Press Briefing

Press Briefing by Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque with Department Of Health Spokesperson Assistant Secretary Lyndon Lee Suy, and Presidential Communications Operations Office Assistant Secretary Kris Ablan

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

OPENING STATEMENT:

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: Good morning. The good news is people should not panic about the dengue vaccine. There is no danger with the dengue vaccine.

What Sanofi, the manufacturer, revealed is that new studies indicate that for those who already had contact with dengue — and that’s nine out of 10 Filipinos — the dengue vaccine is in fact very effective in protecting the patient from another attack of dengue.

The only new finding that they have is that for the one person out of 10 who’s not had dengue, chances are after three years, he may still be afflicted with dengue which was classified as “severe dengue.”

Now, the worry is on the term “severe dengue.” But you see, there was a reclassification of what is mild, severe, and deadly dengue.

And the “severe dengue” that is mentioned by Sanofi will involve symptoms that include two days of fever and hemophilia, ‘yung pagma-marka ‘no sa skin. It is not the deadly type of dengue.

So in common parlance, sa ordinaryong salita, ‘yung pinakamalala po na pupwedeng mangyari sang-ayon sa bagong pag-aaral mismo ng Sanofi, eh ‘yung mga hindi pa nagkaka-dengue na isa lamang sa 10 ay pupwedeng magka-dengue na sa ating classification dati ay mild lamang dahil meron lang lagnat at merong mga pasa. Hindi po ‘yung severe na nakakamatay.

Pero ang kapalit naman po nun ay proteksyon doon sa nine out of 10 na nagka-dengue na from acquiring what could be not just serious but possibly a deadly stage of dengue.

So uulitin ko po, wala pong dahilan para mag-panic. Tama naman po na nagkaroon nang konting bahala tayo dahil hindi naman natin alam na matapos maibigay sa mga kabataan, eh akala natin complete immunity na from dengue kasi ‘yan ang akala natin sa vaccination, ‘pag meron ka na hindi ka na magkakaroon uli.

Pero the worst-case scenario, according to this new study na isinapubliko naman nila at hindi itinago ‘no, ay one out of 10, ‘yung hindi pa nagkaka-dengue, baka pupwede uli magkaroon ng dengue consisting of ‘yung kanyang mga symptoms ay dalawang araw ng pag-lagnat at saka ‘yung konting pasa sa katawan. Hindi naman po ‘yung nakamamatay.

Of course, don’t take it from me. Take it from the Department of Health. And today, we have Dr. Lyndon L. Lee Suy who is not only a spokesperson but a specialist in — guess what field? Infectious diseases.

So he is a specialist in diseases such as dengue. Okay? So in an effort to allay fears of the public, we invited the spokesperson and an infectious medicine specialist Dr. Lyndon L. Lee Suy to answer in more detail your questions.

Dr. Lee Suy…

ASEC. LEE SUY: Thank you, sir. I’m pretty sure nabalitaan niyo na kung anong nangyari and on…

Just to give you a brief background on how did we actually receive the news about this.

November 29, Sanofi Pasteur kasi nag-post po sa kanilang global website, naglabas sila ng PR about the latest findings ng kanilang study, ng pag-aaral ng kanilang mga data.

It turned out, tulad nang binanggit ni Secretary Roque that those person who have not had experienced dengue before, which is one out of 10 sa mga Filipinos, eh may risk na talagang mag-develop ng dengue.

Nandoon pa rin ‘yung mga lamok kasi. Kakagatin ka pa rin, magkaka-dengue ka pa rin. So meaning, the protection na dapat ibinigay ng vaccine will not really last that long.

At nabanggit din kanina ni Secretary regarding ‘yung mga manifestations, the severe that was being identified by Sanofi is totally different with the severe — our severeclassification that is being used currently together with WHO.

Now, why are they using different classification? Hindi kasi nila pwedeng baguhin bigla ang kanilang classification din in the course of nung magbuhat nung nag-umpisa sila nitong trial na ito, which was like 20 years ago. It took them like 20 years bago nila na-develop itong vaccine na ito.

Hindi ganung kabilis ang pagbabago ng bakuna ng — nito. Kung kaya’t hindi pwedeng kalagitnaan biglang nagbabago din sila ng classification.

So siguro mas maganda, we’ll entertain questions nang sa gayon eh ‘yung mga concerns niyo ma-address na rin ng Department of Health nang sa gayon malinawan na rin natin.

I guess this is a very good venue as well para maintindihan din ng publiko kung ano ba talaga itong concern natin ngayon regarding the dengue vaccine.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS:

Reymund Tinaza (Bombo Radyo): Hi, sir. Good morning. Sir, so — kasi may mga kumakalat, ‘yun ‘yung parang pinagmulan yata ng fear and even panic ng public na kung meron kang, if you take, if you took dengue vaccine, kapag ka nagkaroon ka ng dengue, magiging mas malala, severe, and all of that mga kumalat. So will you please clarify, sir.

ASEC. LEE SUY: Clear din natin. Ang populasyon natin, umpisahan natin doon — based sa mga study na ginagawa namin sa sample population natin, lumilitaw na nine out of 10 Filipinos have an experience of dengue.

Tapos sasabihin niyo, “Bakit ako parang hindi pa ako nagkaka-dengue? Wala naman ako naranasan.”

Hindi kailangan magkaroon ka ng lagnat bago sabihin natin na na-expose ka sa dengue. Data will tell us as you age, the probability of you having acquired dengue is really very high.

So may mga kaso, may mga tao na nagka-dengue na but they did not manifest any signs and symptoms at all. So nagkaroon lang ng virus sa katawan at nag-develop naman ‘yun, nag-trigger ‘yun ng protection o mag-develop ng protection ‘yung katawan natin against future dengue infection. ‘Yun ‘yung mga positive.

Ngayon, zero in ngayon sa pagbabakuna natin, nag-cause ng undue panic, ng fear, ng taranta sa mga magulang. Kung i-a-ano natin sa 700,000 population na nabakunahan at i-a-apply natin ‘yung nine out of 10 Filipinos who would have had dengue, sa 700,000 population, we’re talking about the 10 percent na hindi pa nagkaka-dengue.

Kasi the risk, sabi nga nila, is amongst those recipient ng dengue vaccine na hindi pa nagkaka-dengue. We do not have any problem at all with those recipients na nagka-dengue na before at nabakunahan. Out sila sa issue na ito.

Ang ina-ano lang dito, nagfo-focus tayo doon sa mga hindi pa nagkaka-dengue na nabakunahan, ‘yun ‘yung focus nung kanilang PR.

Ngayon, doon sa 10 porsiyentong ‘yun na sabi nila at risk — we’re talking about at risk — meaning hindi naman automatic din na porke hindi ka nabakunahan at kasama ka doon sa isa sa 10 ‘yun, eh automatic na ‘pag nagka-dengue ka severe ka na.

You may develop. You may be at risk. But not saying that those one out of 10 would eventually develop severe dengue.

Now, paano natin lalabanan ‘yun? Balik tayo sa basic natin. You have to have a good immune system, resistance level kasi infection pa rin ito eh.

Hindi ito manggagaling sa bakuna, ‘yung dengue mo, manggagaling pa rin ito saan? Kagat pa rin ng lamok. So go back tayo doon. “Anong gagawin ko para hindi ako magka-dengue?” Balik tayo sa paglilinis ulit ng kapaligiran.

So that would like bring down the risk, that lowers down the risk of you acquiring the dengue infection. So nagze-zero in tayo doon.

Ngayon, kasi ang lumalabas sa mga balita, ‘di ba ‘yung 700,000 population na recipient nung dengue vaccine are at risk of acquiring the severe dengue, no.

We’re only talking about that 10 percent na maaari — we’re not even sure kung 10 nga, baka nga lower din — na maaaring wala pang dengue na nakatanggap ng bakuna who would be at risk.

Paulit-ulit kong binabanggit ‘yung at risk kasi hindi automatic na lahat sila at pwede ring wala, kung magiging maganda ang immune system mo.

Mr. Tinaza: Okay, sir, last point. Sir, now what you are saying, clearing the panic. What can you say… What’s your take to the proposal of even VP Robredo of this alleged bungled dengue vaccine to be investigated because of some alleged now corruption and so on?

ASEC. LEE SUY: ‘Yun nga medyo lumawak na eh. Hindi na nag-focus doon sa napatungan na ‘yung sabi natin na undue fear o panic na ibinigay natin sa mga magulang, napatungan na
‘yon ng mga ibang concern.

In fact, Secretary Roque can attest to it that it’s been a year or it’s been more than a year na nagkakaroon kami pagbisita sa House, na nagkaroon na ng series of hearing allegedly because of ‘yung mga issues na nire-raise nila sa Department of Health.

And I would like to believe na wala namang napatunayan regarding that one. But sabi nga natin, the Department of Health is always open with that, nang sa gayon eh, kami rin naman ang gusto nating mangyari nang sa gayon maayos na rin ito, magkaroon na ng kalinawan.

We are open to any investigation na gustong gawin po ng — anybody who would want to really investigate, kung may iba pang naging problema dito sa dengue vaccine immunization program.

Bella Cariaso (Bandera): Hi, sir. Good morning. Bella Cariaso from Bandera. Sir, kasi nanggaling din ‘yung information natin last week from DOH. Why sudden na nag-panic tayo dahil ‘yung information natin galing sa inyo na — ‘di ba, sabi niyo nga ‘yung mga hindi pa nababakunahan, sila ‘yung may danger na magkaroon ng severe — ‘yung side effect. Pero ngayon, nililinaw niyo na hindi naman dapat mag-panic, kasi ‘yung information din galing din naman sa inyo. So parang ang pagitan lang po ng — days lang ata, so bakit biglang iba naman ngayon ang information na ibinibigay niyo sa tao? Kasi ‘di ba, biglang nag-panic ‘yung tao tapos left and right gusto ng mag-investigation ng Senate, ng DOJ, tapos ng Congress, tapos ngayon ina-allay niyo ‘yung fears na may — dapat hindi mag-panic ‘yung publiko, sir, paki ano, liwanag.

ASEC. LEE SUY: Lilinawin ko lang, hindi sa amin nanggaling. Nag-react din kami sa press release ng global — ng Sanofi Pasteur.

We need to take a stand here, bakit? Bago pa man kami nagkaroon ng press conference to clear this out, doon sa presscon kung — I don’t think you were there as well, nung presscon na ‘yon, hindi na namin ina-allay pero ipinapaliwanag — the same thing that I am explaining right now.

Hindi bago ang statement namin last Friday, kumpara sa statement namin today. It’s basically the same.

In fact, naging mas mabilis nga sa social media, bago pa kami nag-presscon doon, bago namin in-address ‘yung mga concern, naging mas mabilis. Kung kaya’t we need to come out with a statement to address those concern kasi doon palang nag-umpisa na, nagkaroon ng reaction.

So iki-clear ko lang, ma’am ha, hindi sa amin nanggaling ‘yung panic na ginawa po.

Ms. Cariaso: So ‘yung suspension niyo nung implementation niyo ng program tuloy po ito, sir?

ASEC. LEE SUY: Yes. Naka on hold siya dala ng — because of the new findings. We wanted to be transparent as well na nagre-respond din kami dun sa mga bagong findings.

And we’re going to wait for further guidance because this week, WHO headquarters in Geneva is going to meet as well to address this concern and from there, we will be getting guidance from them also again.

Tuesday Niu (DZBB): Good morning, sir. Sir, sabi niyo kanina, 700,000 ‘yung total na nabakunahan nitong Dengvaxia pero 10 percent lang nun ‘yung possibility na makapag-acquire ng dengue na pwedeng ma-categorize as severe, hindi naman lahat. Pero 10 percent of 700,000 is 70,000, still, sir. Ano ang pwedeng assurance na maibibigay na natin doon sa 70,000 parents na mag-aalala in the next three to five years na baka maapektuhan ‘yung kanilang mga anak?

ASEC. LEE SUY: Yeah. I’m appreciative of the figures that you came out with, which is 70,000. This is just really absolute numbers, it’s very high pa rin naman. Comparative with the 10 percent, parang — are we trying to bring it down because we’re using percentage here?

Pero kaya kami gumagamit ng percentage here, lumawak man ‘yung 700, kunwari 800,000 siya, it will still be 10 percent ang bibilangin natin.

Ang ginagawa natin, not just because of these issues or ‘yung concern na inilabas ngayon ng Sanofi Pasteur, ang commitment kasi namin nung inilabas ito o ginawa namin ang dengue vaccination activity na ito, was to really monitor them in the next five years, ‘yung mga nakatanggap ng bakuna.

We have on hand right now to our regional offices, lahat ng address ng mga bata o ng mga recipient ng bakunang ito. It’s part of our commitment. We’re going to monitor them. We’re going to look into them as well, kasama ito.

At ang — ang ano pa nito, meron mang lumitaw na magkaroon ng initial symptoms in the next, say, two and a half years — kasi in the next two and a half years, ang partial protection nila we do not expect anybody na pwedeng lumitaw na may severe dengue.

Kaya wala tayong lalabas dapat na bukas o the next day after na, “Oy, may severe dengue na ‘yung anak ko dahil nabakunahan,” no.

Because magkakaroon pa rin po sa kanilang lahat — among those zero negative, ‘yung mga hindi pa nagkaka-dengue na protection pa rin for at least 30 months.
So monitoring ‘yan, hanggang — hanggang the next five years para nang sigurado eh magkaroon mang initial symptoms, sa tingin namin eh severe dengue, na-catch na natin kaagad at nabibigyan kaagad ng immediate attention.

Because all of these cases can be treated. In fact, just for the information of the group, ‘yung mga sinasabi nilang severe dengue among those na-identify ng Sanofi, walang namatay doon.

These cases stayed in the hospital for — ang range nila is four to six days and eventually they were discharged, improved naman.

Ms. Niu: Yes, sir. Another question, sir. Parang narinig ko si Doctor [Susan] Pineda-Mercado kaninang umaga, sir, the World Health Organization, parang ang — meron siyang doubt kung bakit na-approve kaagad ng DOH ‘yung pagpa-administer nung Dengvaxia vaccine, when in fact, ‘yung ganitong mga uri daw ng bakuna ay pinag-aaralan ng a year or years pero mukhang ito daw eh medyo inabot lang ng buwan.

ASEC. LEE SUY: Ah lilinawin ko din, ang pag-aaral sa bakunang ito ay umabot po ng humigit-kumulang sa dalawampung taon. Ang — o inabot din ‘to ng almost 11 to 12 months, ‘yung pagre-repaso ng kanilang dokumento para malisensyahan.

I just wanted to be clear, ma’am, kung ano ‘yung doubts niya para ma-address sana natin kung ano ‘yung ibig sabihin nung, “she has doubts.” Ano ‘yung doubts na ‘yon sana?

Ms. Niu: Parang ang gusto niyang sabihin, sir, eh napakadali for the DOH na in-approve ‘yung —?

ASEC. LEE SUY: Actually, na-bring up din ito sa mga hearing namin sa Congress at naipaliwanag ito at naipakita naman na dumaan din siya, tulad nung mga ibang mga gamot at mga bakuna, or any products that will have to be registered with the FDA.

Kasama siya, kasabay siya, kung paano nire-repaso ang kanilang mga dokumento.

Ms. Niu: Thank you, sir.

Alvin Baltazar (Radyo Pilipinas): Dr. Lee Suy, magandang umaga po. Sir, kanina po sa opening statement ni Secretary Roque, ang sabi niya, walang dapat na ipagalala sa dengue vaccine, ito ay very effective. So kung pag-uusapan natin, sir, ‘yung status, tuloy ba ‘yung pagbabakuna doon sa mga bata gamit ‘yung vaccine ng Sanofi, since wala naman pala tayong dapat na ipagalala?

ASEC. LEE SUY: Well, currently, tulad ng nabanggit natin naka-on hold tayo sa ating mga immunization activity dala ng…

Tulad na nga nung ginawa natin sa pagbibigay ng bakuna, base sa recommendation din, ang sabi nga 70 percent, community meron, we can give it talaga sa komunidad.

Hindi kasi nagkaroon ng — sa recommendation na magkaroon muna ng testing whether nagkaroon na ba siya ng dengue o hindi.

Now, probably because of — pending nung recommendation nila, baka ‘yun ang lumitaw na bagong rekomendasyon.

Pero magiging concern naman diyan, ‘yung sinasabi nilang test para malaman mo kung nagka-dengue na or hindi pa, it may not be readily available as well. Hindi siya ganun kalawak ang availability nito.

So but sa mga private naman, the private practitioners, kasi one-on-one naman ang pagha-handle nila nung mga pasyente nila. And most of the time, dati na nilang pasyente ito, mas alam nila ang history, mas confident sila kung bibigyan nila ‘yung mga pasyente nila na alam nilang nagka-dengue na dati.

Mr. Baltazar: Follow up, sir. Sir, gaano katagal ‘yung pagho-hold pansamantala at saka may epekto ba ito sa posibleng — baka masyadong harsh ‘yung term na “revocation” doon sa Sanofi, kung saka-sakali?

ASEC. LEE SUY: Hindi pa naman tayo umaabot sa ganung usapin na — ng revocation nga.

Ang sabi nga natin, tignan din natin ‘yung positibong anggulo na this is very effective among those cases na na-expose doon sa dengue dati, which is, sabi ko nga sa datos natin, 90 percent of the Filipinos.

‘Yung tanong mo, gaano katagal ang pagho-hold nito? Magmi-meeting nga ngayon ang WHO this week at ang Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization sa Geneva din, and hopefully, within the next two weeks magkaroon na sila ng recommendation kung ano ‘yung next step forward natin.

Dexter Ganibe (DZMM): Hi, Asec. Good morning. Sir, tanong lang, ‘yung dengue po ba ay once na nagka-meron ka ay pwedeng bumalik?

ASEC. LEE SUY: Hindi siya ‘yung bumalik. There are four serotypes, so apat na klaseng tawag sa [layman?] ‘yung mga strain. So para — quick ano lang, ‘pag nagkaroon ka — ang tawag lang dito ay one, two, three, four lang.

So ‘pag nagka-dengue one ka na, protektado ka na laban sa dengue one habangbuhay. Pero you will be at risk of acquiring two, three at four pa rin kasi wala ka namang protection doon.

So pagka nagka-one ka may history ka na ng dengue at nabakunahan ka, protektado ka na laban dun sa remaining three.

So hindi bumabalik, but because there are other serotypes so pwede ka magkaroon pa rin ng ganoong klaseng infection.

Mr. Ganibe: Natanong ko lang po kasi ‘yun dahil medyo nakakabahala ‘yung 700,000 na nabakunahan at sinasabi niyo po na 10 percent lang ‘yung hindi pa nagkaka-dengue, ibig sabihin, more than 600,000 ay nagka-dengue na just in region — Central Luzon, Metro Manila and CALABARZON area?

ASEC. LEE SUY: Pero, Dexter, hindi siya nakakabahala dahil ‘yung 600 na ‘yun — 600,000 na ‘yun which is the 90 percent ay protektado na dala ng bakunang ibinigay sa kanila.

Mr. Ganibe: Ah, oo, kasi noong 2015, we have 118,000 cases of dengue — dengue cases sa buong bansa. And 2016, ay bumaba siya, umabot sa 100,000.

ASEC. LEE SUY: I appreciate you bringing that up kasi it will only tell us na ganun ka highly endemic ang Philippines, ganun kalaki ang problema ng dengue sa Pilipinas, kung kaya’t lahat ng measures tinitingnan natin.

Sabi nga natin palagi, dati pa, paulit-ulit naming binabanggit, dengue is not a problem that can be solved by the government alone. We all have our share of responsibility.

Kahit mag-ingay kami nang mag-ingay, kahit palaging i-presscon ito ‘yung paglilinis, kung hindi maglilinis si nanay at tatay, dengue will still be at risk. We still have a problem.

Mr. Ganibe: Last point, sir, sa akin. Sir, itong ipinatigil ba ng DOH na dengue vaccination ay bago o ito ‘yung pa — third dose para dun sa sinimulan noong April last year.

ASEC. LEE SUY: Lahat ito regardless kung naka-isang dose ka pa lang, second dose ka pa lang. The total campaign ’yung activity natin is on hold.

Mr.Ganibe: Kasi may mga binabanggit, sir, ‘yung pang last dose dapat na April, May, June this year ay hindi naisagawa at December na po ngayon. Ang binabanggit, ‘pag hindi mo nakumpleto ‘yung tatlo, eh very ano ka susceptible.

ASEC. LEE SUY: Ive-verify natin kung saan hindi naisagawa ‘yan kasi hindi dapat siya issue na hindi naisagawa kung April, May, June ‘yon. Kasi ang concern ngayon lang lumabas.

So dapat naibigay siya noong April, May, June. Now, if you can verify din kung saang lugar ito dala ng — hindi dapat issue ang bilang ng bakuna dala ng — we have more than enough vaccine.

Mr. Ganibe: So ibig sabihin, sir, ‘yung 700,000 nakumpleto nila ‘yung three doses?

ASEC. LEE SUY: They are at different phases. Mara — humigit sa kalahati sa kanila nakumpleto. Wala namang pag-aaral pa naman na makakabahala na hindi pa makumpleto.
In fact, sabi nga natin, we still have until next year naman para makumpleto ito, just in case pending the recommendation na isa ‘yun sa titingnan naman ng WHO as well.

Philip Tubeza (Philippine Daily Inquirer): Sir, good morning. Clarification lang. Saan niyo nakuha ‘yung stat na one out of 10?

ASEC. LEE SUY: May data kami na ginagawa dito. Patuloy din ang pag-aaral din namin dito sa Philippines na may mga zero prevalence study kaming ginagawa.

Mr. Tubeza: You said kasi na it might go down. So it — could it also go up? ‘Yung stat na ‘yon?

ASEC. LEE SUY: Go down meaning the 10 percent?

Mr. Tubeza: Oo.

ASEC. LEE SUY: Well, different areas will have varying degrees of zero positivity. Pero sabi nga nila, in the general population that we’re talking here.

So generally, we can let’s say conclude like it’s 90 percent thing that we’re having here.

Mr. Tubeza: Kung 20 years na po ito na pinag-aaralan, bakit hindi nakita ‘yung kuwan na ‘yon, ‘yung parang blind spot na ‘yon na…

ASEC. LEE SUY: Maaaring may suggestive — suggestive na siya dati pero sa analysis ng mga data nila, ngayon lang lumitaw na kongkreto na at risk.

Mas malinaw tayo doon sa word na at risk kasi parang ayaw naman nating sabihin na lahat sila ay magkaka-dengue at severe.

So siguro ito is precautionary measures as well to all of us na, “O hindi ka pa nagka-dengue, nabakunahan ka. Kailangan bantayan mo rin sarili mo, baka magka-dengue ka at mag-develop ka ng severe manifestations.”

Mr. Tubeza: Sir, may reports din po na ‘pag hindi itinuloy ‘yung ano, ‘yung vaccination, maaaring may dangers dun sa na ano lang — nakakuha na ng shots.

ASEC. LEE SUY: Wala pa. The decision of — to put on hold everything is not only coming from our secretary but also based on the advice of our experts also na, “sige, temporarily put it on hold since ano lang naman to temporary thing ito.” Then, we’ll take it from there kung kailan maglalabas ng advice ang WHO.

At tulad ng nabanggit ko, isa sa consideration nila will be this one, ‘yung mga hindi pa nakukumpleto ang pagbabakuna.

Kasi nga kahit gusto nating ikumpleto ngayon, ibigay natin ang second dose o third dose, but because of the alarmist na mga lumabas na mga balita, it will be definitely be very hard to really convince their parents na ipa-baku — na ituloy ‘yung pangalawa’t pangatlong doses.

Mr. Tubeza: Thank you, sir.

Cedric Castillo (GMA-7): Good morning, sir. Sir, paglilinaw lang po. ‘Yung 30 months na period po ng effectivi — effectiveness, ito po starts with the ano — after ‘yung last na turok?

ASEC. LEE SUY: Last dose.

Mr. Castillo: Ah okay. So regardless kung first, second, third. Okay. Sir, after nito pong mga paglilinaw from — on the part of Sanofi, do you still see any reason to hold them liable or does this effectively absolve them of any liability, sir?

ASEC. LEE SUY: Hindi naman tayo nagiging conclusive dito. We still need to review again the documents.

Tulad ng sinasabi niyo, baka nga namang may data na sila dati dito at ngayon lang inilabas.

We wanted to be clear with that as well. So we’ll be holding a series of consultative meetings with them just to make sure that everything is being addressed para nang sa gayon eh — hindi naman absuwelto.

I do not want to use the word “absuwelto” here. Malinawan man tayo dito, it does not happen again in any future transaction we have not only with Sanofi but with the other companies as well.

Mr. Castillo: Sir, meron daw pong nakaamba na class suit? This is coming from Attorney Topacio po.

ASEC. LEE SUY: We’re ready for that. Kasi nga sabi nga natin prerogative ‘yan ng mga magulang o ng mga tao na i-addre— na gawan ng ganitong concern.

Sabi nga, the Philippines, the DOH, ang intention is really to provide protection — na ganitong concern. We’re ready. May mga dokumento naman kami na magpapatunay naman na maayos naman lahat.

Mr. Castillo: Thank you, sir.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: Now, of course, to allay the fears of the public, the DOJ has stated that it has initiated the investigation on the purchase of this vaccine.

As Doctor Lee Suy also said, this matter has been investigated by both the House of Representatives and the Senate. I sat in some of the investigations in the House of Representatives and there was no adverse conclusion to date ‘no.

But this is, of course, all irrelevant now because the DOJ has formally started its investigation. I think the investigation will benefit everyone including those that made the decision to purchase the medicine.

If there are any irregularities, we will find out. If there are irregularities, then the President has said that he will take action.

But everything, as of now, will be premature. Let’s allow the DOJ to investigate.

And also, well, I guess the sentiment that should be shared with the public is we will tell you if there is a reason to be concerned.

What we’re telling you now is wala pong dahilan para maabala. The worst-case scenario is matapos ng tatlong taon, pang-apat, lima, anim na taon ay baka magka-dengue muli.

Uulitin ko po, ‘yung sinasabi nilang severe dengue, hindi po nakakamatay. Lagnat at pasa, hindi naman po nakakamatay.

So huwag po tayo mag-panic. At kung meron naman pong ibang datos na magpapakita na talagang may dahilan para maabala ang publiko, sasabihin naman po ‘yan ni Presidente Duterte. Wala po kaming itatago sa publiko. Okay?

Bago tayo mag other issues, mag-go-good news muna ako. Okay. Good News Monday. Okay. So the Philippines has eliminated maternal and neonatal tetanus. Okay.

Government’s efforts in providing quality health care services to pregnant women, mothers and newborns, including those in isolated and conflict-affected communities have finally met with success.

The Philippines earned the maternal and neonatal tetanus elimination status which means that the country has less than one case of neonatal tetanus of 1,000 live births in every province, city, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization.

We would like to thank our health workers who face numerous challenges to reach even isolated and conflict-affected communities teaching the importance of clean birth deliveries.

More good news, Marina reforms processing of documents of seafarers. Filipino seafarers can now process their documents with ease.

Marina launched several reforms to help almost 780,000 registered Filipino seafarers in processing the requirements fast and more efficient ‘no.

These reforms include online appointment system, formulation of a ten-year maritime industry development plan, and ten-year validity extension of seafarer’s identification and record book.

Then, starting today, we observe National Human Rights Consciousness Week. The Philippines is an active member of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Our human rights record and accomplishment in this field are well recognized given the fact that the highest peer review body in the world on all matters of human rights which is the UNHRC unanimously accepted and commended the outcome report on the Philippine Universal Periodic Review.

We reiterate, our adherence to the rule of law remains as firm as ever as is our commitment to the protection of human rights.

Questions?

Mr. Ganibe: Sir, related dun sa Marina, sir. May mga binabanggit ‘yung mga seafarers bakit dito lang centralized sa Manila ‘yung pag-process? Bakit hindi maglagay ng mga satellite office sa Visayas or Mindanao kung saan karamihan ng mga seafarers nanggagaling? Kaya kung minsan halos matulog na sila diyan sa harap ng Marina office para mauna lang sa pila.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: Point well taken. Ang pagkakaintindi ko po kasi ‘yung mga recruitment agencies halos lahat nandito rin sa Manila.

But point well taken. It’s something that I will definitely bring to the attention of Marina. Possibility of decentralizing the functions of Marina.

Mr. Ganibe: Okay, sir. Balikan ko lang ‘yung sa dengue, sir. Kasi ‘yung binabanggit ng pamahalaan, ang ini-stop lang ay ‘yung government vaccination. How about ‘yung sa mga private hospital? Kasi patuloy din. Ang mga magulang, gumastos ng labin-limang libong piso para sa pagpapabakuna ng kanilang mga magulang. Eh walang word ang DOH para itigil din ‘yon pero tuloy-tuloy ‘yung sa mga private hospitals.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: ‘Yung mga pribado po, we’ll leave it to the discretion of the doctors, of their private doctors. It’s up to the doctors — the health providers.

Mr. Ganibe: Ang kanilang tanong, sir, is papaano kung idineklara o ititigil na siya tuluyan, may kompensasyon ba galing sa pamahalaan dahil ang pamahalaan din ang nag-udyok sa mga Pinoy na magpa-vaccine ng — nitong Dengvaxia?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: Alam niyo po, we will deal with the issue when we get there ‘no kasi you’re talking already of reparations ‘no.

Eh hindi pa naman tayo sigurado na there is a need for reparations ‘no.

Chona Yu (Radyo Inquirer): Sir, may update na po tayo sa recommendation ng AFP sa martial law?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: I promised to read the statement of Colonel Arevalo because the spokesperson, General Brawner is out of the country ‘no.

So Colonel Arevalo sent me this statement. Okay. This was received last week though ‘no.

“The AFP is mindful that the extension of martial law implementation ends on 31 December 2017. It is currently in the process of assessment and deliberation as to the recommendation.

The AFP is looking at the possibility of submitting its recommendation to the President and Commander-in-Chief through the National — through the Department of National Defense by the first week of December.”

So it is this week that they will make the recommendation.

Ms. Yu: So wala pa pala, sir, kung —

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: Wala pa.

Ms. Yu: Wala pa, sir?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: Ito lang ‘yung statement. [laughter] Nakuha ko ito after Thursday. Nakuha ko ito siguro Friday syempre ngayon ko lang babasahin. Okay. Wala pa. Suspended animation ha. Okay.

Next question please.

Mr. Tinaza: Sir, over the weekend Undersecretary Del Rosario of the Bangon Marawi Task Force na he is open for partly extension of the martial law especially in the Central Mindanao. Kahit ‘yun lang daw okay na siya. So would the President consider ‘yung hindi na the whole of Mindanao ‘yung ideklara but only the regions specifically the Lanao provinces and the nearby provinces ‘yung ideklara ng martial law?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: I’m sure the President will consider that recommendation of General Del Rosario. After all he is in charge of rebuilding Marawi.

Mr. Tinaza: Thank you, sir.

Ms. Cariaso: Sorry, sir, medyo personal ‘tong question ko. But before that, sir, ‘di ba last week, nagpatanong ako kay Ms. Rocky na regarding doon sa alleged death threat na nare-receive nung columnist. Ang inaakusahan niya, sir, ‘yung ating Presidential Task Force on Media Security, si Undersecretary Joel Egco. So, sir, may reaction na po ba kayo dito?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: So siya ba ang inaakusahan?

Ms. Cariaso: Yes, sir.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: Well, I’ll have to look into it.

I will give information to Usec. Egco ‘no. I’m sorry that we had to say it publicly. I did not realize that the complaint is directed against Usec. Egco.

When I was asked that question last week, I said I will refer the matter to Usec. Egco because he is in charge of the Task Force on Media Security ‘no.

So I will discuss this with him.

Ms. Cariaso: Yes, sir. Kasi ang — since ako kasi ‘yung reporter from Bandera and then ‘yung concern kasi, sir, husband kasi siya nung editor-in-chief ko. So dahil ako’y naka-assign dito, itinanong ko sa inyo. Kaya lang nagkaroon ng turn of events, sir, kasi last — these few days, merong harassment sa part ko saka dun sa editor-in-chief ko. Kaya lang ang — syempre ide-deny ‘to ni Usec. Egco, sir, pero meron kasi akong evidence dito nung blogger supposed to be, meron siyang post sa kanyang Facebook na galing siya dito nung Tuesday to meet an official tapos nag-post pa siya na may litrato siya nung NEB, sa labas. So, sir, hindi niya pwedeng i-deny ni Sec — ni Usec. Egco na hindi galing sa kanya ‘yung — nung pangha-harass nung blogger against sa akin saka nung editor-in-chief ko, sir. So ang ano ko kasi, sir, hindi naman ako nagpe-personal, sir, Usec. Egco. Ginagawa ko lang ‘yung trabaho ko kasi ang tanong ko — sa column ko kasi, sir, lumabas na isinulat ko na tinatanong ko kung ano ‘yung accomplishment niya sa kanyang — as Presidential Task Force?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: Okay. What I promise is I will look into this. But I don’t think it’s fair to actually bring out these allegations now in public ‘no ‘given that Secretary Egco is also not here.

But I am also the Presidential Adviser on Human Rights. I can sit down with you and I can sit down also with Usec. Egco and we will examine and investigate this matter.

But let’s not do it in this manner, in front of the whole nation. Okay?

Ms. Cariaso: So, sir, I hope so, sir. Sana, sir. Sir, sana.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: Please, please. Oo. I will investigate this matter. Yes, please. Next question.
Rose Novenario (Hataw): Hi. Good morning, sir. Sir, follow up lang po doon kay Bella. Gaano po kabukas ‘yung mga opisyal ng administrasyong Duterte sa mga pagbatikos po ng media at ano po ‘yung maaari nating maipayo sa kanila kung paano tatanggap ng mga pagbatikos, pagpuna at mga papuri din po?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: I think we should heed the example of President Duterte himself ‘no.

President Duterte, I have said it time and again has never filed any libel case ‘no. He knows out of his very long years in public service that public officials should not be onion-skinned.

I am not also new to criticism particularly on the part of bloggers ‘no. I take it in stride knowing that people are intelligent enough to know what the truth is.

So we should not be onion-skinned. That is the advice of the Supreme Court to all public officials. And ako, I walk the talk. And you know what I’m talking about.

Ms. Novenario: Thank you.

Mr. Tubeza: Sir, good morning. Comment lang po doon sa possibility ng pagkakaroon ng reenacted budget next year because hindi magkasundo ang Senate and House?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: I can’t comment on a purely speculative matter.

I cannot believe that the House and the Senate cannot agree on next year’s budget.

I have all the confidence. The Palace has all the confidence that we will have a budget pursuant to the request made by the Palace because this budget is crucial to the ‘Build Build Build’ program of the government intended to alleviate poverty in this country.

Mr. Tubeza: Thank you, sir.

Mr. Castillo: Good morning, Sec. Sir, reaction please, sir. Senator De Lima is seeking for a Senate investigation on the 888 complaint hotline, sir. She says na parang cosmetics lang daw ito and “superficial fulfillment of…” — those are her words “superficial fulfillment of campaign promise” daw ni President Duterte, sir.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: Maybe because she hasn’t tried it because she shouldn’t have a telephone in her detention facility.

Next question please.

Mr. Castillo: Sir, follow up please, sir. Sir, kamusta po ‘yung pag-progress nung program, sir, 8888 program?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: Ano pa ba naman ang gusto niyo pa ‘no?

Nakita niyo naman na walang tigil ang pagsisibak ni Presidente sa mga taong- gobyerno na may alegasyon ng korapsyon.

Marami pa po ‘yan dahil ang Presidente sinsero doon sa kanyang krusada laban sa korapsyon.

Hindi po matitigil ‘yang paninibak na ‘yan. Ang mensahe nga namin sa lahat ng taong-gobyerno, mag-pribadong sektor na lang po kayo kung gusto niyong yumaman.

Mr. Castillo: Thank you, sir.

Pia Ranada (Rappler): Sir, just on the martial law recommendation. Sir, would Colonel Arevalo have also informed you as to how they will form their recommendation and have you also been able to sound the President on martial law recently when you’ve spoken to him? What does he think about the prospect of December 31 looming and has he made any other considerations as to what to do with martial law?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: Well, he hasn’t mentioned anything on martial law but he has been to Mindanao many times including the conflict areas.

He was in Maguindanao. He was in Jolo, Sulu. I was supposed to accompany him but I got sick. So I missed the chance to see Mr. Seagal.
You all did, too. You did not go. You were all invited ‘no. ‘Di ba it was open for media coverage?

[MPC: No.]

Ah, no. I’m sorry. [laughter]

I could have — maybe because I got sick. But anyway, so he has not manifested either way but I will see him this afternoon.

Ms. Cariaso: Sir, recently, naglabas ng Memorandum Circular No. 35 si Executive Secretary Medialdea regarding doon sa mga supposed junket ng mga officials. So pwede ba tayong maglabas, sir, ng mga pangalan ng mga unnecessary foreign trips na — kasi sabi niya alarming ‘yung rate ng mga nagpapalusot na para lang para makalabas ng bansa kaya naglabas siya nung ano — based doon sa Memo Circular 35.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: Abangan na lang po natin ang susunod na mga pangyayari tungkol dito dahil ang Presidente naman nagsabi baka meron pa siyang mga sibakin dahil dito sa mga junkets na ito.

It’s FOI month or week? It’s FOI week. So, Usec Ablan … Asec Ablan [laughs] promoted but Asec Ablan will have a statement on FOI week.

Mr. Tinaza: Sir, mabilis na lang. Sir, what’s your take doon sa mga sunod-sunod na pag-atake ng NPA and very deadly ‘yun pinaka-recent nga ‘yung nangyari sa Batangas wherein 15 students as comrades were also killed?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: It’s business as usual. When we were talking peace, they were attacking. Now that we’re not talking peace, they’re attacking.

So what else is new? Continuous attack from them. And of course, the Armed Forces is ready and able to deal with them as shown in the recent incident in Nasugbu.

Mr. Tinaza: Sir, there are some comments about the Chief Justice Sereno impeachment proceedings at the House, parang si Atty. Gadon daw and some lawmakers are into fishing expedition dahil ngayon lang daw parang lumalabas ‘yung mga — parang naghahanap pa lang sila ng ebidensiya, your comment kasi, I understand, what — you are one of those who voted for the ‘yung revival of the Sereno impeachment case?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: Well, as I said, I’m spokesperson now. We will leave it to Congress to perform its Constitutional task.

Having said that, take note, that it is the Chief Justice’s own peer giving the evidence against her. So don’t look at Malacañang please.

That’s proof that people should not look at Malacañang for the impeachment of Chief Justice Sereno.

I understand there are more justices testifying.

Mr. Ganibe: Sir, ito kapapasok lang din na information galing lang sa VACC na sa Region III daw merong tatlo nang namatay sa dengue vaccine sa Central Luzon. And nakarating na po ba sa Malacañang ‘yung reklamo ng unyon ng mga empleyado ng DOH na diumano may mga opisyal na siyang nagsulong nung dengue vaccine noon ay kumikita mula sa Sanofi?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: Huwag po nating pangunahan ang imbestigasyon ng DOJ. Let the DOJ conduct its investigation, then we will do what is necessary. Okay?

JP Bencito (Manila Standard): Hi, Spox, good morning po. Sir, just follow-up on Sereno. Sir, Atty. Larry Gadon over the weekend claimed that there—that he received an information that there was an oligarch who was bribing senators with 200 million to ensure that the Chief Justice will be acquitted in the impeachment trial. Can we get your comment on this, sir, given that the President is aiming to remove the Chief Justice through impeachment?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: I do not know if that is a valid conclusion. But all I can say is, the process is unfolding. We have to honor the process.

Again, impeachment is a primary exclusive jurisdiction of the House of Representatives. If there is probable cause, then it moves to the Senate and it will decided as an impeachment court and we have all the respect for our — all respect…

We have nothing but respect for our senators that they will do as is fit for the country’s interest.

It is still ultimately a political question. It is a political exercise, which the senators, if the impeachment complaint is filled in the Senate, will have to resolve on the basis of both public policy and law.

So without further ado, we would like to call on Asec Kris Ablan now on some details of concerning FOI week.

ASEC. ABLAN: Good noon, good news po. Last November 25, the Duterte administration celebrated its first year of implementation of the Freedom of Information program.

In line with this, PCOO organized a three-day event with the theme: “Making Access to Information a Meaningful Right: The FOI Program One Year On.”

This afternoon, the 2017 FOI Awards will jump start that celebration to be held at the Rizal Park Hotel, Ermita, Manila. The Award’s Night aims to recognize the significant contributions of government agencies and organizations to the development and progress of the FOI program.

The awardees were identified through a thorough nomination and screening process which commenced last October 2017.

Amongst to be awarded are an award for a government department, a government agency, a state university, a local government unit, and other recognitions to other organizations that have promoted the Freedom of Information program.

The event this afternoon will be live streamed on the Presidential Communications Facebook page.

Starting tomorrow, until the 6th, we will gather local and international experts from various sectors for the 2017 FOI Summit to be held in the ADB Headquarters in Ortigas.

Amongst our speakers are international experts on FOI like Maurice Frankel from the Campaign for FOI of the United Kingdom; Toby Mendel of the Center for Law and Democracy; [inaudible] of the National Campaign for People’s Right to Information of India; likewise, our local experts on FOI, Undersecretary Lilia Guillermo of DBM and Undersecretary Denis Villorente of DICT.

The summit aims to provide a platform for communicating progress, sharing national experiences, acquiring international experiences and knowledge, and presenting the Philippine FOI roadmap.

On the second day, a series of clinics will be organized for participants to work on cases relating to topics which include information and records management, processing FOI requests, and proactive disclosure of information.

We are expecting around 200 representatives from national government agencies, legislative offices, civil society organizations, media, private sector, international organizations and development partners to attend the summit.

We are very proud of the FOI program. We will be distributing shortly to the Malacañang Press Corps our 2017 FOI Annual Report, which details all of the accomplishments of the program under the Duterte administration on implementing freedom of information of our citizens.

The Freedom of Information program has showed to the Filipinos that access to information is easy in this administration more than ever.

To give you a few examples, Spokesman Roque, we just look at information requested on our website, foi.gov.ph which we believe could not be done in the past.

Most recently, in November 20, a person requested for data on the war against drugs campaign ever since PDEA took over from the PNP. Within a week, the PDEA responded with all of the statistics and data requested by the Filipino citizen.

Also from national concerns, we also have local concerns, a citizen requested for the financial report of Barangay Lower Irasan, President Manuel Roxas, Zamboanga del Norte, from the BLGF on November 17 at 10:12 a.m. At 10:45 a.m., the said request was acknowledged by the BLGF and by 11:41 a.m., the BLGF requested — I mean released the information to the requestor.

We believe that this has not been done, that a request is made within the same day and answered within the same day.

From local matters, request about rights and privileges of citizens can also be done.

Last November 8, a citizen, a female employee requested for information or updates on the Expanded Maternity Leave Law from the Department of Labor and Employment and within one day, on November, the DOLE responded with an update on the particu — on the said bill.

We can ask for information also from agencies. And if they don’t have that information, they have been guided and instructed to at least assist the requestor to find the particular information.

Last November 18, a request was made with the Commission on Filipino Overseas for statistics on OFWs in South Korea, Japan, Guam and in China.

Now, the CFO does not have that data. The particular agency with that data is the POEA and the OWWA. But in its response in November 21, the CFO responded and informed them that they do not have the data but they know were the link was and attached the link to the data as well as information detailing the different contact details of the FOI champion and receiving officer of the POEA.

This is what the FOI program is all about. It’s reaching out to our citizens and making citizens access information from their government because that’s taxpayers’ money.

Again, we are very proud of this program. We thank the Malacañang Press Corps for keeping an eye at the FOI program. And hopefully, you cover us during the FOI Awards this afternoon as well as the FOI Summit tomorrow and on Wednesday because we want to improve the program.

And one thing that we want to improve next year for version 2 of the FOI program is to really capacitate our agencies on the records and data management because we cannot give the information requested by the citizen if it is not properly recorded and managed.

So thank you very much.

Ace Romero (Philippine Star): Asec, whatever happened to PCOO push for an FOI law?

ASEC. ABLAN: Yes, the push is still there. Actually, we’re very happy that in the FOI manual we received a message from the President again reminding our legislators to finally pass an FOI law because although the FOI Executive Order is a step towards the right direction, it would still be better if we have an FOI law.

Mr. Romero: But what efforts are being undertaken to push for that measure?

ASEC. ABLAN: We have actually talked with our FOI champions in the Senate and in the House of Representatives and they have promised that hopefully after the passage of the tax reform bill, as well as the budget for next year, the next bill to be tackled by the Congress is the FOI law.

Mr. Romero: Thank you, Asec.

Ms. Ranada: Asec, just on the issue of requesting for information on budget spent on certain government programs or activities, is there a certain guideline on what kind of information can be given to citizens on, for example, trips of the President abroad? Because Rappler requested before and received information on the budget breakdown of some trips of the President. But for Russia, we were not — parang na-reject ‘yung request namin for a budget breakdown. But I think you entertained or accommodated the request for the total of the expenditures. Why is it that way that for some trips the breakdown can be given but for others walang breakdown?

ASEC. ABLAN: That’s a good question, Pia. So for the trips, we have to understand that the expenses made by the administration cannot be computed or be made available immediately.

So that’s the reason why we invited Undersecretary Lilia Guillermo and the DBM to participate in the FOI Summit to address that particular concern.

Is there a necessity for the DBM or the OP to issue particular guidelines on how to be able to respond to request for information regarding budgets given that it may — the information requested may not be available at that particular time when made.

So we will ask for guidance from the DBM on how to respond to that particular request when such request will be made again.

Ms. Ranada: So, sir, guidelines like when the information can be — like after a certain time pwede nang manghingi ng breakdown?

ASEC. ABLAN: Yes, that’s correct.

Ms. Ranada: Like in three months after trip — those kinds of guidelines?

ASEC. ABLAN: That’s correct. So right now, there is no particular guidelines on for example, the President makes a trip today, can you actually make a request and then can the OP or the DBM respond within the 15 working days?

At this moment, there’s no particular guidelines. There has to be some kind of period which the DBM or the OP can inform us, inform you on when to make an actual request because this particular data cannot be — is not usually immediately available.

Ms. Ranada: Sir, also on the delegation because a lot of — many people in the public are also concerned about who gets to go on these trips because thinking that there might be expenses paid for these people to be on those trips. But when information on the delegation list is requested, what is given the official delegation and not the other people who were present at the trip but may not be part of the official delegation like some congressmen, some presidential advisers. Parang kulang-kulang ‘yung list na ibinibigay. Can you explain what that is so?

ASEC. ABLAN: I’m not privy to that particular request, Pia. But I can only fathom — I can only imagine that the names of the other personalities who accompanied or went with the President may not be in the official delegation list of the OP.

They may have gone to the trip on their — from their own pockets and just attended the events.

So — but really I’m not particular, sure on that particular issue. I’m not privy to the FOI request.

But I can send your concern to the Office of the President particularly the Malacañang Records Office and see to that request and that you asked for everyone who went there.

But there must be a legal justification on why they couldn’t list everyone because they can only list those that is part of the official delegation. But I will follow up with them.

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