Press Briefing

Press Briefing of Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque

Event Press Briefing
Location New Executive Building, Malacañang


ROCKY IGNACIO/PTV4: Good morning, Malacañang Press Corps. Welcome sa regular Press Briefing ni Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque. Good morning, sir.

SEC. ROQUE: Good Tuesday morning Philippines.

Good news: Excise tax collections by the Bureau of Internal Revenue rose nearly 82% year-on-year in January with the implementation of the TRAIN Act. In particular, collection from cigarettes, cars, sugars, sweetened beverages hit P22.078 billion for January – this exceeds the P20.501 billion target for that month. We note too that there was a 30% incremental revenues from the Tax Reform Law that will be allocated for social protection program, such as the unconditional cash transfer for affected sectors including indigents, senior citizens and Pantawid Pasada Program for jeepney drivers and operators.

Another good news: On the Philippine goods continue to prove their world-class quality in a global market, particularly Philippine cacao beans are being used by a Japanese company for their chocolate brand called ‘Nayuta Chocolatasia’ which aims to match the Asian palate. According to the Department of Trade and Industry, the Philippine cacao beans used in Nayuta come from Davao-based association that helps Philippine cacao farmers. This association is integrated into the Japanese companies supply value chain, which in turn helps give jobs to fellow Filipinos.

We are pleased to announce finally, that the public may now participate in the government’s ‘Tanggal Bulok, Tanggal Usok’ campaign, a project of the Department of Transportation in line with the nationwide implementation of the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program through the ‘Sumbong Bulok, Sumbong Usok’ digital chat box hotline. Through Facebook Messenger, citizens can now report vehicles that are no longer road worthy, as well as those that are smoke-belching, colorum and illegally parked.

The platform likewise accepts complaints on illegal vendors, among others traffic violators ‘no. The SBSU chat box hotline may be accessed by the citizens through the I-ACT Facebook page which will automatically allow them to post a photo or a video of a violator and give the location where the violations was committed through Global Positioning System.

Update on Mayon: Alert Level 4 remains as of February 27, 8 A.M. DSWD reports as of February 26, 2018, 8 P.M., that 23,526 families or 90,145 persons in 61 barangays in Albay are affected by the eruption of Mt. Mayon. As of February 26, 8 P.M., 16,136 families or 61,883 persons are currently taking temporary shelter in 57 evacuation centers, while 1,467 families or 5,619 persons are staying outside evacuation centers. As of February 26, the national government has provided P431,706,000 worth of assistance.

Questions… None, thank you. [laughter]

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir yesterday, the Iceland… iyong Foreign Minister nila before the Human Rights Council call on the Philippines to allow the Special Rapporteur to conduct an investigation without conditions into, you know, extra-judicial killings.

SEC. ROQUE: To those familiar with the Special Rapporteur system, all investigations must be consented to by state parties ‘no, and there’s no one that can compel a state party to allow an investigation if it does not want to do so.

Of course, the statement of the Iceland Ambassador is an expression of his home state, but it’s an expression that we don’t have to heed. Again, if they’re going to send a Special Rapporteur to the Philippines, it must be someone credible, someone who is an authority in the field that they seek to investigate in, and must be objective and unbiased.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Alright. So sir, in principle, do we welcome any investigation into the extra-judicial killings?

SEC. ROQUE: Well, I’m about to make a recommendation as a Presidential Adviser on Human Rights, there’s at least one rapporteur that I will recommend be allowed to conduct an investigation, but I can’t divulge for now which rapporteur this is.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So yes to investigation, but no to Agnes?

SEC. ROQUE: No to?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Agnes Callamard.

SEC. ROQUE: Agnes… definitely not Agnes. As I have said before, it’s her fault that the home state does not want her in.

Part of the qualification of a Special Rapporteur is to be trustworthy enough so that a member-nation of the UN will allow a Special Rapporteur to investigate. The fact that there is no way that Agnes Callarmard can be allowed to investigate in the Philippines, proves that she has failed in this regard. Philip Alston made it to the Philippines.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So sir, walang conditions then if iyong tao mo na gusto iyong papasok?

SEC. ROQUE: As I said, effectivity of a Special Rapporteur depends on their character, their credibility, their trustworthiness.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Alright, thank you.

RJ: Sir, last night President Duterte sought for a compromise on labor contractualization or endo saying hindi natin mapipilit ang mga kapitalista because that’s their money. Does he retreat on ending endo as he promised in 2016?

SEC. ROQUE: I don’t think he has retreated. He has asked for more time to study the matter, and that’s what he is doing now.

RJ: He says there must be a compromise, ano po ang ibig sabihin noon?

SEC. ROQUE: I do not know. I have an inclination, but unless it’s announced by him, I would defer commenting on it. But there is a possible compromise. Yes, I have heard of it.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Sir, follow up lang doon sa endo. Sir, what type of compromise is the President looking into?

SEC. ROQUE: Let’s wait for the President to announce it himself.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Also, sir, in his speech yesterday, he announced that the Philippines is set to receive some 5,000 na firearms from—

SEC. ROQUE: And he did not identify from whom; I will not identify either. He will be the one to announce.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: So would it be from Russia or China, sir?

SEC. ROQUE: [Laughs] I just said he will be the one to announce. For me to convince would be to confirm. I defer to the President in that regard.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Sir, what other countries ang tinuturing ni President Duterte as friendly aside from Russia and China, sir?

SEC. ROQUE: India, the rest of the world, Australia, Israel and our neighbor countries in Southeast Asia.

DJ: Sir, I think there’s a move in China—

SEC. ROQUE: Welcome to the Malacañang Press Corps, DJ.

DJ: Just for today.

SEC. ROQUE: Ayaw mo talagang mag-stay ha, talagang just for today.

DJ: Sir, I think there’s a move in China, in the communist party, to extend term limits for Xi Jinping. Do you have a comment on that? Do you have any thoughts on that?

SEC. ROQUE: We don’t comment on internal affairs of other countries.

DJ: Kasi rin the close relationship between Philippines and China.

SEC. ROQUE: We don’t comment on the internal affairs of our friendly neighbors.

DJ: But as to the relationship between President Duterte and Xi Jinping—

SEC. ROQUE: That’s a marked difference, because the President has said he wants to step down earlier if possible and will not stay one minute longer beyond 2022. He will not stay longer than 2022 is absolute. He may step down if… earlier, if the Constitution is amended.

DJ: I remember, sir, that there is a relationship between PDP Laban and the communist party in a sense that—there’s not going to be parallelism there—

SEC. ROQUE: Well, DJ, I speak for the President. So that maybe something that the President of China may or may not want, but as far as the President is concerned, that’s out of the question to extend his term.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, again on our friendly neighbor China. Yesterday sa Senate hearing lumabas even—NSA admitted that in 2014, I think, that China illegally entered our territory to conduct more exploration. Sir, hindi ba iyon nakakainis?

SEC. ROQUE: I do not know. But 2014 we had a different President. Ask that President.

Q: Good morning, Secretary. Sa kabila po ng pagpuna, negatibong pagpuna ng ilang mga individuals and organizations sa kampanya ng President against illegal drugs, iba naman iyong sinasabi ni President Trump. Actually, parang pinuri niya iyong kampanya ni President, at sinabi niya, Philippines doesn’t have drug problems because they kill dealers or drug dealers. Ano po ang iyong comment dito, sir?

SEC. ROQUE: Nothing. Nothing. The President doesn’t really have anything to say about that other than, you know, the US President has also declared a war on drugs specifically against opioid. But the drug menace is a serious problem all over the world not just in the Philippines. Okay? Thank you very much.

KRIS JOSE/REMATE: Sir, sa isang event po, inindorso ni Mayor Sara si Usec. Mocha and Senator Pia na tumakbo sa pagka-senador. Although, tumanggi na po si Usec. Mocha na tumakbo nga po sa pagka-senador. Sa tingin ninyo po ba tama lang iyong tumanggi siya na tumakbo sa pagka-senador or …

SEC. ROQUE: Naku, ako po ay spokesperson ni Presidente. Tanungin ninyo na lang si Asec. Mocha. But that’s her personal decision.

PRINCE GOLEZ/PANAY NEWS: Sir, good morning. Can I just get your reaction on Senator De Lima’s statement that you have bartered your reputation and dignity for political gain?

SEC. ROQUE: As I said, happy anniversary on your first year of detention. May you spend the rest of your life in jail. Good night. Goodbye. So that’s my reaction.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA: Sir, I think iyong Nigeria ambassador natin, may nag-complain na mga staff for alleged corruption.

SEC. ROQUE: It will be investigated. The President takes this very, very seriously. Okay? Thank you.

ROCKY: Thank you Malacanang Press Corp. Thank you Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.


Source: PCOO-NIB (News and Information Bureau-Data Processing Center)