Press Briefing

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella with Chairperson Liza Diño of the Film Development Council of the Philippines

Event Press Briefing by Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella with Chairperson Liza Diño of the Film Development Council of the Philippines
Location Kalayaan Hall, Malacañan Palace


PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Good morning. We’re fortunate today to have Film Development Council of the Philippines Chairperson Liza Diño.

Chair Diño will share with us the festive event organized by the FDCP in line with the upcoming Buwan ng Wika.

The Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino will feature a week-long screening of all Filipino films in theaters nationwide and other parallel activities.

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

CHAIRPERSON DIÑO: Presidential Spokesperson Abella, the PCOO team, and the Malacañang Press Corps, good morning.

Thank you for the opportunity to address you today. The Film Development Council of the Philippines is an agency under the Office of the President tasked to promote the development of the Filipino film industry.

I am nearing my first year mark as the chairperson and CEO of the FDCP and even with the 18 years of experience as an actress and an active member of the film industry, I still spent and I’m still spending as much time as I can to learn about the workings of the Filipino film industry, both in its local context and the role that it plays in world cinema.

I conducted numerous consultations and attended many, many meetings to identify gaps and rooms for improvement for the different sectors.

And we are continuously formulating plans and programs to start feasibly and proactively addressing such gaps.

Among the biggest of which include the need for more platforms to screen the enormous number of Filipino films produced this year.

I can still remember a few months back when the concept of an exclusive platform for Filipino films in commercial theaters were far from reality.

It was practically a far-fetched idea that would not have materialized if not for the help and encouragement of the various stakeholders of this industry, starting from the cinemas to the filmmakers and even government agencies who were ready to lend a helping hand to the FDCP.

Soon enough Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino came to life which serves as a platform, an opportunity, a chance for Philippine cinema to thrive and reach the wider audience that it deserves for an exclusive time.

Solong-solo po natin ang Filipino audience for this month and for this week. This is in line with the celebration of Buwan ng Wika and our proposal for a National Film Month, ‘cause you see August is a very exciting month for Filipino films.

We also have Cinemalaya, one of the longest-running independent film festival here in the Philippines and Cinema Rehiyon for the independent and regional films.

I cannot tell you how ecstatic and proud I am that August has finally come where we can showcase 12 films of high quality which offers a different kind of storytelling with a familiar charm of what Filipino audience have grown to watch and love.

This is truly a historic moment and one I will be cherishing because this signifies the triumph of Philippine cinema and promises more to come for the industry.

For August 16 to 22, all Filipinos nationwide will get the chance to watch the following films: “100 Tula Para Kay Stella” of Viva, directed by Jason Paul Laxamana, starring JC Santos and Bela Padilla; “Ang Manananggal sa Unit 23B”, directed by Prime Cruz, starring Ryza Cenon and Martin Escudero — Martin del Rosario; “AWOL” by Skylight and Star Cinema, directed by Enzo Williams, starting Gerald Anderson, Dianne Medina, and Bembol Roco; “Bar Boys” by Kip Oebanda, by Tropic Frills, starring Carlo Aquino, Rocco Nacino, Enzo Pineda, Kean Cipriano and Odette Khan; “Birdshot” by TBA Studios directed by Mikhail Red, starting Arnold Reyes, Mary Joy Apostol, Ku Aquino, and John Arcilla; “Hamog” by Cinema One, directed by Ralston Jover, starring Zaijan Jaranilla and Therese Malvar; “Paglipay”, directed by Zig Dulay from ToFarm, starring Garry Cabalic, Joan dela Cruz, and Anna Luna; “Patay Na si Hesus” from T-Rex Entertainment Productions, directed by Victor Villanueva, starring Jaclyn Jose, Chai Fonacier, Vincent Viado,  Mailes Kanapi, Melde Montanez; Sheenly Gener, and Olive Nieto; “Pauwi Na” which just recently won Golden Goblet in the Shanghai International Film Festival, directed by Paolo Villaluna, starring Bembol Roco, Cherry Pie Picache, Meryll Soriano, Jerald Napoles, Jess Mendoza, and Chai Fonacier; “Salvage” from Cinema One directed by Sherad Sanchez starring Jessy Mendiola and JC de Vera; “Star Na Si Van Damme Stallone” from Unitel and Straight Shooters directed by Randolph Longjas, starring Paolo Pingol, Candy Pangilinan, Sarah Brakensiek and Ebong Jonson — Joson; “Triptiko” directed by Miguel Michelena, produced by Michelena Brothers starring Albie Casiño, Joseph Marco, Kean Cipriano, and Kylie Padilla.

These films were carefully selected and curated by the PPP Selection Committee made up of the pillars of the film industry who have dedicated much valuable time, effort, and importance to the selection process.

Screenwriter Ricky Lee, Director Jose Javier Reyes, Editor Manet Dayrit, Director Erik Matti, film critic Oggs Cruz, and cinematographer Lee Briones, and actress Iza Calzado.

We are very proud of this set of films and we expect the Filipino audience to love them as much as we do.

PPP is a massive undertaking that will not be possible if not for the coming together of all the sectors of government from agencies to private companies and organizations.

So first let me thank all the theaters who participated: Ayala Malls cinemas, Cash and Carry cinemas; Century cinemas; Cinema 2000, Commerce Center Alabang, Eastwood cinemas, Festival cinema, Fisher Box Office, all Gaisano cinemas in the provinces, Gateway, Ali Mall cinemas, KCC cinemas, Megaworld Lifestyle Malls, NCCC cinemas, Power Plant cinemas, Promenade Greenhills, Robinsons Movieworld, Shang Cineplex, SM Cinemas, Sta. Lucia cinemas, Starmall and Vista cinemas, and Walter Mart cinemas.

The government agencies who helped us and we wrote letters to each of them and we’re so happy that they all supported this event: National Youth Commission with their Sine Kabataan; the National Commission for Culture and the Arts; Movie Television Review and Classification Board; MMDA; Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino; National Parks Development Committee for giving us the Rizal Park on August 13; PCOO, of course, thank you Spox for this; Office of the Presidential Spokesperson; Department of Public Works and Highways; Philippine Information Agency; ULAP; and various local government units nationwide.

And, of course, the members of the private sector: Globe Telecom; Sip Water; Vikings; Sequoia Hotel; and White Space Inc.

Part of the advocacy of PPP and FDCP is raising awareness on piracy which is killing the Filipino industry.

Marami na pong namatay na mga opportunities para po sa atin because of piracy and it affects Philippine film workers who have dedicated blood, sweat, and tears into each and every film.

If we want to professionalize our industry, we need to protect our workers and artists in the art that they produce. This is why together with our partners in Globe, we are supporting the “Play It Right” a campaign that encourages our audiences to watch films from legitimate sources only and supporting our filmmakers to be able to continue what they love — making films for the Filipino people.

We would like to solicit all of your support in making Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino a success by spreading the word to our audiences.

As early as July, we have been conducting mall caravans, campus tours and press conferences to drum up the excitement and buzz.

And believe me when I tell you that you will not be disappointed for our main offerings. Pero hindi po ito magiging successful kung hindi po namin makukuha po ang suporta ng publiko, ng ating mga manunuod, ng audiences po natin na talagang gutom na gutom po para po sa mga iba’t ibang klaseng pelikula na kayang i-offer po ng ating local filmmakers.


On August 13, we will have a Pista at the Park. A one-day fiesta-type event in Luneta with banchetto food stalls, and fiesta games to be participated in by our PPP films and stars.

Everyone is invited to enjoy the day with us which will be highlighted by a motorcade by our PPP stars and cast.

On the eve of PPP on August 15, we will hold a premiere gala night at SM Megamall with the special screening of the newly-restored film “Zamboanga,” our oldest film that we have that we just restored, a 1937 film starring Fernando Poe Sr., considered as one of the oldest films in possession by the agency.

This will officially open PPP while also celebrating the 100 years of Philippine cinema.

This will be followed by another main event, a thanksgiving night on August 20, where we play tribute to our films through a mini concert and fiesta.

The PPP films’ diversity in terms of treatment, theme and genre is what makes it all the more exceptional — more exceptional as they are familiar.

We are so excited for you to see them on the big screen and at this point, I’d like to show you the trailer of our 12 films for Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino.

CHAIRPERSON DIÑO: Thank you so much for this opportunity and we hope that you will continue to support us from August 16 to 22 by stopping by your nearest theaters to watch all of the PPP films.

Maraming salamat po.


Joseph Morong (GMA): Hi, ma’am, good morning. 


Mr. Morong: Can you give us a little more background on the film “Zamboanga”? Why did you choose this film to open the Pelikulang Pilipino?

CHAIRPERSON DIÑO: Every year, FDCP is given two films to restore and we chose “Zamboanga.” It’s one of the old — it’s the oldest film actually right now in our possession, acquired by Mr. Nick Deocampo from the American Film Congress. And it’s an opportunity for us to see this in its fully- restored version.

And actually on August 15, it’s also our tribute to the celebration of 100 years of Philippine cinema. So this is a perfect film for the event. 

Mr. Morong: For our viewers, ano po ‘yun — on Facebook — will this be free or medyo discounted ‘yung rates? You have discounted rates for students or —


Mr. Morong: Yes.

CHAIRPERSON DIÑO: Ah yes, meron po kaming student promo rates. Sa Metro Manila po, P150 lang po ang ticket sa buong — para sa mga estudyante. At sa labas ng Metro Manila, in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, and all the cities and provinces, P100 po from August 16 to 22. Lahat po ng mga pelikula.

Meron din po kaming promo para po sa mga regular moviegoers. Meron pong 4+1. Sa lahat po ng sinehan. If you buy 4 tickets or you watch 4 different movies, you get one free.

And recently, we acquired a partnership with SM with a festival pass. Watching 6 films — 6 unique films — for P990. So this is really a — audience development program na binuo po namin para po talaga sa mga manonood. Kaya po talagang sana po suportahan po.

Mr. Morong: And during that period, we won’t see any Hollywood movies?

CHAIRPERSON DIÑO: No Hollywood films po for this period with the partnership po of the cinemas.

Mr. Morong: Buti pumayag?

CHAIRPERSON DIÑO: Pumayag. ‘Yun nga po eh. Yey! [laughs]

Mr. Morong: Bakit pumayag?

CHAIRPERSON DIÑO: Kasi po makulit po kami. Hindi — kasi po siguro I think you always have to find commonalities in the vision.

And even if alam po natin na ang cinemas talagang business and meron po tayong mga agreements na sinign (sign) for free trade, it’s their choice po and nakakatuwa po dahil naniniwala po sila and doon po sa vision po ng Buwan ng Wika for us to celebrate our own films.

Rocky Ignacio (PTV): Ma’am, kanina sinabi niyo you need a platform or more platform to improve film industry. So ano po ‘yung gusto niyong mga platforms na kailangan to improve po?

CHAIRPERSON DIÑO: Well, isa po sa mga nagiging problema po ng industriya ngayon ay, of course, every time po na nagkakaroon po tayo ng mga local film in cinemas, nalulunod po siya sa mga blockbuster films, sa mga Hollywood films.

I think we need to find opportunities po to give a fair chance and level the playing field for our local films and binubusisi po namin kung paano pa kami magkakaroon ng other opportunities and programs para po mabigyan talaga natin ng mas malaking platform ang mga local films po natin.

Kasi we have so many amazing and creative filmmakers who are dedicated to give us really good films. And if we’re given that chance and I think this is a good start that they are watching 12 beautiful films nationwide.

And normally po na hindi po sila nakikita sa — nang matagal. Normally po, in separate — in different cities lang po siya napapanuod. So this is really, hopefully a game changer.

Thank you so much, maraming maraming salamat po. 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Good morning. Just a few items before we go to the Q & A.

On free irrigation:

We welcome the Senate’s approval yesterday on third and final reading Senate Bill No. 1465 or the “Free Irrigation Service to Small Farmers Act of 2017” to exempt small farmers from irrigation fees.

This will increase efficiency and decrease farm production costs allowing for a higher income for small farmers.

The House of Representatives approved their version of the bill on third and final reading last [May] 29.

We are hopeful that the passage of the law would be smooth sailing, which is PRRD’s campaign promise to help our small farmers.

Also, investment projects up by 30 percent as of mid-July of 2017:

The Board of Investments yesterday — the Board of Investments registered its investment projects to P272.7 billion as of mid-July in 2017, which is a 30 percent increase from last year’s P210.4 billion.

This means that the agency’s target to reach P500 billion investment projects is on track.

The full operation of these projects would create 56,056 jobs, which is 50 percent higher than last year’s 37,487 of the same period.

Indeed, the Duterte administration will continue its efforts in attracting more investments to generate more jobs, hence, providing secure and a comfortable life for all Filipinos.

As of 26 July, Day 65 of rebellion in Marawi, we’d just like to give an update:

Enemies killed – 460 or an increase of 7

Civilians killed – No change [45]

Firearms recovered – 533 or plus 2

Civilians rescued – No change [1,723]

Buildings cleared – 17, yesterday 6

Killed-in-action – 111 or plus 2.

As of 15:00H yesterday, 25 July 2017, here is the status of the Landbank cash donations:

For AFP casualties, we already have P9,713,223.23 and for internally displaced persons, we have a total of P818,315.21

We are open now to a few questions.

Mr. Morong: Medyo madami. Una muna, sir, reaction, kailangan lang ng office. I think the PCA in Singapore ordered the government to reimburse Maynilad P3 billion because of the failure to approve or to — to approve the adjustment from 2013 to 2017? So…

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: So yeah, I believe the Secretary of Finance has made a reference to that, that he will go back and check and find out how to source the payment.

Mr. Morong: So we will pay? 


Mr. Morong: Sir, shift lang ng topic. Sa BBL, sir. Well, essentially, President Duterte is continuing the track of the previous administration in pushing for the BBL. But before, there were questions by then Senator Santiago questioning the authority of the President to enter into peace agreements with the MILF. That’s number one. Number two, what — who gave the authority for the MILF to represent all the Moros or the Bangsamoro, sir? Any comments on that objection?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I referred to Ma’am Inday Santiago and her explanation is although the MILF acts as a principal party in the CAB… Ah hold on.

The nature of the MILF is that it is a revolutionary organization. Members [are select?] They join in organization because they believe in its aims. To obtain their demand, that the Moro exercise — that the Moro exercise their right to self-determination, they waged a war against the government.

In order to stop the violence, government and the MILF agreed to start peace negotiations in 1997. Although the MILF acts as a principal party in the CAB, the issues discussed reflect the grievances of the Moros for social justice and self-determination.

The CAB also… The CAB including the draft BBL had been informed by hundreds of consultations with various stakeholders.

In other words, the nature of their engagement — our engagement with the MILF was due to the situation at hand.

Mr. Morong: Sir, with regard to the authority of the President to enter into peace negotiations, what’s your comment on that? Na parang ang sinasabi ni then Senator Santiago is that the BBL, because of some of its provisions, may have the tendency to create a sub-state and diminish some powers of the central government. In that case daw, it needs Senate concurrence because you’re going to change some aspects of the government. So…

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: We’ll have to refer that — that back to the SolGen or… We’ll have to refer that back to the Office of the President. We will find out.

Mr. Morong: Sir, just one last question on the BBL. The 2016 and 2017 BBL, sir, are essentially the same, if not more the 2017. Do you think that it will pass muster in Congress given that there were some objections in some of the provisions in 2016 that are present in 2017?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I believe circumstances have changed in the Senate. And the Congress understands the situation at hand on the ground. And I believe that they will concur, that they will understand the situation.

Mr. Morong: Thank you.


Maricel Halili (TV-5): Hi, sir. Good morning.


Ms. Halili: Sir, during the SONA of the President, he mentioned about the Balangiga Bells. Why all of a sudden he raised this issue and asked the US to return it while he keeps — while he’s quiet on the issue of the West Philippine Sea? Why is that, sir?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Those two are different. The two situations are different. The other one is really to correct a social injustice, the other one is a negotiating — the other one is a present negotiations on certain particular matters.

Ms. Halili: Isn’t this, sir, a diversionary tactic of the President so as to forget the issue on the WPS?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I wouldn’t say that. I believe that this is a very significant and very symbolic act in order to respect — in order to highlight the fact that we do protect our patrimony.

Ms. Halili: Sir, during the SONA of the President, parang obviously marami siyang mga ad libs. So I’m just curious. Are there issues that were not tackled during the SONA? Baka may na-miss siya doon sa original na script?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: As far as I… I went back and forth with some of the personnel who were involved in the production. He went through most of it. He went through the script. He went through the speech.

So I cannot, at this stage, identify any particular item that he may — he missed out, if — if at all.

Ms. Halili: So lahat na-mention po. Sir, one last na lang po. Clarification. When the President said during his SONA to hold off assault doon sa mga — sa Marawi because of the 300 civilians, what does he mean by that? Sinasabi ba niya…

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: He simply means that they need to proceed with caution.

Ms. Halili: Proceed with caution. So there’s no suspension of military action?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: No. I mean they’re still there, right? They cannot… They cannot suspend the — but they need to proceed with caution.

Ms. Halili: All right. Thank you, sir.

Trisha Macas (GMA Online): Hi, sir. Good morning. I have two questions. First, the Communist Party of the Philippines urged its armed wing, the NPA, to…  Hold on, I’ll just read the statement: “To accelerate its growth by stepping up its recruitment of new Red fighters,” as it called the Duterte regime as “under the US”. So I think it said that “the US-Duterte regime is bound to face the Filipino and Moro people’s all-out resistance and it’s risking a fate worse than the detested US-Marcos dictatorship.” We just want to get the Palace statement on this, sir.


Ms. Macas: “The US-Duterte regime is bound to face the Filipino and Moro people’s all-out resistance and it’s risking a fate worse than the detested US-Marcos dictatorship.” So how will the Palace respond to this strong statement from the CPP?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well basically, I mean… I think they have it — they have it distorted perception of what the President is doing. Basically, the President has been very open. He has actually engaged them.

But from where he’s coming from — and from where the President is coming from, he has actually bent over backwards — bent over backwards in trying to accommodate them.

And however, he has not… As his reactions lately, apparently, he doesn’t perceive that there is a common response — that there is a commensurate response.

So I don’t know about being worse or what, but the fact is, the President has been quite open and has actually engaged that party. Those parties with openness.

Ms. Macas: Sir, with the latest statements of the President, during the press conference, he categorically said that he would no longer proceed with the peace talks with the communists. And with these… With this latest statement from the CPP, does the Palace think that there will be no more talks, there will be no hope or chance for the peace talks to continue with the communists?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Up to this point, we go by what the President has said.

Ms. Macas: Sir, just to… Parang it wasn’t a bluff naman when he said na parang no more talks, ganyan? Kasi the way he said it parang
“O, ayaw niyo pala eh; ayaw ko na rin.” So can you explain to us or not — ? Parang is that statement is final?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, I cannot over explain him, you know. I’ll just have to go by what he said.

Ms. Macas: So, sir, wala pa po bang notice of termination?


Ms. Macas: Wala pa?


Officially there’s none. However, those are — those are his… You could say that at this particular stage, those are his directives. Unless — unless otherwise.

Ms. Macas: Sir, medyo related lang. Pero specifically po kay Joma Sison. He responded… He responded po sa sinabi ni President last night na to commit suicide. Yeah. And then he said parang he said na “President Duterte should consult a psychiatrist because he has a sick mind”. So yeah… We just want to get the Palace reaction to this kind of statement?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Those are… I believe those are really expanded statements.

Ms. Macas: So no more reaction, sir?


Ms. Macas: Okay, thank you, sir.

Philip Tubeza (Philippine Daily Inquirer): Sir, good morning. Follow up lang po. The President said Joma has colon cancer. Dineny po ni Joma and he’s challenging the Palace to release the medical records of the President. Could we get your…

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Those are two different issues. The President has again and again declared… And we can see that he is pretty much in control of his physic — physiology. He seems to be in the best of health. Thank you.

Mr. Morong: Given that, is the Palace willing to disclose the medical records of the President?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Up to this stage, I don’t know what the response is. But, you know, there’s really no need to do that. As far as I can see, there’s really no need to do that.

Mr. Morong: No need to do that.

Rocky Ignacio: Sir, from Deo de Guzman, ano daw po ‘yung final instruction ni President Duterte kay DOLE Secretary Bello regarding ‘yung pagpapatigil na ng peace talks?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Wala po tayong official word. Official word has not reached my table.

Mr. Morong: Sir, ‘yung sa hearing lang sa Senate ngayon. Si General Bato said na hindi nga normal ‘yung ibalik sa field si Marcos but it was the President’s insistence that he be reinstated kasi sayang daw ‘yung sweldo and all that. Parang…


Mr. Morong: Dahil sayang daw ‘yung sweldo kung suspended lang, so pagtrabahuhin na rin  daw. Comment?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, from the statement — from the way it was explained, it was a very pragmatic situation — solution — coming from the President, yes.

Mr. Morong: Thank you.