Press Briefing

Press Briefing of Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque with Department of Tourism (DOT) Undersecretary Katherine De Castro, DOT Assistant Secretary Frederick Alegre, and Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Assistant Secretary Epimaco Densing III

Event Press Briefing
Location Boracay

MODERATOR:  Good afternoon everyone, our friends from the press… welcome to this press briefing of Secretary Roque on the “Save Boracay.” And of course with Secretary Roque this afternoon are DOT Usec. Katkat de Castro; of course we have, DOTr Assistant Secretary Frederick ‘Ricky’ Alegre, sir welcome; and of course, DILG Assistant Secretary Epi Densing III.

But before we start taking in questions, let’s have Secretary Roque with his opening statement and the good news. Sir…

SEC. ROQUE:  Well actually, this is the first Malacañang press briefing in Boracay. And of course we do this because we bring the Palace to the people directly into areas that are in the news – and of course Boracay it’s in the news ‘no. Now let me begin first with the regular press briefing before we handover the floor to the Usecs and Asecs from the inter-agency on Boracay.

I believe all of you already have my statement on the NFA Council meeting yesterday. I’d like to reiterate that the NFA Council was not abolished. Although with the President presiding the NFA Council meeting, an importation of 250,000 metric tons was authorized; this will be G-to-G, but henceforth future importations will be undertaken by the private sector – the so-called G-to-P and it will be through auction. Gone are the days of quotas ‘no, to do away with corruption. The importations henceforth will be handled by the ExeCom, and this will include representatives from the NFA, from the Department of Agriculture, from the Department of Finance, as well as the Office of the President.

Now in yesterday’s meeting, the representative of the DBP, former Senator Alberto Romulo, said that DBP would like to leave the Council because they appear to be—they feel they are a bit redundant since Landbank is already in the Council ‘no. And the other members of the Council agreed. In lieu of DBP, we will have DSWD – Department of Social Work and Development to sit in the Council in lieu of DBP. Now it was also agreed that 3 agencies will be returned as line agencies to the Department of Agriculture – this will include the NFA, this will also include the Philippine Coconut Authority, as well as the Fertilizer and Pesticides Authority.

Now the discussion on the FPA was actually—started with the President saying that he does not want to be saddled with too many agencies under the Office of the President. After which, Secretary of Finance himself, a former NFA Administrator and former Department of Agriculture Secretary, agreed and recalled that it was through his initiative that many of the offices now under the Office of the President were brought back to the Department of Agriculture. And Secretary Dominguez said that in fact, these other agencies were only brought to the Office of the President at the time when Senator Kiko Pangilinan was then appointed as Presidential Adviser and made to the supervise agencies which originally were under the DA, but were brought under the aegis of the office of then Presidential Adviser Kiko Pangilinan.

Now because the NFA is now under the Department of Agriculture anew, the Cabinet Secretary Leoncio V. Evasco will no longer be part of the NFA Council. He asked me in fact to read a statement for and in his behalf; and I will indulge him:

“Magandang hapon sa inyong tanan. I would like to thank the President for designating me and giving me the opportunity to Chair the NFA Council as well as other members of the NFA Council for the one and a half year governance work in the National Food Authority. I have full respect for the decision of the President, given the encompassing nature and impact of the National Food Authority on the Filipino people and the farmers.”

“We have put in place several policy guidelines that have provided a more transparent, competitive, inclusive and accountable system of procurement and distribution of NFA rice as a result of more than 20 Council meetings since my designation as NFA Council Chair. The importation of close to 805,200 metric tons of Minimum Access Volume rice without a cent spent by government is also an attempt by the Council and this administration not to add to the liabilities it has incurred since its creation through Presidential Decree No. 1770.”

“Finally, we have been able also to make sure that decisions of the Council are collegial in nature and bring together the critical and evidence-based reports and inputs coming from NEDA, BSP, DTI and even our banking institutions, the board namely: the Landbank of the Philippines and Development Bank of the Philippines while building on the reports provided to us by the NFA Management.”

“In my more than 20 years in government public service including 3 terms as Mayor of the Municipality of Maribojoc in Bohol, I have never been charged with malfeasance, misfeasance or nonfeasance in the conduct of my work, more than 20 years of government public service. I have never been investigated by any office on any misdealing, let alone I have never been charged at the Ombudsman/Sandiganbayan for any corrupt practices.”

“I can never break the trust given to me by our President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, especially when he appointed me to the position I am now in – a position I did not ask for, but wholeheartedly accepted in order to help the President govern our country to make government responsive to the needs of our people. I can never break the good relations I have with the President, a relation we have built through the years with the people we worked and served with. I can never put my family in a position of compromise after all the support, sacrifice and love they have given to me as I continue to serve the government and the people.”

“It has been a challenge to be part of this reform agenda in NFA and in the government at large, especially with the effort of some quarters to discredit my name and that of the Council; but making sure that these reforms were implemented during my watch, I worked the effort and that of the Council members. All these have given me lessons, learnings and insights. I will treasure and nurture as we continue to move toward better, cleaner and effective government service for the people.”

“With the President’s decision to transfer the governance to the next Council Chair, I believe the NFA can now move forward towards ensuring that corrupt, exclusive and debt-ridden practices during the past administrations will not rein in the next transactions to pass. I call the new Chairperson to take advantage of what we have started, and continue the systems’ transformation so it can take root in NFA. At this critical juncture, today is the best time for NFA to move forward towards being a true partner of the farmer in delivering better quality services, a true partner of the Filipino poor consumers in providing affordable and quality rice to the public, and a true partner of the nation in ensuring food security for rice especially during the periods of calamities and disasters.”

“To end, we call on the people to continue their support for a better NFA and national government in line with the agenda of our President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. Salamat po.”

Final matter on NFA: It was also discussed that the rice… the smuggled rice apprehended in Zamboanga Sibugay will be donated to NFA to be sold as part of the NFA inventory for subsidized rice.

Now the G-to-G importation which was authorized by the Council, well, the authorization was as of yesterday, and the delivery will take about a month. And of course, this importation will be sold at P27 a kilo.

Now I also confirm that the Russian Ambassador made a call on the President yesterday. The President met with His Excellency Igor Khovaev—I don’t know how to pronounce, sorry; Khovaev of Russia in Malacañang. The Russian Ambassador handed to President Duterte a personal letter from President Putin. During both officials meeting, the Philippines and Russia reaffirmed their mutual support for each other. President Duterte articulated that he is confident that President Putin will do the right thing in the present situation in Syria. The President likewise expressed hope that the situation in Syria will not escalate any further, and they will be returned to peace as there are around 1,000 Filipinos in Syria. The President and the Russian Ambassador also discussed the drug war in the Philippines and the International Criminal Court.

Now, would anyone of the members of the interagency care to summarize so far what has been discussed in the interagency meeting with the stakeholders? This was originally scheduled on the 10th, fortunately it was postponed because I couldn’t join you on the 10th and I was able to join you now. So who will summarize so far the proceedings? Yes, Usec…

ASEC. ALEGRE:  Thank you, Secretary Harry Roque.

Basically today, the interagency workshop conference was planned to allow stakeholders in Boracay, tourism stakeholders, hotel, resort owners, the LGU and everybody that is here in Boracay including the people that reside in Boracay to understand the big plan for the rehabilitation of Boracay Island. Why it was done today, because as you know sir, yesterday there was a meeting headed by the Presidential Management Staff where they consolidated all the work plan of all the agencies including DPWH, DILG, DENR, TIEZA, DOT – and this is now contained in a report that will also be presented with the President this Friday, and in attendance will be the Cabinet Secretaries, that had to be done yesterday for us to come here today to present.

This morning was a chance for the major agencies involved in the rehabilitation to present to the invited stakeholders which numbers about a 150. And this afternoon is the chance for the stake holders to air also naman their proposals, their comments on the rehabilitation plan.

So far, we got feedback that the TIEZA presentation of the work load for the drainage and sewage lines which is one of the biggest problems confronting the island of Boracay has been explained and what kind of work has to be done.

Yesterday, we’d like to report that it was approved that the DPWH will now be the lead agency in the civil works that will be done on the main road. Effective April 26, the DPWH will start work on the road widening all the way from the Jetty Port and that is about 3 to 4 kilometers and they have offered to take over the TIEZA pipe laying projects, which is good because now there is a single agency that’s taking the lead for that. While TIEZA, the other day has started work on the discharge water drain line to Bulabog. And this is something that has been long overdue and this is now going to happen in the next 30 days.

May we remind everybody that prior to April 26, as early as February the Inter-Agency Task Force has actually started working together with DENR, DILG and TIEZA, DOT to make sure that they will be able to work faster, before the deadline now of six months.

Remember the order is for a maximum of six months and Secretary Teo has expressed confidence that we can do this faster than the prescribed time of maximum of six months.

ASEC. DENSING:  We can already make disclosures. I think many of you already have a copy of the 8 general guidelines for purposes of the security plan of the island. And many had been asking—we have been telling the public that we can actually we have a soft opening in three to four months.

This is not official, because we have not elevated this to the level of the Secretary for discussion and approval. But maybe, it’s okay to disclose so that everybody would know the milestones that we have to meet to be able to have—to open the island ahead of the six month period.

Number one critical here is, we are proposing that for 30 consecutive days in the month of July, the water discharge should be within DENR standards. So 30 consecutive days, that’s number one.

Number two, with regard to the solid waste, the sanitary landfill should be zero garbage by the end of July.

Number three – which is already on going right now – we have to finish the Bulabog drainage system, which is under the rehabilitation right now, it’s ongoing, from what we know. Since it started early April, they will be able to finish the rehabilitation of the Bulabog drainage by the end of the month or early May. So, that is the third criteria.

The fourth criteria is we have to dismantle by the end of July or early August all violators of the 25 plus 5 meter easement rule. So 100 percent compliance of all establishments, both in the front of white beach in the Bulabog Beach, they should comply with the 25 plus 5 easement rule, that’s the fourth.

The fifth is we have to recover at least 3 of the 5 wet lands, which has been reclaimed and put up illegal structures. So, we have identified 5 wetlands… or formerly wetlands which have been put up structures as of today. Our proposal is to recover at least three by the end of July or early August.

And the last one is with regard to the road system, the main road as mentioned a while ago by Asec. Ricky, the 70% completion rate. If we hit the 70% completion rate of the road widening project to 12 meters including that of the new drainage pipeline, then that can be a signal that we can have a soft opening by most probably by August at the earlier.

SEC. ROQUE:  Now, any news on what awaits the public comes soft opening in August. What are the plans of DOT?

ASEC. KAT DE CASTRO:  Okay, first and foremost before we can even consider a hotel open for soft opening they should undergo DOT accreditation first, that’s very, very important. Aside from that, of course, we will be also inviting maybe a minimum number of tourists to come to the island and by April 21, DENR will already announce the carrying capacity of the island. From then, we could observe on how we should go about to the soft opening.

SEC. ROQUE:  So, I’d like to open the floor now for questions. Since this is an out of town Malacañang Press Briefing. We will give priority first to the members of the Malacañang Press Corps who are here, then we will give opportunity for the local media to ask questions,  then alternating will be questions from Malacañang Press Corps sent by text or by any means.  So, anyone from the Malacañang Press Corps now here? Oh, only Joseph Morong is here. Yes Joseph.

CHINA FRANCISCO/TV5:  I just like to ask, kasi kanina mo noong consultation, marami po ang nagtataka at nagku-question kung ano iyong trabahong naghihintay para sa mga maaapektuhang empleyado. Kasi kanina noong nag-present po ang DOLE, ang sinabi po nila ay magpo-profiling pa lang daw ang mga—pino-profile pa lang nila iyong mga workers, at baka  May pa raw dumating iyong mga trabaho. So may we get an answer straight from the inter-agency?

ASEC. ALEGRE:  Yesterday, Asec. Epi can also add to this. The representative from DOLE was at the meeting in Malacañang and that’s right, they are profiling because we want to make sure about the numbers that are being mentioned. As you know, the 19,000 directly employed is supplied by the local government, the provincial and local government and then there is about 17,000 that are indirect or informal workers.

What they concentrated now, as far as DOLE is concerned, is the direct workers of the hotel, resorts and those involved in Boracay. What was already mentioned was TUPAD Program, which is for initially 5,000 workers and the amount that has been mentioned already, in fact, Secretary Harry was the one who mentioned its 3.3 billion pesos.

I think what DOLE just want to make sure, is they are able to vet the list properly. Now, why they are careful? Because not everybody that is working the hotel is a regular worker, some are contractual or some depending on high season and low season.

They also want to make sure that these workers are duly accredited with us at DOT.  Because we cannot have a situation wherein suddenly there are workers that will appear that have not been in the island. So, the vetting is important and the DOLE wants to make sure that they were able to do that properly.

But the commitment is there, to provide work. In fact, the plan in yesterday’s meeting was the work that has to be done by DPWH, TIEZA, DENR and DILG. We can already tap into the work force that is in the island.

But some of them cannot do the work that is necessary. So they gonna have to find other work that will still be covered by DOLE. In regards to the informal workers, this is where DSWD comes in.  Secretary Leyco did mention yesterday that they have already also started profiling and these are basically those who provide therapy in the beach, those who sell souvenirs in the beach and they are also profiling.

The commitment yesterday was that before the 26 both agencies will be able to submit an initial list that will be the basis of the TUPAD Program and the livelihood program from DSWD. Asec. Epi?

ASEC. DENSING:  Well, first, let’s be firm with the numbers. There’s a conflict with the numbers, the people Boracay Foundation said 36,000 are the people to be affected. What we are saying is less than 36,000. And we’ve only found out that based on Philippine Statistics Authority—Statistics ‘no, the number of residents in the island in Boracay in the three barangays is around 32 and a half thousands or 32,500 more or less ‘no.

So if we take a look at the 17,000 formally employed by the hotel and resorts, we’re estimating around 20 to 30 percent of that might be leaving the island because they are not really not from here. In fact, coming in and out of the island, we found out that the some are from Luzon, from Rizal from Antipolo, so there’s a great chance that they’ll be leaving temporarily the island ‘no.

Second on the informal sector side we are estimating around 10 to 12,000. So looking at a figure of 20,000, we are looking at the figure of 20,000 for the government to come in to assist.

Now the next question is: can government have—does the government have the funding to assist? We can really say yes. In fact the budget set aside from the calamity fund for purposes of doing this bridge assistance is more than enough. Just for purposes of hypothetical computation, assuming it’s 20,000 people that we will be assisting. Assuming its 323 pesos or 325 pesos per day as minimum wage in the region times 20,000. And assuming we are going to go to the full root of 6 months ‘no. We are talking about 1 billion of the 2 billion to cover for the bridge assistance for the people who will be out of work and for those who will be losing earnings because they came in from the informal sector. So government has enough money to be able to do the bridge assistance.

Now for those who are small entrepreneurs, we are now asking DTI to provide us with their small business long program and if the island will be declared under a state of calamity which as of yesterday is already in the Office of the Executive Secretary, then they can even lend money at zero interest amongst those who will be given financial assistance or financial loan for purposes of the small entrepreneurs so they can restructure their loans with the local loan sharks, okay. But with regard to those who have formal loans, loans with the financial institutions, they will have to restructure.

So one, we are talking about—we are trying to firm up the numbers. Number two, government has enough funding to do the bridge if ever we go the full 6 month route. And third, being the most importantly, is everybody gets the benefit especially gusto ko ho sanang i-address ito sa ating mga katutubo dito sa Boracay kasi a few weeks ago, we got word on the ground that there are certain businessmen moving around the island, medyo tinatakot sila, ‘Magsasarado na iyong Boracay, mawawalan na kayo ng trabaho. Wala na kayong kikitain, wala na kayong kakainin.’ And I saw in one feature in one of the news channels na umiyak iyong katutubo dahil wala na raw silang kakainin. Para sa ating kaalaman sa ating mga katutubo dito po sa Malay, ang order of assistance po natin unang una sa lahat, lahat po ng mga katutubo o indigenous people nandito mabibigyan kayo lahat ng assistance, bridge assistance ng gobyerno. Pangalawa, iyong mawawalan ng trabaho whether nandito kayo or aalis kayo ng isla, bibigyan ho namin kayo ng assistance. Pangatlo, kaya dito ho pumapasok iyong profiling, kailangan ho natin bigyan din ng assistance iyong mawawalan ng kita mula sa informal na sektor.

So we are covering everything and from the last meeting, last—yesterday, we are now in the process of identifying which type of work we have to give this people. Remember hindi naman natin ito ibibigay lang eh, we have to give them some work and sinabihan na namin si DPWH kahapon, lahat ng manpower requirement nila sa pag-e-expand ng road, doon sa 4.8 kilometer main road system, lahat ho ng taga isla na mawawalan ng trabaho, iyon po ang iha-hire, wala hong iha-hire na taga labas po ng Boracay Island. So we’re already ready for those eventualities.

Q:  I’m from the BBC. I had a question for Secretary Harry Roque if that’s okay. Can you explain why President Duterte insisted on such a sudden closure of Boracay giving the locals very little time to prepare rather than the original proposal for a six month preparation period?

SEC. ROQUE:  It was the only way to do it. It’s a drastic police measure intended to protect the environment. We wanted to see if we could delay it any further but apparently the water quality in Boracay necessitated that the closure be done sooner than later. So this was a critical intervention intended to preserve Boracay not just for this generation but for the incoming generation.

Q:  But it was a very sudden decision, was it the President decision alone?

SEC. ROQUE:  No, it was not a sudden decision. It was first brought up in a Cabinet meeting, I believe in—if I’m not mistaken February and they were given a period of 6 months to come up with the recommendations and in two months’ time, I believe there was a recommendation given by the three Cabinet members for a 6 months closure.

Q:  Don’t you think it’s a bit harsh on the local people that had so little time to prepare for this?

SEC. ROQUE:  The President said, I will spend public money for the welfare of the local people but we will not subsidize the rich resort owners. Because he says they have a responsibility also for the current state of Boracay. I would like to state that the law states that all resorts should have their own waste water facility. You can count with your hands the number of resorts which had this waste water facility.

Q:  Thank you sir.

Q:  Sir Dexter would like to get a statement from you regarding that award sa story ng Manuel Mogato ng Reuters the war on drugs and the detention of Australian missionary in the Philippines, Sister Patricia Fox.

SEC. ROQUE:  Definitely I will have to congratulate Manuel Mogato; but the fact remains that the policy of the President on the drug war is that the drug war is legitimate, intended to protect the youth from the ill effects of drugs. Number two, that killings committed by state authorities are for as long as they are legal will be defended by the state but in the case of Kian Delos Santos if the killings are contrary to law and unjustified, we will cause the criminal prosecution of the policemen themselves. So that’s the state of the drug war.

Q:  So your statements on the missionary…?

SEC. ROQUE:  Missionary. Well you know in all countries of the world, foreigners are admitted subject to compliance with minimal conditions ‘no. And one condition that we impose on all foreigners is that they desist from participating in any form of political activities ‘no. Apparently BI has information, that Bureau of Immigration information—the Commission on Immigration and Deportation (CID) has information that Sister Patricia Fox had been involve in political activities and that’s why her temporary permit to stay in the country is now being considered to be revoked ‘no. But there is a process to be complied with.

Now this is not an arrest, this is an order, an investigation whether not to deport Sister Patricia Fox. And we have decided cases already by the Supreme Court that this arrest are not governed by normal right of an accused in a criminal proceedings because this is for purposes and preparatory to deportation.

Q:  Thank you sir.

JOYCE ILAS/CNN PHILS.:  Good afternoon, I’m Joyce Ilas po from CNN Philippines. Asec. Densing you mentioned earlier about bridge assistance program. Sir, correct me If I’m wrong that the refers to the cash for hire program wherein workers would be asked to participate to work in the clean up or in the rehabilitation of the islands, that’s right sir. And why only give it to 20,000 sir and not on the 36,000 workers again?

ASEC. DENSING: As I’ve said the 36,000 mentioned by the Boracay Foundation is a questionable number, I think it is in the high side. When the population here per the Philippine Statistics Authority is only 32,000; how can you have 36,000 workers both formal and informal. So looking at it in a statistical perspective, assuming ang 17,000 and 12 to 15,000 informal sector, we are looking at the middle ground of 20,000.

And even if you go in the 30,000 just for the purposes of assumption, it will cost only 1.5 billion of the 2.3 billion set aside from the calamity fund. Now you may want to ask, what happens to the budget for the infrastructure projects or the rehabilitation process. Each department has their own budget already. In fact the DPWH has mentioned they have the budget that will be taken from the department for the development or the widening of the 4.8 kilometer main road.

For the TIEZA – for the rehabilitation of the drainage system – they also have that 1.1 billion budget for the rehabilitation. So in the infrastructure side, the agencies can already take it from them. So the 2.3 billion calamity fund which will be to bridge ‘no, to bridge/assist the locals for them to have some money during the rehab period is, again, more than enough to cover.

JOYCE ILAS/CNN PHILS.:  Sir, this is cash for hire? This is not a dole out program?

ASEC. DENSING: Yes, yes, definitely.

JOYCE ILAS/CNN PHILS.: And, sir, what about the skilled workers, won’t there be a job mismatch? Because we have graduates, college graduates, what do we have for them because we cannot expect them to join in the clean up?

ASEC. DENSING: That’s why as of yesterday, we are now determining the type of work that we will need during the rehabilitation process. I think the DOT also has a project that even during the rehab process, there will be a training program for these college graduates especially the front liners. So DOT has that program, so they may undertake that program. It’s like an on-the-job training program for them to improve their front line services. All the rest, we will offer construction, maybe clean up in the shoreline. So these are the various works we are now identifying as of yesterday.

JOYCE ILAS/CNN PHILS.:  Training with salary or just training?

ASEC. DENSING: Training.

JOYCE ILAS/CNN PHILS.:  So will they be given or offered work with salary also for the skilled workers?

ASEC. DENSING: I think so. That should be something—as what I’m saying, it’s like an on-the-job training, so they will be paid while training to improve their front line services.

SEC. ROQUE: An international hotel chain just informed me as I came here that they’ll be sending majority of their work force to their other branches abroad for further trainings. So they’re taking advantage of the break to further train their employees.

Q: Hi, Asec. Densing. Sir, iyong six months period po natin, can you give us a list of what the government intends to accomplish during that period? And what if we encounter po delays, ano po iyong gagawin natin kung hindi natin siya ma-meet within that 6-month period?

ASEC. DENSING: Well, the target really is to finish the six months. We talked to the different agencies vis-à-vis the timeframe, and they are in agreement with it. For instance, for the drainage system, the target is to start April – they already started – and to finish it by November. For the phase 1, which is the rehabilitation of the Bulabog drainage, I think they are already about to finish it by early May. So phase 2 will be something that we will have to finish by October.

The other one is the road expansion program. So with the road expansion program, DPWH has already given us the signal that they can finish it in six months, assuming there will be no resistance within the island, you know those people will try to resist.

Right now, as of yesterday, there’s a certain area here in Bulabog Beach where the owner of the property refuses to give in to the extra three meters on the left side. So we have to talk to that specific owner to give in, otherwise it will delay the whole rehabilitation or road widening project.

Q: So, sir, na-take into consideration iyong possible stormy season because this could delay iyong mga projects po natin?

ASEC. DENSING: Yes, it was already considered. On the infrastructure side, it was already considered by the DPWH. So assuming there will be no storm, we can do the road widening with less than six months.

Q: Sir, last question na lang po on my part. Have we identified na po ba iyong mga establishment na idi-demolish natin? Like iyong D’Mall, ano na po ba iyong status nito, sir?

ASEC. DENSING: Okay, right now, we’re going to get officially the list from DENR. Unfortunately, DENR is not here. But once we get the list, we will now tell the LGU to help us in making sure that all establishments are within the 25 plus five easement rule. That should be part of the deliverables within the six months.

Q: But for sure po iyon na may madi-demolish talaga?

ASEC. DENSING: Yes, sir, definitely.

SEC. ROQUE: If Ted Failon is watching, on my way here, I personally saw that West Cove is being demolished. Okay. It’s not just closed, it’s actually being demolished – not just the structure on the rock, but the main property itself.

ASEC. DENSING: In fairness, I’ve spoken to certain and some owners who are in violation of the 25 plus five earlier this morning, and they promised that they will self-demolish. Unfortunately, they’re waiting … they’re trying to maximize the time today until the 25th to accommodate more guests. But definitely, some of them have already committed to me that once April 26 comes in, they will start to self-demolish because if government does the demolishing, then it will not be esthetically acceptable to them.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, I think last—Asec. Densing, you mentioned something like 5,000 job orders. So technically, the first, maybe two weeks, how many job orders do you have for the workers?

ASEC. DENSING: The 5,000 came from DOLE. But we’re going to make that call for them to hire them immediately. In fact—well, just for to disclose, we are already identifying the types of works that the 5,000 people will do on day one, on April 26. That’s why, hopefully by next week, we return and we identify who these 5,000 people are so that we can already hire them immediately starting on April 26.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: (Unclear) statistics na 20,000, you will only be able to absorb 5,000, yes?

ASEC. DENSING: Just the initial, just initial.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So what will happen with the 15,000?

ASEC. DENSING: After the profiling has been done, after we have identified what type of work will be given to them, then we start hiring them and give them the job orders or the minimum wage for these cash or emergency job program.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: The 15,000 (unclear) the job?

ASEC. DENSING: Two weeks.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Two weeks na nganga, ganoon?

ASEC. DENSING: Hindi naman. Of course the objective is to do this as fast as possible.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, on the ground – can you explain this to me – mukhang iyong mawawalan ng work, they will not be staying here? Mukhang lahat aalis?

ASEC. DENSING: Ang estimate namin hindi lahat. We’re estimating 20 to 30 percent especially those who are really not from here. Mga transient talaga sila rito. Hindi talaga taga-Boracay, not even from Aklan. Mga taga-Luzon pa.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Kay Secretary Roque. You mentioned that the 3.3 billion is calamity fund. But we don’t have any proclamation yet. Any news of when—

SEC. ROQUE: It’s forthcoming. I was with Executive Secretary Medialdea yesterday, and apparently it’s in the works.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, enlighten me lang. Iyon pong pagpasok ng national to do the work of (unclear) local government, you mentioned police power. That’s the nature of the dynamics between the national and the local government?

SEC. ROQUE: Yes. Well, you see, the local government could also have declared the state of calamity; it would have been simpler. There’s the process that we have to comply now. There’s the National Disaster Risk Management Office ‘no, which recommend actually to the President a declaration. So the process has been concluded, and that’s why there is now a draft of the declaration of a state of the calamity here in Boracay to be issued by the President upon recommendation of the office of disaster preparedness.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So the legal basis will be the proclamation? Within the week, siyempre kasi next week na iyong—

SEC. ROQUE: Yes.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Sir, just on the note, maybe the DILG and you. With the guidelines, the 8 to 5 guidelines for the media. Unfairly or justly, it creates maybe a negative perception that may tinatago, why 8 to 5? And it’s not subject to appeal.

ASEC. DENSING:  Oo, nakalagay lang doon it’s a general rule 8 to 5. But we’re now passing the buck to the DOT because we told them, “Bahala na kayo sa media.” But then 8 to 5 is a general rule, so in other words there can be exemptions to the general rule.

USEC. DE CASTRO:  Can I just add something to that? If there is a reason for the media to see the island if there are any activities that will need to show to the public, of course the media can stay in the island pero not naman more than like 9 P.M. or anything beyond that. Because if you remember, yes, if you remember all the hotels will be closed – that’s for one.

ASEC. ALEGRE:  They will try to stay open. Let’s clarify that. There have been reports that hotels have announced that they will stay open. Secretary Año has said that they will not be allowed. They can announce, but they will not be allowed. In fact Secretary Año in our last interagency task force meeting said, we will give them a visit to explain why. Because the rule is, they are not supposed to operate given the time of closure.

Now quickly. We have been asked, how about this who have bookings beyond 26 April. The Secretary of Tourism has stated that for those who arrived on the 24th, on the 25th… they can stay up to the prescribed period of their booking but not beyond that. And we are looking at no extension beyond their original booking. If that means that they have to stay from the 26th to the 28th, the responsibility will be coming from the hotel operator to tell us that they have indeed people that have booked all the way to the 28th so that they can be allowed to finish their booking.

But new bookings beyond 25th, meaning April 26th will no longer be allowed. Now quickly on the media guideline, when we first announced this last Saturday, we said the guidelines is proposed. We’re asking media to not get ahead of us on this. We now have a clearer picture of how we can build and give guidelines to media. We need first to accredit them and that the DOT has started accepting the accreditation process yesterday; we hope to accredit everybody by this week so if we can issue the IDs by next week.

In terms of the general guidelines of 8 to 5 working media time, it is a general guideline but we will allow them upon request for special occasions. The interagency task force, communications group is making a recommendation, and then subject to the final guidelines that for the first few days in 26th to 28th, possibly even up to the 30th, we can allow media to cover beyond 5 P.M., but we will have to request them not to stay overnight. They will have to stay/go back Caticlan, and come back the following day.

Now, why are we doing this? The DILG has mentioned that of course during this time, we also want to make sure that the people covering are being escorted by us as well. We will have a media office, a designated media office at the Jetty Port where people can set up for their live coverage. And if they wish to go around beyond the time of April 30, then they will have to coordinate with us and specifically tell us where they wanna go and we can also show them the work here that’s been done on a regular basis, but not necessarily every day.

The reason behind that is that we want the work to be done unhampered. We don’t also want to put you in harm’s way, and we wanna make sure that the media is able to cover it properly as well. We understand that there’s not gonna be too much events anyway at the island during the time of closure, so we trust that the media will understand that proper coordination—a guideline will be followed.

SEC. ROQUE:  Wait, [off mic]…. This was just handed to me. Apparently the question on Sister Patricia Fox, the Australian missionary, she has been released. The BI released from its custody today, Sister Particia Fox. To the person who asked…

STELLA ARNALDO/BUSINESS WORLD:  Secretary Roque, Stella Arnaldo from Business World. Secretary, the Secretary of Labor has warned the establishments to Boracay not to let go of their workers, okay. But of course, the resort owners, the business owners are saying, “But we’ve been closed for 6 months. How are we going to give them any salaries if we are not operating?” Isn’t there are some sort of a disconnect there, sir?

SEC. ROQUE:  No. I think the rule on no work-no pay should still apply, but security of tenure should not be affected. So as soon as the island reopens, they should be accepted. Yes, so… okay.

Now you know, obviously the no work-no pay is not the fault of the employer – it’s a state action. So, the workers can’t complain ‘no. But that’s why government has undertaken to provide alternative employment for the displaced workers. Okay.

NESTOR BURGOS/INQUIRER:  Sir, Nestor Burgos from the Inquirer. On the media guidelines, sir. You cited several reasons for the—what some of us see as a very strict and unnecessary guidelines. One, that you want the work to be unhampered; second, you are concerned with the safety of journalists; third, there are no events in Boracay after 5 P.M.

Sir, the burden on limiting the right of media and free expression is on the government; it’s not the other way around that we should prove that there is a need to cover the events. It’s the other way around. There should be unrestricted access to the media.

Second, in terms of unhampered work, those covering, they are very experienced in covering even wars, police operations, calamities. Aklan media is veteran of covering Yolanda, they know not to interfere in government activities; they are very much familiar with that. Second, they are also—they’re concerned about their safety because we cannot report if we are dead. Third, there are many events after 5 P.M. The news cycle is 24/7. We don’t want to be caught in Caticlan after 5 while something is happening in Boracay. This is a closure of the island; 2 billion is being spent for rehabilitation – there is news in the next six months after 5 P.M. That’s why we are appealing the government to remove all restrictions especially escorts. They don’t need escorts; escorts will hamper our work because our source might be intimidated if they have police standing around journalists.

ASEC. ALEGRE:  Noted on your recommendation.

NESTOR BURGOS/INQUIRER:  Thank you, sir. Sir question, on the part of DOLE. You have mentioned that DOLE and DSWD are still profiling and they’re coming up with the list April 26th… before April 26 or on. Isn’t it that too late? That’s what the reactions of the people there. If you are still profiling, and what are they going to do starting April 26 they have no work. And what if they are not included in the list? And when will the compensation package be released? It will take time, you know government works.

So isn’t this too abrupt and too rash? And the people we’ve interviewed earlier said, they feel that only the security preparations are comprehensive and ready. And they do not see that—especially the compensation package on workers is not ready. That’s how they feel about.

ASEC. DENSING:  First on the compensation, again, we are placing the island under state of calamity and this is the reason why we’re temporarily not letting in the main source of the calamity – which is the human factor. This is a human-induced hazard. So that’s why we’re trying to do that what we call a ‘bridge’. We cannot match ‘no what they are getting right now as compensation with the bridge. So that’s the very concept of the bridge assistance – for us to be able to cover while the island is under state of calamity and this is under rehabilitation.

While I do agree ‘no that the profiling is a bit late or a bit slow—I’m not saying it’s late, but it’s a bit slow. But we’re trying to fast track the profiling right now. What is important to us right now, is once these people are already identified, immediate work can be given. We’re not even sure that they will be given up by the employers at that time, primarily because they’re also appealing to the employers, they already made much money for the first 4 months of this year.

In fact on a business perspective, the amount of profit that they’ve made from January until… I estimate on April 25, it’s more than enough to cover whatever potential losses or salary that they will be giving their employees in case that the island will be closed for the next 6 months. So it is now an issue of corporate responsibility on the part of the big resort owners, and resort owners who have made millions and billions in the island. And it’s very unfair, it’s very unfair for them to abruptly stop their operation if their profits for the first 4 months and just let go of their employees.

That’s why what I’m always saying is this situation needs the cooperation of everybody. And I was mentioning this road, this property owned by one person or one family who refuses to give in, because if this person refuses to give in to that extra 3 meter in the widening program of the government, it will delay the road widening project by at least, not even 6 months, you can beyond 6 months once we take this to Court. But it will delay the whole process.

That’s why our appeal to everybody in the island is to really please cooperate, let’s not resist. It not to the interest of anybody, from the government, to the workers, to the businessmen to continue the island to be closed for 6 months.

That’s why we are trying to fast tract everything, because it is not to the interest of everybody to make this island remain closed for 6 months. If we gonna open this earlier, so much the better. And we are really appealing to everybody to help us. Let’s work hand in hand. If we do this, whatever limitations government has can be covered by those from the private sector. And if they cover this, whatever we are doing right now specifically the 6 areas where the milestones can be used a gage of reopening the island earlier than 6 months then so much the better. We can do this.

Q:  Sir, you mentioned before na mayroon kayong soft opening hopefully. So ano po iyong parang standards ninyo para matuloy itong soft opening na ito? Ano iyong mga ine-expect namin to have been done by that time para matuloy iyong soft opening na ito?

ASEC. DENSING:   Nakalimutan ko na. [laughs] Well one is on July we will be proposing to the DENR that we should be getting 30 consecutive days that all discharge of water is should be within the DENR standards. Number two, vis-à-vis the sanitary landfill, there should be zero solid waste or zero garbage in the sanitary landfill. Number three, they should be able to recover – this is again a proposal – recover three of the five former wetlands and five of the wetlands are now reclaimed and there are already structures on these wetlands. For DENR we can recover them actually and hopefully we can recover at least 3 of the 5. What else? Number 4, we must have 100 percent compliance of all structures in the front beach in the Bulabog beach of the 25 plus 5 easement rule, hundred percent compliance. And lastly, I think we have to hit the 70 percent completion rate in the road widening system. If we hit all those milestones then we can consider reopening the island. Sabi sa iyo mayroon akong pornographic memory eh—ah photographic pala. [laughs]

SEC. ROQUE: Before that I’ll have to answer the text questions from Manila ha. For the last question.

MODERATOR:  Okay sir. From Bernadette Nicolas: Is it true sir that the President ordered the removal Cabinet Sec. Evasco from the NFA Council last night or was he remove or who will be replacing him sa Palasyo?

SEC. ROQUE:  Well I did not witness the removal if there was any. I attended the Council meeting. But I think it is a matter of course because since the NFA, is again, an attached agency to the DA, there’s no for anyone from the Cabinet, from the Office of the President ‘no to be in the Council ‘no, because the President does not want the burden of having attached agencies to the Office of the President.

Now this is what will happen and ES and I talk about this extensively this morning. The EO or reattaching the agencies to the Department of Agriculture will still have to be issued. The composition now of the board will have to be agreed upon by the Council and whoever will be council will then be agreed upon. So let’s wait first for the EO which, again, makes the three NFA an attached agencies under the Department of Agriculture.

MODERATOR:  Sir, Bernadette is also asking if is it Secretary Piñol will also then—

ASEC. DENSING:  Well as I said ‘no. All I know for now is an EO will be issued attaching again the Department of Agriculture—I mean, the NFA to the Department of Agriculture. So I do not know what will happen after the EO. I will first announce if the EO has already been issued.

MODERATOR:  Thank you sir on behalf of Bernadette. And Linette?

Q:  Linette Mendoza po, RGMA Kalibo. Ang mga taga dito sa Aklan ay nagtatanong, kami din pati kami ay tinatanong ‘no kung—do we have the implementing rules and regulations during the closure nga at sino iyong talagang nag-i-i-spearhead ‘no kasi maraming agencies na concerned—maraming agencies na involved. So sino talaga iyong point man at ano iyong mangyayari kasi iyong mga local dito, kami dito sa Aklan, iyon nga nagtatanong ngayon kung—

SEC. ROQUE:  The President was very clear. It is the DENR that will take charge of rehabilitating Boracay. So it is the DENR that spearheading the rehabilitation of Boracay.

Q:  At saka may tanong po. Is Boracay daw for sale? Kasi dito sa mga nangyayari, siyempre lumalabas iyong kesyo daw magpu-put up ng casino sa Boracay kung kaya sinarado.

SEC. ROQUE:  Boracay po is not for sale. Gusto ngang ibigay ni Presidente sa mga magsasaka kung mayroon. Kaya nga kung mayroong mga magsasaka diyan, lumabas na kayo ‘no dahil iyon ang gusto niya. The point of the President is he wants to return Boracay to the ordinary people, not to the rich resort owners. Okay? He wants the future generations to benefit from the beauty of Boracay, not just the rich.

Q:  Kasi may mga nagsasabi po na paano magiging agriculture land iyong Boracay eh wala na ngang matamnan dito?

SEC. ROQUE:  Okay, kung wala talagang magsasaka dito, ang ine-emphasize lang ng Presidente iyong ordinaryong Pilipino dapat magkaroon ng benepisyo sa Boracay, hindi iyong mga mayayaman. Ibalik sa taongbayang Pilipino ang Boracay, ang tanging yaman ng Boracay.

Quickly lang, ito iyong questions ha.

So again, so I’ve already read that Sister Patricia Fox has been released. Apparently the recommendation in a two page note with recommendation to the Chairman, the investigation BI Legal Division head Arvin Cesar Santos noted that while Fox was alleged to have taken part in protest actions by farmers in the past, she was not doing so at the time when BI operatives served her the mission order yesterday.

Santos averred that Fox is not covered by inquest proceedings, as a later will only apply to aliens arrested after being in flagrante violating immigration laws. He said that under BI rules Fox should undergo preliminary investigation to determine if deportation proceedings should be commenced.

And majority of the questions, I think, have you answered most of which have to do with NFA and who will head the NFA Council. Okay, so no further questions.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Sir, clarification. Sir, you’ve mentioned—Sir Asec. Alegre mentioned—in connection with the question of (off mic).

ASEC. ALEGRE:  The closure includes the hotels.

JOSEPH/GMA7:  (off mic.)

ASEC. ALEGRE: Yeah we will close to tourists. They will not be open to tourists. Remember the tourists are the ones, the subject of the closure is for the tourist. They will be open but the one for the locals.

JOSEPH/GMA7:  For locals?

ASEC. ALEGRE: Yes.

JOSEPH/GMA7:  Sir, on the subject of iyong sa land reform? There’s (unclear) and there’s a 2008 Supreme Court ruling. Will the President issue another proclamation to supersede the 1068—1064?

SEC. ROQUE:   Well I think what the President nga is trying to underscore is much of Boracay it’s state owned and it should therefore be for the benefit of all Filipinos and not just a few. Definitely he favors the ordinary Filipinos t0 benefit from Boracay and not just the resort owners.

JOSEPH/GMA7:  Would you know sir, how much of the land here is titled and not titled?

SEC. ROQUE: As I know you can count with your fingers the number of titles. The Tirol family apparently is the only way with titles ‘no. Iyon lang.

JOSEPH/GMA7:  Only that the Tirols?

SEC. ROQUE:  All the rest are tax declaration.

JOSEPH/GMA7:  And tax declaration for 2008 are not enough proof of ownership, right?

SEC. ROQUE: They’re not—they don’t have the same weight Torrens Title ‘no. So there is no finality as far as ownership is concerned, as far as tax declarations are concerned.

JOSEPH/GMA7:  So when the President said that the land here is state owned. We are seeing a scenario where those who own “land” here can lose it right?

SEC. ROQUE:  Yes, because they have no title. The decision is clear, it is owned by the state. If the President wants he could declare everyone to leave. He will not, because he wants everyone to benefit. You know what I’m saying? Again, kayo naman ha, baka i-report ninyo iyon ha, everyone to leave, no. But the point is puwede kung gusto niya because it is state owned and of course we need legislation if other parts of Boracay will be classified as alienable and disposable ‘no and no such law has passed Congress since 1986. You’ve seen it before there’s been attempts, many attempts in the past. It has never passed and I’ve always wondered why. Maybe it’s because even Congress believes that Boracay should be owned by the Filipino people ‘no.

JOSEPH/GMA7:  In practical terms when we say that si Presidente wants the ordinary person to benefit from the land. Paano iyon? Of course they cannot occupy the hotels and all that.

SEC. ROQUE:  Number one, we need to protect the environment as is. He wants to restore the wetlands. He wants to restore the forestlands. He wants to preserve the beach, that’s why the setback ‘no. No one should own the beach. No one should appropriate the beach. It should be enjoyed by all Filipinos ‘no. And that’s why he is insisting now on massive and major reforms particularly on discharge of water. I’m here later on to participate on your stakeholders meeting ‘no because I’m going for a final ultimate solution ‘no for preserving Boracay which is really they would discharge ‘no.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Sir, just one last point. Wala namang intention iyong government to pick out those who have only tax declarations?

SEC. ROQUE:  Wala naman pong ganoon. But the President is backed by jurisprudence and of course Congress as well, because Congress has not moved to declare further parts of Boracay as alienable and disposable. So all branches of government appear to be in agreement that the Filipino people should continue to own Boracay.

Q: Iyong sa Supreme Court decision, give chance to the resort owners to actually acquire their titles by some—whatever legal terms?

SEC. ROQUE:  Kailangan pa ng act of Congress.

Q:  Ay, ganoon ba?

SEC. ROQUE:  Yes…

Q:  So sir, classified ‘yan?

SEC. ROQUE:  Yes…

ASEC. DENSING:  Boracay is declared as unclassified land. If it’s unclassified land, it is inalienable, it is indisposable. Even if you have continues exclusive notorious…

SEC. ROQUE:  Without a classification…

ASEC. DENSING:  Without a classification, you cannot dispose.

Q:  [off mic]

ASEC. DENSING:  That’s it. Kaya nga the 1064 was upheld by the Supreme Court. So, apply—assuming President Duterte proclaims the land to be alienable, then Congress comes into the picture to pass a law on the process of having these people who are actually continuously/exclusively how to get the title. And it will take 30 years – 2006 to 2036.

REGI ADOSTO/ABS-CBN ILOILO:  Sir, Regi Adosto from ABS-CBN Iloilo. May I direct my question to Asec. Densing? Sir, if we have laid down all the general guidelines, do we have a guideline for people who would stay in the island? Ano po iyong bawal at hindi nila puwedeng gawin while staying in the island?

ASEC. DENSING:  Wala, wala silang pinagbaw—ang bawal lang sa kanila, iyong nilagay namin sa guideline is iyong pagligo lang. They are limited to swim in the Angol Beach.

REGI ADOSTO/ABS-CBN ILOILO:  Why is that, sir?

ASEC. DENSING:  Well ang reason natin is we want to ano—gusto natin iyong isla na hindi sila—hindi ginagalaw iyong tubig in the meantime. We call that natural way of healing itself. So without any unhampered human activity in the seas, I think it can be a natural healing period for at least—not to extend 6 months. Kaya nga pati sa guidelines nilagay natin ‘di ba, no structure should be seen in the municipal waters, which is around 15 kilometers from the shoreline. So natural healing ito, iyon nga sa island lang, iyon nga iyong tao doon lang sa isang area puwede silang maligo. And much to our feedback is, sawa na rin sila maligo eh. Pero of course, kung gusto nilang maligo, doon muna sa area’ng iyon. But no limitations, no restrictions on the people in the island, even if they want to go in and out of the island.

Q:  Sir, point of clarification for the ‘one entry-one exit policy.’ Sir, paano iyong mangyayari sa mga hotels who would want to… magdala ng mga construction materials, lahat-lahat?

ASEC. DENSING:  Ipapatigil na natin lahat ng mga building permits. Ipapatigil na rin natin iyong building. That is critical by the way, as of the moment the DENR is already conducting a study on the new current capacity of the island. It may come out anytime soon, most probably by the end of the month or early May. Once it comes out, that becomes the very basis and foundation of the new regulations that will imposed upon the island. If it says the carrying capacity is only 20 to 25 thousand including residents, then we’ll have to follow the new carrying capacity.

If they say the structure is only limited to what it is right now or it’s over—too much structures, then we will have to asks the others to just that, finish any construction that is being done right now. So that will be the most critical document that we must have in the next few weeks.

Q:  I’m from Kalibo. Sir, ang una ko pong katanungan i-address ko po sa inyo. You are saying to recover the wetlands, how about the forestlands?

ASEC. DENSING:  Sa aming program of action, the DENR has identified 948 structures in the forestland/wetlands ‘no. Most probably illegal, most of them are illegal. The target is by the end of November, we must have already dismantled half of it. We’ll not be able to finish in the six-month period all 948 structures. But at least the target is half of it must be dismantled by the end of November. Tapos sa six-month period, kailangan iyong buong limang wetlands ‘no na natayuan ng istraktura will have already been recovered also.

Q:  Sir, matutuloy ba ang casino dito sa Boracay sir?

ASEC. DENSING:  Ay, definitely hindi na. Nabanggit yata ni Asec. Ricky, if I may quote you ‘no, he mentioned yesterday during the Cabinet Assistance Cluster meeting, na nagsabi na yata ni Chairman Andrea Domingo—

ASEC. ALEGRE:  We were asked last Saturday that Galaxy has said that they are now looking for another venue. And that’s very much welcome, Secretary Teo answered that—interagency task force is happy that they’re looking. And when they find, then they just have to go through the process of accreditation and securing, again a new PAGCOR temporary or a provisional authority, and the whole process will have to repeat. But that’s a welcome news, that they’re looking for another venue.

LALAINE MORENO/UNTV:  Hello po, I’m Lalaine Moreno from UNTV. Dalawa pong tanong ko, una po kay Secretary Roque. Pinasa ninyo po sa Kamara itong BBL. May timeline po ba na ibinigay ang Pangulo para maisabatas itong BBL?

SEC. ROQUE:  Hindi po Pangulo ang nagbigay ng timeline – iyong mga liderato po ng Senado at ng Kongreso. Bago po mag sine die adjournment ng May 30, ang pangako po nila maipapasa ang BBL.

LALAINE MORENO/UNTV:  Kay Secretary Densing naman po. You said last—siguro a few weeks ago na to follow on detail ng general guidelines. May update po ba sa details?

ASEC. DENSING:  ‘Pag lumabas na iyong—ready na iyong guidelines ‘no for issuance/for signature. Pero kailangan lumabas muna iyong proclamation of state of calamity and the EO on the closure. ‘Pag lumabas ho ‘yan, sunud-sunod na iyong details. But it’s already ready, kaya nga nagbibigay na kami sa inyo kung ano iyong laman noon eh para alam ninyo na puwede na kayong maghanda kaagad kung hindi pa siya official.

Q:  Sir, you mentioned 5 wetlands, have you identified where these are, sir, and what establishments will be affected?

ASEC. DENSING:  Ngayon sinu-survey ng DENR specifically kung ano ang mga structures. Identified na iyong wetlands, pero hindi pa nila na-identify sa amin ang specific structures na nakatayo sa wetlands na iyon. Maybe the best agency who can mention that is DENR, which unfortunately wala rito.

Q:  Pero sir, where are these wetlands located?

ASEC. DENSING:  Well isa lang klaro is nabanggit namin, is iyong Seven Seas, iyong D’Mall. Iyong D’Mall talagang binanggit ng mga taga-rito, “Sir dati pa kami diyan naglalaro kami sa tubigan noong bata pa sir. Talagang wetland ‘yan before.” Ano pa ba iyon? Crown Regency was also—

Q:  [off mic]

ASEC. DENSING:  Iyong sa may harap.

Q:  [off mic]

ASEC. DENSING:  Ah, dati raw wetlands.

Q:  Sir so, safe to say the entire stretch of the D’Mall will be demolished?

ASEC. DENSING:  Basta kung anong nakatayo sa wetland, kasi hindi naman lahat ng D’Mall nasa wetland mismo. A portion of D’Mall is in the wetland. Iyong portion na iyon, definitely they will have to be recovered by government.

Q:  Sir, you mentioned the EO and the state of calamity. Sabay-sabay ba ‘yan sir or may mauna? So separate pala, may EO…

ASEC. DENSING:  Separate ‘yan, pero mauuna iyong proclamation of state of calamity.

Q:  Then?

ASEC. DENSING:  Then siguro after once second, iyong EO for closure…

Q:  [Laughs]

ASEC. DENSING:  Ah, one second difference.

Q:  Nahuli nga sir iyong isa, okay.

Q:  Si Asec. Densing. Sir, iyong para sa mga forestland naman. Kasi there are a lot of structure and resorts already there – Shangri-La, Boracay is a forestland; Alta Vista is in a forestland. Will they be demolished or will DENR give them a chance to whatever—how about legal agreement or something?

ASEC. DENSING:  Okay. We have a standing order from the President, and this was presented during the, I think, the April 5 or April 6 Cabinet meeting. Because as I have mentioned, we’ve discovered that those who are shouting that they are compliant and that they are actually non-compliant. And one classic example is Crown Regency Prince ‘no they said, “We’re compliant,” then they were closed a few weeks back because they don’t have any sanitary permit and a functioning STP.

So the directive right now, and already—and that’s one reason why we’re here, we’re already forming teams composed of members from the DENR, DILG and Local Government Units including Bureau of Fire Protection, so that we can one-by-one inspect each establishment; one-by-one, no exemptions whether they have the necessary environmental clearance certificates, whether they have the complete permits issued by the local government, whether they have a fire safety inspection certificate and an actual like inspection of their facilities, specifically the waste water treatment ‘no.

Just to make mention, in our meeting here with the Bureau of Fire Protection officers, in the initial findings—before you can get a Mayor’s permit—or you cannot be issued a Mayor’s permit unless we have an issued Fire Safety Inspection Certificate. Based on the survey made by the Bureau of Fire Protection 2 weeks back, only 6 out of the 110 establishments that they have surveyed ‘no or inspected, only 6 have Fire Safety Inspection Certificates – and the remaining 104 does not have any FSIC. So, come they got permit to operate?

SEC. ROQUE:  Yes. Well as I said earlier po ‘no, narito po ang Palasyo ngayon sa Boracay. Ang Presidente po ay nag-utos na isarado panandalian ang Boracay at i-rehabilitate ang Boracay ‘no para masiguro po na iyong ganda ng Boracay ay makita rin ng mga susunod pang henerasyon at hindi lang ng ating henerasyon.

Totoo po, masakit po itong prosesong ito sa ilan, pero ginagawa po ang lahat ng gobyerno para maibsan naman ‘yan, mga consequences ng panandaliang pagsara ng Boracay. Pero ang assurance po natin, gagawin natin ang lahat para po mapangalagaan ang Boracay, at babalik rin po ang Boracay. Punta po kayo ng Boracay sa pagbukas muli ng Boracay.

Maraming salamat po.

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