Press Briefing

Press Briefing by Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella with Chairperson Aiza Seguerra National Youth Commission (NYC)

Event Press Briefing
Location Kalayaan Hall, Malacañan Palace


PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: This morning we are pleased to have National Youth Commission Chairperson Cariza “Aiza” Seguerra with us.

Chair Aiza will discuss NYC’s preparations for the International Youth Day 2017. The Chair will also invite us to support the Sine Kabataan short films which are included in the Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino from August 16-22 in cinemas nationwide.

Ladies and gentlemen of the Malacañang Press Corps, let us all give a warm welcome to Chair Aiza Seguerra.

CHAIRPERSON SEGUERRA: Thank you po. Magandang-magandang araw po sa inyong lahat. Maraming salamat po sa inyong pagdalo.

Unang-una po nais po naming ipabatid na simula po bukas, August 16 hanggang August 22, simula na po ang Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino.

Napapanahon po bilang mga Pilipino na dapat po nating tangkilikin ang mga pelikulang gawa ng Pilipino para sa Pilipino.

Ito ay bilang pagpupugay na rin po sa ika-isandaang taon ng pelikulang Pilipino. Sa kauna-unahang pagkakataon po ay meron po tayong film festival sa buong Pilipinas.

At of course, nakakataba po ng puso na kasama po sa full-length films ang labindalawang maiikling pelikula para po sa Sine Kabataan Short Film Competition.

Ang mga pelikula pong kasama ay ang “Pahimakas” ni Lance Maravillas; “Dorothy” ni Angelique Evangelista; “Akalingwan nang Rosa” ni Max Canlas; “Haraya” ni Daniel Delgado; “Alipato” ni Michael Joshua Manahan; “Makartur” ni Brian Spencer Reyes; “Ya Right” ni Gab Mesina; “Delayed si Jhemerlyn Rose” ni Don Senoc; “Ang Unang Araw ng Pasukan” ni Ar-jen Manlapig; “Shaded” ni Vanneza Estanol; “Ang Kapitbahay Ko sa 2014”, Anya Zulueta and “Fat You” ni Ronnel Rivera III.

Inilunsad po ng National Youth Commission ang Sine Kabataan Short Film Competition nearly two months ago upang mapatunayan po na ang pelikula ay isa sa mga epektibong daan para maipahayag po ng mga kabataan ang kanilang mga saloobin tungkol po sa mga issues that affect the Filipino youth.

At hindi po kami nagkamali. Ang inaakala po naming 35 entries ay lumobo po ng halos 200 entries. Medyo nahirapan po kami sa pagpili. At hindi lang ho ‘yan, talaga naman pong ang mga pelikulang mapapanood niyo ay may kurot sa puso.

At ang mga short films po na nai-submit sa National Youth Commission ng mga kabataan ay tunay na malikhain at may kamulatan sa mga nangyayari po sa kapaligiran.

Inanyayahan din po ng National Youth Commission ang mga batikang direktor na sina Direk Raymond Red, Direk Carlos Siguion-Reyna, kasama po si National Youth Commission Commissioner Percy Cendaña, upang sila po ang mag-select ng aming Best Picture at Jury’s Choice.

Sana po, sa mga makakapanood ng mga pelikulang ito ay hindi lang po kayo mag-enjoy, ngunit sana po mapulutan din po natin ng aral. Marami pong mga youth issues na matatalakay sa mga pelikula na ito and I hope you all take it with a grain of salt.

Importante po na hindi lang mga kabataan ang maka-enjoy dito pero sana po ang buong Pilipinas. Ang mga Pilipino makita niyo po ang pinagdadaanan ng mga kabataan ngayon.

Pangalawa naman po, I also want to take this opportunity to inform everyone that we celebrated the International Youth Day last August 12 sa Luzon, sa Visayas at sa Mindanao.

Ito pong celebration po ng International Youth Day is mandated by a United Nations Resolution passed several years ago.

A workshop to craft the Youth Manifesto for Peace-Building and Security was attended by Mindanaoan youth leaders and was facilitated by the National Youth Commission in partnership with the UNICEF, the City Government of Iligan, and the ARMM Office on Bangsamoro Youth Affairs.

In the youth’s quest for peace and security in Mindanao, please allow me to read the manifesto.

Youth Manifesto for Just and Lasting Peace presented at the 2017 International Youth Day Celebration in Iligan City, August 13, 2017.

“We, the youth of Mindanao, continue to stand with our people for peace in our homeland.

Mindanao is an island that knows conflict unlike any other. From the island provinces in the west, into the fields of Central Mindanao and up the mountains in the eastern coast, military operations against various armed groups have been going on for decades.

In Mindanao, people are constantly under threat of displacement and terror, and the youth are among the most adversely affected sectors.

But peace is not merely the end of these long-running conflicts. It is, at its very core, the presence and constant assurance of justice for all.

Giving this… Given this, it is the role of the youth to push for progressive policies that respond to our present circumstances and reflect the values – not the fears – of our time.

We, the Mindanaoan youth, are committed to good governance and youth participation.

We acknowledge that to forward the agenda of the youth, there is a need for better involvement in governance, particularly in the ongoing peace processes and the observance of human rights principles. The youth, as stakeholders, must be properly trained and empowered as agents of peace and leaders of the future.

Thus, shared governance between the youth sector and public officials at all levels is important. We therefore support the implementation of the Sangguniang Kabataan Reform Act, and other legislation that affirm this. We must also establish linkages among different youth groups and other stakeholders.

Equitable programs must be carried out as a response to latent inequalities in society, allowing all and every youth to have access to leadership opportunities.

We, the Mindanaoan youth, are committed to protection from and prevention of conflict and violence.

Terrorism hampers nation-building and is a threat to peace and security. The youth, as it seeks avenues toward genuine change, are often marginalized, making us vulnerable to radicalization and violent extremism.

Thus, there is a need for integration of peace education in all schools, including alternative learning institutions, indigenous schools and madaris.

The youth, along with other vulnerable and marginalized sectors, must be protected. Peace zones, including schools, hospitals and religious structures must be free from the presence of state or non-state armed groups. Our government must also exhaust all efforts to ensure access to basic social services despite conflict and to uphold and respect for human rights at all times.

We, the Mindanaoan youth, are committed to rehabilitation and reintegration of wayward youth.

We believe that, for a better future, the rehabilitation and reintegration of the youth must be prioritized. Thus, we must dedicate ourselves to support efforts addressing the psychosocial, educational and employment needs of this generation.

We believe that the lost and the fallen must be found and uplifted. The hungry and the thirsty must be fed and satiated. We believe that the displaced and traumatized must be sheltered, and must be provided with debriefing and counseling, including community-based mental health programs so that they will not become deviants of society.

We, the Mindanaoan youth, are committed to embracing diversity and fighting discrimination.

Mindanao is home to people of different faiths and cultures. Recognizing our diversity is a source of knowledge and embracing our differences is a source of strength. Our struggles are not all one and the same, yet we share the same aspirations.

We believe that solidarity is essential to our way of life. Thus, there should be relevant and intensive information dissemination, alongside inter-faith dialogues, towards understanding one’s culture and religion. The history of Moro and indigenous peoples must be institutionalized in our basic education curriculum to enable us to go beyond stereotypes and genuinely understand various peoples in the Philippines and appreciate their heritage.

The youth must not be seen as passive victims, rather as active participants in the midst of conflict and crisis. Only then can we be meaningful partners in finding solutions and realizing our nation’s pursuit for peace.

We believe that if we, the youth, will be united, we will be primary movers of peace in Mindanao and in the rest of the country.

We urge the national and local governments to regularly allocate sufficient funds and resources for programs and policies affecting young people to ensure sustainable youth development.

The youth shall inherit the call for lasting peace, a call that the peoples of Mindanao have been striving to realize. We believe that peace and security is needed to build on the gains of our forefathers and to ensure the continuity and consistency of our nation’s development.

We believe that our appreciation of this continuing struggle will further strengthen our desire for peace.

Whether our contributions towards realizing these visions will be big or small, it will not matter. What matters is how — how we will make things happen, and we need to begin now.

After all, who we are today is but a glimpse of who we will be in the future. The fulfillment of the young’s — of the youth’s promise begins today.”

Maraming maraming salamat po sa inyong suporta. Sa Presidential Communications Office, Secretary Abella, maraming salamat po. Asec. Queenie, Malacañang Press Corps, thank you for giving us your time.

Mabuhay po kayong lahat.


Rocky Ignacio (PTV): Ma’am, when you say education sa local government units to allocate funds especially education, meron na ba kayong nakausap regarding this?

CHAIRPERSON SEGUERRA: Of course po, ang DepEd naman is continuously — nandiyan naman po sila, ang suporta po nila.

But I think ang sinasabi po dito ay napakaimportante na ang edukasyon ay hindi lamang mapako sa academics.

Napakaimportante po ang edukasyon para matutunan ang — magkaroon ng mga skills ang mga kabataan. At I think ‘yun po ang hinihiling namin. Not just the formal education but especially the informal education.

Ang maabot po ang mga nasa malalayong lugar. Ang mga nasa kaibuturan ng bundok, ang mga nasa may — sa may tabi ng dagat.

Kasi po… Because may lack po ng reach ng access ng education, dito po nagu-ugat ang tinatawag nating extremism dahil po walang counternarrative.

Ms. Ignacio: Pero ‘yung vision niyo para ma-implement talaga ‘yung concrete na ma-establish ito, may coordination na sa mga government agencies para masimulan na?

CHAIRPERSON SEGUERRA: Ito po, actually, this is a very new manifesto. And yes, tama po kayo diyan, ma’am, we will coordinate with all agencies involved, mula po sa national hanggang sa local.

Especially now po with Bangon Marawi ‘no, Task Force Bangon Marawi, we actually requested if we can be part of it. Kahit… Kahit siguro doon sa isa sa mga sub-committees po doon.

I think it’s very important na magkaroon po ng youth lens ang rehabilitation. Ika nga, huwag po nating… ‘Pag sinabing “rehabilitation,” sana hindi lang po ma-focus sa infra, dun sa mga bagay na mahahawakan natin.

Pero I think, much esse — mas essential po ang rehabilitation ng kaluluwa. Mas essential ang rehabilitation ng psychosocial ng mga kabataan natin ngayon. Because like what the manifesto said, ayaw po natin ma-turn sila ulit.

Leila Salaverria (Philippine Daily Inquirer): Good morning. Gusto ko lang malaman. Ano po ‘yung response doon sa request niyo to be part of the Task Force sa Bangon Marawi?

CHAIRPERSON SEGUERRA: Actually, we’re very happy. We got an email — not really a formal invitation yet, but the email would suffice. And pinapa… Pinapapunta kami to Marawi to check out the evacuation centers.

And ngayon naman, we are working closely also with the Office of the — Office of the Bangsamoro Youth Affairs, para siyempre, magkaroon din ng aspeto na… May mga bagay kaming hindi alam because of culture tungkol sa ating mga Bangsamoro youth. So we are working closely with them also.

Ms. Salaverria: So essentially, you will be part of the…

CHAIRPERSON SEGUERRA: We’re waiting for the formal invitation. But the non-formal invitation was already sent.

Ms. Salaverria: Thank you.

Ted Tuvera (Daily Tribune): Good morning po Chairperson. Nabanggit niyo po kanina ‘yung sa mga ano nga po, sa mga indigenous sa mga — sa Mindanao. May sinabi po si Pangulo before nung — after nung SONA niya, sa isang press conference na parang handa na siyang — parang may order to bomb Lumad schools. Nakausap niyo po ba ang Pangulo tungkol dito? At ano po ‘yung pahayag natin sa — ?

CHAIRPERSON SEGUERRA: Of course, hindi namin nakausap ang Pangulo dito. But, we are…

Ayaw siyempre namin mangyari ‘yun. Ang mga eskwelahan, we want to make sure that all schools ay hindi maapektuhan ng kahit anong war, kahit anong power struggle na nangyayari.

Kaya, of course, we are asking the President to not do that. And ang gusto ko rin naman siguro ay hindi lang po… Siguro minsan din kasi nagagamit ang ating mga eskwelahan sa mga — ng mga grupo na masasabi nating may iba ring agenda.

So sana… I’ll be very firm about this. Sana let’s leave off our schools. Let’s make sure that the youth will study. Ang mga kabataan natin ay matututo mag-isip para sa kanilang mga sarili.

So huwag natin gamitin din ang mga eskwelahan para sa mga iba’t ibang agenda. 

Mr. Tuvera: Tsaka clarify na rin po, ‘yung bahagi po ng manifesto na binanggit niyo po kanina, parang may sinabi po doon na state and non-state armed elements should not be in schools. Do we… Ito rin po na ‘yung…

CHAIRPERSON SEGUERRA: Yes, of course. State and non-state. Kumbaga, we are about being fair here.

Gusto natin masigurado na ang state… Ang ating mga sundalo ay talagang nandodoon para pangalagaan.

Pero sana ang mga eskwelahan, kagaya ng sinabi mo, mga eskwelahan, mga lugar na — mga religious institutions ay sana talagang hindi magalaw at marespeto.

Mr. Tuvera: Thank you po.

Elijah Rosales (Business Mirror): Good morning, Chairperson. I would like ask regarding — for the NYC’s position. Yesterday, the House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms voted 19 to 2 passing the — passing through first reading ‘yung postponement ng barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections. Opinion po dito?

CHAIRPERSON SEGUERRA: Sa totoo lang po, nalulungkot po ang National Youth Commission sa balitang ‘yan because may ilan taon na rin po na wala pong tumatayong SK Chair at SK Council.

And alam naman po natin na kapag walang kabataan na tumitingin, mahirap po ‘yun eh kasi it’s hard if old people or if adults will decide for young people.

So kami po ang hinahabol po namin dito ay representation. It is very important na may representation ng kabataan hanggang sa ating mga barangay.

So sana po, kung ayaw nilang — kung ayaw nilang ituloy ang barangay, maintindihan namin. Pero sana, kahit ‘yung SK naman, sana ‘yung SK ibigay na po sa amin. It’s been years.

And if ang fear nila ay mangyari ‘yung mga dating kinatatakutan nilang mangyari, that’s why there is a reform. Binago na po ang SK ngayon. Please give SK a chance.

Mr. Rosales: Follow-up question doon. ‘Yung how will this affect ‘yung postponement, ‘yung possible postponement since hindi pa naman siya na-implement, doon sa mga iniro-roll out na programs ng NYC given that the SK is the local implementing body of youth programs?

CHAIRPERSON SEGUERRA: Sa ngayon po, since hindi naman po matutuloy ang SK, but kasama rin naman po sa SK Reform Act ang mga tinatawag natin local youth development offices.

Now, the local youth development offices po, masaya naman po kami na ‘yun po ay marami na pong mga LGUs ang tumugon doon.

Ang local youth development po ay mula provincial level hanggang municipal level po.

And ang maganda naman po kahit papaano ay through the LYDOs, we will be able to roll out all these programs and policies.

And sa mga barangay naman po, since walang SK, may itinayo po silang mga barangay development on youth.

So hopefully through that task force ay maipababa pa rin namin ‘yun. But iba pa rin talaga kapag may SK.

Mr. Rosales: Last question on my end. The committee chair Sherwin Tugna said na they are poised to pass the postponement this month. Meron po ba kayong gagawin appeal sa mga lawmaker personally mula sa NYC?

CHAIRPERSON SEGUERRA: Of course, actually ang mga… Not just me but our commissioners ay napaka-sipag sa pag-attend ng lahat ng mga hearing na ito at nakikipag-usap.

Pero siyempre nandun tayo sa kung ano man ang mangyari, the National Youth Commission will make sure that there will be youth representation kahit anong mangyari.

Mr. Rosales: With or without the SK elections? 

CHAIRPERSON SEGUERRA: With or without the SK.

Mr. Rosales: Thank you.

Haydee Sampang (FEBC): Good morning, Commissioner. Tanong ko lang po kung may hakbang or efforts po ‘yung NYC to address po ‘yung tumataas at alarming na number po ng mga kabataan na nagkakaroon ng HIV-AIDS? 

CHAIRPERSON SEGUERRA: Ma’am, I will be very honest with you, ano. In Thailand, this happened also before but it took the whole government, not just the government, but even the private sector to fix this.

The condom distribution, number one. Talagang mula sa college students hanggang sa mga preschool, tinuruan po nila ang mga kabataan just to make sure that hindi silang maging awkward when we are talking about condoms.

Even in gas stations, kapag nagpa-full tank ka doon, bibigyan ka nila ng box of condoms. But here in the Philippines, we cannot even do that.

So kahit ano pong gawin naming seminar, kahit ano pong gawin naming na — kahit anong gawin namin, if we cannot get the full support of the government, of everyone, tataas at tataas po ‘yan. And it’s continuously rising, ma’am.

That’s why I’m asking for everyone’s support. Actually not just the government, but I’m asking especially the families, the parents. Since… We need your help here. Kailangan po namin ng tulong ninyo. Not just for HIV but teenage pregnancy also.

It’s going up. We’re number one. Hindi siya magandang number one eh. So sana po matulungan niyo po kami.

If we continue to deny that this is happening, uunahin po natin ‘yung ating culture of sensitivity, uunahin po natin itong mga bagay na ito, wala pong mangyayari sa atin. Patuloy po ang pagtaas ng HIV at ng teenage pregnancy.

But, if tayo ay magiging proactive about this, then, maybe we have a chance of fixing this.

Hannah Sancho (Sonshine Radio): Clarify lang po ‘yung sa number one na sinabi niyo. Saan ‘to? Sa Southeast Asia?


Ms. Sancho: Southeast Asia. Susuportahan po ba ng National Youth Commission ‘yung possibility na i-revive ‘yung National College Entrance Examination na pinag-iisipan ng CHED para ma-kontrol ‘yung possible exodus ng students sa mga SUCs?

CHAIRPERSON SEGUERRA: That I will have to discuss first with the Commission since we’re a collegial body.

Any statement that comes out should be discussed first. Thank you for bringing that up. I will talk to them about it.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Good morning. We’d like to begin with congratulations.

We’d like to congratulate Gilas Pilipinas on its third straight win last Saturday [Sunday night]. They topped Group B in the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup.

We wish our players good luck as they advance to the quarterfinals scheduled tomorrow, Wednesday, August 16.

Also, some bright lights in the horizon.

Tourist arrivals up by 12.7 percent in the first half of 2017. The DOT announced an increase of 3,357,591 in the foreign tourist arrivals for the period of January to June 2017 or 12.7 percent higher compared to same period in 2016.

We attribute this to the performance of the government’s hard work in improving the country’s image and infrastructure of maintaining a safe and relaxing environment.

Some answers to some of the questions:

On the DOH budget:

The additional P1.5 billion to government hospitals, we have to remember it’s a Congressional insertion in the 2017 General Appropriations Act, GAA.

This was not restored in 2018 National Expenditure Program because it was a non-recurring project. This is according to DBM, okay.

Also, the LRMC’s offer to operate the MRT- 3:

We understand that the offer of the Light Rail Manila Corporation to operate MRT-3 is subject to the review and evaluation of the Department of Transportation.

Regarding the LTFRB’s one-month suspension of Uber:

We affirm the positive and beneficial service offered by the Transport Network Companies, TNCs.

However, as per LTFRB, Uber Systems unduly challenged its rules and instructions.

The issue here is striking a balance between innovation and laws and regulations that Land Transportation and Franchising Board has to implement as part of its administrative function in regulating common carriers.

Also, regarding the House panel and Faeldon:

The Dangerous Drugs Board Committee of House of Representatives wants the BoC chief fired for alleged gross incompetence and corruption.

From the Palace, the President said he will wait for the reports of both chambers of Congress before deciding how to best address issues in the Bureau of Customs.

We note that the statement of the House Dangerous Drugs Committee and chair and we await other reports.

Regarding the bird flu situation:

We sympathize with the plight of our farmers and other sectors in the poultry industry which are burdened by the drastic measures needed to contain and eradicate our first ever avian flu outbreak.

Despite their lack of personnel, we urge DA and BAI to expedite the various clearing to minimize the losses and hasten the recovery of the poultry industry.

Perhaps, if needed, the AFP can field more men to cull birds. This is, after all, no small calamity.

Regarding the supposed US bombing in Marawi:

Secretary Lorenzana serves a warning to all. Even leading news networks can get it wrong and fall prey to false reports and fake news.

Being careful and always double check your reports, especially online material are a must before sharing and acting on anything.

Let us help one another in fighting fake news.

We’re open to a few questions.   

Pia Ranada (Rappler): Good morning, sir. Sir, in the schedule of the President, we saw that he will be meeting with the Teodoro couple. May we know what they will be discussing during these two separate meetings? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: We don’t have details regarding that matter. I did check because you asked. But I was not able to get any details. Thank you.

Ms. Sancho: Sir, wala pong relation sa…Tinawag po ba ‘yung couple, sir, para makatulong sa Marawi rehabilitation?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Wala po akong detalye tungkol doon. As soon as we can get, we’ll…

Ms. Sancho: Sir, same question doon kay Chair Aiza regarding doon sa possibility na ibalik ‘yung National College Entrance Examination para po daw maiwasan ‘yung pag — ‘yung exodus po sa SUCs. Palace statement kung susuportahan po?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Ma’am, we will have to refer that to CHED and then as soon as we can get a report, we’ll get back to you.

Ms. Salaverria: Good morning.


Ms. Salaverria: Sir, on the Uber issue. Some commuters are saying that the suspension actually deprives them of a service that they need because of the inadequacy of public utility vehicles. Sir, what is the Palace’s assessment on public transportation? And what do you think could be done to improve this?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Ma’am, in general I don’t have — we will leave that to the DOTr. But however, regarding the Uber matter, we said we do empathize with the traveling public. It affects everyone, including us at times.

On the other hand, that’s exactly why we wish that the LTFRB and the Uber situation should be — should be completed as soon as possible. It should be addressed and it should be resolved as soon as possible.

Ms. Salaverria: But do you see a need to, at the same time, institute reforms in public transportation or improvements?


Yes ma’am?

Ina Andolong (CNN Philippines): Sir, in Davao City, the taxis are a lot more efficient. They do not decline passengers. Is the President aware that in the country’s capital, it’s totally the opposite? I mean, marami pong complaints —


Ms. Andolong: — coming from commuters because of these taxis because I believe, when he was still mayor, he was very tough against taxi drivers who say no to passengers. Has he ever expressed his position on this?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: As far as I know, he has not — we have not heard any comment… I have not heard any comment regarding that. However, that matter ought to be addressed by the local government.

I mean, it was after all — Davao City is after all, under a local government and the effectivity of the local transport there was due to their firm stand. So I would suppose that the similar political will exercised here would give us more efficiency.

Ms. Andolong: Anyway, sir, I do recall that at one point, the former mayor would [paano ba ‘to?] — medyo… he made some taxi drivers… He would confront abusive taxi drivers in Davao City. Is that something that, are you saying that maybe local governments —

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I’m not saying — I mean the style siguro —

Ms. Andolong: Or just — yeah, yeah, take a tougher stance, I mean?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Take a tougher stance. There should be firmer implementation of the law.

Joseph Morong (GMA): Sir, just to be categorical about it. The Palace agrees with LTFRB’s decision to suspend ‘no?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: It understands the situation and therefore, will support LTFRB.

Mr. Morong: When you say “empathize,” does it — is it not equivalent — going to be equivalent with government action naman to soften, kind of the effect of suspending it for a month?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: No, the point simply is that it should be resolved as soon as possible.

Mr. Morong: Okay.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: It should be resolved as soon as possible and ease the traveling situation, especially in NCR region.

Mr. Morong: Is it possible to shorten it? I mean, it could be less than a month?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: That, I cannot presume on what their actions are. But the sooner that the said institution complies, then the sooner these things will be resolved.

Mr. Morong: Okay sir, thank you.

Ms. Ranada: Sir, just more on the Uber issue. Some lawmakers are saying, especially si Senator Grace Poe that the sanctions on Uber are incommensurate to the violation. She, for example, is suggesting that it would have been better perhaps to fine Uber instead of suspend their operations given the large impact on commuters. What’s the Palace take on this? Are there other ways that you would suggest for this issue to be tackled that won’t harm commuters?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, I suppose Ms. Poe’s comment is — has it’s own merit. However, we do need to understand that the one in charge is LTFRB and we go by that.

Mr. Rosales: Good morning, Spox.


Mr. Rosales: Yesterday, Senate President Pimentel told Malacañang that the Executive should not force or pin them down into passing the Tax Reform Bill in full. What is the Palace’s statement on this? Are we [tawag dito?] pushing the lawmakers to pass TRAIN and ‘yung pagtutulak ba natin ng TRAIN na ito eh sobra-sobra na?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I would… I don’t know about using that words, “pushing” in these matters.

However, we do need — we do need reforms. So I think there should be a sort of give and take between the House and the Executive.

Mr. Rosales: If… But if hindi siya mapasa in full, will the President appeal to lawmakers to at least amend it?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: That will be up to the President, whether to appeal or not.

Mr. Rosales: Thank you.

Llanesca Panti (Manila Times): Good morning, sir. Llanesca Panti po from Manila Times.


Ms. Panti: Sir, about the postponement of the barangay and SK elections. It was said that it is — it has to be postponed to rid the barangay level of narco-politicians and drug money. And yet, there’s a statement from the President that it’s very hard, it’s tough to eradicate the drug problem in six years. So how do you reconcile his statement that it’s very hard to — six years is not enough to address the drug problem and yet you have — he is pushing for the postponement to address the drug problem at the barangay level. So how does the postponement of the barangay elections exactly help in eradicating drugs?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: First and foremost, we need to understand that the President is really deeply committed to the transformation of the social structures of the nation, especially institutions like these.

If we remember right — if we — if memory serves us right, PRRD’s position regarding this is to avoid — regarding the postponement, it’s to avoid the use of drug money for the election of barangay officials which are linked — who are linked to the illegal drug trade.

In the meantime, the DILG is — he also works in conjunction with DILG, which is tasked to look into the alleged involvement of narco-politicians.

In other words, work does not stop. There are continued efforts to… The continued effort to stop narco-politicians does not stop.

It just so happens also that it is one of the realities on the ground that narcotics is deeply embedded into the society. However, that does not stop the President’s efforts and one of this is to make sure that drug money does not legalize — drug money used for the election will not be used to legalize — the legalized entry of a new set of narco-politicians.

Pia Gutierrez (ABS-CBN): Good morning, sir. Sir, the reason why the issue of — on Uber and Grab is such a big issue with the public is because of the strong dissatisfaction of the public with the taxi service. Sir, is the Palace satisfied with the LTFRB’s action to address naman ‘yung current state of taxis?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I don’t know if the word “satisfied” is the apt word to use. But however, that is what we have.

You know, it is the President — it is the Executive arm implementing it’s own form of reforms.

So I don’t know if the word is “satisfied”, but that is what we have and we’ll stand by that.

Ms. Ranada: Sir, can we just get an update on the three DILG undersecretaries which, some DILG personnel asked the President to fire because apparently, the DILG is waiting for word from Malacañang, the letter was already — they’re waiting for advice from the Office of the Executive Secretary on their status because their roles are currently being shared by other officials.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: We will update you on that. We will take note of the question. We will update you on that as soon as possible.

Ms. Ranada: Sir, next question, still on DILG. There’s a provision in a law, Republic Act No. 6975, prohibiting an AFP chief from taking on the post of Secretary within a year of his retirement. Given this, what will the President do since he plans to appoint AFP Chief Año to the role, to the post of DILG Secretary? Is he considering other people for the role given the provision in the law?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: He has mentioned… He did make mention of General Año and he has also made aware of the provision.

And I’m sure he has an alternative solution regarding the matter or he will be able to — in order to be able to address the matters.

Ms. Ranada: Sir, is Gibo Teodoro being considered for the post?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I don’t have details of the meeting.

Ms. Ranada: Thank you, sir.

Ms. Gutierrez: Sir, it appears that despite the LTFRB’s order to suspend operations, nagpatuloy pa rin, sir, ang Uber with its operations today. And the latest development is that LTFRB’s still ordering the MMDA, the HPG, and the LTO to apprehend Uber units following their reactivation. Do you… Is the Palace behind this move by the LTFRB despite fears na baka magkagulo in the streets and this would cause, you know, chaos among the passengers na ma — ? Yeah…

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Are you asking if the Palace is —

Ms. Gutierrez: Are you supporting this move by the LTFRB, sir?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, the LTFRB is under the Office of the President, right? So yes, we support that.

Ms. Gutierrez: But there are fears, sir, na baka magkagulo in the streets.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: It will have to be handled with discretion.