Press Briefing

Press Briefing by Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella with Mr. Takehiro Kano Minister and Deputy Chief of Mission – Japanese Embassy Spokesperson Robespierre Bolivar – Department of Foreign Affairs and Director Oscar David Albayalde National Capital Region Police Office

Event Press Briefing
Location Malacañang Press Briefing Room, New Executive Building

OPENING STATEMENTS:

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Good morning, Rocky.

We are fortunate today to have the Department of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Robespierre Bolivar and the National Capital Region Police Office, NCRPO, Regional Director Police Director Oscar D. Albayalde will be joining us in just a few minutes.

And we also have with us today the Japanese Deputy Head of Mission. He will be introduced to us by Spox Robespierre.

Ladies and gentlemen of the Malacañang Press Corps, let’s all give a welcome to our distinguished guests. 

DFA SPOKESPERSON BOLIVAR: Good morning po Secretary. Magandang umaga po sa inyong lahat. This is my first time in your new press briefing room. So gumanda na siya. [laughs] Gumanda na.

So as all of you know, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte will undertake a working visit to Japan on 29 to 31, October 2017.

This is the President’s second visit to Japan and is an evidence of the strong and deep bonds between the Philippines and Japan.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe himself will make a second visit to the Philippines in about two weeks time to attend the 31st ASEAN Summit and Related Meetings.

On this visit to Tokyo, the President will discuss with Japanese Prime Minister Abe matters of mutual interest to both countries.

He is also scheduled to meet other high-ranking Japanese government officials and influential captains of industry.

We note that the Philippines and Japan’s interests converge on many points, in the political, economic, socio-cultural, and people-to-people fronts, and we are committed to further strengthening our cooperation on these many areas in the bilateral, regional, and UN levels.

Aside from bilateral issues in the economic, industrial, social, and security arena, discussions are also expected to include regional developments including peace and stability in the region, particularly in the Korean Peninsula.

Both sides are also expected to engage in dialogue relative to the Philippine chairmanship of ASEAN.

It is now my distinct pleasure to give the floor to my dear colleague Deputy Chief of Mission Takehiro Kano of the Embassy of Japan in Manila.

He has been here for two months and just transferred from their mission to the United Nations in Vienna.

Kano san…

MINISTER KANO: Thank you very much Spokesperson Abella and then Mr. Robespierre of DFA for giving this me great opportunity to join this Malacañang Press Briefing Room after just two months since I came here.

I think Mr. Robespierre already touched upon the facts of the President’s upcoming visit. This is the second time. I’d rather touched upon some additional information.

Although I cannot enter into the details given that I cannot enter the – prejudge the details of the two leaders.

But as Mr. Robespierre said that this is the second visit since President Duterte took office and also this is the fourth summit meeting between our Prime Minister Abe and the President.

The other details would be — still being worked out. Then actually, this is the first offshore job of our new ambassador here, Ambassador Haneda who just arrived 10 days ago. And then he has just presented his credentials to President Duterte yesterday. He’s now back in Tokyo preparing for receiving the President.

Japan and the Philippines share common values such as freedom, democracy, and the rule of law. So our bilateral relationship is robust across different administrations as represented by the most importantly the visit last year, last January of the Majesty’s Emperor and Empress to Japan.

This present visit would build upon the past achievement — built upon further the enhancement of the cooperation for the peace and stability of the region as strategic partners.

Particularly, the President’s visit is timely because the President will host the ASEAN Related Meetings, Leaders’ Summit, where Prime Minister will also join.

But before that important event, the two leaders would get together in Tokyo to discuss various issues related to the peace and stability of the region and international community including the nuclear issues of the DPRK.

In the past, the two leaders have discussed a various pillars, such as the economic infrastructure development; Mindanao — support to the Mindanao peace process; and illegal drugs measures; and the security and counter-terrorism measures.

And actually some of those areas were already the concrete cooperation under way.

Then as I said, I cannot prejudge the details or outcome of the two leaders’ summit next week. But we would expect that basing upon the past talks, some of the concrete projects or cooperation would be forthcoming.

For example, the economic infrastructure development, President — Prime Minister Abe has pledged ¥1 trillion private and partner commitment for the next five years when he visited the Philippines earlier this year.

And then, since then, [inaudible] the ministers’ level joint committee of development [inaudible] health. Based upon that, the projects such as the Manila Subway Project or North-South Commuter Lines would be further discussed for realization.

About the Mindanao Peace Process, Japan has a long support to that. And then have engaged in various projects such as road construction, irrigation, or human resource development. And also have sent people to their IMT, international monitoring team.

And the last couple of months, the siege of Marawi has an impact on that process, but that conclusion of the Marawi issues, would be a very milestone event and then [apply?] to uphold the efforts of the Philippine government to conclude that Marawi siege in the case.

Then Japan is considering the way forward, how to support the rehabilitation, reconstruction of Marawi.

Then with regard to the anti-illegal drug measures, this is — we recognize that the priority area of the Philippine government, and it takes time to address it. And we have sent a mission to formulate the facility enhancement or human resource development to that end.

Lastly, security and counter-terrorism measures, we have already a series of concrete equipment such as patrol boats to the Philippine Coast Guard or high-speed boats or terrorists — counter-terrorism equipment to the National Police and so on.

And maybe in the future, in the near future, we may able to announce you a couple of turnover ceremony for that equipment.

And also Japan’s [inaudible] as well, recently our two defense ministers get together in Clark in the ADMM-Plus.

And then since the — based upon the agreement of the defense equipment transfer enforced since last year, we have handover already the two training aircrafts this year. And then three more aircrafts will be transferred to the Philippines.

And also, we… We should be reminded that when our escort ship Izumo stopped over in the Philippines, we had the honor to receive the President visit to that.

And lastly, we… We’d expect to discuss regional issues such as DPRK or Southeast Asia… Sorry, South China Sea as other regional cooperation which would be discussed in the ASEAN Related Leaders’ Summit meeting.

But overall, Japan has a strong position of supporting the chairmanship of the Philippines.

So Japan welcomes the President’s visit and then we look forward to seeing that this visit will further enhance bilateral relationship.

Thank you very much. Maraming salamat po.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS:

Celerina Monte (Manila Shimbun): Good morning. Sir, I just want to ask, will the President be meeting with the Emperor during this visit?

MINISTER KANO: That said, so far the only announced — the public announced schedule is the summit meetings between Prime Minister Abe and the President.

Other schedules are still being worked out. And then that will be made — announced maybe publicly made available in due course.

Ms. Monte: And are we expecting any agreement to be signed during the President’s visit to Japan like for the infra projects?

MINISTER KANO: As I said, I cannot prejudge on the outcomes of things. But as I said in detail that there are very — various areas that the two leaders have already discussed.

And building upon that discussion, we would like to see some kind of outcomes. But I cannot prejudge at this moment.

Pia Ranada (Rappler): Sir, you mentioned the Mega Manila Subway deal. Previously, the Transportation Secretary of the Philippines Arthur Tugade said that President Duterte and Prime Minister Abe are likely to sign the deal during the ASEAN Summit in November. Is this pushing through?

MINISTER KANO: As I said that, we have been discussing in detail various infrastructure projects including the one you just mentioned.

As I said that, so far three [inaudible] of the Cabinet ministers Joint Committee on Infrastructure Development. But as I said, I cannot prejudge at this moment what exactly we can sign or pledge at this moment.

Reymund Tinaza (Bombo Radyo): Good morning, gentlemen. To the honorable Deputy Chief of Mission of Japanese Embassy, sir, you’ve mentioned of the — your support, you look forward to help the rehabilitation of Marawi City. In what aspect, you look forward to help in the infrastructure or in the livelihood of those affected?

MINISTER KANO: Thank you for the question. So far, we have already provided some humanitarian assistance with the international organizations. But now, we are in a different phase. And then we are in close contact with the Philippine government, which set up the inter-agency task force.

And then we hear in details about the actual needs of it. I think there are various kinds of needs of it such as the reconstruction of the communities or human resources and getting the people back to the communities and so forth.

So based upon the needs assessment and information provided by the Philippine government, we are looking to what we can do.

Mr. Tinaza: Thank you so much, sir.

Mikhail Flores (Nikkei): Good morning. My name is Mikhail Flores of Nikkei. Kano-san, Asec. Bolivar mentioned that President Duterte will be meeting senior government officials from Japan and captains of industries. May we know who are these officials and CEOs that are being lined up to meet the President when he visits Japan?

MINISTER KANO: I’m sorry to repeat once again my answer to that. Other than the two leaders’ summit which is already announced, the other details are still being worked out.

Mr. Flores: Just a follow-up. If the — like if the CEOs or the officials cannot be announced yet, may we ask which industries are, you know, are these CEOs from? If it’ll be okay to disclose that.

MINISTER KANO: I don’t have any specific information on that.

Mr. Flores: Thank you.

Llanesca Panti (Manila Times): Good morning, sir. I understand Japan is — also has conflicting claims with China concerning an uninhabited islands of Senkaku in East China Sea. So in this regard, would the Japanese side advise the Philippine side on how to deal with… Would the Japanese side advise the Philippine side on how to deal with China?

MINISTER KANO: I think that the issue is not entirely new. And then, what we can say at this moment, we have been discussing these issues including the one you just mentioned on a couple of occasions on various levels.

What I can emphasize at this moment is that Japan, the Philippines, shares the common values such as freedom, democracy, and the rule of law.

And then we have… We are very fortunate to have very concrete cooperation in various fields, including the one I just mentioned that enhancing the capabilities of the law enforcement agency or the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Other than that, also, we share the importance of abiding by the rule of law, including the international law, including the UNCLOS, and then the basic principle of the peaceful settlement of international disputes and so on.

I don’t think that we are not in a position to advise but rather, as strategic partners showing the common values, such as those I mentioned, we would like to continue to discuss on those matters as well.

Ms. Panti: Thank you, sir. 

Joseph Morong (GMA): For both Spox and Asec. Bolivar, how big is the Philippine delegation going to Japan and who are these people, sir?

DFA SPOKESPERSON BOLIVAR: From the information that I gathered, we have a couple of, of course, Cabinet ministers.

Of course, Secretary Cayetano will be joining, including, I think, Secretary of Trade and Industry and the economic team primarily because we want to reinforce the Japan-Philippines economic partnership.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I know we have a full flight.

Mr. Morong: Why do you have a full flight? How many Cabinet ministers are going?

DFA SPOKESPERSON BOLIVAR:  I don’t have the exact numbers.

 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: We don’t have the list.

Mr. Morong: Aside from the Cabinet ministers, sir, who else are going?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: That, I cannot give you… I cannot speculate on that. But the list is still with the Protocol.

Mr. Morong: But all those who are going are essential to the trip?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Definitely.

Mr. Morong: Okay. Thank you. 

Tina Mendez (Philippine Star): To Deputy of Mission Kano, may we know if Japan will at least encourage the Philippines on the issue of North Korea? 

MINISTER KANO: We only appreciate the ASEAN Chair — as the ASEAN Chair that the Philippines has led the sending of a strong message in the form of the ASEAN Joint Statement which deplores the recent activities, including the nuclear test or missile launch by DPRK.

And so, we very much appreciate the leadership as a country and also as the ASEAN Chair. And with that, we continue to work closely with the Philippines, particularly towards the ASEAN Leaders’ Summit in November.

Ms. Mendez: So this will be reiterated by the Prime Minister during the bilateral meet with President? 

MINISTER KANO: I think that the DPRK nuclear issue is a serious concern, security concern for all of us. And then I wouldn’t be surprised that the leaders will discuss all these matters.

Ms. Mendez: Thank you, sir. To Secretary Abella —

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Yes, ma’am? 

Ms. Mendez: May we know how big is your plane going to Japan? An Airbus?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I cannot give you the dimensions of my plane. 

Ms. Mendez: I mean, to know if you have like, 100?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: No, we don’t have the details of that yet. 

Ms. Mendez: So the delegation is like how many? 100 to 200?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I cannot… The list is still with Protocol.

Ms. Mendez: Okay. Thank you, sir.

DIR. ALBAYALDE: Thank you, sir. To Secretary Abella, sir. Our distinguished guests, members of the Malacañang Press Corps, ladies and gentlemen, good morning.

Today, I’ll be giving an update on the National Capital Region Police Office’s security preparations on the two events happening this November in Metro Manila: one is the Undas 2017 and the 31st ASEAN Summit from November 12 to 14, 2017.

Our Undas preparations — a total of 5,355 police officers from NCRPO will be deployed to secure the 82 cemeteries, 21 columbaria, 182 churches, 75 bus terminals, two seaports and four airports in Metro Manila, augmented by 3,704 barangay tanods, 9,163 security guards, and 1,067 civilian volunteers.

This is a total of 13,934 personnel joining forces to ensure the safety and security in the occasion of Undas 2017.

Coordination has also been made with LGUs and other government agencies for the provision of fire trucks, ambulances and health personnel that would attend to emergencies.

Security patrols will also be conducted in residential areas to prevent akyat-bahay and salisi incidents.

We will also establish our advanced command post outside the Manila North Cemetery and police assistance desks shall also be established in all cemeteries, ports, major bus terminals, churches and other places of convergence.

We will also have quick reaction teams on standby, ready for deployment should any situation arise.

We will also conduct information campaign through your help to provide warnings against any modus of criminal groups or against groups or individuals who may take advantage of the occasion as well as things that are prohibited inside cemeteries.

As early as now, we thank you for helping us on this task.

We shall also deploy our skeletal force as early as November 30 and we’ll fully deploy our personnel from October 31 to November 1 or possibly up to November 2 until cemeteries and areas of convergence are back to normal routine.

On the ASEAN 31st — on the 31st ASEAN Summit, as of this time, our intelligence monitoring shows no clear or imminent danger on any planned terrorist attack that could disrupt this historic event.

But the threat on terrorism remains due to the possible retaliatory attacks from threat groups supportive of the Maute-ISIS and possible isolated atrocities from the CPP-NPA-NDF to embarrass the government.

With this, we continue to strengthen our intelligence fusion with other agencies as well as our target hardening measures and we continue to conduct joint exercises with other law enforcement agencies to ensure our readiness in any eventuality.

The Task Group Manila under my command is tasked to secure the venues, the routes, billets of our world leaders and delegates and maintain public order during the duration of the entire Summit.

We will be securing 16 hotels, five venues and the various routes where our delegates will be passing through.

We have five task units: the billet, the route, the venue, public order, and anti-criminality.

Each of these task units have their own commanders who will manage and directly supervise their personnel and ensure that they will carry out their specific tasks.

We will be deploying a total of 33,086 police personnel. We will be augmented by Police Regions I to V, Cordillera, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Our send-off ceremony will be on November 5 that will also serve as the final accounting of personnel. And the full deployment of our contingents will be from November 10 to 15 or until the last delegate depart our country.

It is our prayers that as we have recorded zero crime incident with the 203 concluded meetings in NCR, this final event will be as peaceful and as incident-free as we complete the hosting of the 31st ASEAN Summit.

We solicit the cooperation, patience and understanding of the general public as we conduct checkpoints, temporary lockdowns on this occasion.

We likewise ask the public to be actively vigilant and report to the authorities anything that is out of the ordinary.

The PNP, on the other hand, shall remain under full alert status and we will be on our toes until the end of the Summit.

We assure the public, both locally and internationally, that Metro Manila is safe and secured and is ready to receive our distinguished 22 foreign leaders and more or less 3,000 delegates who will be gracing our country for the 31st ASEAN Summit. Thank you and good morning.

 

Nel Maribojoc (UNTV): Sir, ano po ‘yung mga lugar na possible na i-lockdown temporarily?

DIR. ALBAYALDE: ‘Yung vicinity lang ng PICC, ‘yung Cultural Center, at saka ‘yung sa Sofitel. ‘Yun basically ang — mako-close ‘yan. Probably from November 10, sarado na ‘yan.

Mr. Tinaza: Good morning, General. Sir, I understand there will be groups also the leftists who will be conducting rallies during the ASEAN Summit. How will you secure or sanitize not them to be infiltrated or an infiltrator from the NPA and would sabotage the international event? 

DIR. ALBAYALDE: That’s part of our intelligence monitoring against these threat groups ‘no.

As early as two months ago, na-monitor natin na mayroong mga nire-recruit nga na for rally. Pero wala naman tayong namo-monitor na armed group na involved dito.

But then again, we have our intelligence operatives who are actually monitoring these threat groups.

Mr. Tinaza: Thank you, sir. 

Rose Novenario (Hataw): Good morning, sir. Sir, ‘yung sabi niyo kanina, target niyo ‘yung zero crime incidents. Paano po natin ito gagawin maliban doon sa checkpoints, sa possible lockdowns po ng ibang lugar? Magkakaroon po ba tayo rito ng mga “Oplan Bakal” o kung ano po ‘yung mga anti-crime related activities po ng PNP? Maliban po doon sa ano, kasi hindi na po kayo kasama doon sa anti-drug — illegal drugs campaign? 

DIR. ALBAYALDE: Yes, we will be conducting police operations in all the critical areas here in Metro Manila, ‘yung tinatawag nating mga areas of concern, ‘yung mga different enclaves also, ‘yung na-identified natin na crime-prone.

And, of course, we have — or the Chief PNP has already approved the suspension of permit to carry firearms at least from November 1 to 15. That’s part of our target hardening measures actually. 

Ms. Novenario: Ano po ‘yung mga lugar na tinutukoy po ninyong crime-prone areas po sa Metro Manila? 

DIR. ALBAYALDE: Well, unang-una ‘yung tabi ng airport, of course, we have to sanitize that. ‘Yung sa may Parañaque area. ‘Yung sa may Quiapo, sa Baseco. Ito ‘yung mga nakikita natin na madalas na pinagtataguan ng mga ano, criminal elements. And ‘yung malaking enclave sa Maharlika, that’s one, that’s another. 

Ms. Novenario: Okay, thank you.

Alvin Baltazar (Radyo Pilipinas): Sir, when will you start implementing the full alert status? Kung i-implement ba natin ‘yung full alert this coming Undas, dire-diretso na ba ‘yun hanggang sa ASEAN, sir? 

DIR. ALBAYALDE: Actually, dito sa NCR, since the Davao bombing incident last year, hindi kami nag-lift ng full alert status dito.

That’s why if you’ll notice, all our personnel are 100 percent in attendance. Lahat ng leave namin wala kaming inapprove except of course for the leave nung emergency at saka ‘yung mga pumupunta ng abroad.

Ms. Mendez: Good afternoon, sir. May dedicated security team po ba sa grupo ni Madam Honeylet Avanceña kung ipapasyal niya ang mga ilang spouses ng ASEAN Ministers? 

DIR. ALBAYALDE: Yes, we have separate security teams for the spouses.

Ms. Mendez: How many teams po and how many — 

DIR. ALBAYALDE: Kasi separate po ‘yun, it will be handled by the Presidential Security Group.

Ms. Mendez: So saan-saang lugar po sila sasamahan at —

DIR. ALBAYALDE: That eh hindi na-disclose sa amin ‘yun kung saan-saan sila ano. Kasi paiba-iba usually. Alam mo naman ‘yung mga babae, paiba-iba isip. 

Ms. Mendez: May mga shopping po kaya?

DIR. ALBAYALDE:  ‘Yun ang reason nila. 

Ms. Mendez: Sir, may mga shopping — sir, may mga shopping areas ba pupuntahan? Sir, may mga shopping areas bang maaaring samahan sila? ‘Di ba kasi nung huli may mga last minute shopping ng mga spouses eh. Baka meron — 

DIR. ALBAYALDE: Yes, we’re ready for any changes of ano, actually kasi merong mga specific, mga ano diyan, security forces namin. Separate ‘yun doon sa mga leaders kasi hindi naman all the time kasama ‘yung mga spouses doon sa ano. And they have actually an organized tour. Hindi lang pa na-disclose ‘yan sa amin.

Ms. Mendez: Thank you, sir.

Mr. Morong: Sir, you may want to backtrack your statement. [laughter] I’m giving you a chance, sir. [laughter] No? Anyway, sir, you mentioned security patrols in neighborhoods, how is this going to pan out? Like, in the operational sense, how are you going to do this? Kasi talaga namang rampant ‘yung mga theft ‘no? Usually, during kasi nag-aalisan ‘yung mga tao. Pero in light of, you know, ‘yung mga Tokhang operations na wala na, how are you envisioning the security patrols in neighborhoods?

DIR. ALBAYALDE: Actually, we’ve been closely coordinating with our force multipliers, particularly with our barangay tanods ‘no dahil sila ang malaking makakatulong sa atin dito, especially now na wala naman tayong Oplan Tokhang na and we’re not involved with the war on drugs anymore.

So, ‘yung ating mga forces are now concentrated on the — ‘yung tinatawag nating ‘yan. ‘Yung mga incidents of riding-in-tandem ‘no, and of course, solving the different crimes that were committed before.

Mr. Morong: So, sir, during that period ‘no na nasa — sa November 1, Undas, we will see police going to neighborhoods and patrolling? Ano ba…

DIR. ALBAYALDE: Yes, patrolling. Patrolling to neighborhoods. This is to avoid ‘yung mga akyat-bahay. Because we know for a fact that this is a long weekend, and usually, ‘yung mga kababayan natin will be going home to the different provinces ‘no.

So, that’s what we usually do. And we let the barangay — barangay tanods actually to patrol also in the different barangays.

Mr. Morong: Okay, sir. Thank you.

Celerina Del Mundo: Sir, do you see any like possible retaliation from this terrorist group from Mindanao considering that this will be a big event, ‘yung ASEAN? How are you preparing for that? Is that a concern?

DIR. ALBAYALDE: Yes, that is one of the major concern actually. ‘Yun ang posibilidad dito. That’s — there’s always that possibility ‘no.

Ang expect natin dito is ‘yung mga supporters, not necessarily members, pero ‘yung mga sympathizers or ‘yung mga supporters.

Kasi, na… Alam naman natin na wala nang lider ‘yan, so there’s a vacuum in the leadership. Ang mahirapan naman maka-recover ‘yan. So, ang tinitingnan lang dito, ‘yung mga supporters actually — ang tinitingnan natin.

There might be some people, ‘yung mga radical — with radical mind, ‘yun ‘yung mino-monitor natin lalong-lalo na dito sa NCR.

Ms. Del Mundo: Meron ba kayong specifically na — like group na na namo-monitor na nandito sa Manila?

DIR. ALBAYALDE: Grupo, wala. As I’ve said, grupo, wala tayong namo-monitor. Individuals ang tinitingnan natin dito.

Ms. Del Mundo: So meron na so far?

DIR. ALBAYALDE: Wala pa tayong na-identify. Pero meron tayong mga binabantayan. Pero wala pa talagang indications na talagang meron silang gustong gawin nang hindi maganda.

AC Nichols (CNN Philippines): Hi, sir. Sir, may mga counterparts na ba tayo from the other countries na nag-express ng concern — security concerns — and how are you coordinating with them or how are they helping you in terms of ‘yung security. May — may role ba sila?

DIR. ALBAYALDE: Well, first of all, ‘yung mga security personnel, ‘yung mga advance parties ng mga leaders are already coming ‘no. Mga ilang beses na sila nakipag-coordinate. We’ve conducted run — dry runs mga ibang — ilang beses na.

We had conducted four dry runs already with our — some of our counterparts. ‘Yung iba naman, with our foreign counterparts, tumutulong din naman sila sa ano — sa pagbibigay ng information ‘no.

We have this intelligence fusion not only locally, but also with our foreign counterparts.

Ms. Ranada: Sir, just to clarify. ‘Yung 22 leaders po will all be arriving in Clark. Tama po ba?

DIR. ALBAYALDE: Yes. 

Ms. Ranada: And they will all be billeted in Manila?

DIR. ALBAYALDE: Manila. Yes.

Ms. Ranada: Okay. ‘Tas, sir ‘yung area where they will be travelling to, it’s just concentrated in a certain area. Hindi naman sila pupuntang EDSA, or QC, or anything? Dito lang talaga…

DIR. ALBAYALDE: No, no. Of course, they’ll travel the NLEX, isa ‘yun, from Clark to Manila. So, there will be a temporary lockdown when they travel.

Ang ano kasi dito, hindi naman sila sabay-sabay darating ‘no. So, every time na may magta-travel ng ano, foreign delegate, the NLEX will be temporarily closed at after a few minutes, ‘pag lampas naman niya, open na kaagad ‘yun.

Basically, ‘yung time gap is I think a few minutes — 15 minutes before or… Yeah, mga 15 minutes and then five minutes after. ‘Yun ‘yung ano — ‘yun ‘yung basically tinitingnan natin. Para hindi masyadong maabala ‘yung traffic.

Kasi as we observed last Sunday, talagang mag-create siya ng traffic sa mga toll gates.

Ms. Ranada: So sir, which area…

DIR. ALBAYALDE: Kasi we’ll be closing the toll gates ‘pag dadaan sila.

Ms. Ranada: Sir, the part of NLEX po that’s from Clark to Manila, ‘yun lang po ‘yung… That area will be closed at certain time?

DIR. ALBAYALDE: Yes, yes. From Clark to Manila. That’s — that one part lang.

Ms. Ranada: Which days po ‘yung expected arrivals of leaders?

DIR. ALBAYALDE: We expect arrivals sa 11? Merong 11, may 12. Merong mga probably morning ng ano. Pero probably, merong 11, mas marami.

Yes, the MMDA will be giving the advisories on the traffic.

Ms. Ranada: And, sir, the same will happen when they leave for departures?

DIR. ALBAYALDE: Yes.

Ms. Ranada: Iko — iko-close din po ‘yung NLEX area?

DIR. ALBAYALDE: Yes, yes. Although hindi naman kasi sila din sabay-sabay.

Tuesday Niu (DZBB): Hi, Director Albayalde, sir. Sir, follow up lang dun sa suspension of the PTCFOR. Will this be implemented nationwide or Metro Manila, Bulacan, and Pampanga lang?

DIR. ALBAYALDE: Ah, no. It’s Regions III — III and NCR.

Ms. Niu: Regions III and NCR.

DIR. ALBAYALDE: Yes, three and NCR.

Ms. Niu: Okay. Bigyan niyo na lang, sir, ng advice ‘yung may mga baril na — in general.

DIR. ALBAYALDE: Yes, I think that has already been announced. Pero na-approve na nga ng Chief PNP. That’s was — that was my recommendation sa kanya.

And it was already approved that there — there would be temporary suspension of the permit to carry outside the residence ng firearms from November 1 to 15.

Ms. Niu: Okay. Thank you, sir.

Mr. Flores: General, clarification lang sa arrivals ng mga leaders. Does that include President Trump? Will he also land — arrive in Clark and travel to Manila?

DIR. ALBAYALDE: ‘Yun ang hindi ano… He might be coming in ano… Pero ‘yun ‘yung — ‘yun ‘yung talagang arrangement. ‘Yun ‘yung talagang arrangement.

Mr. Flores: Sir, clarify. He might be coming from where?

DIR. ALBAYALDE: No. Pwede siya sa Clark and they’ll be — probably the — bringing their own aircraft also. So ‘yun ‘yung isang ano dun sa kanya. Chopper, yeah.

Pwede kasing they can go chopper, they can go by land. 

[Pero Clark arrival?]

Yes, Clark ala — arrival lahat ‘yan.

Mr. Flores: Sir, dun sa lockdown sa NLEX, you mentioned 15 minutes before the — the leader travels, right? So, does that mean all cars passing through NLEX? You — you’ll be shutting down the entire expressway?

DIR. ALBAYALDE: Yes, that will be cleared. Yes, clear lahat ‘yun. No movement, no movement ‘yun. Yes.

It will be partially locked down, yes. Stop lahat ‘yun. Stop lahat ‘yun. And all the toll gates, walang lalabas dun.

 

Ms. Mendez: Kay Sir Bolivar po. Sir — sir, related sa APEC in Vietnam, is there a bilateral meet in — meeting in the works between President Trump and President Duterte? Sidelines of APEC in Vietnam.

DFA SPOKESPERSON BOLIVAR: We are currently working out several bilateral meetings for the President, both requested from us and our own requests. But, so far now, we cannot yet confirm kung sino-sino ‘yung mga imi-meet niya.

But of course, we are also working out a bilateral meeting between the President and President Trump here in Manila when he — when he comes.

Ms. Mendez: I mean, in — in APEC, sir?

DFA SPOKESPERSON BOLIVAR: Sa APEC, we still can’t — I still can’t confirm any of these bilaterals. There are several that we’re trying to work out.

Ms. Mendez: Offhand sir, at least five, can you please mention?

DFA SPOKESPERSON BOLIVAR: Sorry?

Ms. Mendez: At least five countries, can you please mention?

DFA SPOKESPERSON BOLIVAR: If they’re not confirmed, I — I can’t mention them.

Sorry? I don’t have the information right now. But, if I — if I can confirm it, then I’ll, I’ll send the information.

Ms. Mendez: Sir, dun naman sa ASEAN, sir, ‘yung visit ni European Council President Donald Tusk, do we have details on this visit? We understand he is the guest of the Chair of the ASEAN.

DFA SPOKESPERSON BOLIVAR: He is expected to participate in the special gala celebration of the 50thanniversary of ASEAN. There’s also a commemorative summit, ASEAN-EU, because we are celebrating the 40th anniversary of ASEAN-EU relations this year.

And, he is in… He was invited by the President to attend the luncheon in honor of the East Asia Summit leaders and guest of the Chair. So, he was one of the two guests of the Chair who were invited, including PM Justin Trudeau of Canada.

Ms. Mendez: I see. What about the details of the — the meeting with Mr. Trudeau and the President? Ano naman ‘yung activities nila?

DFA SPOKESPERSON BOLIVAR: Basically, it follows the same pattern. PM Trudeau is expected to participate in the gala celebration.

There’s also — there’s an ASEAN-Canada meeting, of course, in the works. And he will also be — he was also invited, and I think he has confirmed attendance at the luncheon in honor of the guest of the Chair.

Ms. Mendez: In re — going back, sir, kay Mr. Tusk — Donald Tusk — how important is this meeting and activities between the President and the EU Council President in view of the recent tirades of Mr. Duterte against the EU? How important is this?

DFA SPOKESPERSON BOLIVAR: Well, ‘yun nga. We note that we are celebrating 40th anniversary, so it’s a milestone year between ASEAN and EU, which is one of the primary reasons why the President invited Council President Donald Tusk to Manila for the Summit. It’s a — it’s a commemorative summit.

And, this is also in recognition of the fact that we have had a long-standing and strategic engagement with the European Union on several issues.

And a bilateral meeting between the two Presidents, I cannot confirm if that will happen, of course. But a meeting between the two Presidents would go a long way in clarifying the issues that have been raised in the recent weeks.

Ms. Mendez: Sir, last na lang again. Me — medyo curious… We’re just curious, how is the DFA tempering the messages of the President? Like — like yesterday, he said, “You go to hell if you don’t believe in what I’m saying.” How — how is the DFA tempering the statements of the President if you are doing so?

DFA SPOKESPERSON BOLIVAR: Well, I cannot speak on behalf of the President. We have Sec. Abella for that.

Ms. Mendez: On the DFA part, because…

DFA SPOKESPERSON BOLIVAR: Of course, we — we provide the information that the President needs whenever he — he has a foreign interna — international engagements.

So, that’s how we brief the President on — on the breadth and scope of our bilateral or regional engagements with the leaders of this meeting.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: On President Trump’s Manila visit:

US President Donald Trump has expressed his commitment to the Philippine-US alliance and his interest in developing a warm, working relationship with President Duterte, which was expressed during his telephone conversation with the Chief Executive.

We hope to see this as President Trump is set to arrive in Manila on the 12th of November where he will join other heads of state in the Special Gala Celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

President Trump will likewise attend the ASEAN-US Summit on November 13.

Also, on the — regarding Philippine passports:

The Philippine passport with 10-year validity will be introduced beginning the 1st of January 2018. The Department of Foreign Affairs released yesterday, October 25, the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act 10928, otherwise known as “Act Extending the Validity of Philippine Passports,” stating that Filipinos aged 18 years old and older will be issued passports with a 10-year validity.

All those under 18 will be given passports with a five-year validity. There will be no price increase associated with passports with 10-year validity. And the passports remain at 950, similar to the cost of five-year valid passports.

This, along with the extension of the validity of driver’s licenses, is part of the administration’s efforts to deliver services benefitting Filipinos.

Also, BJMP’s “Education Behind Bars”:

The Bureau of Jail Management and Penology has actually taken significant measures in developing the inmates by launching the “Education Behind Bars” program in Davao City Jail in partnership with Social Entrepreneurship Institute (SEI) and the University of Southeastern Philippines (USEP).

Through the program, inmates can choose their courses related to agribusiness or information technology. Of the 300 inmates who were assessed by the USEP and SEI, 70 passed in the entrance exam where 45 are males and 35 female inmates.

We hope that the project will be replicated in our 475 jails nationwide under BJMP.

We are open to a few questions.

Leila Salaverria (Philippine Daily Inquirer): Good morning, sir. On the appointment of Lieutenant General Guerrero. Sir, what was his edge over the candidates, why did the President choose him as the new Chief-of-Staff?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Yeah, well, basically seniority. I defer to him. 

DIR. ALBAYALDE: Well, just to answer that, that similar to the choosing of Chief PNP on our part na ‘yung seniority is one consideration, of course.

Of course, ‘yung ano ‘yan, that’s a position of trust and confidence, isa ‘yan ‘no. Pero basically, ang ano kasi diyan, tinitignan is the seniority. ‘Yun ang pinaka ano diyan.

And they have this Board of Generals naman sa Armed Forces of the Philippines. Meron ‘yan kina-conduct na ano, from among the generals, from among the candidates, they have this Board of Generals sa Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Ms. Salaverria: Thank you, sir. For Spokesperson Abella. Sir, I asked that because Lieutenant General Guerrero will only be serving for two months before he reaches the retirement age. What does this mean for the consistency of policies and programs in the AFP, considering it’s facing a lot of responsibilities with the terrorism threat and Marawi rehabilitation?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I believe it’s a tactical move with the President. I cannot fully explain the reasoning behind that. But we trust in his decision to do so.

Ms. Salaverria: Sir, are you not concerned that having this sort of revolving door policies might not result in the strongest Armed Forces leadership?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: On the other hand, the personnel may be moving but the policies remain constant. Thank you.

Mr. Morong: Just to follow up, sir. How is this tactical move from the President, appointing somebody who’s going to just sit in for two months?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: That I cannot explain. We can find out about that. Thank you. No, honestly, because that is a very delicate — that’s a very vital question so it deserves a…

Mr. Morong: Do you think that his serving in Davao Eastmincom factored in? The appointment?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I’m sure the — his — that particular aspect plays a role.

Mr. Morong: Because?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Knowledge of the terrain, basically, insights and operational, you know. He has earned the President’s trust regarding that matter.

Mr. Morong: Okay. Thank you.

Ms. Ranada: Sir, in a survey, in a recent survey it showed, from SWS, that a growing number of Filipinos believe that drugs suspect should be captured alive, it’s now at 95 percent. Sir, how does this change how the administration will carry out its drug war, considering that the President’s current order is that if they fight they have to be killed on the spot, shoot to kill and not, for example, shoot to disable? Sir, how will this affect the — this policy?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, as he has already transferred the responsibility of the campaign to the PDEA and the PDEA has a particular way of doing things, I’m sure that it will be consistent with the…

It will be consistent with the policy of making sure that the — that all of these operations will be done in the best interest of maintaining the best — maintaining law and order.

And for the benefit, especially, of those — of all involved.

Ms. Ranada: So, sir, are you saying that the PDEA has been given instructions by the President to dis — to shoot to disable when the suspects fight back and not to shoot to kill?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I’m not saying that that is the principle that has been given. However, as the President has said, he has full trust in how they do operations. Thank you.

Ms. Ranada: Thank you, sir.

Mr. Morong: Sir, with regard to the rather colorful language of at least two cabinet — government officials, Legal Presidential Adviser Panelo and Martin, is this a new way or level of discourse of this government, sir?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I wouldn’t say. If you listen to — if you listen to [what’s his name?] to the Secretary Panelo… 

Mr. Morong: Wow! [laughter]

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: No, no, no, no, no. [laughter] If you listen to his interview with Karen Davila, he was saying… Actually, those — the contested words were actually done after the formal interview was done.

In other words, this was not intended as you would — as you imply and with level of discourse.

Mr. Morong: With regard to Secretary Martin’s language?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I think it would be best to ask him regarding that matter. But, again, I think it was done — it was done with the full intention, I think, of — it was basically connecting on a more — [how do you put it?]

It was not basically a press interview. It was not done there. So it was done with the assumption that this was a, more or less, informal gathering.

So it was not… Again, it does not infer any new level of discourse as you put it.

Mr. Morong: Thank you.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Thank you.

Ms. Novenario: Hi, Secretary — Spox. May — meron po ba kayong idea kung bakit hindi po yata naimpormahan nang mas maaga ‘yung Malacañang Press Corps tungkol po dun sa biyahe — working visit po ni Presidente sa Japan?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I think some details were being made or being clarified regarding…

DFA SPOKESPERSON BOLIVAR: Sir, as a normal practice in these kinds of visits. There is an agreement between the Philippines and the other country, in this case Japan, to announce it simultaneously.

And we cannot announce it without having to pin down the most important details. So kaya po ‘yun ‘yung dahilan kung bakit it was announced yesterday.

Ms. Novenario: Thank you.

Ms. Panti: Good morning, sir. Follow up po with — on Joseph’s question. About the language of these officials, Secretary Andanar and Mr. Panelo. Is this language — using language concerning sexual innuendos acceptable to the — as officials of the government? For the record lang, sir. Regardless if the conversation is informal or in a press conference, should government officials talk to people with using —

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I don’t think there’s any law that says should, you know —

Ms. Panti:  — using these words?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: — in that matter. However, taking — I think we need to be able to see in the light of these officials trying to — attempting to relay it in a more — attempting to relay it in a more personal manner with the intended audience.

Q: No. I just want to reiterate the question, because I think it deserves to be asked. Is this acceptable behavior for the reasons that you have given, to — so that they can relay to the people in that way?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, I suppose the levels of acceptance are — differ, you know, differ. And, you know, the cultural landscape continues to evolve.

So there are certain levels of — there are certain levels of conversation that, you know — — which has, you know, which has transforming the landscape.

So if you’re asking what is acceptable, then you know, it’s — you know, it all depends on what kinds of standards you’re asking.

Q: And, sir, I think in that — in the — the audience in that instance was a broadcaster and the OFW community. So you’re saying that when the community is this — when the audience is this community, that kind of language is acceptable?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Ma’am, I am not implying any bias. I’m simply saying, that apparently, the secretary was trying to relate in a more — in a manner that was — that seemed to him appropriate to the culture.

Ms. Nana: But, the question, sir, was if such language was acceptable?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Ma’am, I’m not the judge of the acceptability regarding that matter.

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