Press Briefing

Press Briefing by Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella with Director General Guiling Mamondiong of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA)

Event Press Briefing
Location Kalayaan Hall, Malacañan Palace

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Good morning. We are pleased to have today Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Director General Guiling “Gene” Mamondiong.

Prior to his appointment, he was Department of Transportation and

Communications Undersecretary.

He will share with us the plans, programs and accomplishments of TESDA. And so ladies and gentlemen of the Malacañang Press Corps, let us all welcome Secretary Gene Mamondiong. Sir?

DIR. GEN. MAMONDIONG: Maraming salamat. Magandang umaga po sa inyong lahat.

Let me start with statistics. I think that will be interesting to you.

Ang TESDA, since the time it was created, we have enrolled about 29 million people.

Out of this enrollment, we have graduated 28 million people and 10,000 of which have undergone the assessment.

Out of this 10,000, only about 8,000 — about 18,000 — I’m sorry — 10 million of which was given the assessment, about 8 million were given the national certificate.

Ang tanong ko po, saan po ‘yung 18 million? Those who graduated ‘no kasi ang sinabi ko sa inyo, 28 million graduated out of 29 million enrollees.

Ang tinatanong ko sa aking sarili at sa TESDA, saan ‘yung 18 million na hindi nagkaroon ng assessment?

It could be that these enrollees or graduates may not have the money to pay for the assessment fee.

Kasi po TESDA has been charging an assessment fee ranging from P1,000 to P3,000, depending on the course or programs that they have graduated.

So TESDA decided that we give free assessment. We are not charging anymore assessment fee for our graduates.

Now, let me start my report to you and to the Filipino people with our performance starting in 2016.

In 2016, we have enrolled 2,269,665. The delivery modes are the following:

We have 1,151,644 from the various institutions, both public and private.

On enterprise-based skills training, we have an enrollment of 72,458 enrollees. On community-based training, we have enrolled 1,045,563.

The graduates of this enrollment are as follows:

On institution-based enrollment, we have graduated 1,057,574;

On enterprise-based, we have graduated 67,080 graduates;

On community-based, we have graduated 1,026,582.

Out of these graduates, we have assessed 1,512,233 in 2016.

Out of this number, we have certified only 1,387,985. For the first and second quarter of 2017, the enrollment was 766,577 and we have assessed 456,768 and certified 419,100 graduates or 91.8 percent.

That is the number of graduates, the enrollment and the certified trainees.

Now, we found that there is a need to introduce some new programs in TESDA.

Immediately after I assumed office, we conducted barangay skills mapping all over the country and we are talking here of 42,036 barangays nationwide.

So we communicated with the barangay chairmen and 23,000 responded to our letters.

And they have nominated 850,000 trainees — people who would like to have skills training with us.

Aside from the barangay skills mapping coming from, you know, coming from the barangay chairmen, we have also introduced a new mode of scholarship availment.

We have the so-called online application and we have about 41,000 applicants on online.

We have also a walk-in application mode of availment and 62,000 applicants went to our offices nationwide as we have a total of almost 1 million applicants.

As of now, we have almost 1 million people ready for availment of our skills training program.

There was also a need to find out if these — if our training centers of about 4,000 are capable of continuously giving skills training.

We would like to know if all these training centers are really, you know, are really equipped. Are really equipped. So we are talking here of the absorptive capacity of the skills training centers.

We found out that out of four thousand three training centers, 50 percent are compliant with our training regulations and 29 percent are not — 21 percent of which has closed their programs.

In the Philippines, we have only developed 18,000 programs. But because of this technical audit of our training centers, this number was reduced just to — to about 14,000.

So from 18,000 programs that we have developed, this was reduced to only 14,000 because all the rest closed their programs.

Ang ibig sabihin po, wala pong nag-enroll doon sa 4,000 na new programs. ‘Yun po ang ibig sabihin nun.

But in the case of China, for example, they have the developed 100,000 programs as compared to the Philippines, which is just about 18,000 programs. So we are now targeting 50,000 programs during the term of the President.

So we have coordinated with the industry to help us out in making sure that we develop this number of programs because we believe that every single program that we have developed, we are creating jobs and means of livelihood.

We are going — we are attributing the economic miracle of China to this number of programs that they have developed. Halos lahat po ng naiisip nila ay meron silang programa.

On the drug dependents, we have already trained about 20,000 drug dependents in support of the drug rehabilitation program of the President.

And we are still coordinating with the Department of Health as well as the Philippine National Police to submit to us the drug dependents who are ready for skills training.

And we are not only limited to giving skills training to the drug dependents. We are also coordinating with the Department of Trade and Industry as well as Department of Social Welfare and Development to make sure that after the skills training programs are given by the — by TESDA, jobs are already available for them and means of livelihood for those who cannot make it to the employment.

We have also trained about 8,500 indigenous people from various tribes of our country.

In fact, we signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the NCIP, making 15,000 scholarship grants available for the indigenous people.

But after my assumption to office, I think that was last September of last year, I went to Caraga because Caraga is a region dominated by members of the indigenous people.

And I have allocated 13,000 scholarship grants for Caraga. As of now, they have only availed of about 7,000 of that 13,000 scholarship grants, slots.

In Cordillera, for example also, I have allocated 13,000 also for the Cordillera region. And as of today, I am happy to report to the people of the region that they have availed 11,000 already — more than 11,000 of that number of scholarship grants for Caraga.

But for the members of the indigenous people scattered all over the country, as I said, we have made available 15,000 for this group of people.

In the Autonomous Region, we have given them 16,000 scholarship grants. But unfortunately, as of today, they have only availed of about 5,300 scholarship out of the 16,000.

Bakit po? Because they do not have enough training centers. Halos wala pong training centers doon sa Autonomous Region.

So their absorptive capacity is a big question. But they have madrasah schools in almost all of the municipalities in the Autonomous Region and they have about 126 municipalities in the Autonomous Region.

And because of this, they are graduating hundreds of thousands of people every year. And these graduates from the madrasah school system do not have any opportunity to land jobs and means of livelihood.

In other words, the madrasah school system in south are producing army of jobless people.

So what is our solution? Our solution is to integrate the skills training program into the madrasah system that’s why we have given them 16,000 slots.

Dito po sa kuwan, Marawi siege, because we are about to start — and in fact, we have started the reconstruction and rehabilitation program already with the establishment of the temporary shelter ‘no.

We went to Iligan City because it is in Iligan City where you can find the bulk of the evacuees.

We are now conducting a massive skills training program to the evacuees in Iligan City and Cagayan de Oro City.

We have appropriated already, as far as CDO is concerned, about P60 million for skills training. We are giving priority to construction workers because of the reconstruction and rehabilitation program of the government.

And so for the Marawi evacuees, we are targeting about 20,000 construction workers. And we are also coordinating very closely with the Department of Trade, with Department of Agriculture and DSWD to make sure that after the graduation, we have jobs and means of livelihood for these evacuees. ‘Yan po ang pinaka-importante dito.

We have to provide jobs and means of livelihood to the evacuees once they are already returned to Marawi City.

Now, in the case of OFWs who are remitting more than 30 billion dollars to the country, we have three programs for them.

We have the so-called reintegration program. We are giving skills training for the returning OFWs so that when they return they are ready for reintegration in terms of employment and means of livelihood.

Number two program for them, we are conducting free assessment in their respective host countries. Doon po ginagawa ang assessment ng TESDA. Doon mismo sa bansang kanilang pinagtatrabahuhan. So free po ito.

Apart from the free assessment that we are giving to our OFWs, we are going to conduct a skills upgrading or skills enhancement for OFWs.

And we have talked to our counterparts in the Middle East countries and other countries in Europe where there is a big concentration of OFWs to allow us to conduct our skills upgrading in the Philippine international schools.

Nakausap po natin ‘yung lahat ng eskwelahan doon and they are ready to make their facilities available for the OFWs, ready for skills upgrading.

We also plan to put up TESDA’s skeletal force or offices in those countries to manage the skills upgrading program of TESDA.

So we are bringing TESDA closer to the OFWs who are there to — President Duterte. ‘Yun po ang mga programa natin dito sa OFWs.

We have also given skills training program for the inmates. For the first time in our country, TESDA is giving free skill training for inmates. And we have already trained about 4,000 inmates. Pinuntahan po natin sila doon sa mga kulungan nila, doon sa mga detention centers. And this is a continuing program, this is a continuing program.

We have trained also about 29,000 individual entrepreneurs and we are closely coordinating with the Department of Trade about this because we want to make sure that after the training they have already some kind of, you know, business activities, with the assistance of the Department of Trade.

And then we have also trained — this is a special training program for the women sector. We have trained about 39,000 women from various groups of women organizations.

And for the first time also, we have entered into a memorandum of agreement with CBCP to develop family enterprises.

We are coordinating, as I said, under this memorandum of agreement with CBCP, to develop family enterprises in all regions of our country.

And we are starting with at least 100 family enterprises in every region. So our target for the first half of 2018 is 2,000 family enterprises.

The training is for the members of the family, not just the head of the family but all the members of the family who are of age are given the training.

So this is another approach to poverty alleviation program among Filipino families. We have also launched in Metro Manila the so-called emergency skills training program and we are giving food and transportation allowance for those who will avail of this program.

And we are going to dedicate the month of November this year to developing skills training program for the slum areas all over the country, ‘yung mga informal settlers po.

So you can see that for the month of November, we will be visiting slum areas in the entire country starting in Metro Manila. And we are going to coordinate with DTI, with the Department of Agriculture, with DSWD. Again, to make sure that after the graduation, meron na silang pupuntahan.

So this is our contribution to the poverty alleviation program of the President. We will be bringing TESDA and these government offices to these slum areas. Kami na po ang pupunta doon. Aalamin kung ano ang maitutulong ng TESDA at saka mga opisinang ito.

Hindi na po sila ang pupunta sa TESDA o sa mga opisinang ito. Kami na po ang pupunta sa kanila. Aalamin namin sa kanila. Ano ba ang mga skills na pwede nating i-develop sa inyo? Pwedeng ibigay sa inyo? Ano ba ang trabahong pwedeng ibigay sa inyo? Ano ang mga livelihood program pwedeng ibigay sa inyo na kaya ninyong gawin? ‘Yun po ang contribution ng TESDA rito.

So you can see that TESDA, although this is not a new office, coming up with new programs. In the case of drug, I would like to bring you to — bring you back to the drug problem.

In the case of TESDA, all the officials and employees of TESDA have undergone drug testing. Lahat po kami ay dumaan sa drug testing and we are more than 4,000 all over the country.

And thank God that none of us was found positive of illegal drugs substances. So we have declared TESDA as drug free.

We have also declared TESDA as corruption free. Lahat po ng officials, empleyado, including job orders pumirma po kami ng commitment, pleads to the President that we are corruption free.

Although we are… You cannot perfect, you know, there is no 100 percent drug free government agency. But we can assure the public and the Filipino people that we will be dealing with more severely for those or anyone of us who may be involved in drug, I mean in corruption. Wala po tayong sasantuhin dito.

Now, doon po sa kuwan, scholarship. Kasi noon po ang tawag dito ay vouchers. In the previous administration ang tawag nila po dito sa scholarship grant or scholarship grant ay vouchers.

Pinalitan po natin ito. Instead of vouchers tinatawag nating scholarship grants kasi po ‘pag vouchers ang pinag-usapan, pera kaagad ang nasa utak natin eh.

In the past, what they have been doing is to distribute the slots to the training centers. Ibinibigay lang po ito sa mga training centers. And sila na po ang naghahanap ng mga trainees, mga scholars.

When I assume TESDA’s leadership we changed the approach. Hindi na po tayo namimigay ng scholarships sa mga training centers.

Nagkaroon ba ng tendering system. Ang ibig sabihin po, lahat po ng mga nominees coming from the barangay chairmen all over the country, ‘yung mga online applications, ‘yung mga walk-in applications, ay kino-collate po natin ito.

And then nagkakaroon tayo ng parang bidding po ito among registered training centers.

Halimbawa lang po, sa isang district lahat po ng training centers doon with registered programs ay iniimbita natin. Ito ‘yung available na scholarship sa inyong district. Kung sino ‘yung may absorptive capacity, sila po ang pwedeng sumama rito sa programang ito.

Ano po ‘yung sinasabi nating absorptive capacity? Tinitingnan po natin sa eskwelahan ‘yung facilities po.

Pangalawang tinitingnan po natin ‘yung equipment, pangatlo po ‘yung faculty.

Kasi maaaring meron kang facilities, you have the school but you do not have the equipment. How can you conduct the skills training without the equipment?

If you have the equipment, wala kayong kuwan trainers or faculty. So ‘yung tatlo pong ‘yun ay tinitingnan po natin doon. So ‘yun po ang pagbabago dito sa scholarship availment or scholarship distribution.

Now to make sure that the trainees or scholars are real hindi basta — I’m trying to avoid the use of the term ghost ‘no. We also organized a national inspectorate.

Lahat po ng eskwelahan or training centers na nabigyan natin ng scholarship ay pinupuntahan po ng inspectorate natin to find out if they have, as I said, if they have the facilities, if they have the equipment, if they have the training — the faculty and if the scholars are real. Kung nandoon ba, ‘yung warm bodies po, nandun ba ‘yung sinubmit (submit) o binigyan ng scholarship.

We want to make sure that every single cent that is appropriated for the scholarship of the government for the poor is given directly to the beneficiaries. So ‘yan po ang ginagawa natin dito.

Now, in the Philippines, we have about 122 training centers controlled and owned by the government. This is under supervision of TESDA. Magkakaroon po tayo ng malaking programa na ito because of the so-called universal access to college education.

We might be receiving P4.5 billion for this program and we are going to tap our 122 training centers all over the country.

So in 2018, we are talking here of about 700 to 800 trainees or scholars. Napakarami po ito. At ito po ay pinaghandaan ng TESDA. We are renovating, we are making repairs of these training institutions so that by the time that we have this money in 2018, we are ready to implement them successfully.

Sige po. Thank you very much.


JP Bencito (Manila Standard): Hi, Secretary. Good morning. Sir, can we just get your reaction, 30 billion was realigned from the budget of the DepEd pero tatanggalan na po ‘yung sa Tech Voc programs, ‘yung sa Tech Voc laboratories. Any reaction to this latest development sir, doon sa 2018 budget?

DIR. GEN. MAMONDIONG: Kasi ang nangyari po, the only agency that has the mandate to conduct the skills training program is TESDA. But we are supporting the skills training program of other agencies of the government, like you know, you have the DSWD also. We have also the Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Agriculture, DTI for example have also, you know, training program.

Now, K-12 is all about vocational courses. K-12 is about technical and vocational courses. So we support whatever budget is appropriated for this under the Department of Education. Kailangan po nila ito. So I don’t think it is wise that we take this budget out of the Department of Education. We have to support K-12 and the Department of Education.

Rose Novenario (Hataw): Hi, good morning, sir. Good afternoon, sir. Sir, nabanggit niyo kanina na kasama kayo doon sa — sumasali kayo doon sa may drug war ng administrasyon in terms of providing technical training skills assistance po sa mga drug dependents. Ano po ‘yung maitutulong niyo bukod po sa pagbibigay ng training, ‘pag tapos na po sila sa training, kasi po may stigma ho ba, ‘di ba sa mga naging drug addicts or drug dependents. Ano po ‘yung maidadagdag niyo? Magkakaroon po ba kayo ng MOA, MOU, sa mga kompanya na i-hire po ‘yung ating mga dating drug dependents na TESDA-trained naman po?

DIR. GEN. MAMONDIONG: We are actually talking to the industry to accept these drug dependents ano after their skills training.

Tao rin po ito, ang mga taong ito. At they have also the right to make sure that they have a life worthy of human dignity.

Hindi dahil naging biktima sila ng drug problem ay hindi natin tatanggapin. If they are, if have the skill, why not accept them? I don’t think we will make any distinction.

Kasi ang importante rito, they have the skill that we need. If they have that skills, then they have to be accepted in the industry. So kailangan po natin dito, we should not make any distinction.

Ms. Novenario: Ay isang follow up. ‘Yung ano po, magkakaroon po ba tayo ng mga memorandum of agreement or memorandum of understanding sa private sector po to hire former drug dependents?

DIR. GEN. MAMONDIONG: We can do that but we cannot force the industry to accept them. Kasi sila ang nakakaalam kung sino-sino ‘yung dapat nilang tanggapin.

But we will be talking to them, we will encourage them to accept them if they have the skill and we are providing the skill that the industry would need.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Good morning. A few statements.

On NCR’s crime rate:

The crime rate in the National Capital Region continues to drop.

And comparing the weekly crime volume in Metro Manila before and after President Duterte assumed office, as of October 1, 2017, robbery/holdup incidents dropped by 39.5 percent; theft dropped by 35.6 percent; carnapping by 67 percent; and motornapping by 63 percent — carnapping by 67, motornapping by 63; rape case has dropped by 27 percent.

The streets and neighborhoods in Metro Manila are now safer and more secure –thanks to the government’s campaign against drugs and criminality. We hope that the marked improvement in Metro Manila’s crime rate is likewise felt and appreciated in the entire country.

On the Las Vegas shooting incident:

We extend our deepest condolences to the families of the more than 50 victims who died because of the mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada.

We likewise pray for the speedy recovery of the more than 500 people who were reported injured.

No Filipino casualty has been reported, according to the Philippine Consulate-General in Los Angeles.

Nonetheless, the Department of Foreign Affairs, DFA, has instructed Consul-General Adelio Angelito Cruz to immediately proceed to Las Vegas to look into the condition of our kababayans as well as Filipino tourists who happened to be in the area during and at the time of the shooting incident and who may need assistance.

We join the peace-loving people of the international community in denouncing this latest act of violence.

DOTr signed MOA for Toll Interoperability:

Motorists will soon experience ease — more ease in transportation.

Last month, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) led the signing of Memorandum of Agreement for Toll Interoperability requiring expressway operators to update their collection systems for unification.

The MOA includes installing an Electronic Transit Media Reading Device for electronic payments and an Entry Ticket Reading Device for cash payments for accepting and processing tickets in at least two entry and exit toll booths.

The implementation will be immediate while six months from the signing of the MOA will be given for cash payment collection.

We are moving closer to our goal of easing traffic congestion in Metro Manila and surrounding areas with the completion of an updated transport infrastructure roadmap by November.

This roadmap, which is being finalized by the Japan International Cooperation Agency, JICA and NEDA, will identify urban transport strategies, address traffic demand in the coming years, and help spread economic opportunities in areas outside Metro Manila.

Meanwhile, Japanese financial giant Nomura has taken notice of the Duterte administration’s plan to roll out big-ticket infrastructure projects, including the development of Clark [International Airport] as the second major airport by 2020; the 9,500-hectare Clark Green City; a 655-kilometer spine expressway across Luzon; and the Manila-Clark railway.

All this would improve connectivity for tourism, agriculture and industrial sectors under the “Build, Build, Build” program.

We thank the Japanese government for helping us in our economic development efforts.

On the Ombudsman’s claim of confidentiality:

The Office of the Ombudsman was being economical with the truth when it said it has observed confidentiality in its investigation of the graft complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte.

Overall Deputy Ombudsman Melchor Arthur Carandang, in a statement on October 2, also claimed that “he was reading through the documents shown to him by the media during an ambush interview in response to media’s inquiry on the status of the complaint.”

These go against the facts.

First, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales has already declared: “As to the documents in its possession, the office stands by its word.”

Second, Carandang’s claim is contrary to the earlier statement of the Anti-Money Laundering Council, AMLC, Secretariat that he sent a letter dated 17 August 2017 to initiate investigation of President Duterte’s alleged bank accounts.

What all this confirms is that there is indeed a deliberate effort to discredit the President, mislead the public, and to create popular outrage against the duly elected Chief Executive.

The public’s mind seems to be being set.

The Office of the Ombudsman is showing its true political color. We must remind them that it is an independent and anti-graft body that is supposed to conduct an impartial and fair investigation.

It should not play into the hands of those who cannot accept the fact that the President won in the 2016 election.

It should be… It should not be party to a demolition job. We have seen this before. This is déjà vu.

Today is the third of October. Data as of the second of October regarding the Marawi situation:

Enemies down, plus 4 – 753

Civilians down – 47

No change in civilians rescued.

Killed in action – 155

Buildings cleared – 29; and as of October 1 – 8

As of 3 p.m. yesterday, the Marawi-AFP Casualty Fund is P102,059,832.78 and Marawi Internally Displaced – P135,595

We’re open to a few questions.

Joseph Morong (GMA): Sir.


Mr. Morong: Doon sa tono mo ulit kanina?


Mr. Morong: ‘Yung tono mo ulit kanina.


Mr. Morong: Sir… Okay, doon muna sa statement niyo, sir, that there is a deliberate effort to discredit the President. Coming from whom, sir?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: From interested political parties.

Mr. Morong: Including the Ombudsman?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Whoever is sympathetic to that.

Our point is that some people… They may be playing into the hands of certain political forces.

Mr. Morong: Okay, so you’re not direct… Are you directly accusing the Ombudsman of — ?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: There is no accusation here. We are just simply pointing out. Simply describing the landscape.

Mr. Morong: All right. Sir, there have been… I think may finile (file) na dalawang complaints kanina lang before we started the press conference. Your thoughts about this? This is against —

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: We still have to see the actual complaint filed.

Mr. Morong: Okay. Sir, this comes after mga two days when the President said na — kay Deputy Carandang na “magdasal-dasal siya.” And some may not be able to… Some may see a connection between that statement of the President and the consequent filing of the complaint. Meaning, does the President have something to do with the filing of cases?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Apparently, the person who filed it is an independent person. So there’s no need to connect any dots.

Mr. Morong: All right. Thank you, sir.

Leila Salaverria (Philippine Daily Inquirer): Good morning, sir.


Ms. Salaverria: Sir, may I be clarified? Sir, ‘yung… The President’s proposal to create a commission to investigate the Ombudsman, is this a direct response to the investigation into his family’s bank transactions?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I don’t think we need to… I don’t think we can make direct connections like that.

However, the President is within his… Apparently has been… Apparently, the President is simply acting objectively regarding — regarding infringements of the — that the office seems to be doing.

Ms. Salaverria: Sir, so is it just a coincidence? Kasi if he — he has a problem with corruption in the Ombudsman —


Ms. Salaverria: Why did he make the proposal shortly after it began its investigation into his —

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, this was the opportune time to do that.

Ms. Salaverria: Because?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: He saw it fit to do it at that stage.

Ms. Salaverria: Sir, also, you mentioned yesterday that the President isn’t considering everyone in the Office of the Ombudsman corrupt?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: The Office of the Ombudsman is — is a separate entity from the people who are there, right? So the people… It’s not the office that is corrupt, it’s the individuals within.

Ms. Salaverria: But does he think everybody — as in every single person in the agency is —

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I think that’s too much to conclude.

Ms. Salaverria: Sir, if that’s the case, sir, why doesn’t he just ask Carandang to inhibit from the case and have another official there handle the investigation?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, that is his… That is the process that seems to be unfolding. So we trust his decisions to do that.

Ms. Salaverria: Sir, what do you mean? Is the President —

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, you know, you were suggesting a particular mode of action but he has taken… He has, you know, this is what he has done. He has to set up a… He’s wanting to set up a [what do you call it?] an investigative…

Ms. Salaverria: Sir, I was referring to the bank transactions of the President and his family.


Ms. Salaverria: Is he willing to have another Ombudsman official handle this if he has a problem with Carandang?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: That I cannot say, you know. I cannot speculate on that matter. That would be speculation.

Ms. Novenario: Hi, other issue.


Ms. Novenario: Sir, may natanggap na po kayong report mula sa FBI na person of interest po ‘yung roommate po ng mass shooter sa Las Vegas?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Ma’am… Yeah, well, anyway… Well, as far as we ano — okay.

We cannot. We’re not coming out with any official statement, but as far as the — as far as the local BI… Bureau of In…

Let me just check.

Maricel Halili (TV-5): Sir, good morning. Just a quick question. Sir, may we have your reaction about the request of Mayor Mabilog to have an extension for his leave of absence for another 30 days, I guess?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: That we need to refer to the Office of the Executive Secretary to find out their opinion regarding the matter.

Ms. Halili: I think one of his concerns, aside from his health condition is his safety. So…


Ms. Halili: Opo. Meron po ba siyang assurance that he’ll be safe?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Of course. The President… This is a pretty democratic country, as far as the… As far as evidence shows, we — rule of law prevails.

Ms. Halili: Thank you, sir.

Tuesday Niu (DZBB): Hi, sir.


Ms. Niu: May inihain pong motion si Quirino Representative Cua — Dakila Carlo Cua — na gustong ipa-abolish na po ‘yung Bureau of Customs. But in the meantime na mahirap daw ‘yung process na ‘yun ay naghain siya ng [anong tawag dun?] recommendation sa Congress na bigyan ng emergency powers si Presidente para pansamantala po, habang daw — habang daw ina-abolish ang Customs, si Presidente na muna ‘yung mag-head sa Customs. Ano po — necessary po ba ito?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Ma’am, we cannot make any comments on the matter at this stage.

Dexter Ganibe (DZMM): Usec.


Mr. Ganibe: Narinig natin kay Pangulo dati na ayaw niyang mag-appoint ng mga barangay officials. Ito ba ang dahilan kaya hindi napipirmahan ‘yung Senate Bill? Kasi may appointment doon?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: As far as I know, it’s supposed to be pending for signature. And so we cannot…

We cannot speculate on the reasons why. But it’s supposed to be signed. It’s pending signature of the President.

Llanesca Panti (Manila Times): Sir, good morning.


Ms. Panti: About ‘yung statement niyo lang po. “The public’s mind is being set.”


Ms. Panti: To think what po?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, with whatever information — misinformation seems to be — being placed out there.

Like for example, there’s a narrative that’s being put out. Billions, stuff like that. So it seems that there is a concerted effort in trying to paint — in trying to paint the — mispaint the actual situation.

Ms. Panti: Mispaint the President? The actual situation? Mispaint his bank accounts? Ano po specifically?


Ms. Novenario: Sir, last follow up na lang po. Sir, tingin niyo ba ‘yang destab plot ay sino po ‘yung nasa likod nito as financier po?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Ma’am, hindi ko po masasabi ‘yang ganun. That would be speculation on my part.

Ms. Novenario: So wala pa pong report ‘yung Malacañang kung sino ‘yung behind sa mga destab na ito?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Kung meron po siguro, tinitingnan lang ‘yan muna.

Ms. Novenario: Okay.