Press Briefing

Press Briefing of Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque in Valencia City, Bukidnon

Event Press Briefing
Location Municipality of Valencia, Bukidnon

 

SEC. ROQUE: Well good morning to all of you, and welcome to the Malacañang Press Briefing, which is being held for the first time in the Municipality of Valencia, Bukidnon.

I have three good news first before I entertain questions from our friends from the media.

The first is, the Social Weather Station Net Trust Rating Survey – I’m happy to announce that the SWS Last Quarter Net Trust Rating survey shows that the President’s trust rating rose to +75 in December 2017, a 15% or 15-point increase from +60 in September 2017. So this is a 15-point increase [applause]. This net trust rating is considered ‘excellent’ by the SWS, and it shows high public satisfaction with the performance of the President across all socio-economic clusters, in all education levels in both urban and rural areas. While we are elated with the survey results, we leave no room for complacency ‘no. We therefore assure that everyone, that the Chief Executive together with his team will remain undistracted in improving the lives of the poor and marginalized, fighting criminality and enforcing the law and curbing graft and corruption in government.

Another good news. There is increase in infrastructure spending in November of 2017 – Note that the problem in the past administration was low spending levels prompting them to resort to DAP. While the Department of Budget and Management reports stating a year-on-year increase of 13.6 billion or 44.8 increased in the infrastructure and capital spending in November 2017 is welcome news. This means that our Build, Build, Build infrastructure plan has started to be rolled up. Major projects included the completed road infrastructure projects of the DPWH, acquisition of various equipment under the Capability Enhancement Program of the DILG and PNP, and payments of supplies and repair and maintenance of patrol vessels of the Philippine Coast Guard contributed to the growth in infrastructure disbursement. We assure everyone that with the implementation of the package of tax reform measures, we will expediently and efficiently use public funds to usher in the golden age of infrastructure in the Philippines.

Now update on Bangon Marawi, because there is no update on Bangon Marawi in Manila. In lieu of which, they asked me to read the statement on the status of Bangon Marawi: Task Force Bangon Marawi interventions are continuing and on track including the rehabilitation timetable in the most affected areas. Task Force Bangon Marawi intends to clear Marawi of IEDs ahead of schedule that includes mines, booby traps and similar hazards to government and non-government workers equally keen with the military on ensuring the safety of personnel reconstructing Marawi.

Here are the recovery and rehabilitation updates from Task Force Bangon Marawi: 2,615 internally displaced persons from home based communities and evacuation centers graduated from skills training provided by TESDA last January 7, 2018. Further, the DSWD provided a 5,000 pre-employment assistance to these graduates. IDPs also underwent a series of mental and psycho-social intervention to further boost and strengthen their morale. Eighty representatives from various government agencies took part in Task Force Bangon Marawi programming workshops organized by NEDA to discuss which intervention should be programmed under the 10 billion budget allocated for 2018.

Lastly, Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra initiated the ‘Libreng Sakay’ program ‘no to lessen the IDPs burden of high fares and lack of transportation within cleared barangays. We appeal to the patience of our brothers and sisters, residents of those residing in the city their willing cooperation will immensely help.

Okay, I open now the floor to questions from the media.

MODERATOR: Okay, thank you Secretary. Recognizing first the presence of City Councilors Ramir Roque and Helen Bernal. Thank you. Okay, let’s go to the question and answer…

SEC. ROQUE: We’re actually live on PTV4.

Q: This is regarding international commitments, sir. In the event of a Third World War, some saying that the Philippines should stay neutral as what which Switzerland did in the Second World War. What would you make for this opinion, sir?

SEC. ROQUE: Well, we are against use of force absolutely as being contrary to the UN Charter, and that is why we’re not speculating on a Third World War. We would enjoin everyone including the interested parties in the Korean Peninsula to resort to peaceful means in resolving their disputes. And that’s why the position of the Philippine government is that, we want the dispute to be resolved through diplomacy and country should comply with the prohibition on the use of force.

Q: Can I have a second question? The senators and congressmen sir have separate mandates. How would we be able to convene them and let them vote jointly for or against the act of… a referendum sir?

SEC. ROQUE: Well, there is a legal controversy which eventually will have to be resolved by the Supreme Court. There appears to be a drafting error in the ‘87 Constitution which requires both Houses of Congress to vote jointly ‘no in case of proposals to either amend or revise the Constitution. And some say this is a drafting error, because they used the language of joint voting when they were confident that there would a unicameral parliamentarian form of government ‘no. It turns out that we still reverted back to the old bicameral Congress that we now have in the ’87 Constitution, and some argue that if the vote—separate voting of both Houses is required to pass an ordinary law, more so if it relates to any amendment or revision of the Constitution. But this will have to be resolved by the Supreme Court.

Q: Thank you, sir.

JUN CABAHUG/DXMU: My idol…

SEC. ROQUE: Yes, sir…

JUN/DXMU: We welcome the Build, Build, Build program of the Duterte administration. We have mini Malacañang in Iloilo, and for Mindanao, I hope in the Build, Build program we can also have Malacañang, because we have the President coming from Mindanao. Would that be possible…?

SEC. ROQUE: For your information, there is a Malacañang in Mindanao – it’s called ‘Panacañang.’ It’s in Panacan, and it was only recently refurbished. The President toured me around the refurbished Panacañang, and my prediction is coming true – the President appears to be spending more time in Davao than in Malacañang. In fact last week, he asked the Indonesian Foreign Minister to meet with him in Panacan and not in Malacañang ‘no. So he also had the command conference with the PNP on 911 also in Panacan ‘no.

This afternoon, the President has a schedule of 4 P.M. in Panacan and not in Malacañang. So it appears that the President is intent on spending more time in Mindanao governing rather than in Malacañang.

JUN/DXMU: Thank you po.

JOEY/ABS-CBN: Hi, sir. Tanong ko lang sir, ano po iyong legal move ng Palasyo laban kay CA Justice Normandie Pizarro na mag-e-early retirement po?

SEC. ROQUE: Well the SolGen described the decision as a decision that stinks. He will—he has said that he will try to overturn the decision. Now I understand the family is also contemplating filing administrative charges but that’s up to the family to decide.

JOEY/ABS-CBN: Next question sir. May plano po ba si Pangulong Duterte na magpapa-fire sa kaniyang…ilan sa kaniyang mga Cabinet member at kasali na po iyong tatlong general?

SEC. ROQUE: Well let me see if I have permission to announce, because I’m scheduled to meet the President at 4. But yesterday, he again announced in a PAGCOR affair that he will soon fire a chairman in addition to about 70 police officials including three generals; and this was what he mentioned yesterday in PAGCOR.

Now what I do know is that he is scheduled to replace a chairman of a government owned a controlled corporation but not really for graft, for other reasons. So it would appear that there’s a second chairman who might be replace because of graft. And I actually asked if I could announce but no response yet. So it may have to be—it will have to wait ‘no. But anyway at 4 o’clock the President has a scheduled appointment, one of which also is a media interview. So it might be announced at 4 this afternoon.

JOEY/ABS-CBN: Lastly, sir maihabol ko lang. Madami po kasing proposal ng federalism. Kanino po iyong federalism na proposal na susuportahan ng Malacañang kasi madaming klase ng federalism na prinopose sa Congress at Senate at may mga gusto pang i-amend si Pangulong Duterte?

SEC. ROQUE: The President has repeatedly said that he favors the French model and he leaves it to Congress to draft the proposal for the people’s ratification.

JOEY/ABS-CBN: Thank you sir.

JUN MESTORE/UNBN: Good morning, Mr. Secretary.

SEC. ROQUE: Yes sir.

JUN MESTORE/UNBN: You made mentioned a while ago that the trust rating of the President has increased to 15 points?

SEC. ROQUE: By 15 points in the SWS.

JUN MESTORE/UNBN: What contributes to this increase of his rating?

SEC. ROQUE: I think the fact that he has shown that he can exercise political will to defeat terrorists and violent extremist in Marawi; the fact that people’s optimism is at all-time high; the fact that manufacturing output is at all-time high. So all this indicate that the economy is growing as his promised. He has promoted the rule of law against the threat of terrorism. And of course, he is winning the war against drugs.

JUN MESTORE/UNBN: Okay, hindi pa namin makalimutan iyong sinabi ninyo kanina doon sa oval na may libre na po tayong pangtanghalian para sa mga bata?

SEC. ROQUE: Okay. In addition to that of course, the President for the first time give free tuition to state colleges and universities. The law providing for free irrigation of which I’m a co-author is about to take effect. And in the House I have authored two bills which have been passed by the House, awaiting action by the Senate, one of which is the feeding program for grade school and kindergarten; and another is a universal health care – libreng pagamot at libreng gamot sa lahat. So this is the first time that an administration has promoted basically pro-people policies including free healthcare, free education and free feeding for malnourished children.

JUN MESTORE/UNBN: Last na lang po. Si ex-Governor Reyes ng Palawan, may plano na i-cite for contempt po kayo sa Sandiganbayan. Ano pong reaksiyon po ninyo dito?

SEC. ROQUE: I welcome that. I will meet him in any forum. And I will tell the world he is the convicted felon…convicted felon, convicted felon. [laughter]

MEL VELEZ/NEWS STRINGER CNN PH: Magandang umaga po, Secretary. Si newly appointed Usec. Martin Diño is asking the barangay executives to submit the so-called suspected drug personalities in their respective area.

Now ang tanong ngayon, itong bang kampanya ay nag-a-undergo ng stringent verification process? Kasi po maraming may maraming nag-aagam agam dito, na baka sakali na ang mga official ng barangay ay cohorts, isa ring drug personality especially doon sa human rights groups—Anong take mo dito, Secretary?

SEC. ROQUE: Well alam ninyo po itong ginagawa ni Usec. Diño apparently is nothing new. This is already in an old DILG memorandum on the creation of the BADAC. Now the barangay leaders and the City councilors here would know what BADAC is ‘no. So the gathering of names is actually nothing new, it does not constitute any breech of constitutional rights because of course the gathering of the names is only the first step. The names will have to be investigated before cases – be it administrative or criminal cases – will be filed in Court.

CASSIE MACALE/CAGAYAN DE ORO PRESS CORPS: Good afternoon, Secretary. Being in which if the Senate and the Congress will not adhere, agree to the federalism. What is the President going to do about it?

SEC. ROQUE: The President has said that if federalism will not push through, he wants genuine local autonomy.

CASSIE MACALE/CAGAYAN DE ORO PRESS CORPS: Second question, Secretary. We have received the news today about state colleges being free and all of these news that you have delivered. This is the first time that it really happened in the Philipines—

SEC. ROQUE: First time in the history of the Philippines.

CASSIE MACALE/CAGAYAN DE ORO PRESS CORPS: What does it take, all the dynamics and the system and the programs that the President have implement to create this programs and being implemented?

SEC. ROQUE: It’s the political will to spend taxpayers’ money. Our problem is not because we don’t have enough funds. We’ve always had funds but in the very low absorptive capacity of government departments and agencies. But with program such as free tuition, clearly there’s no reason why we should not be able to spend funds.

Now take note to the TRAIN, will fund the ‘build, build, build’ program. Now in addition to the necessary infrastructure that the TRAIN will fund, it will also create further economic stimulus leading to higher income for the rest of our people. Meaning, higher tax rates too ‘no, tax collection as well. So it really, is all connected ‘no. But it begins with political will to accomplish things and to get things—

CASSIE MACALE/CAGAYAN DE ORO PRESS CORPS: Then, congratulations to the administration sir. It has bring a lot of hope to the people of Mindanao. Thank you.

SEC. ROQUE: Thank you, we appreciate that.

BONG ALGABRE/RADYO UKAY: Magandang umaga, Secretary.

SEC. ROQUE: Yes, oo. Mayroon pa lang Radyo Ukay dito. I met the—I met you in the Christmas party in Davao for the Davao media, yes.

BONG ALGABRE/RADYO UKAY: Dito ako kaso ni Doc. Ortega.

SEC. ROQUE: Okay.

BONG/RADYO UKAY: May mga lumutang na isyu na mag-a-avail umano ng maagang retirement si Justice Normandie Pizarro na siya ring sumulat sa desisyon ng Court of Appeals na nagpapalaya kay dating Gobernador Reyes. Ano ho ang masasabi ninyo dito, Secretary?

SEC. ROQUE: Well nasagot ko na po iyan kanina ‘no. Kasi nasa pamilya na po iyan kung anong gagawin nila kay Justice Pizarro ‘no. Pero ang gobyerno po nagsalita na si SolGen eh lahat po ay gagawin para mabaliktad iyang desisyon na iyan.

BONG/RADYO UKAY: Okay, dito ako sa—ako iyong sa mga teacher ako. Kasi kinontra ni Secretary Benjamin Diokno iyong sinabi nimong ang mga teacher dodoblehin na ang salary, ito ho ang kagustuhan ng ating Pangulo. Ano ho ang nangyari?

SEC. ROQUE: Hindi niya pa ho kinontra. Mali iyong impormasyon niya. Ang sinabi ko po, iyong huling meeting ng Gabinete eh inaatasan niya ang mga Kalihim na humanap ng paraan para maitaas ang sahod ng mga guro. Tinanong po ako, by how much? Sabi ko po, hindi ko po alam pero judging from iyong ginawa niya sa AFP at saka sa PNP, baka gusto rin niyang ma-doble.

So hindi ko po sinabi na sinabi ni Presidente na doblehin. Ang sinabi ko, ‘Hindi ko alam kung gaano kataas pero judging doon sa ginawa niya, baka gusto din niyang doblehin. Sabi ni Secretary Diokno, hindi kakayanin. So be it. Pero ang mandato ng Presidente humanap ng paraan para maitaas ang sahod ng mga guro.

Q: Fake news po iyon.

SEC. ROQUE: Hindi naman po fake news, pero nag-react siya without clarifying kung ano iyong sinabi ko. Sa mga Malacañang Press conferences po, we always have transcripts and we are always televised live. So we have, of course the tape of what we said in our press briefings. The same thing goes for this, because this is really an ordinary palace briefing.

I have questions from Manila and I’d like to read some of them. From Joseph Morong of GMA. Nandito naman ata iyong GMA stringer, according to Joseph Morong, oo nandito ka naman. Do you think mas madadalas na talaga sa Davao? I think so, because he now has the facility to meet even foreign dignitaries in Panacan which is referred to as Panacañang.

Malacañang Press Corps, text me your questions. Ito, Alvin Baltazar of Radyo Pilipinas. Tanong lang po, if kung si PRRD ang mag-a-announce or kayo about doon sa alleged chairman sa kanyang sisibakin na puwesto? I’ll ask him po this afternoon.

Pahabol, iyon bang tatlong generals na sisibakin din, police or military, may idea ba kayo Secretary kung who are they, salamat po. I was just quoting him in his impromptu speech in the PAGCOR event, sabi niya: “40-70 policemen, merong mga tatlong heneral.” So in that context, maybe the President was referring to Generals in the PNP. Because that was the context by which he mentioned it. I’m sure a transcript will also be made available.

From Henry Uri. Sec, nag-resign na daw si GM Corpuz ng PCSO. Natanggap na ba ng Malacañang ang resignation letter niya? As of only about a few minutes ago, we have no information on the reported resignation of Chairman Corpuz of the PCSO but I will inquire from PMS.

Okay, any father questions, both from here or from Manila?

COCOY MEDINA/RADYO PILIPINAS:  Magandang umaga po, Secretary. Noong nakaraang Tuesday ba iyon, sinabi mo na iyong paghabol ng ating Presidente sa corrupt officials ay hanggang sa local chief executives. So ang tanong ko po meron naman tayong Ombudsman, meron naman tayong na-create na isang komisyon ni Presidente Duterte. So ano po ang pamaraan na kanyang gagawin, kasi iba naman iyong sa mga appointees niya na kahit report lang puwede niyang ipatanggal, itong mga chief executives natin eh mga halal na opisyal.

SEC. ROQUE: Ang tawag po diyan concurrent jurisdiction, hindi lang po Ombudsman ang puwedeng magpatanggal ng mga local na pamahalaang opisyales, may kapangyarihan din po ang Presidente, dahil siya ang pinakamataas na chief executive sa ating republika. At meron po siyang supervision and control sa mga opisyales sa loob po ng pamahalaan. So, iyon po iyong kanyang legal basis para sibakin sa puwesto, hindi lang iyong mga presidential appointees kung hindi pati na rin iyong mga local na mga opisyales, dahil ang presidente po has supervision over local government units. Ibig sabihin he has to make sure that they are doing their jobs. If they are not, that’s a basis for firing them.

COCOY MEDINA/RADYO PILIPINAS:  Follow lang po, halimbawa iyong isang local chief executive ay nakakuha ng TRO sa Court of Appeals tatanggalin pa ba rin ni Pangulong Duterte?

SEC. ROQUE: Well, the President has always respected the rule of law, if there’s a TRO chances are, he will respect it, but he has said that the appellate courts should be very sparing in their TROs.

BOY/RADIO VERITAS:  Good morning Secretary. Ang aking katanungan, mawala na ba ang dinastiya kung mag shift tayo mula sa unitary to federal form of government?

SEC. ROQUE: Hindi po siguro mabibigyan ng lunas iyan kahit anong form of government. In fact, dahil taumbayan po ang naghahalal sa mga tao sa gobyerno. So kung meron pong tinatawag na dynasties, eh siguro po desisyon din iyan ng taumbayan.

BOY/RADIO VERITAS:  Sa inyong sarili, ano po ba ang posisyon ninyo sa anti-dynasty law.

SEC. ROQUE: Nako wala po akong personal na desisyon ngayong ako ay tagapagsalita ng presidente. Sinabi po ng Presidente na iyan ya karapatan ng taumbayan na maghalal ng kanilang mga opisyales, kung gusto inlang ihalal ang mga magkakamag-anak, iyan po ay kaparte ng ating demokrasya.

BOY/RADIO VERITAS:  Tungkol naman sa Dengvaxia vaccine issue, ano ang marching order kung meron man ang ating Pangulo ukol dito?

SEC. ROQUE: Well, malinaw po ang sabi ng Presidente, ayaw niya na nagtuturuan, ang importante ay mapangalagaan ang kalusugan ng ating mga kabataan. Naatasan na ang DOH na i-monitor iyong mga kabataan na nabigyan nbg Dengvaxia at patuloy po imbestigasyon ng DOJ at ng senado depende po sa outcome ng imbestigasyon, eh, siguro po ay may mga kaso na isasampa laban sa mga tao na sang-ayon sa imbestigasyon ay napatunayang nagkasala.

CHARMAINE/BOMBO RADYO:  Magandang tanghali, Secretary. Iyong question ko po, gusto ko pong maliwanagan, iyong sinabi ninyo sa speech kanina sa Oval, about po iyong sa peacetalk. Meron po bang mangyaring peacetalk for the leftist or peacetalk about the Muslim?

SEC. ROQUE: Ang peacetalk po ay para doon sa ating mga kapatid na Muslim. Ang mga komunista po ay binansagan na nating mga terorista. Hindi na po tayo nakikipag-usap sa mga terorista.

CHARMAINE/BOMBO RADYO:  Second question po, Secretary. Nang ma-absuwelto si former Governor sa Palawan, si Reyes. Meron pong lumulutang na mga sabi-sabi sa tabi-tabi na naging conflict of interest po, kasi alam na po natin na ikaw po yung abogado ng environmentalist na si Ortega. Ano po iyong reaksyon ninyo sa—

SEC. ROQUE: Unang-una: Hindi ko po ever tinago iyan, kasi alam n’yo naman talaga na ako ang nagign abogado niya. Pangalawa: Ang problema po dito ay paano po magkakaroon ng conflict, samantalang ang tanggapan po ng Presidente ang nangungunang tagapag patupad ng batas. Lahat ng kaso po ay sinasampa ng ehikutibo sa pamamagitan ng DOJ at ito po ay nililitis sa pangalan ng People of the Philippines.

So, actually, wala pong conflict diyan, bagama’t dahil nga po may delicadeza na tinatawag eh minabuti ko na po na magpaalam sa Presidente at binigyan naman po ako ng paalam basta lilinawin ko na mga personal na mga pananaw ang aking mga sinasabi lalo na na doon sa mga detalye ng desisyon at kung bakit sa tingin ko iyon ay mali. At sinabi ko naman po iyan doon sa Malacañang Press Corps.

CHARMAINE/BOMBO RADYO:  Last question, Secretary. Bilang national figure si Dr. Ricardo Rotoras na pinaslang dito sa Cagayan De Oro City at iyong mga assailant ay at-large pa hanggang ngayon. Iyong pamilya po at iyong school na USTP (University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines) kasi si Dr. Rotoras ay national figure, siya po iyong presidente ng PASUC, Secretary. Gusto nilang humingi ng tulong. Meron po bang tulong galing sa national government para po ng sa ganoon mabigyan ng hustisya ang kamayatan ni Dr. Ricardo Rotoras?

SEC. ROQUE: Well, malinaw po ang obligasyon ng estado kapag merong nalabag na karapatang mabuhay, kinakailangna ko bigyan ng remedyo iyong mga biktima, kasaman ap o diyan iyong pagi-imbestiga, paglilitis at pagpaparusa sa mga pumapatay.

So ang kailangan po talaga ay makipag-ugnayan sa kapulisan, dahil sila po ang dapat magkaroon ngi mbestigasyon, ng sa ganoon ang mga resulta ng imbestigasyon ay makalap ang ebidensiya at mahain ang complaint sa National Prosecution Service na siya namang magdedetermina kung may probable cause para masampa ang kaso sa hukuman.

There’s a question lang from Manila. Let me read, Ros UNTV. Palace statement on former Solicitor General Hilbay, former CHR chair Etta Rosales: filing of citizen suit before SC versus extension of martial in Mindanao. Well, I’ve actually responded to this before. The declaration of martial law, the extension for a year enjoys overwhelming presumption of Constitutionality given that both the executive and the legislative branches of government have found both legal and factual basis for the declaration of martial law. Of course we welcome the filing of the suit because that is also a right of any citizens under the 1987 Constitution.

SEC. ROQUE: Audrey Morallo(?) from PhilStar: “Do you have information or idea on reported discussions to fire Cabinet members, one of whom was supposedly becoming hindrance to the drug war?” — Wala pa po. Ang binanggit ng Presidente kahapon sa isang PAGCOR event ay mayroon siyang sisisantehin na isang Chairman na naman, at mga 17 na mga kapulisan kasama ang tatlong heneral.

Trisha Macas:  “Reaction po. Former Commission on Human Rights Etta on Friday, urged the Supreme Court to nullify…” nasagot ko na po ‘yan – We welcome the challenge, but the two branches of government, the Executive and the Legislative have already found factual and legal basis for the declaration of martial law.

Leila Salaverria from Inquirer:  “Follow up. If, as the President says 40% of barangay officials are involved in drugs, how do we expect the DILG to come up with a credible list of people involved in the drug trade? Is it now premature to come up with the list before these officials have been purged? Thank you.” — As I said, number one, Usec. Diño is not implementing a new policy. It is already implementing—that’s already implementing an already existing policy of the DILG; and number two, the names covered by the list will be names that will be names that will be investigated. There appears to be no Constitutional infirmity.

Okay, any further questions? Leo Palo: “Any comment, Sec. Former President Aquino arraignment this afternoon sa case re: Mamasapano.” And then, “Any assurance from the Palace, price of NFA rice will not go up due to TRAIN?” — Well on President Aquino, well, we’re happy that he is complying and observing the rule of law. He has entered a plea, and we expect the case to be prosecuted at the soonest time possible.

What is the effect of TRAIN on NFA rice? — Sinabi na po ‘yan ng ating Kalihim ng Finance, na wala pa po namang isang porsiyento ang magiging epekto sa inflation ng ating TRAIN ‘no. So mukhang negligible naman po kung mayroon man ang pagtaas ng presyo ng NFA rice dahil dito sa TRAIN. Ulitin ko po, baka naman po negligible kung mayroon man ang epekto ng TRAIN sa NFA rice.

WENG FERNANDEZ/UNTV:  Sec. Harry, good morning po. I was in Iligan and Marawi yesterday, unahin ko lang po Sec., iyong pagkasuspindi ng 12 councilors ni Mayor Regencia. Kasi ang problema ni Mayor Regencia ngayon, naantala po iyong pagdedeklara nila ng state of calamity dahil suspindido ang kaniyang Vice Mayor at ang kaniyang 12 councilors. So ang apektado ngayon sabi niya, nasa 70 thousand residents ang apektado ngayon sa—pangunahin sa tubig. So, mayroon ba kayong maitutulong sa local government ng Iligan?

SEC. ROQUE: Well, ipagbibigay-alam ko po ito sa DILG, at titingnan po natin kung anong remedyong puwedeng magawa diyan, dahil naintindihan ko nga na kapag walang konseho, walang declaration of state of calamity ‘no. So, ipagbibigay-alam ko po ‘yan kay General Año.

WENG FERNANDEZ/UNTV:  Okay. Sir regarding naman po doon, nabanggit ninyo kanina iyong rehabilitation, reconstruction sa Marawi. I was also in Sagonsongan, Marawi kahapon at ‘di ba noong December 27 nag-turnover na po ng 500 temporary—

SEC. ROQUE: 800 po.

WENG FERNANDEZ/UNTV:  800…

SEC. ROQUE: 500 as built by the National Housing Authority, 300 as built by PAGCOR.

WENG FERNANDEZ/UNTV:  Okay po. Nagpunta po kami kahapon, wala pa pong pormal na nakalipat doon. Wala akong na-interview dahil hindi ko ma-contact si Asec. Felix Castro. So nag-check na lang po kami, nag-ikot kami, ang nakita naming problema doon is tubig, supply po ng tubig. Mayroon po ba kayong date kung kailan—may alam po ba kayong petsa kung kailan talaga sila puwedeng lumipat po doon?

SEC. ROQUE: Tatanungin ko po ‘yan kay Secretary Del Rosario. Bagama’t sinabi talaga ni Secretary Del Rosario ‘no, na hindi pa naka-connect ang lahat ng units sa tubig at sa kuryente ‘no. Pero ang pagkakaintindi ko po, iyong 300 ng PAGCOR, mayroon na. So, baka ang nakita ninyo po iyong isang site lang ‘no, kasi iba-iba iyong estado ng mga iba’t ibang sites.

WENG FERNANDEZ/UNTV:  Opo, apat po iyon Sec.

SEC. ROQUE: Correct. So mayroon na diyan isa na kumpleto na, at ang sabi naman ni General Del Rosario doon sa ilan sa mga 500, kung hindi ako nagkakamali eh parang ngayon ‘atang buwan ng Enero eh maiko-connect na rin sila sa tubig at sa kuryente.

WENG FERNANDEZ/UNTV:  Okay po. Last na lang po, Sir Harry. Regarding po doon sa mga evacuees na still nasa evacuation center pa sa Iligan City. Naglibot din po kami doon sa tatlong evacuation centers, sa Maria Cristina, Buruun at Sta. Elena. Sabi po ng karamihan na natitira doon, sila po iyong nasa ground zero – sabi nila ma’am, “Bakit dito sa amin, walang isang pamilya na nakasama doon sa list na lilipat sa Sagonsongan.” Iyon po, tapos tinanong ko iyong Camp Manager ng DSWD, sabi naman po nila wala na silang alam doon, basta nagpasa lang po sila ng list. So ang problema po doon sir, iyong nangangasiwa daw sa Sagonsongan mas priority ng mga barangay captain or kung anong barangay iyong nangangasiwa doon, iyong kanilang kamag-anak at pamilya. Iyon po iyong problema ng mga evacuees na natitira sa Iligan City.

SEC. ROQUE: Titingnan po natin ‘yan, pero iyong sinabi ninyo na mga ‘Bakwit’ galing sa most affected area, eh lahat po sila affected kasi lahat sila napilitang umalis sa kanilang mga bahay. Ang sinisigurado lang po natin, walang mabibigyan naman ng temporary shelter kung hindi sila napaalis sa kanilang mga tahanan.

So talagang lahat po sila biktima, hindi ko po alam kung may pagkakaiba ang pagiging biktima na ika’y nakatira sa most affected area at ika’y nakatira doon sa labas ng most affected area. Basta lahat kayo, eh napilitang iwanan ang inyong tahanan, lahat sila po… ay internally displaces persons.

Pero huwag po kayong mag-alala, napakabilis naman po ng pagti-turnover ng mga temporary shelters na ‘yan ‘no. Bukod po diyan, eh mayroon nang 170 plus another 200 ‘no na maite-turnover ‘ata dito sa susunod na buwan ‘no. So, another 300 easily ‘no. ang sabi nga po ni Presidente, kasi noong turnover hindi siya naka-landing kasi masyadong thick ang clouds sa Marawi, dumiretso siya ng Lanao ‘no.

Ang sabi niya, babalik siya sa Marawi para doon sa second batch ng mga temporary shelter. Aba nakabuti pa po iyon, kasi ngayon talagang mamadaliin iyong second batch para mas marami ang ma-turnover ni Presidente personally pagpunta niya sa Marawi sa susunod.

WENG FERNANDEZ/UNTV:  Thank you po, Sec.

BING TENORIO/GOLD STAR DAILY:  Good morning, Secretary

SEC. ROQUE: Yes, ma’am…

BING TENORIO/GOLD STAR DAILY:  May we know the update of Pulong Duterte’s resignation?

SEC. ROQUE: It’s been accepted… effective immediately. Oo, so he no longer is Vice Mayor.

There’s a question from Deo De Guzman, DZXL RMN Manila:  “Reaction lang po. National Anti-Poverty Commission Chairman Liza Masa said,that poverty will worsen because of TRAIN. She said that not all poorest of the poor that will be hit by the tax reform will benefit from the additional benefit from Conditional Cash Transfer program.”

SEC. ROQUE: Well, we beg to disagree. DOF has provided for mitigating… conditional cash transfer, it is 200 pesos for the poorest of the poor families within this year and next year, it will be increased to 300. And as I said, by and large the increase of cost of commodities will not even reach 1% as a result of the TRAIN.

On the other hand, the benefits are tremendous. It’s not only much needed infrastructure that we will build, according to the build, build, build program; it’s also the jobs and other economic opportunities that will be created as a result of the build, build, build.

MODERATOR: Here’s a question from GMA, Mike Tulang:  Is Chinese exploration allowed in Benham Rise, sir?

SEC. ROQUE: Benham Rise is exclusive economic zone of the Philippines. It is an extended continental shelf of the Philippines as awarded to us by the United Nations Commission on the Extended Continental Shelf. It is covered by sovereign rights, which is exclusive in nature, unless the Philippines agrees to join explorations. So as of now, it should be sole exploration by the Philippines as part of its sovereign rights.

GAUDI BALANZA/RADYO NATIN:  Maraming nabubunyi ngayon, kasi no election daw, kasi hindi ma-implement yung pederalismo kung hindi mga tauhan lahat ni Presidente iyong makarenda sa gobyerno. Totoo ba iyon, sir, na ang solusyon daw ay ‘revgov,’ revolutionary government, sir?

SEC. ROQUE: Nako malinaw na po ang sinabi ng Presidente diyan, nung binanggit niya ang ‘revgov.’ Iyan ay gagamitin lang niya o iniisip lang niya kapag naghihinangalo na ang gobyerno. Wala pong kinokonsiderang revgov kung hindi naman po naghihingalo ang ating gobyerno. Okay?

Titingnan ko lang po kung meron pang questions from Manila ha. Wala na po sa akin nagpadala ng additional questions.

JUN SAPANGHARI/UNBN RADYO UKAY:  Magandang umaga po, Secretary. Tanong ko, ikaw ang naging isang counsel sa Maguindanao Massacre at sa ngayon ikaw ay nasa kay Presidente. Ano ang status ng kaso sa Maguindanao Massacre at iyong hinihintay ng pamilya na hustisya?

SEC. ROQUE: Well, unang-una po nakipagpulong po ang ilang mga miyembro ng… ilang biktima na mga kaanak ng mga mamahayag na naging biktima ng Maguindanao Massacre kay Presidente noong huling komemorasyon ‘no noong Nobyembre sa Palasyo. Iyan po ay kauna-unahang pagkakataon na nakapiling ng mga biktima ang isang Presidente. At in-order naman talaga ni Presidente kay Secretary Vit Aguirre gawin ang lahat ng mapabilis ang proseso. At nagbigay din po ng ayuda at kaunting tulong para sa livelihood at sa edukasyon ng mga biktima ang ating Presidente.

JUN MABAN/RMN:   Good morning, sir. May existing martial law po sa Mindanao. Tanong ko lang kung may posibilidad bang ma-postpone ulit iyong barangay at saka SK election this coming May?

SEC. ROQUE: Desisyon po iyan ng Kongreso. Dahil Kongreso po talaga ang nagtatalaga ng petsa at ang budget para sa barangay elections.

DONG ARANCES/VALENCIA INFORMATION OFFICE:  Good morning, Secretary. Valencia City is prone for flood. So we have a local need, that we need also additional help. Can you add or assure us that there will be more funds to have s retaining wall in Valencia.

And second question is: How can you exercise effectively as—being a human rights advocate before with regards to the present problem about war on drugs, especially many victims of drugs were killed? Thank you.

SEC. ROQUE: Well, sa una ninyong tanong ‘no. Noong ako ay Kongresista pa po – bago ako umalis ng Kongreso – ay sinubukan ko pong magpasok ng isang 200 million road project under the Pamana program na after coordinating then with the better looking and the much richer Congressman O’Niel Roque ‘no. So titingnan ko po kung ano ang naging status noon, dahil alam ko po ay naipasok iyan sa 2018 budget.

So, even as a party list congressman, we have 200 million worth of project here in Valencia ‘no. So certainly, if you request my office in my capacity now as Spokesperson of the President, perhaps the National Irrigation Authority and other agencies that will have to build that flood control program, the DPWH may consider it. So just send me a letter.

DONG ARANCES/VALENCIA INFORMATION OFFICE:  Second question, Secretary.

SEC. ROQUE: Hindi ko po alam kung ano iyong second question eh. Medyo hindi ko po alam kung ano iyong naging question natin… as human right advocates and then what. Ano po iyong tanong?

MODERATOR: How is the government handling the human rights violation?

DONG ARANCES/VALENCIA INFORMATION OFFICE:  Violation with regards on drug on war

SEC. ROQUE: Well number one po kapag may nagrereklamo, inaaktuhan ni Presidente, iyong kaso po ni Kian, inaktuhan ni Presidente, in-order niya na ang paglilitis at pagpapakulong ng mga pulis na umabuso sa kanilang kapangyarihan. Ang problema po, maraming mga nagsasabi na may mga human rights violations, wala naman pong nagsasampa ng reklamo. Paano naman po maiimbestigahan at mapaparusahan ng Presidente iyan? Ang Presidente po ay dating fiscal, sampung taon siyang naging fiscal, hindi po para palampasin niya iyong mga tao na gumagawa ng krimen dahil sampung taon ng buhay niya bago siyang naging mayor, ang ginagawa po niya araw-araw litisin at siguraduhin na mapaparusahan ang mga gumagawa ng krimen sa ating lipunan, kasama na po diyan iyong mga umaabuso sa kapangyarihan.

ALEX DOPENO/DXIQ/LOVE RADIO:  Magandang tanghali. Martial law was been extended in Mindanao at doon sa Luzon maraming nagkokomento against martial law. Wala bang balak ang Presidente patikimin ang buong bayan ng martial law?

SEC. ROQUE: Wala po. Ang legal at ang factual na basehan ng martial law ay para lang sa Mindanao at hindi naman po niya ninanais na mag-eksersisyo ng kapangyarihan ng Chief Executive by declaring martial law kung walang legal and factual basis.

Q: Good morning, sir. Actually this is not a question but its more on paabot on behalf of the [typhoon] ‘Vinta’ victims of the Cagayan de Oro City. Up to this time 80 percent nagsasabing wala pa silang bahay or enough pagkain ‘no.

First problem there in Cagayan De Oro City and then iyong ating City Jail at ang provincial jail medyo—or maganda siguro ang takbo ng pagdakip sa mga drug related cases ‘no kasi kadami, when grouped together then to the point na instead na 10 per selda, magiging 100 sila. So shifting ang tulog nila doon ‘no.

And then also sa provincial jail mga trafficking cases, marami doon. So on behalf of them, iparating ko lang po sa national level. Paano po natin sila matutulungan o mabihisan? Iyong trabaho doon sa infrastructure siguro sa city jail, provincial jail.

And then based sa agricultural site ng ating mga farmers, they are suffering from… maliit lang po iyong kanilang kita. in fact sila iyong gumagawa ng source ng pagkain natin ‘no, agricultural sites. So maybe sir sa atin doon sa higher level, we can help them. And thank you very much for that.

SEC. ROQUE: I will relay your information to the relevant Secretary Head. Oo I will relay. Now Vinta, you know the President was in Mindanao when Vinta is struck. So he saw first-hand the devastation ‘no. And that is why I assure you, all branches of government that can provide humanitarian assistance did so and we continue to do so. Okay?

BONG LAURETO/RADYO ABANTE:  Good morning po, Secretary.

SEC. ROQUE: Good morning.

Q: So my question is about the law on hospitalization and of medical services. So kailan ito mag-take effect, Secretary?

SEC. ROQUE: I think it’s effectively already. Which law are you talking about?

BONG LAURETO/RADYO ABANTE:  That is all about hospitalization and the…for free?

SEC. ROQUE: Universal health Care. (overlapping voices). Well, iyong Universal Health Care po is not yet effective. It has only been passed in the House. It really have to be acted upon by the Senate. So hindi pa po effective ang universal healthcare although under the current Philhealth system, we’re also aiming to provide universal healthcare, kaya mayroon tayong mga zero billing ‘no. Pero ang mangyayari po diyan under the new law, i-expand ang mga benepisyo at saka ang coverage po lahat ng Pilipino hindi lang iyong mga nagbibigay o nagbabayad ng premiums.

BONG LAURETO/RADYO ABANTE:  Okay so lahat na iyong—kahit iyong walang mga Philhealth na patient?

SEC. ROQUE: Yes, kasi kapag wala po silang pambayad ng premiums, gobyerno ang magbabayad ng premiums.

BONG LAURETO/RADYO ABANTE:  Okay. So second question, Secretary. Bukidnon is known to be a sugarcane place, and many small scale farmers are depending on it. But with the present, in the present state of the sugar trade, it seems that farmers have difficulties in their livelihood now, for the price of sugar is going down while the price of fertilizer, labor, weeds etcetera are all going high. What is the stand of our President Rodrigo Duterte, Secretary?

SEC. ROQUE: Well the President is apprised of the matter. In fact noong isang pagtitipon po sa Davao kung saan inanunsiyo niya ako na magiging taga-pagsalita niya, eh may isang sugar trader po na lumapit talaga sa kaniya at sinabi kung ano ang extent ng problema. Napakababa na raw po ng halaga ng asukal lalong lalo na dahil ginagamit noong mga soft drink company iyong fructose syrup which is the substitute for sugar.

So nangako naman po ang Presidente na titingnan kung anong pupuwedeng gawin. Alam ko po tinalaga niya na si Secretary Piñol kung anong pupuwedeng gawin. Nagkaroon na po tayo ng TRAIN na nagpapatawa din ng buwis na mas mataas doon sa fructose syrup at ang ninanais po nila ay para—bagama’t mayroon ding tinaas na buwis sa asukal ay para gamitin ang asukal at hindi ang fructose syrup.

BONG LAURETO/RADYO ABANTE:  Okay, thank you so much, Secretary and good morning.

SEC. ROQUE: Good morning po.

GLEN UY/EAGLES JOURNAL:  Good morning, Secretary I just want to ask the framework agreement of Bangsamoro? Kamusta na po ito?

SEC. ROQUE: Well alam ninyo po noong minsan lang ay noong isang buwan nanggaling na sa Mindanao at saka sa Sulu ang Presidente upang hingin sa Kongreso na bigyan ng prayoridad iyong pagpapasya ng BBL na sang-ayon sa kaniya ay isang kasunduan na kinakailangan para magkaroon ng mas matagalang pangkapayapaan ‘no.

It is intended, according to the President to correct historical injustices ‘no. So having said that I know that the House has set a target to finish BBL even without being certified sa urgent. If I’m not mistaken, si Congressman Jun who I flew with to Davao yesterday ‘no said that… kung hindi ako nagkakamali Marso ba ang petsa na matatapos nila iyong BBL sa Kamara De Representante.

Mayroon pa pala akong two questions from Malacañang Press Corps. Ay natanong ko na ito ha. Nabasa ko na yata lahat ng questions ah. Sabi nila mayroon pa. Nasagot ko na ito, MPC iyong comment on President Aquino arraignment, I have already said that the Palace welcomes the fact that the President is adhering to the rule of law by entering a plea, any assurance. Well I’ve assured that according to—the TRAIN will not increase NFA price, I said, I’ve repeated what Secretary Dominguez says. It’s only one percent increase so it’s really negligible. May tanong si MPC president hindi mo pa nababasa (Coverage cut).

SEC. ROQUE: (recording starts) …Mindanao would want him to do so as you have affirmed here in Bukidnon. So that’s Pia Gutierrez, no?

Let’s see what else. Wala na po akong questions from the MPC? Ok? Ok.

FINA CUALES/DXRO:  Magandang umaga po sa lahat. Maganda umaga, Sir Harry.

SEC. ROQUE: Good Morning.

FINA CUALES/DXRO:  Sa lipunan po natin ay siyempre kasali naman ang kabataan. Ano po ang magiging hakbang ngayon ng administrasyon, dahil alam natin na ang kabataan ngayon ay sangkot sa maraming krimen at dahil sa kanilang mga edad so parang hindi masyadong nabigyan ng tugon ang dapat na disiplina para sa kanila. Meron na bang hakbang ngayon ang administrasyon para medyo malimit naman at kailangang magtanda ang ating mga kabataan ngayon na ang gumawa ng krimen ay talagang punishable din para sa kanila.

SEC. ROQUE: Well alam ninyo po tinututulan ni Presidente yung tinatawag na Pangilinan Law na nagtaas ng age of criminal responsibility. Gusto niya pong ibalik sa mas mababang edad ang age of criminal responsibility. Ok?

FINA CUALES/DXRO:  Ok.

ANNA LOU/HAPPY FM:  Ah sir may ipaabot sa inyo. Sir kasi worried kami pag walang eleksyon ngayong May 2018. Sir kasi doon sa lugar ko doon sa Malaybalay, Bukidnon uso kasi doon yung palakasan system po. Tinatanggal yung ano… yung mahusay magtrabaho kaysa ano, iyong hindi mahusay magtrabaho. Isa din ako dun biktima din ako dun sir. Dapat sabi ninyo kasi ‘change is coming’ dapat yung mga politiko na yan yung mga malapit lang sa puso nila yung tinatanggap nila po. Totoo po yan.

SEC. ROQUE: Hindi po ganyan ang patakaran ni Presidente. Hindi po ganyan ang patakaran ni Presidente.

FINA CUALES/DXRO:  I mean sir, dapat kasi maano yan malutas yung problema na yan po.

SEC. ROQUE: Anyway, we’ll take note po of your complaint against Malaybalay LGU. LGU ba ho yung nirereklamo niyo?

FINA CUALES/DXRO:  Yes sir.

SEC. ROQUE: I will relay the information to Secretary Año.

FINA CUALES/DXRO:  Yes sir, thank you sir.

PAOLO/PTV4 MLA:  Hello sir. I’m Paolo po from PTV 4 Manila.

May pinaabot lang saking tanong sakin si Ms. Rocky Ignacio no. From Tuesday Niu: ‘Hi Sec, Tuesday here.’ PNP said that they will revive Oplan Tokhang but will have some revisions. Would the palace advise the PNP to just replace the anti-illegal drugs campaign’s name because Oplan Tokhang has put the President’s image in a bad light?

SEC. ROQUE: I do not know yet no. Uhm but I will certainly uhm inquire from the PNP what their plans are; because as he said it’s just a plan of the PNP. Ok? And also remember, while the President has asked them to assist in the drug war, the lead in the war itself continues to remain with PDEA. So I think PDEA head Mr. Aquino should also be asked for his inputs.

NEIL MAHINAY/RADYO KIDLAT:  Good morning po, sir Secretary.

Ang question ko po is ito lang po. Bali dami kasing tanong sa tao dito sa Bukidnon, kasi nasa field ako. I’m from Radyo Kidlat, Neil Mahinay, field reporter. Halos lahat po ng barangay sa Bukidnon na reach na po tapos isa lang po tinanong nila sa akin: paano na po yung ano daw, yung right of suffrage nila. Kasi palagi na lang naantala yung election, kasi may incoming election dapat na May 11 2019 plus meron pa incoming na election na SK at saka barangay election na 2018 at tapos mayroon pa pong Martial Law. Any idea po o clarification para at least ma-address namin po sa tao kasi hindi kami makasagot sa ganoong tanong po, Mr. Secretary.

SEC. ROQUE: Ang Presidente po tutol sa no-el in 2019. Nais niyang matuloy ang halalan sa 2019; ang pinapangako niya po ito’y magiging isa sa pinakamalinis at pinaka credible na election sa kasaysayan ng Pilipinas.

NEIL MAHINAY/RADYO KIDLAT:  Maraming salamat po.

MEL VELEZ/CNN:  Sec., this is a matter of local concern. Dito, pahabol lang ano.

Valencia city is catch basin, flood prone po itong Valencia. Now ang tanong dito: May magawa ba ang Malacañang na nangangailangan ng retaining walls para ma-protektahan iyong—

SEC. ROQUE: Okay. What I will do is I will call the attention of Director Gatan who is the Director in charge of flood control under the DPWH. I will ask him to contact Congressman… the better looking and the richer Congressman Roque and I will make sure that the DPWH will propose for funding a project in relation to this retaining wall.

MEL VELEZ/CNN:  Last na lang po. Regarding the government mitigation on the Tax Reform… kasi po vulnerable po yung mga marginalized sector, anong gagawin na mitigating—

SEC. ROQUE: 200 pesos po for this year, 300 pesos for next year. Remember itong mitigation pong ito sa epekto lang ng indirect taxes. Huwag nating kakalimutan na napakadaming Pilipino ngayon na hindi na magbabayad ng tax; yung mga dating nagbabayad ng tax ng 250,000 and below di na sila nagbabayad. So yung 200 na yan eh para lang yan dun sa increase na… kaunting increase sa presyo ng elektrisidad ‘no. Eh kung ikaw namay ang pinakamahirap na mahirap talaga eh ang kaunti naman talaga ng binabayad mo sa kuryente ‘no. Diba dahil kaunti lang iyong konsumo. So para dun lang po iyan, okay? Kaya ang tawag po diyan ay ‘mitigating.’ Okay?

MODERATOR: Wala na po. So thank you very much. Happy 17th birthday Valencia City. Maraming salamat.

SEC. ROQUE: i totally enjoyed this Malacanang press briefing here in Valencia, Bukidnon. [applause] Good afternoon.

**END**

Source: PCOO-NIB (News and Information Bureau) #NIB

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