Press Briefing

Press Briefing of Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque

Event Press Briefing
Location Annex Building, Presidential Guesthouse in Panacan, Davao City


MODERATOR: Sa ating—lahat ng mga nais na sabihin ng ating Pangulo ay sa bibig po ng ating Secretary manggagaling. Attorney Harry Roque, good morning, sir.

SEC. HARRY ROQUE: Good morning, it is a pleasure ladies and gentlemen of the media to be here conducting a very first press briefing from Panacan. I hope to do this regularly ‘no. Now, former Secretary Abella did not conduct Monday’s press briefing. I’ve decided to conduct Monday Press Briefings starting with the good news. So Monday’s always start with good news.

The first good news is that Moody Investor Services predicted the economy to grow by 6.5 percent, which is also the target of the government for 2017. We are on track given that we’re already in November ‘no. So the 6.5 to 7 percent growth rate forecasted by authorities will happen from all indications ‘no.

Now, further good news is that we achieved a 4.64 percent growth in the agricultural sector from January to September 2017 and 2.32 percent growth in the third quarter of 2017 with the gross value of production amounting to 382.5 billion according to the Philippine Statistics Authority. This was attributed to production gains in the crops, livestock and poultry sub-sectors. Likewise, the DA reported that farmers’ income increases by 3.68 from July to September and 4.19 percent increase in the first 9 months of 2017.

More good news, the Board of Investments reported that we have maintained our momentum in attracting investors and generating jobs for the Filipinos. BOI reported that the investment approvals for the month of October alone recorded a (line cut).

Balik na tayo? As I said, the BOI the Board of Investments reported that for the month of October alone, there was a 187 percent increase in foreign investments amounting to 27.6 billion, this is higher than 9.6 billion of October 2016.

In addition, January to October 2017 period showed significant growth in overall investment approvals, approved projects and employment generations. Specifically, 408.7 billion worth of overall investments were gained, which is 38.1 percent higher than 296 billion of the same period last year. So napakadami pong namumuhunan na sa ating bayan. The approved projects also increased by 30 percent with 369 project compared to 283 projects of the same period last year. With this additional investments, there were additional 69,862 new jobs created on the first 10 months which is 35.1 percent higher than last year’s 51,732.

Likewise more good news, 77 percent of Filipinos support the government efforts to rebuild Marawi. This is according to SWS ‘no.

The recovery and reconstruction and rehabilitation of Marawi is no easy task, it is for this reason that the President a month after the rebelli0n broke out signed Admin Order Number 3 creating an interagency Task Force Bangon Marawi not only as a means to organize and deploy quick response team to attend to the immediate needs of affected areas but also to develop and implement a comprehensive rehabilitation and recovery program for the City of Marawi. Just last week I conducted also my first press briefing in Marawi and where we announced the government plans for the recovery of Marawi and with government promising to deliver the first 500 temporary housing which I’ve seen with my own two eyes by mid-December of this year ‘no. And this is addition—in addition to the 500 Nipa huts already donated by non-governmental organizations in Marawi ‘no.

It was also mentioned by General Del Rosario in our press briefing last week that the plan was no longer to rebuild the most affected area. They will flattened out the most affected area which consists of 200 to 250, they will build it from scratch. They will have four lane highway, it’s a promenade along Agos river.

Okay? Now, that’s the good news for Monday. I’m open to your questions now.

IAN MELIJOR/PHILIPPINE NEWS AGENCY: Good morning, sir. I’m Ian Melijor from Philippine News Agency. Sir, you said that there were substantial growth on investments, are this from private sector or—

SEC. ROQUE: Definitely. This is Board of Investments, so these are foreign investments.

MELIJOR/PHILIPPINE NEWS AGENCY: But what about the government investments sir in terms of implementing projects?

SEC. ROQUE: Well, the government budget spending has been on track; I was assured of this by the Department of Budget and Management. So last year’s budget will be spend ‘no. And that is of course the corner stone of our economic planning for the year to improve spending which we have done ‘no. We’re looking at record high percentage of spending, absorptive capacity compared to the previous years. So that good news as well.

But as to actual—the actual percentage, I don’t have the latest one. I still have the latest as of the time when I was still in Congress because I will keep on propounding questions on the absorptive capacity. But it would be very good this year, the Department of Budget and Management has given assurance that we are on track.

RUTH DUMANDAN/RADYO PILIPINAS: Secretary, I just want to know if… kung mayroon ng guideline si President Duterte or guidance iyong how do we treat itong mga legal fronts ng CPP-NPA-NDF?

SEC. ROQUE: Well he said that he will order their arrests ‘no eventually. And there’s really no other way to interpret it other than he would want them charged. And the basis for charging them of course is conspiracy. It’s either for conspiracy to commit prohibited acts under the Human Security Act which is really crimes already punishable by Revised Penal Code. I suppose it will include rebellion plus the additional element of seeking to sow terror or panic in the minds of general republic ‘no; or it could be also for conspiracy to commit rebellion.

RUTH/RADYO PILIPINAS: Thank you, Sec. Si Senator Grace Poe is asking for the President to signed up urgent bill, iyong emergency powers to resolve iyong traffic situation.

SEC. ROQUE: We appreciate the concern of Senator Grace. But as of the time I left the House of Representatives which is only been a whole month, the House had already passed the traffic crisis bill. So it’s a waiting action on the Senate. So really it’s the Senates call whether or not to enact this traffic crisis bill into law.


HERNEL TOCMO/ABS-DAVAO: Sir, on Thursday thousands are expected to gather at Davao Crocodile Park to urge President Duterte to declare a revolutionary government. So what is the reaction of Malacañang about the call for rev gov and is there a legal basis on this?

SEC. ROQUE: We appreciate the calls of the President’s supporters for rev gov. But I think there’s no factual or legal basis as of now because the President has said that he will consider a revolutionary government if destabilizers will persist in their plan to have him removed from office.

Now, I stress, we don’t see any threat, any such threat in the near future. The President enjoys 80 percent approval rating; he was duly elected; he had a margin of 5 million votes from the second highest candidate. So he is the de jure, he is Constitutional; he enjoys tremendous public support; he has the support of Congress. So we see no reason to declare a revolutionary government.

But we appreciate the support of the President’s supporters of course. But we assure them, the President is on top. He was duly elected and remains hugely popular. My prediction is his popularity approval rating will even go up from the current 80 percent.


SEC. ROQUE: Yes, Edith, good morning.

EDITH/PHILIPPINE STAR: Yeah. But there is apparently a widening and a bigger deficit government is in right now. So how do you—what is this? How do you reconcile it with—the 6.9 percent growth that we have? And the second question is: the President is thinking of giving the mega drug treatment, the rehabilitation center to the soldiers and which the AFP said they could also use it for barracks, for training and everything since Fort Magsaysay is considered as the biggest training center for the Army. So could we have any word on this, sir?

SEC. ROQUE: On your first point on the deficit. I don’t think it’s… anything to worry about; it’s within acceptable limits according to the Department of Budget and Management. And that’s not even bad because it shows that were able to spend; whereas the problem before was underspending or very low absorptive capacity. This shows that government is now spending and using the national budget as a tool to promote economic growth ‘no. So that’s not bad and it’s within acceptable range.

On the Mega Drug Facility – well, given that it is under-utilized, we emphasize again that this was given by a private donor who decided to build it as is and therefore there’s not much we can do about it. But it will never go to waste. The fact that the facility is already within the premises of a military camp means it could be used for—the purpose of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Now—in fact from the very beginning, we said that the Mega Drug Facility would only be temporary and that ultimately it will in fact be turned over to the Armed Forces of the Philippines. But for now there’s also suggestion to make it into a training academy for the PDEA or whoever eventually will take the lead in the war against drugs.


SEC. ROQUE: Thank you.

Q: Sir, malapit na po iyong December 31 sir. Mayroon na po bang plano kung i-e-extend po iyong martial law dito sa Mindanao?

SEC. ROQUE: The President has said that he is awaiting recommendations from the Armed Forces of the Philippines. I think as of last week, they asked for 30 days. So I think we should hear from the Armed Forces of the Philippines on or before the date of expiration ‘no. But I think it has to be done before Congress goes on break ‘no. Because the expiration is the 31st, if we decide for an extension and Congress may have call a special session ‘no and cut short its Christmas break… which we did anyway the last time ‘no.

RUTH DUMANDAN/RADYO PILIPINAS: Okay, Secretary, I just want to find out if naibigay na ba sa GRP iyong formal notice of termination? Naghihintay daw si Fidel Agcaoili, iyong notice of termination sir.

SEC. ROQUE: Well, I’ll have to verify that from Secretary Dureza. But you know the declaration and the proclamation is we have for now put a halt to ongoing peace talks ‘no. I will verify in time for tomorrow’s press briefing whether notice of termination has been given to the CPP-NPA.

RUTH/RADYO PILIPINAS: Follow up sir. When can we expect the formal declaration of the President declaring NPA as terrorist?

SEC. ROQUE: I wouldn’t give the President a deadline. But the latest issuance in terms of an EO is that, we are terminating peace talks for now. So I suppose that the declaration will be forthcoming.

Q: Good morning sir. Sir, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Marawi is asking government especially President Duterte to give them at least the benefit of visiting the malls in Marawi which is located in the most affected area for them to show the pictures of their establishments because the government is allowing them to have a loan. But they cannot provide substantial documents to prove that they are in the most affected area. So they are asking the President to give them pass or maybe a tour so they can document what happened to their area so they can apply for a loan. Because they said we are—we welcome the invitation of the government for us to avail of a loan but we cannot provide a documentary requirements. And they cannot also provide the 6 month bank certificate because the records were all razed to the ground.

SEC. ROQUE: Yes, I was in Marawi last week as I said and the same question was asked. Secretary Del Rosario said and this was confirmed by the Chief of Staff General Guerrero that they are not actually prohibited, except that they have to do it in batches because of security considerations. Not that there’s still ongoing fighting there but the possibility of IEDs which remain undetonated ‘no. So that is why they are being given access but per batch and pursuant of prior arrangement made by the military. So that was the assurance made by both the AFP and General Del Rosario.

Now, on the recovery efforts, they are going to flatten the most affected area. And as I said, they will widen infrastructure, four lane roads, promenade; it’s going to be a major tourist destination. Those who have titles will be allowed to rebuild. But those without titles will have to await the action of the DENR and the Armed Forces of the Philippines. What do I mean, bulk of the land in Marawi especially the most affected area is covered by military reservation. Now, the President had already ordered the AFP to finalize how much land they would require so that the excess land can be given to the residents of Marawi. Now that entails complying with the requirements for applying for title ‘no, that is to show peaceful and continuous occupation in concept of owner for the claimants.

So—that’s the status, if you have land title, then you will have to await until structures have been flattened out then you can return to your place, if part of property was taken for building of the expanded road then you would be paid just compensation. But for those without title, they would have to await the action of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the DENR which was also tasked by the President to hasten the survey of the area.

Q: Do we foresee a problem like the culturally the Maranao people is not keen on getting land titles and they said, “papano kami kukuha ng titulo, amin na ito kanunununuan pa. Kung ilipat kami nandito na iyong mga Sultan’s and their Datu’s were buried doon sa most affected areas.” So ano iyong na-foresee natin na possible challenge ng government in as far as the new facade or new Marawi is concerned?

SEC. ROQUE: There is an existing law, the IPRA (Indigenous People’s Rights Act). And for those that can prove that portions of the area constitute their ancestral domains and they could apply for CADTs (certificate of ancestral domain title).

Now, General Del Rosario also committed that the process of rebuilding will be done with very close coordination and consultation with the people. He promised in fact that the rebuilding of Marawi will be pursuant to the religious faith of the residents of Marawi.

Q: Final, sir. Sir, may leeway po ba iyong government in as far as iyong importation and bringing of goods to Marawi? Kasi I’ve talked to one of the contractor from Korea that materials for the 172 houses in Salungsongan is already available that was shipped in Cagayan in November 12, pero na-hold po ng Customs. Sabi ng contractor, it could have been good kung natapos na iyong 265 na donated by the government of South Korea. Nung dumaan kami sa Cagayan po ang nalaman namin, hindi pa po nare-release. Though they give all the documents na to the Customs, but it was not release yet as of Thursday po, nung nandoon po kayo. So do we have leeways po ba?

SEC. ROQUE: I’m sorry. I am Spokesperson, but I keep on referring to pending bills in the House, because I was one of the authors to…which grant tax holidays including Customs holidays to donations to disaster prone areas ‘no, disaster hit areas and this will classify as a disaster. So under the bill, they would be exempt from tariffs and customs duties if it’s donated to disaster ravaged area. But your point is very well taken. I’m sure General Del Rosario will act on this because as I said, we have promised to turn over the first 500 temporary shelters by mid-December. And after this, I will call General Del Rosario and tell him about this new information.

Q: Good morning sir, I’m Angie from (?) Davao. Sir, what’s the Malacanang’s reaction to the action of Mayor Sara that she will continue the localized peace talks, because there is still no legal document that is tagging CPP-NPA as terrorist?

SEC. ROQUE: That is correct ‘no. We have local autonomy. So the peace talks can proceed on a local level if the local government units should want or desire to proceed.

Q: Question lang po, because the President said last week that he is going to fire some government officials who would go on travels abroad without the asking the proper travel authority from his office. Could we know if there already actions towards—

SEC. ROQUE: No such list has been given to me. But I will inquire from the President because we are going to Maguindanao together.

Q: Sir, may we know the implication of the secession of the peace process with the CPP-NPA?

SEC. ROQUE: I don’t know what are the implications. Right now, it’s off. The peace talks are off and we have resumed basically the conduct of warfare on a non-international basis. So we are again pursuing the NPA, the NPA as a rebel group under our domestic laws. And even under the second additional protocol of the Geneva Conventions, they are a non-international combatant.

Q: Sir, can you comment on our Miss Universe?

SEC. ROQUE: I’m so happy that she made it to the top 16 and we wish her the best. Although wala naman ng duda ngayon ang Filipina talaga pinakamagaganda sa daigdig na ito. Kasama na rin iyong mga kalalakihan ha, kasama na rin kami roon.

Q: Sir, last week, there was a warning from the President on mining industries not to give in to the revolutionary tax…demand for revolutionary taxes. So far is there an expression of commitment from the mining operators that they will not or they are not really give in to the demands to pay revolutionary taxes po?

SEC. ROQUE: Well, there is no information on whether or not the mining companies have reacted. But what the President said is actually a statement of a legal obligation on the part of private entities not to provide support, not to abet acts of rebellion; because the payment of revolutionary taxes is the one financing the ongoing rebellion… which is also criminal.

Q: Sir, based po sa latest feedback ng Task Force Marawi. How many have been recruited to join again the ISIS?

SEC. ROQUE: Wala po silang information, but they confirmed that there were efforts to recruit inhabitants around the most affected area. But of course that is the reason why we are doubling our effort to rebuild Marawi to send a message to the youth that government is there to provide (signal cut) that is why the President has done away with red tape. He said that General Del Rosario is in charge and he ordered all Cabinet members to (signal cut) with General Del Rosario for the rebuilding of Marawi.

Q: ___paid upon acceptance, 200 depends on the skills and they are given… promised 50,000 a month for a salary should they join the terror group.

SEC. ROQUE: Well, we are giving the hope, we are giving them an opportunity to stand up and we are promising them that Marawi will be one of the most progressive cities after its rebuilding.

Q: After you visited Marawi last Thursday, sir. What’s your—How do you view Marawi vis-à-vis the Philippine government’s efforts to develop the country?

SEC. ROQUE: Of course, it’s very sad. Because as a law professor in UP, I frequented MSU Marawi. So I’m very familiar with Marawi. I have been there, at least 8 times. It was sad going around the most affected area. It felts surreal, I felt I was in a Hollywood set, except that it was for real. But we will show that with the political will, with renewed faith and trust in government na babangon po ang Marawi. Hindi po natin mapapabayaan ang Marawi. Ang pangako po ng Presidente, “sagot ko ang Marawi at babangon muli ang Marawi.”

Q: Sir, another question po. The President had mentioned for a number of times already about these terrorist, Islamic State linked group, militant groups rebuilding right now. And then there’s that possibility…the warning of that they are going to strike back, that is why he need a stronger AFP, a stronger PNP. So could you tell us about that rebuilding and striking back, iyan ang term niya?

SEC. ROQUE: Yes, I heard the President say that. I was present when he said that. I can confirm that in the meeting with Russia and in the meeting with China and even with the United States, the President had expressed his appreciation for the material support given in the war against international terrorism. He has also gotten the commitment of all three powers that they will continue to provide us with military hardware that we need to continue the fights against terrorism.

In the ASEAN, all ASEAN countries and their partners agreed that terrorism is not just a domestic issue that it transcends boundaries that they have recognized in the region that terrorism and violent extremism is a threat to everyone in the region and they all agreed to cooperate and provide information on the movements of these terrorists groups.

So, I guess in response to your answer: we are gearing up. In last Thursday – before the President met with the victims of Maguindanao Massacre – he was in a closed door meeting with the Armed Forces and Secretary Diokno and this had to do with procurement for the Armed Forces of the Philippine, because he knows that we have to be in full alert and ready to meet any challenges arising from these terrorists groups.

Q: Sir, update lang po. You said there is a need for iyong equipment, iyong warfare iyong mga ganoon. Now, the question is: where are we now, meaning to say Russia promised this. So, how—could you just give us a run down, or ball park estimate of the whole thing, what do we have now and what do we expect in the future to make that AFP stronger, and the PNP stronger?

SEC. ROQUE: You know, as far as the Russian and Chinese assistance are concerned, these are not just estimates; they actually gave it to us, which we used in the urban warfare that we successfully won against the terrorist group, ISIS-Maute. So it’s not just promised assistance; its assistance already received.

Now in the different bilateral that he had with President Putin and President Xi JInping and the Premier, the Chinese Premier, there was a whole list of armaments of the President needed. He needed more firearms, he needed more helicopters, attack helicopters, he needed more planes, he needed night vision equipment. So he has a whole list of inventory that he needs to procure from these allies.

Q: So, he has the whole list of…that inventory that he needs to procure. So from those allies and those that we are going to procure, but the point is do we have ano—where are we now?

SEC. ROQUE: As I said, only last Thursday he had a closed door meeting on procurement.

Q: So wala pa tayong ano talaga?

SEC. ROQUE: Well, hindi po, nabigay na kasi ng Russia at saka ng Tsina iyong mga baril, nagamit na nga po. Pero after we received it for free, the President said I will but next time. And I think he already has a shopping list that is why he already had a closed door conference with DBM Secretary and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Q: Sir could you give us an idea, in that shopping list, what are the sources?

SEC. ROQUE: Ano pong sources?

Q: Kung saan kukunin.

SEC. ROQUE: Ang problema po kasi iyong mga Amerikano ayaw tayong pagbentahan. Di ba po nagkaroon ng resolution iyong Kongreso kaya hindi natuloy iyong pagbili natin ng Armalites. So wala tayong choice kung hindi bumili sa China at saka sa Russia. At pagbebentahan naman po tayo ng China at ng Russia; now, having said that—in one of the bilateral meetings, isa pong reklamo ni President Trump eh iyong Vietnam na napakalaki ng trade surplus pagdating sa Amerika eh sa Russia pa rin bumibili ng kanyang mga military hardware.

So, ewan ko po kung magbebenta si President Trump. Pero he seemed to be pushing American arms to Vietnam. So tayo naman, we were ready to buy armalites from the United States, but they were prohibited by the US Congress from selling to us. But we will buy where we can.

EDITH: Sir, in terms of the New People’s Army, I think the military right now, the AFP, is preparing for iyong repercussion, iyong ano nila, iyong attacks nila ‘di ba. So have you ever identified saan iyong mga areas na ano sila, na where these NPAs are found … iyong nag-o-operate?

SEC. ROQUE: Edith, I’m sure the military knows but I can’t divulge for obvious reasons.

EDITH: Hindi, iyong ano, iyong mostly they are operating which areas, may mga ganoon iyon eh. Considered to be ano—

SEC. ROQUE: I’m sure the Armed Forces knew but we’ll not divulge that.

EDITH: So there is no chance that government will ever get back to the negotiating table after it cancelled the talks?

SEC. ROQUE: Alam ninyo nga, my line has become famous, “It is permanent for now.” But we can never tell. Because remember, the Senate also said that they will be a bridge to back door negotiations. But for now, it is closed. The door has been closed, until the NPA has shown sincerity that they really is desiring long-term peace.

MODERATOR: Thank you, Edith. Here is the question from Philip Tubeza: What about the other leftists still holding Cabinet level posts, pinagpapa-resign ba or do they still have President’s trust and confidence?

SEC. ROQUE: For as long as they are remaining in their posts, they enjoy the trust and confidence of the President. When they go, then obviously the President had ceased to have trust and confidence in them. All presidential appointees hold office at the pleasure of the President.
MODERATOR: Thank you, sir. From Karen Lema of Reuters: Secretary Roque, clarify what’s latest on President’s plan to bring back police in drugs war?

SEC. ROQUE: Okay. It is safe to reveal that the President, while inclined to return it to the PNP has not made up completely his mind. And reason is last Thursday was the last time I saw the President, and I heard him say again that he is inclined that he has not transferred it to the PNP again.

So I guess, until the document is signed by him, it remains with PDEA. But I will actually seek clarification from the President. Let’s not pressure him either way. That’s a presidential discretion ‘no, prerogative.

IAN: Sir, can you give us the position of the President po on the vote of the Philippines to end the military campaign against the Rohingya crisis, sir?

SEC. ROQUE: Well, I think Secretary Alan Cayetano had explained that we voted no on a draft resolution asking Myanmar to allow an impeded humanitarian assistance because we did not want Myanmar to go back and become an isolationist state again.

And to me, that of course makes a lot of sense because not too long ago, Myanmar, as an isolationist country, completely shut off from the rest of the world. We were, in fact, one of the few countries that continued to have close relations with Myanmar to the point that we were amongst those that first pressured the military junta to accord the rights to opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.

Now, so that’s the kind of relationship that we have with Myanmar. We always want to be viewed by Myanmar as a friendly neighbor country so that we can continue to engage with the government of Myanmar.

IAN: Was this issue discussed during the ASEAN, sir?

SEC. ROQUE: It was. But there was no ASEAN declaration made in this regard. But I think many countries expressed concern. And Myanmar, in fact, addressed the concerns by raising three points: It is in the process of implementing the Kofi Annan report; it will allow delivery of humanitarian assistance; and it will allow the return of refugees from Bangladesh after it had executed an MOU with Bangladesh.

RUTH: Secretary, may sunud-sunod na pamamaril sa mga progresibong grupo. In fact, kahapon, dito sa Davao City, a member ng Anak Pawis was killed. And kagabi din, doon sa Agusan del Norte and the other week, mayroong pastor ng NCCP na binaril din, miyembro din ng farmer’s group. What’s your take on this? Baka sisigaw na naman sila ng EJK ito?

SEC. ROQUE: Ang utos po ng Presidente ay dakipin at kasuhan. Wala pong kahit anong order na pumatay ng mga leftist ‘no. Alam ninyo naman dito sa Davao, talaga namang ang Presidente has always close relations with them. Kaya he really feels betrayed. Akala niya, dahil malapit na malapit ang relasyon niya sa kaliwa, eh talaga namang makikipag-usap nang tapat. Pero ano naman ang gagawin ng Presidente, napakatagal niyang nakipagkaibigan sa kanila dito mismo sa siyudad ng Davao. Napakadami sa hanay nila na ina-appoint niya sa napakatataas na posisyon.

Noon una, magkaibigan na magkaibigan sila, napakadaming botong ibinigay doon sa mga party list groups. At alam ninyo naman iyan, tingnan ninyo na lang ang voting record dito sa Davao City. Mas marami pa ngang binigay si Presidente sa kanila kaysa sa aking sariling party list dito sa Davao eh.

So, ano pa ang gusto nila kay Presidente? Ang sinasabi lang nila, tapusin na natin iyan. Magkaibigan naman sila ni Joma Sison, propresor niya noong siya ay estudyante sa Lyceum. Walang dapat pag-awayan! Nakikipag-usap nang tapat, ambush nang ambush ng sundalo. Isa pang isyu talaga is, sino ba talaga ang nagku-control ng NPA? Kasi iyong pag-a-ambush nila ng kasundaluhan habang nakikipag-usap ng kapayapaan, number one, pagtatraydor iyan! Pero kung hindi pagta-traydor, sino ang nagku-control ng NPA at sino ang dapat kausapin kung magkakaroon ng usaping pangkapayapaan?

So mabuti naman na nandito ako sa Davao kasi iyan din ang mga tanong sa Maynila. Alam po ng Davao kung gaano kalapit ang Presidente diyan sa mga kaliwa dahil naiintindihan niya iyong mga suliranin na pina-publicize ng mga kaliwa. At iyong programa naman niya, eh gusto niyang bigyan ng kasagutan at solusyon iyong mga root causes ng rebelyon. Kaya naman tingnan ninyo, 6.5% ang ating economic growth: iyong mga oligarchs, isa-isa niyang pinababayad; Iyong Mighty napabayad niya, iyong Philippine Airlines napabayad niya. Nagkaroon na tayo ng libreng tuition sa state universities and colleges. Iyong ating panukalang batas na na-certify urgent, universal health, libreng tanghalian sa mga kabataan, eh lahat po iyan ay nagmula sa paningin ni Presidente na talagang dapat maging instrument ng social justice ang gobyerno.

So dapat naman makipagtulungan na ang mga komunista dahil siya naman, hindi niya tinuturing sa simula na kalaban ang mga komunista dahil nga iyong mga sympathizers ng CPP-NPA ay dahil sa kahirapan. Pero hindi naman po pupuwede na patuloy ang putukan. Ang panawagan po, magkaroon ng sinseridad dahil kung wala pong kapayapaan, talagang walang matagalang pag-unlad na mangyayari lalung-lalo na iyong pag-unlad na ang makikinabang ay iyong pinakamahihirap doon sa mga lugar na aktibo ang NPA.

So mabuti naman po na mahabang eksplanasyon ang naibigay ko dito sa Davao dahil alam ninyo po talaga ang paninindigan ni Presidente tungkol dito sa usaping ito.

Q: Can you comment on the statement of Sison that the President is political swindler?

SEC. ROQUE: Alam ninyo po, that’s really foul. I will not even dignify the name calling. Eh kung political swindler siya, bakit ang daming botong binigay sa kaniya sa Davao? Kung political swindler siya, bakit in-appoint sa Gabinete? Kung political swindler siya, bakit hindi siya nag-all out war eh matapos ang eleksyon, popular na popular ang Presidente ‘di ba? Eh hanggang ngayon nga eh, tinigil lang ang peace talks at sinabi tuloy ang labanan, pero the President could have ordered an all out war, ‘di ba?

Eh napakatagal na po nitong labanang na ito. Nasa Guinness Book of World Record na ito, ano pa ba ang gusto nila? Iyong Tsina, pinakamagaling na sa kapitalismo, Maoist pa rin sila, ano ba iyan? Kailangang umusad na. Move on. Naiwanan na kayo, iniwan na kayo ng People’s Republic of China, ano ba iyan! Kanino pa kayo magrereport? Wala na kayong pagrereportan, puro bilyonaryo na ang member ng people’s congress ng Tsina; naiwan na kayo. (Signal cut) Wala pong (signal cut) ang ipinalit po nila doon sa ninanais na (signal cut) mga batang opisyales at sundalo natin. Hindi po tama iyan. (Signal cut)

BOMBO RADYO DAVAO: Good morning, sir. Sir, regarding sa iyong pumunta si Pangulo dito sa Davao last week, nabanggit niya na tatanggalin iyong mga legal front ng mga NPA sa party list, sir. Ano po ang—

SEC. ROQUE: Wala naman siyang sinabing party list. Ikaw talaga, ikaw lang ang nagdagdag niyan. Sabi lang niya, legal front.

SEC. ROQUE: Hayaan natin na ang Presidente ang mag-explain kung sino iyong legal front.

BOMBO RADYO DAVAO: Follow up, sir. Iyong Maguindanao massacre, sir.

SEC. ROQUE: Ay mabut naman kasi hindi masyado na-cover iyan dahil 4:30 na iyong aming meeting ano. Sige po, ano pong tanong ninyo?

BOMBO RADYO DAVAO: Yes, sir. Noong bumisita iyong mga pamilya ng biktima ng Maguindanao massacre, may ipinangako ba ang Presidente na makamit ang hustisya bago matapos ang kaniyang katungkulan?

SEC. ROQUE: Madami po. Unang-una, sabi niya, talagang obligasyon ng Ehekutibo na bigyan ng katarungan iyong mga biktima ng karahasan. Pangalawa, ito pong nangyari sa Maguindanao massacre, shabu killing din po iyan. May isa pong testigo, si Opama Suwaib alyas Jessie – napatay na rin po iyon. Pero doon sa kaniyang sinabi sa media at sinabi sa kaniyang statement, talagang namigay pa ng shabu bago iyong massacre. So talagang shabu killing iyong nangyari kaya nga karumaldumal ‘no, wala talaga sila sa tamang pag-iisip.

So nangako ang Presidente na mas mabilis na katarungan. May mga inorder siya kay Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre. At nag-order din siya na bigyan ng tulong, ng trabaho at educational assistance iyong mga biktima.

Pero ang talagang sabi niya, “Pangako ko sa inyo, fiscal naman ako dati, gagawin ko ang lahat para mapabilis ang pagkamit ng hustisya.” Nagpasalamat naman po ang mga Maguindanao massacre victims kasi walong taon na nga silang nakikibaka, ngayon lang po sila tinanggap officially ng Presidente ng Pilipinas.

MODERATOR: Okay. Thank you so much. Sir, your final statement?

SEC. ROQUE: Well, ako po ay nagagalak at nakasama ko kayo dito sa Panacan, ang tinatawag na Panacañang. At asahan ninyo po, hindi po ito ang huling pagkakataon. Siguro po ay gagawin din natin itong regular dahil taga-rito naman ang Presidente, at talaga pong napakadaming tanong doon sa pagtigil ng usaping pangkapayapaan, ang masasabi ko lang po, hindi na po kasalanan ng Presidente iyan. Lahat na po ng hakbang ay ginawa ng Presidente para magkaroon ng matagalang kapayapaan sa ating bayan. Pero hindi naman pupuwede na iyong pagnanais ng kapayapaan ay sa parte lamang ng gobyerno. The ball is in the court of the CPP-NPA.

Magandang umaga po at maraming salamat po.


Source: NIB – Transcription