMA7:   Iyong second tranche—

ASEC. ALVAREZ:  Yes, yes iyong for 2019.

JOSEPH/GMA7:  Ah next year.

ASEC. ALVAREZ: January 2019.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD:  On package two muna, Ma’am. Ma’am, in your consultations with the stakeholders, what are the concerns of private stakeholders, businessmen so far with the tax reform package two?

ASEC. ALVAREZ:  Well for the small and medium enterprises, for example iyong chambers of commerce, they are really positive. Kasi karamihan po niyan small and medium size iyong mga—sila po talaga iyong magbe-benefit. But for the incentives I think you should—

ASEC. HABITAN: For those locators sa zones medyo mayroon silang agam-agam ‘no, kasi parang ang unang intindi nila tatanggalin lahat incentives; but as Asec. Paola has explained, hindi naman ganoon ang thrust ng government. We still retain the incentives kaya nga lang iibahin natin kung papaano siya—how it’s being administered, so kailangan performance based, time bound, transparent at saka targeted ‘no. So kumbaga may kinahihinatnan iyong ating incentives.

ARJAY/BUSINESS WORLD:  Okay, second Ma’am. We see excess revenues from TRAIN right? And do we have new flagship projects that are set to start this year?

ASEC. ALVAREZ:  For the build, build, build I think it’s ongoing. We have the 75 flagship projects and then iyong ating revenues, iyon iyong gagamitin natin para pondohan iyong start up noong ating mga flagship projects.

ARJAY/BUSINESS WORLD:   Okay, thank you.

CHRISTINE AVENDAÑO/INQUIRER:  Asec. Alvarez, clarify lang. Si Senator Recto, he is arguing that the provision doon sa TRAIN law is self executory and it should be implemented agad… iyong suspension. So did I get it right, you’re saying that we have to pass a law first before you suspend—

ASEC. ALVAREZ:  Iyong kasi po—

CHRISTINE/INQUIRER:  And he cited Section 5 actually.

ASEC. ALVAREZ:  Opo. Iyong I think nalilito po yata sila kasi mayroon po tayong provision doon na ang sinasabi niyang baka self executing is iyong 80 US dollars na average price. Pero kung isu-suspend po nila iyong buong TRAIN law all together, hindi mo puwedeng gawin iyon kasi kailangan po natin ng batas para i-amend ang isa pang batas. Hindi pupuwede iyong executive out of whim, sasabihin lang niya na ayaw ko ng i-implement iyong TRAIN. Hindi po pupuwede iyon, kasi batas po iyon. Para po magawa po natin iyon, kailangan natin ng bagong batas. Pero iyong sinasabi po niya ng self-executing, iyon po sa average price na sinasabi po natin na kapag umabot na po ng 80 US dollars per barrel, tsaka po tayo magkakaroon ng DBCC na magbibigay ng recommendation to suspend.

CHRISTINE/INQUIRER:  The excise on 2019?


ACE ROMERO/PHIL. STAR:  Question lang po. So you mentioned kung masu-suspend man, January 2019 pa and then you mentioned iyong sa excise tax provisions, okay. But in this case binanggit ninyo rin iyong relief, iyong mga cash transfers for the poorest sectors. But how about iyong mga mahirap din and maybe iyong middle class who has also feeling the pinch, they will have to grin and bare it na—

ASEC. ALVAREZ: Opo. Iyong sa Middle Class po na sinasabi natin, iyong Middle Class na po iyan, sila po iyong nag-benefit sa ating lower income tax. So ang sinasabi po natin—kasi po ang naging automatic response ng majority po is imbis ng i-save mo, nag-i-spend po sila. So gastos po ng gastos kasi nga marami ka ng disposable income. So makikita po natin ito kasi for example food, iyong mga Jollibee, McDonalds, tumaas iyong revenue nila if you look at their reports sa—iyong ating PSE sa stock exchange—

ACE/PHIL. STAR: But it will be offset by higher prices also?

ASEC. ALVAREZ: Actually we gave more—actually okay, for example the government is releasing 33 billion monthly as disposable income for the people. This is composed of 2.5 billion per month for unconditional cash transfer; 12 billion for personal income tax reduction; 15 billion per month in wages as 30 percent of government infrastructure and 50 billion is labor cost; 3.5 billion for per month for free state, universities and colleges tuition. So dinagdagan po natin, pero kung titingnan ninyo iyong tax po na ating binigay, kumbaga iyong kinuha nating tax ang equivalent lang po to 36.3 billion. So kung isu-subtract ninyo po iyon doon sa ating actual na binigay sa tao, mas malaki pa rin po iyong ibinigay natin kaysa po doon sa kinuha natin as tax revenue.

ACE/PHIL. STAR:  So enough na iyon for May to January—to December rather kung sakali man?

ASEC. ALVAREZ:  Ang alin?

ACE/PHIL. STAR:  Magtitiis muna sila May to December kasi mayroon naman silang—you are saying additional income?

ASEC. ALVAREZ:  Iyon po iyong purpose natin is to give them additional income talaga. And ito naman po ng sinasabi nga natin, noong kinompute po natin .4 lang po ang inano ng TRAIN. So even if we did not pass TRAIN, iyong global .4 lang eh, .4 lang iyong impact niya to inflation ‘di ba? 0.4. So kahit hindi mo ginawa iyon tapos hindi ka nagbigay ng additional money, mahihirap—tumataas pa rin iyong presyo ng langis kasi hindi na natin ito nako-control.

ACE/PHIL. STAR: Thank you, Asec.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Ma’am, iyong 12 billion mo is parang iyan iyong pera na nadagdag sa mga workers?

ASEC. ALVAREZ: Yes, actually yes, 33 billion iyong ibinalik natin sa general public so—

JOSEPH/GMA7:  So just focusing on income, if we have 12 billion plus 15—ano itong 15 billion in wages?

ASEC. ALVAREZ: Per month a new wages, kumbaga gumawa tayo ng bagong trabaho.

JOSEPH/GMA7:  Ah okay.

ASEC. ALVAREZ:  Opo, because of it.

JOSEPH/GMA7:  Ano nga iyong 2.5—unconditional—


ROCKY IGNACIO/PTV4:  Okay, maraming salamat, Assistant Secretary Paola Alvarez. Assistant Secretary Habitan maraming salamat po. Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

SEC. ROQUE: So ituloy po natin ang ating press briefing. And this being a Monday, siyempre pagkatapos ng usaping inflation. Dito naman tayo sa mga mabuting balita, itong Lunes na ito.

Unang una po, mabuting balita po para sa mga taga Cebu at sa mga buong Visayas – ang ating bagong Mactan Cebu International Airport po ay matatapos na at magkakaroon po ng inauguration sa ika-pito ng Hunyo. Ito po ay inaasahan na magtaas ng annual passenger capacity from its current 4.5 million to 13 million both for domestic and international flights.

Isa pa pong mabuting balita! Meron po tayong first of a kind Gene Bank facility, the first in Luzon to be launched in Cagayan Valley Region. Iyong Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Agricultural Research through its institutional development grant, funded the plant – Genetic Resources Center in support to future crop research and development which would be beneficial for researchers as well as to our farmers. The plant Genetic Resource Center is expected to store collections of major and high value crops including rice and native corn varieties.

Mabuting balita po! Bagamat tumataas ang presyo ng langis, the Asian Development Bank and its recent assessment expressed that the Philippines will be able to reduce poverty incidents to 14% by 2022. The ADB lauded that the Duterte administration’s aggressive spending on infrastructure through the build, build, build program citing that this can help reduce inequality by bringing more opportunities, improving connectivity and boosting our small and medium enterprises.

The ADB also noted that the government’s conditional cash transfer program has made a substantial contribution in addressing inequality and poverty across country. We are confident that the Philippines—that the government will help transform the Philippines into a high and middle income economy by 2022 through further modernizing the country’s infrastructure and making available socio-protection programs to the poor. We hope that this will help Filipinos live more comfortable lives.

Now, bukod pa po doon sa mga hakbang na binanggit natin kanina, as we speak, nagpe-press conference po ngayon di Secretary Bello ng Department of Labor tungkol nga po doon sa kanyang mandato na ang mga wage boards ay dapat nang pag-aralan kung kinakailangan na ngang mag-increase ng minimum wage. As I said, nagpe-presscon din po sila ngayon sa office ng DOLE.

JOSEPH/GMA:  Wala kayong opinyon?

SEC. ROQUE: Anong opinion?

JOSEPH/GMA:  Sa wage board… sa wage increase?

SEC. ROQUE Ngayon pa lang po binigay iyong order, kailangan mo kasi iyan, normally, there should be a petition. Pero ang ginawa na ng Presidente, inutusan na sila, wag na kayong mag-antay ng petisyon ‘no. Pag-aralan na on your own kung kinakailangan na ngang itaas ang minimum wage.

At, and I just got a text from Usec. Wimpy Fuentebella… ang dami nga lang niyang tinext, napaka-ano naman ito kung babasahin. Pero ang kanyang sinasabi ay among others, ang DOE mga hakbang na ginagawa nila ngayon, para maibsan itong pagtaas ng presyo ng langis, eh unang-una po ay iyong ine-ensure nila na dapat iyong taas ng presyo ng bilihin sa mga local gas stations ay alinsunod sa taas ng presyo in the world market and that there will be no great disparity between the increase in world prices and in the increase in local pump prices. Tapos sabi niya, para ma-ensure ang ating supply security, meron po tayong mga kasunduan with Thailand, para po magkaroon ng joint study, investigation and assessment of possibilities of cooperation on supply. Meron din daw tayong agreement with the US Department of Energy assistance in assessing the options and potentials for Philippine strategic oil stockpiles.

Meron din tayong agreement with Japan’s Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry, assistance in response for energy security initiatives in the Asian region to conduct a feasibility study on development of a master plan and comprehensive scheme for oil stockpiling.

Okay. So ang sabi rin niya rito is, the worst case scenario, the DOE can always exercise its powers to regulate the distribution of oil products in the country. Okay, pero mahaba po iyong kanyang text. Ang sabi ko mag-yes na lang siya sa Thursday, kasi hindi tayo sigurado kung saan ang press briefing tomorrow.

Tentatively, it’s supposed to be Bontoc. But apparently, Bontoc is so difficult to reach. So it might not happen in Bontoc. We might have a press briefing here tomorrow, in which case, I will invite Undersecretary Wimpy Fuentebella tomorrow, if we will the press briefing here tomorrow.

Questions now.

MARICEL HALILI/TV 5:  Hi, sir good morning. Sir, may we have your reaction with regards to the statement of Senator Kiko Pangilinan calling for Solicitor General Jose Calida to resign from post. Meron daw po kasi siyang 150 million peso deal with the government… referring to his family’s security agency. So, parang wala naman daw—ano daw iyong difference nito doon sa situation ni Secretary Teo?

SEC. ROQUE:  I think the call—your question should be addressed to SolGen Calida, because we was asked to resign by Senator Francis. But my reading of the Constitution and the Anti-Graft Law supports the conclusion made by the SolGen that there is no conflict of interest. He resigned all his corporate posts before he became SolGen and I don’t think mere ownership of stocks certificates is prohibited by the Constitution. I have the constitutional provision here, and the prohibition is: Cabinet members shall not during their tenure directly or indirectly practice any other profession, participate in any business or be financially interested in any contract or with any franchise or special privilege granted by the government or any subdivision agency or instrumentality thereof including GOCCs or their subsidiaries.

Stock ownership obviously is not covered, ‘no. So it has to be, you have to be part of management to be guilty of violating Section 13 and this is also mirrored in RA 6713.  It’s not—the prohibition is ‘to directly or indirectly have any financial or material interest in any transaction requiring the approval of their office.’ Kaya nga po ang sabi ko  doon sa isang interview ko, I think with Channel 7, kung ang security agency contract ay sa OGCC, talagang lagot siya, kasi siya ang approving authority; as in Wanda Teo, it was also in DOT.

Pero if it’s not in his office, then I don’t see the conflict of interest; but I could be wrong. I’m sure this matter, will be pronounced upon by our courts.

MARICEL HALILI/TV 5:  Meaning, sir, hindi ito enough grounds for—

SEC. ROQUE:   Yes. I think mere stock ownership is not prohibited for as long as you declare it in your SALN. And right now, the situation for SolGen Calida is he acknowledged that he has stock ownership, but he is not exercising any management powers in the company. The shares of which are still owned by his family and he has not entered into any contract with his own office, the Office of the Solicitor General. So, I think there is a world of a difference between Wanda Teo transaction and Solicitor Calida.

Kayo naman, alam n’yo naman kung bakit lumalabas na iyang mga pula na iyan kay SolGen Calida, nanalo kasi siya doon sa quo warranto petition niya, binabawian siya ng mga kalaban niya,  iyong mga nasaktan doon sa ruling ng  quo warranto. Obvious naman iyan.

ROCKY IGNACIO/PTV4:  Sir, basahin ko lang iyong question ni Pia, baka may dagdag ka pa rin about the SolGen Calida. Documents show the security firm owned by SolGen Calida’s family bagged 10 government contracts, two with the DOJ, Calida still owns 60% of shares as of September 2016. Does Malacañang see any conflict of interest here, how will it deal with the issue given PRRD’s strict guidance on integrity of Cabinet officials?

SEC. ROQUE:  Again, I read to you the provisions of 6713. It has to be interest in any contract requiring the approval of their office. Basta hindi siya mangontrata sa Office of the Solicitor General. Even if he enters into contract with DOJ, the DOJ is not under him. In fact, it’s independent of the OSG and they only go to Congress for purposes of budget presentation. Sabay lang silang nagpiprisinta ng budget nila. But they are autonomous from each other.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: Sir, ano po iyong update noong—bago po nagbitiw si Secretary Wanda Teo nagsumite po siya ng—diumano nagsumite siya ng proposal to outsource the visa processing for Chinese tourist sa DFA. At ang pinapanukala raw pong kampanya ni Wanda Teo ay isang pribadong kumpanya na maliit at dati nang nasangkot sa credit card scam. Ano po iyong update dito ni Secretary Cayetano?

SEC. ROQUE:   Naku, you better ask Secretary Cayetano po, because I have no idea. Because you know, both passporting and special visa sometimes fall within the consular affairs functions of the DFA.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: So tingin n’yo, sir, legal ba iyong nagpapa-outsource tayo—di ba parang may security issue ito, visa ito eh. Tingin n’yo meron pong iregularidad sa ganitong panukala?

SEC. ROQUE:   I cannot come up with the legal opinion as Spokesperson, pero there was an observation made by a prior Secretary of Foreign Affairs and even the printing of the pass ports was illegally sub-contracted. Although, that’s one legal opinion, others have different opinions.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS:  Sir, you mentioned that in the next or upcoming Cabinet meeting different agencies will be submitting measures or contingency plans po ba iyon for?

SEC. ROQUE:   Hindi naman, alleviation measures. May isa pa lang idinagdag si Undersecretary Wimpy. Iyong vouchers daw po jeepney drivers under the TRAIN law, they will make sure that these vouchers are given to jeepney operators. Nasa law iyon eh, he cited it.

Q:  [inaudible].

SEC. ROQUE:  Well, kaya nga sisiguraduhin natin na makuha nila iyon ‘no.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS.: Sir, doon sa alleviating measures, what—was that upon the President’s instructions? Because I remember more than two weeks ago, economic managers briefed the President about this issue of inflation. Does this mean that the President has special concern now over the rising prices of goods?

SEC. ROQUE:  Well, I think ang special concern is the rising price of crude oil. And kasi for the longest time they appear to be increasing and increasing. It’s a worldwide problem. Unfortunately kaya nga napa-iyak na si Presidente noong sa Algeria kasi talagang wala tayong sapat na langis to support our needs ‘no. We have to import 90 percent of our petroleum requirements ‘no. Kaya kahit anong gawin natin dito, we are ever depended on imported oil ‘no; pero which does not mean that we take it sitting down. Pero I think the fact na iyong pace ng increase ay ganitong kabilis, is the reason for us to look for alleviation measures. But nothing deviates from the economic assumption of the managers ‘no.

INA/CNN PHILS.: And that will be the main agenda of the next Cabinet meeting?

SEC. ROQUE:  Hindi naman, siguro I think it will be one of agenda. Alam mo naman ang agenda namin marami ‘no, because we meet at least 7 hours once a month ‘no and we discuss many things.

INA/CNN PHILS.: And sir earlier you said that you ready to follow or comply if in case Congressmen or lawmakers pass a law suspending the TRAIN law; but since the TRAIN law is the source of funds for key projects like the BBB, won’t you oppose it? Won’t you ask your allies in Congress to oppose such measure?

SEC. ROQUE:  Well so far naman si President has not really… exercised the veto powers; I can only remember an instance when he did. And that was when the TRAIN law called for lower sin taxes. So he vetoed that provision in favor of the sin taxes law to make sure that sin taxes will not be reduced. So he is very circumspect in his power to veto.

PIA GUTTIERREZ/ABS-CBN:  Sir, I know that the DFA will give a briefing on this. But can you give us an overview of what President Duterte plans to do in South Korea?

SEC. ROQUE:  It’s normally, Assistant Secretary—but normally it’s the same ‘di ba si Tess Dela Vega—De Vega ang nagbi-brief sa Press Corps ‘no. All I know is that there will be a summit with the South Korean leader on the 4th ‘no. So that’s the main agenda ‘no, the summit with the South Korean President.

PIA/ABS-CBN:  Do you know what summit sir? And what is that about?

SEC. ROQUE:  Well iyon lang ang alam ko, because normally it’s that DFA will not give us, in fact the complete itinerary until we get there. But usually si Tess De Vega will give the members of the media a briefing. I think this will be this afternoon. Well, in my schedule, there’s a scheduled briefing on the President’s visit this afternoon. I don’t know if you have been informed. Yeah, ‘di ba traditionally she comes here and briefs you. Oo.

PIA/ABS-CBN:  Does it include a meeting with South Korean President Moon?

SEC. ROQUE: I’m not sure about the details now ‘no. I will really have to defer to the DFA because as I said, even we don’t get a copy of the actual itinerary unless it’s on the day itself.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, iyong sa TRAIN lang, okay. Hindi mo puwedeng i-suspend iyong whole TRAIN correct? Kasi makaapekto sa revenue collection natin diyan, what we can do is—mayroon namang self executory na provision iyong 80 dollars?


JOSEPH/GMA7:  So that’s the most para medyo ma-arrest iyong—

SEC. ROQUE:  Unless Congress repeals the law all together.

JOSEPH/GMA7:  Kung halimbawa ganoon iyong direction nila?

SEC. ROQUE:  As I said, you know the President as a lawyer respects the separation of powers. Already it is a month of May, so it’s been implemented since January. So we have reported that we have had record tax collection primarily because of TRAIN. So if it will be suspended, well I hope it is—Congress does not do so because mayroon na talagang projected expenditure for the expected rise in tax intakes ‘no. But ang hinihingi lang natin, pag-intindi sa taong bayan. Masakit po talaga ito pero kung ititigil naman natin ito at matitigil ang build, build, build, iyong mga trabahong inaasahan, iyong mga additional na mga kita sa mga negosyo na mage-generate ng build, build, build maantala rin. So  parepareho tayong malulugi ‘no. So hanggang maaari sana i-limit natin ang ating gagawin kung ano na iyong nakasulat sa batas mismo.

JOSEPH/GMA7:  Sir, your opinion—position, iyong ibang grupo would like a 750 across the board increase minimum—across—all over the country daw?

SEC. ROQUE:  I said that’s legally impossible because we cannot impose a national minimum wage now because the Regional Wage Boards were created by law, Congress has to repeal that law and authorize a national wage hike anew. So kinakailangan po ng batas galing sa Kongreso.

JOSEPH/GMA7:  Thank you.

ANDREO CALONZO/BLOOMBERG: Hi sir. Sir, can you tell us about the thinking of the President doon sa pag-o-order ng study ng wage hike. Kasi sir ‘di ba if we increase the wages, this will further quicken inflation kasi ipapasa noong mga company iyong wage hike sa mga tao so tataas pa lalo iyong mga presyo kapag nagtaas tayo ng wages?

SEC. ROQUE:  Tama po iyan at mayroon ding posibilidad na habang tinataas ang suweldo, maraming mawawalan din ng trabaho. Kaya nga po kinakailangang pag-aralan ng mabuti. Kaya po ang senyales na ibinigay na para magsimula na noong proseso ng pag-aaral kung talagang dapat itaas ang minimum wage. Pero ang ginawa lang po ni Presidente sinimulan na iyong proseso kasi nga po without this directive eh kinakailangan mag-file pa ng petition para magsimula.

ROSALIE COZ/UNTV: Sir, pinapatanong lang po sa office, ibang isyu. Nabanggit po kasi ni Secretary Piñol na ipo-propose niya po sa Pangulo na i-convert iyong 70 billion na budget para sa CCT or 4Ps. So ano po iyong stand noong Malacañang?

SEC. ROQUE:  Well ang stand po natin ngayon, kinakailangan ng taong bayan ng 4Ps lalo na po ngayong mga panahon na nagtataasan ang presyo ng bilihin. So sa tingin ko po knowing the President mas bibigyan niya ng prayoridad ngayon ang 4Ps more than ever.

ROSALIE/UNTV: So untimely iyong proposal?

SEC. ROQUE: Ang tingin ko lang po sa pagkakakilala ko kay Presidente at pinag-aaralan ko naman talaga si Presidente ng hindi ako magkaroon ng pagkakamali bilang Spokesperson, hindi po ata niya masusuportahan iyan at tingin ko the President’s actions will be opposite. Titingnan niya po kung pupuwede pang palawakin ang 4Ps sa mga panahong ito.

BERNADETTE NICOLAS/BUSINESS MIRROR:  Secretary, according to DOLE Usec. Maglunsod, they have already submitted the list of more than 3,000 companies which are engaged or suspected of labor only contracting to Malacañang last Thursday. I will just like to know what will the President do with the list po?

SEC. ROQUE: Well alam na po ng DOLE ang gagawin nila because the law already provides what they will do ‘no. They will provide fines and they may even order closure and criminal prosecution ‘no. So although the President asked for the list, the asking for the list does not mean it’s the President who will act. I think the Labor law—the Labor Code is very clear that it is within the power of the Secretary to close these establishments, provide fines and even prosecution under the penal clause of the Labor Code.

JHOANNA BALLARAN/INQUIRER.NET:  Sir, other issue din po. About noong Saturday po nagkaroon ng anti-drug operations sa North Cotabato and siyam po na MILF forces iyong napatay po ‘no and sabi po ng MILF they will file a strong protest sa government po ‘no sa Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities about this. What’s your reaction on this po, kasi anti-drug operations po siya and the government forces are claiming na may mga nakuhang drugs ganiyan and they were disarmed daw po. So what’s your view about it?

SEC. ROQUE:  Well nagsampa naman po sila ng pormal na protesta ‘no. So magkakaroon po iyan ng mekanismo, masisimulan po iyong mekanismo, magkakaroon po ng imbestigasyon, antayin muna po natin kung anong resulta ng imbestigasyon kung totoo na ilan sa mga miyembro ng MILF ay nadawit sa pangangalakal ng droga. So malalaman po natin ang katotohanan, dahil doon sa kasunduan po natin sa MILF, eh magkaroon po iyan ng imbestigasyon.

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

SEC. ROQUE: Okay. So I’ll let you know as soon as possible if I can make it to Bontoc tomorrow. If I can make it to Bontoc because everything is weather permitting. Ang layo pala ng Bontoc. I’m supposed to speak in the graduation of Bontoc State University and I promised that a long time ago. Pero it’s very difficult apparently to get to Bontoc ‘no. So we will see. If not, we’ll have our regular briefing here. But If I pushed through, we will have the briefing through other means from Bontoc. Okay? See you tomorrow, either way.

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


SOURCE: PCOO – NIB (News and Information Bureau)