Press Briefing of Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella with Chairperson of the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP) Terry Ridon
Press Briefing Room, New Executive Building, Malacañang
20 April 2017

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Good morning. We are pleased today to have the chairperson of the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor, Atty. Terry Ridon.  As chair, he has been tasked to implement the presidential directive of ‘no demolition without relocation.’

He has served as the head of delegation to the Asia Pacific Conference on Housing and Urban Development in New Delhi, and was among the representatives of the country in the UN Habitat Conference in Quito and the UN Climate Conference in Marrakech.

He formerly served as Kabataan partylist representative in the 16th Congress, with membership in critical committees, including legislative franchise, energy, ways and means, natural resources, transportation, among others.

He is also a public interest attorney for the environment.

He came from UP College of Law and he has an impressive list.

Ladies and gentlemen, PCUP Chair Terry Ridon. Sir?

CHAIRPERSON RIDON: Thank you. As an opening statement, we just wanted to read the, to make some comments on the Senate hearing related to the Kadamay incident in Bulacan and we wanted to say that we support the pronouncement of the President that the new housing program will be granted to uniformed personnel affected by the occupation in Bulacan.

Further, we also support the pronouncement of the President allowing members of Kadamay to continue occupying long idle houses in Bulacan.

We believe that the President was guided by principles of social justice in making his pronouncement and serves as an affirmation of his firm commitment that no one will be left behind in this administration.

The Bulacan incident gives us further resolve within the housing agencies to push for onsite and in-city resettlement as the main mode of resettlement of informal settler families affected by public infrastructure projects, court orders or disaster-induced relocation.

Off-site resettlement should also be abandoned as the main mode of resettlement and should only be considered as the last resort, particularly in view of the costs of economic dislocation of informal settler families and the costs of creating an entirely off site new township with full services, utilities and livelihood.

This is also an opportunity to push for a higher budget for housing albeit better termed human settlements’ budget equivalent to one percent of the country’s GDP similar to international benchmarks given to other social services responding to basic needs like education, health and social welfare.

We thank Secretary Abella for the opportunity to articulate the agency’s position on the matter and make a commitment together with the President and the urban poor, it is our hope to see a future in which there are no people without houses and there are no houses without people.

Maraming salamat po.


Pia Ranada (Rappler): Hi sir, good morning. Sir, there was a survey by Pulse Asia which showed that trust for Duterte among the poor has eroded by 7 point, 7 percentage points compared to the December survey which they had. This is March and then comparing to December. Sir, what do you think could be the cause of the eroding trust among the poor?

CHAIRPERSON RIDON: Well, I think at this point, very important would be the question on whether or not we had been able to deliver already the promises to the poor. And I think this is something that is still a work in progress and many of the line agencies are actually doing their job, particularly Social Welfare, Environment, in making certain that all of the promises are being delivered to our poor, not just the urban poor.

Ms. Ranada: Sir, there’s an analyst who also say that this eroding trust could be because the drug war is [inaudible] but is also affecting a lot of poor Filipinos. What do you say to this conclusion by this analyst?

CHAIRPERSON RIDON: I think in respect to the drug war, it is in the interest of the poor and the urban poor to really see that criminality and the drug problem is resolved within their communities. And I think, obviously it is unfortunate that several of the people in the poor communities are affected by it. But I think within these communities, if you go to those areas, there would be at the very least an affirmation that responding to criminality and the drug problem is really a very important step towards nation-building.

Ms. Ranada: Sir, given these figures, would you have any recommendation to the administration on how maybe they should tweak or if they should change their strategy when it comes to programs for the poor or programs that affect the poor?

CHAIRPERSON RIDON: Well, in respect to responding to the drug problem, I think many of the agencies, even in particular the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor, has been trying to implement particularly, particular interventions in respect to the demand side of the drug problem. So PCUP has launched ‘Urban Poor Kontra Droga’ in several cities already and this really aims to provide the softer approach towards the drug war. And I think this is something that many of the line agencies would really want to undertake already. So the Department of Health, Social Welfare, are also doing their part in terms of really undertaking the community rehabilitation programs in responding to the drug problem.

Ms. Ranada: Sir, just a last follow-up. Sir, you mentioned softer approach. Can you just elaborate on what do you… how do you compare the softer approach with the hard approach? What exactly is this?

CHAIRPERSON RIDON: When we speak about it, we really speak about empowering the communities in responding to the drug problem. Ultimately in implementing the drug war, you will have the leaders there that should be able to — community leaders in those areas that should be able to really shepherd many of the communities against drugs and that is what we would really want to do: empowering the people’s organizations, the NGOs within these urban poor communities to really stand against drugs and help government in resolving the drug problem.

Dexter Ganibe (DZMM): Hi sir, good aft— good noon. Sir, kahapon may nangyaring sunog ng mga settlers sa ilalim ng tower ng NGCP at ito ay tinatayo ngayon. Ang binabanggit ay hindi na pababalikin ‘yung mga nakatira doon sa ilalim ng tower, which is talaga namang bawal. May hakbang po ba ang inyong tanggapan kung papaano ito? Kasi ano po ‘yung nangyari, hindi naman siya ‘yung talagang pinalayas sila, may nangyaring sunog at wala silang matutuluyan or papaano po ‘yun?

CHAIRPERSON RIDON: Ang posisyon ho ng ahensya ho namin, hindi pa ho tapos ang usapan doon. So malamang ang mangyari ho sa susunod pong dalawang araw, magpapatawag po ng inter-agency meeting sa pagitan ng NGCP, which is ‘yung affected area ho, PCUP at lahat po ng mga shelter agencies, LGU na involved po dito sa usapin po na ito. Kasi hindi naman ho pwede na pabayaan na lang natin sa kalsada ‘yung ating mga kababayan. So that is something that we would really want to resolve na hindi lang parang, ‘o sige alis na kayo diyan.’ I think that is not how we would want the Duterte administration to proceed in respect to resolving problems of the urban poor also.

Mr. Ganibe: Kasi hindi lang po iyon ‘yung problema. Kasi may mga linya po ng NGCP na sa ilalim nito which is pinagbabawal talagang tumira kahit hindi ma — basta ‘yung dinadaanan nung transmission lines at maraming mga maaapektuhang nakatira doon sa mga ilalim ng transmission lines.

CHAIRPERSON RIDON: Totoo po ‘yun kaya nga ho very important ho ‘yung inter-agency eh para ibig sabihin, this is not simply a question of legalese ho ano na kumbaga, ‘o basta pag nasunog na kayo alis na kayo diyan.’ Hindi ho ganon ‘yun eh.

So ang posisyon ho ng ahensya ho namin, pag-usapan pong muli ng komunidad, pag-usapan pong muli ng mga ahensya, particular ho kami at ng NGCP kung sa papaanong paraan ho ba talaga natin at the very least mabigyan ng ayuda ito pong mga kababayan po nating naging apektado ng sunog. Ibig sabihin, inagrabyado na nga ho sila ng sunog eh. Para huwag na ho natin itodo pa ho ‘yung problema sa pagpapalayas po sa kanila ng ganon-ganon na lamang po.

Mr. Ganibe: Last part sa akin, doon pa din po sa issue. Sir, kasi kagabi ng lakas ng ulan, wala silang… ‘yung iba wala talagang masilungan dahil isinara ‘yung tollgate doon sa Alabang. Doon sila pansamantalang sumilong. So ano po ang magiging hakbang ngayon ng pamahalaan na sila ay matulungan naman. Mukhang hin — walang enough na area para sa kanilang pansamantalahang titirahan dahil ginagawa po ngayon ‘yung tower, which is very delikado naman na doon sila ulit magtayo ng kanilang mga titirahan.

CHAIRPERSON RIDON: Immediately ho dapat magpatawag na ho ng interagency kasi, particularly in terms of ‘yun pong immediate concerns, talagang naka-atang ho sa lokal na pamahalaan ho ‘yan, at naka-atang ho sa mga social welfare agencies ho natin ‘yan.

So tingin ko naman ho, ginagawa ho ng ating mga ahensya ang kailangan gawin para doon sa immediate concerns at ifa-follow up po namin doon sa mga particular agencies po para matiyak po na hindi din naman ho sila napapabayaan.

Benjie Liwanag (DZBB): Good morning sir. Sabi niyo immediate concern. Ano po ‘yung mga nakalatag nang immediate concern lalo na nitong mga mahihirap? Una kasi ‘yung pabahay eh. Ito ‘yung problema kagaya nung Kadamay.

CHAIRPERSON RIDON: Well, ’yung Senate hearing po na naganap po I think 2 days ago, isa ho doon sa mga immediate ho na talagang way forward na inilatag ho ng housing agencies, particularly ho ng NHA at sinusuportahan ho namin, ‘yung actual na pagka-qualify ‘no noon pong mga apektadong pamilya dito po sa Kadamay incident. So ongoing na ho ‘yung processing ng kanilang mga papeles at bahagi din po diyaan ‘yung pagtitiyak din ho ng mga serbisyo at pasilidad ‘no. Na sa loob ng mahabang panahon hindi ho natugunan nito pong nagdaang administrasyon.

Mr. Liwanag: Okay. Bilang chairman ng Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor, sumasangayon ba kayo doon sa inihayag ng Kadamay na wala silang babayaran kahit anuman basta mabigyan sila ng pabahay?

CHAIRPERSON RIDON: Hindi pa ho tapos ang usapan doon sa totoo lang. So I think nasa proseso pa ho ng negosyasyon kung talaga ho bang ibibigay ng libre o hindi ito pong pabahay po na ito. Pero gusto ko lang din hong banggitin na sa iba’t-ibang mga proyekto ng pamahalaan sa pabahay, meron hong tinatawag na housing grants ‘no. Ibig sabihin, talagang outright binibigay po ng libre sa atin pong mga kababayan ‘yun pong mga kabahayan po na ito. Ibig sabihin, wala na ho ‘yung cost recovery na tinatawag. Sa ibang bahagi naman, meron hong tinatawag na cost recovery. Ibig sabihin, may buwanan pong hulog ang atin pong mga kababayan. So ‘yun ho ‘yung kailangan pagpasyahan bilang patakaran ng NHA at saka ng atin pong mga housing agencies kung ano ho ba ‘yung best namode of payment or kung may mode of payment nga ho ba na gagawin dito po sa insidente pong ito.

Mr. Liwanag: Isa rin po doon sa sinasabi ng mga mahihirap or ‘yung hindi lang Kadamay kundi — ‘yun pong trabaho na ibibigay ng gobyerno. Ano po ang immediate solution ng gobyerno on this?

CHAIRPERSON RIDON: May mga nakatakda pong mga TESDA trainings and may pondo ho sa totoo lang for livelihood sa TESDA, DOLE. In fact even sa DSWD para po sa ating mga mahihirap. So isa hong package po ng mga ayuda po ito na sa totoo lang eh dapat maigiya lang ho natin para ho sa mga benepisyaryo po talagang karapat-dapat pong tumanggap para rito.

Mr. Liwanag: Okay so nakita po ba natin na mas marami pa dapat ang makatanggap nitong tulong o ayuda mula sa gobyerno kagaya nung mga ibinibigay na monthly sa mga piling… napipili ng DSWD?

CHAIRPERSON RIDON: Well, sa kasalukuyan ho, ito po ay tumatakbong programa ng DSWD. Pinagaralan pa rin ‘yan sa totoo lang ng bagong administrasyon kung ieexpand pa ho ba itong CCT program po na ito. Pero tingin ko kung talaga naman hong nakakatulong sa ating mga kababayan, halimbawa natitiyak ho ‘yung pag aaral ng atin pong mga anak, o kaya ‘yung pagkakaroon ho ng nutrisyon ho nila, tingin ko dapat pag aralan pa kung paano ho ba talaga mapapatuloy sa susunod na lima at kalahating taon.

Ina Andolong (CNN Philippines): Hi sir. Sir, I believe the previous administration set a 10 billion peso project for the relocation of informal settlers.


Ms. Andolong: Or 50.


Ms. Andolong: And dapat natapos yata ‘yun in five years — 2012 or 2013 nag start yata po ‘yun. So it should be supposedly in it’s — patapos na.


Ms. Andolong: Can you give us an update on that if you know kung ano po ang nangyari doon?

CHAIRPERSON RIDON: Well it’s a continuing project ‘no. so… And bahagi po niyan ‘yung relocation po ng atin pong mga waterways communities sa Pandi, Bulacan, in other areas. So we have our present commentaries also on how the project was run, particularly in terms of site identification. Kasi our concern has always been the economic dislocation of many of the waterways families ‘no, which is why I think within the new administration, there ought to be a prioritization particularly on onsite or in-city housing.

It’s particularly more expensive than offsite. Pero alam po ninyo, dahil nandito na ho ‘yung mga paaralan, nandito na ho ‘yung trabaho, hindi na ho kailangan gumawa ng mga bagong townships eh. Like in offsite resettlement areas. So ultimately in terms of costs, parang magpapantay pa rin ho iyon para sa pamahalan at para sa mga apektado pong mga pamilya.

Ms. Andolong: Sir, how do you reconcile ‘yung priority ng — ‘yung pag-prioritize ng onsite relocation with government efforts to also decongest Metro Manila?

CHAIRPERSON RIDON: Well, bahagi po ‘yun ‘no para I think that is something that we would really want to undertake also. But in terms of ‘yung para… I think that’s something that we would really want to undertake also.

But in terms of ‘yung decongestion of Metro Manila, that is something that will not most definitely happen in the next two years, I think. Kasi you really have to build new cities in the next, in the course of the next decade perhaps ano.

Pero these are immediate concerns that we really need to respond to at this point. So tingin ko naman, hindi ho naman dapat pagbanggain ‘yun.

Let the other agencies proceed with the decongestion while still responding to the immediate concerns and problems of the urban poor in the cities.

Elijah Rosales (Business Mirror): Good afternoon, sir. Two questions lang po. First sir, gaano na po ba kalala ‘yung housing backlog ng bansa para masabi natin na justified ‘yung occupation ng Pandi housing units?

CHAIRPERSON RIDON: ‘Yung backlog ho ngayon, based on HUDCC data, 5.6 million po ‘yung backlog ‘no by the end of the term of the President.

So basically, we will have to be able to produce a million new houses by the end of the term. And we are talking about a staggering amount of funds ‘no.

And ‘yun pong sa pagtataya po ng PCUP, I think we would really need maybe around almost more than a trillion to respond to the housing crisis ‘no.

So and what we wanted to say is, the current level of spending for housing is clearly not enough to respond to even a large percentage of the problem of housing.

So which is why ang sinasabi ho namin, one percent GDP, it amounts to maybe around 180 billion. That would be a far better spending on housing compared to the present spending that stands at around maybe 20 billion.

Mr. Rosales: Sir, nabanggit niyo po kanina na, ‘di ko po alam kung tama pero kapag idle ‘yung housing units papayagan po ng administration ‘yung pag-occupy or hindi naman po?

CHAIRPERSON RIDON: Well, it’s not the general policy. Ibig sabihin, I think the President had made it clear that when he allowed to continue occupying the… Kadamay to continue occupying the idle housing units, he was merely referring to the idle housing units in Pandi.

So I think the housing agencies are also preparing to really respond to that situation at ‘yan ho ‘yung talagang ginagawa ho ngayon ng NHA at ng iba pang mga ahensya.

Mr. Rosales: And last question po, ‘yung… the administration just announced on Tuesday. It will be heavily investing on big-ticket infrastructure projects under the Build, Build, Build scheme. Based on history, these massive infra projects runs conflict with urban poor settlements as the state and its partner firms are required to demolish some of the informal settlements for the establishment of these infras. Paano po ‘yung halfway ng PCUP being the mandated agency ng government to protect the urban poor and ‘yung the likes of the DOF, DTI, Department of Transportation sa pagtatayo nitong infra na ito?

CHAIRPERSON RIDON:  I think we have to remember that PCUP is the final clearance for all the demolitions particularly for infra projects ano.

So, under the leadership of the President, he has made it clear that there will be no demolitions without relocation.

So even if we speak about big-ticket infrastructure projects, I think part of the spending will most definitely be made towards relocation of many of the affected informal settler families.

Mr. Rosales: Thank you sir.

Reymund Tinaza (Bombo Radyo): Hi sir. Magandang hapon po. Sir ‘yung nangyaring ginawang pag-takeover ng Kadamay doon sa mga idle settlements, mga housing projects. You’re convinced that this is not bad precedent for other urban poor groups… kasi hindi lang, I understand Kadamay has no, I mean monopoly of its rights or their rights to have a house of their own. So ‘yung ibang urban groups, hindi ba sila parang maenganyo rin na, would do the same and even the President will grant them to own the house?

CHAIRPERSON RIDON: Tingin ko hindi naman po ‘no. And I think as far as government is concerned, it has really served as wake up call to really confront squarely the problems that had been besetting the housing sector for the last few years ‘no.

And sa totoo lang, nagpapasalamat pa nga ho ‘yung maraming mga ahensya dahil naganap po ito. Talagang na-put into the spotlight, na talagang meron pong mga bahay na walang tao, samantalang maraming tao na walang bahay.

At ‘yun ho ‘yung… that is the nexus that we would really want to resolve eh, na may pondo para sa bahay, pero wala hong tao.

So ‘yan ho ‘yung pagtutulung-tulungan ho ng mga ahensya ng pamahalaan sa susunod pong lima’t kalahating tao tingin ko.

Mr. Tinaza: Sir have you checked ‘yung mga housing projects sa Pandi, Bulacan kung they are actually decent house in their form and substance? Kasi I understand marami sa mga developers talaga ay ‘yung pagkagawa talaga ay parang one year warranty lang eh, substandard. Tapos ‘yung bakal… walang bakal actually, inaakyat-akyat lang ‘yan tapos walang laman ‘yung hollow blocks. Sir just check kung… kasi ‘yun ‘yung nanggagaling ‘yung corruption. So the reason of my question is, hindi ba pwede ‘yung hayaan ‘yung beneficiary na sila na mismo ‘yung magtayo, para sila na mismo ‘yung overseer of their own home, of their own house?

CHAIRPERSON RIDON: Well, sagutin ko ho muna ‘yung unang bahagi ng tanong. Sa totoo lang ho, inikot ho namin ‘yan. Talagang bulok ho ‘yung marami sa mga naitayo ho roon and we really have to be frank with everybody about it.

And in fact, some form of accountability needs to be undertaken towards everyone that had been involved in building all of those houses ‘no.

So, you know, pero pangalawa, totoo ho ‘yun. Maganda hong… sa totoo lang, isa ho sa mga napagusapan ho sa Senado nitong nagdaan, ‘yun pong kawalan ho ng konsultasyon sa lahat po ng mga apektadong mga tao, kahit kasundaluhan man ‘yan, kapulisan, doon ho sa site identification.

Sinabi ho mismo ng AFP tsaka ng PNP, hindi naman kami nakausap diyan eh. So very critical ho ‘yun na dapat talagang partner from the very start ang mga apektado pong pamilya, dito po sa paglalatag po ng mga housing projects po natin.

Kasi kung, sa una’t una pa lang ho, hindi na ho sila pumapayag, siguradong hindi pa rin ho sila papayag hanggang dulo.

So ‘yan ho ‘yung isa sa mga aktwal na reporma na dapat hong magawa sa susunod pong lima’t kalahating taon.

Mr. Tinaza: Sir, last point. Sir have you raised the concern na ‘yung sundalo’t pulis naman talaga generally kaya based doon sa mga nagkaroon ng interes ng pabahay ay ayaw naman talaga nila na magkaroon ng housing outside their own province. Kasi ‘yung mga nade-deploy sa Mindanao umuuwi pa rin naman sa Ilocos. So parang hindi ba better na they would just build their own home or houses in their own preferred provinces? Kasi sayang eh ‘yung nagtatayo ka ng bahay para sa mga pulis. Hindi naman nila titirhan. Kasi uuwi pa rin ‘yan ng Bulacan, ng Ilocos or their own provinces eh.

CHAIRPERSON RIDON: ‘Yun ho, so isa ho ‘yun. So dapat nakita ho na ‘yun ‘nong umpisang-umpisa pa lang eh, na meron po talagang ganyang tulak ang atin pong kasundulahan at kapulisan ‘no.

So ibig sabihin dapat naging limited na lang for example ‘yung ganon pong mass housing, for example for the soldiers and for the police.

Pero dagdag din ho diyan. Isa din ho sa mga dahilan bakit ayaw magpunta ng mga sundalo tsaka pulis diyan, kasi sobrang liit din ho talaga ng mga bahay.

So ibig sabihin, even assuming for example na hindi ho substandard ho ‘yung kalidad, dahil napakaliit para sa kanila pong pamliya po ito. Ibig sabihin, talagang hindi rin ho nila tinatanggap ‘yun pong mga bahay po na ito.

So kung baga, I would really say that the project should really be reviewed and actual accountability needs to be exacted from all of those that had been involved in it.

Joseph Morong (GMA): Hello. Sir, three topics lang. ‘Yung sa first sa Kadamay, is this going, do you think this is going to be the first and last occupation that we will see?

CHAIRPERSON RIDON: Ako I’m not certain because I cannot speak for Kadamay ano. But I think more or less talagang ano po ito eh, for as long as we, as government, we failed to resolve the housing problem, talagang ano ho ‘yan eh, it’s going to be a systemic challenge for everyone. So I cannot make an actual, I cannot speak for them. That is something that will not be undertaken anymore ‘no.

Pero kung baga, ‘yun na nga ho eh, the nexus of you have houses without people and your people without houses, that is something that I’m quite certain will still, you know, parang another Kadamay will most definitely happen again.

Mr. Morong: Meaning if they do another thing, the government cannot, you know, blame them?

CHAIRPERSON RIDON: Ibig sabihin, I think the attitude of government ever since the President made the pronouncement is never to blame the poor for their troubles ‘no.

So and I think the President has been very clear about that, that the only, their only sin has been to be poor. So and that is how the agencies will also proceed in confronting with this problem also.

Mr. Morong: Alright. Sa Tokhang, ‘yung sa SWS survey, with the way the Tokhang is conducted, the first and the second one, who do you think is bearing the brunt of the campaign?

CHAIRPERSON RIDON: Well, we have to be perfectly honest that much of the Tokhang is being undertaken in urban poor communities ‘no.

But like what I stated earlier, it is also in the interest of the poor, the urban poor communities for the drug problem, and for criminality to be resolved in many of their areas.

So ano ho talaga ‘yan eh, I think, bahagi po talaga ‘yan ‘nong kampanya. Pero what we are saying is, the other dimension towards resolving the problem is needed to be undertaken also.

So ‘yun pong mga people’s orgs tsaka NGOs within the communities, the leaders themselves, need to be, parang push to the forefront in resolving this crisis.

Mr. Morong: Do you agree with the strategy?

CHAIRPERSON RIDON: I think so, oo.

Mr. Morong: Why?

CHAIRPERSON RIDON: In terms of, in terms of responding to this ‘no, talagang ano ho ‘yan eh. Bahagi po ‘yan doon sa in terms of law enforcement ng atin pong ano. I think that is something that needs to be clearly undertaken also.

Mr. Morong: Last na lang, sa NGCP, when are you going to convene the inter-agency and what are the options for the affected residents?

CHAIRPERSON RIDON:  I think in the next two days makakapag-patawag na ho tayo ng inter-agency patungkol po rito.

So iimbitahin ho natin ‘yung NGCP, several LGUs that are affected and ‘yun pong, ‘yun pong housing agencies that can be consulted with this ‘no.

Pero I think what we would want to see there is kung wala pa pong interim solution sa totoo lang, pabayaan na ho muna silang makabalik ngayon.

Mr. Morong: Doon sa tower?

CHAIRPERSON RIDON: Hindi, I mean… to wherever it is that’s acceptable for where they can stay. Kasi hindi naman ho ‘yan actually within the tower eh. Parang within the transmission lines ho ‘yan eh.

Mr. Morong: ‘Di ba nasunog ‘yung ilalim kaya siya nasunog, kaya bumagsak ‘yung–?

CHAIRPERSON RIDON: Yeah, but of course—

Mr. Morong: Do you want them to go back?

CHAIRPERSON RIDON: No, no. What we’re saying is parang we have to provide them interim solution for them kasi I’m quite certain there are no houses yet available for all of them at this point.

So I think an interim solution can be done. So for example, we had done it in several of the fires previously ‘no. So particularly those that  are involving agencies, pinabayaan na lang ho muna eh, ng mga ahensya na makabalik muna doon sa mga nasunugan pong lugar.

So if that is something that can be done for NGCP, I think that is something that we would advise to everyone.

Henry Uri (DZRH): Hi, sir. Magandang tanghali po. During the Aquino administration, 18.9 billion pesos ang kanilang ginamit na pondo para sa flagship housing program para sa mga pulis at sundalo. Pero ito ngayon, ang problema hindi tinitirhan sapagkat walang maayos na pasilidad. May naaamoy ba kayo o may iimbestigahan ba kayong korapsyon sa bagay na ito?

CHAIRPERSON RIDON: Well, una ho sa lahat, wala na ako sa Kongreso ‘no. So hindi na, wala na ho kaming parang investigative powers to do it.

But I wanted to say that I think our allies in Congress ought to really further investigate accountability, dito po sa mga lugar na ito.

Kasi obviously in terms of the project planning itself, parang may problema na ho. So, for example, in terms of site identification, in terms of the quality of the housing themselves, in terms of the actual absence of facilities and services.

So marami hong problema ‘yun eh. So tingin ko dapat meron pa hong mga dagdag na pagdinig ang Kongreso po patungkol dito para malaman din natin talaga sino ba talaga ‘yung meron hong pananagutan sa proyekto pong ito.

Mr. Uri: Sa inyo hong tingin, may sabwatan naganap sa pagitan po ng mga developer at ‘nong may nakalipas na may hawak ng housing project sa mga nakalipas na administrasyon?

CHAIRPERSON RIDON: I think malalaman ho natin ‘yan sa mga pagdinig na mga susunod pa ho. Particularly, focusing on the project planning itself.

Mr. Uri: Pero kung kayo ho ang tatanungin, dapat may managot dito sa bagay na ito?

CHAIRPERSON RIDON: Tingin ko dapat ho may managot kasi sa loob ho ng mahabang panahon, zero ho ’yung tumira eh. ‘Di ho ba? Parang, I would say that it was a project that was meant to fail. Parang ganon.

Mr. Uri: Dapat may panagot, dapat may makulong?

CHAIRPERSON RIDON: Siyempre dapat ho. Kasi pondo ho ng bayan ho ‘yan eh, tapos eh… Basta whatever it is that, whatever accountability that can be exacted — civil, administrative, criminal it ought to be undertaken in respect to this project.

Mr. Uri: Okay. Salamat po.

Rose Novenario (Hataw): Good afternoon. Bilang ano po dating lider ng militanteng grupo, hindi po ba kayo nagkakaroon ng koordinasyon sa Kadamay dahil ano rin po ito eh, militanteng grupo ‘di ba? Dati po ninyo itong mga kaalyado at maaring hanggang ngayon ay kaalyado niyo sila. Ang sabi po kasi dati ni, ‘nong nakaraang linggo, sabi ni Presidente, pag inulit niyo ‘yung pag-occupy, bazooka na ‘yung haharap sa inyo. So naniniwala po ba kayo doon sa sinabi ng Presidente na parang huli na ito ha, hindi na kayo pwede umulit?

CHAIRPERSON RIDON: Tingin ko tama naman ‘yung sinabi ni Presidente na ibig sabihin, hindi naman literal na dapat i-take na iba-bazooka ‘yung mga tao. Pero syempre it serves as a warning that I don’t think that the President will look kindly again for another occupation.  But syempre we would also wanted to state na this is a systemic matter ‘no that we really have to confront as government so ano ‘yan, talagang if you fail to make actual steps towards resolving the housing crisis, I am quite certain something like this will happen again. So ibig sabihin it is a continuing homework for all the agencies involved na talagang ayusin at talagang galingan ho ‘yung trabaho po dito sa pabahay.

Ms. Novenario: At may mga ayuda naman po kayong binibigay sa urban poor communities. Pwede po ba silang kausapin ng PCUP na magsumikap rin po sila para makakuha po ng sarili nilang pabahay na dadaan sa tamang proseso, hindi po ‘yung sa paraan na pang-aagaw ng pabahay ng may pabahay?

CHAIRPERSON RIDON: Well, syempre kasama ho ‘yan ‘no. Kasama ho talaga ‘yan doon sa mga trabaho po ng PCUP particularly dahil ‘yun po ang PCUP, ‘yung social preparation po ng mga komunidad, kami po ‘yung talagang naka-atang po dito eh.

Ms. Novenario: So may mga posibilidad po na makausap niyo nga po ‘yung kadamay na pwedeng halimbawa ceasefire muna sa agawan ng pabahay. Pwede  ba yung ganoon?

CHAIRPERSON RIDON: Well, continuing naman po ‘yung dialogue eh sa totoo lang, sa pagitan ng PCUP at Kadamay. Isa ho ‘yan doon sa mga palagian din naman po naming napag-uusapan.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Good morning. We have a few updates before we go into the short question and answer period. Short [laughter], take note okay.

On the government’s anti-endo drive, it nets 45,605 regularized workers and the President’s campaign promise to end the contractualization has become a reality. From July 2016 to March 2017, the DOLE has reported that it has successfully regularized these said numbers.

To support measures in abolishing illegal contractualization practices, DOLE has recently issued Department Order No. 174 on contracting and sub-contracting. It authorizes labor groups along with labor compliance offices to review establishments and observance of existing labor laws and regulations. We remain committed to provide stable and secure jobs for the Filipino people.

On the IMF’s statement that the Philippine economy remains fastest growing in the region:

The economy continues to surge and lead the pack. The IMF looks forward to the Philippines’ economic growth of 6.8% for this year and 6.9% in 2018. The projected growth of 6.8 for this year which is attributed to maintaining domestic demand, progress in export, and the administration’s increased infrastructure spending is within the target of 6 to 7% growth for 2017.

With the timely unveiling of DuterteNomics, we hope to sustain robust economic growth and push for big-ticket infrastructure projects. We will improve people’s mobility and accessibility to jobs and services, thus making the cost of moving people, goods, and services more competitive.

Leila Salaverria (Philippine Daily Inquirer): Good afternoon sir, there is a report that the fire trucks deal of the DILG will still push through. The contract was reason enough for the President to fire his previous DILG Secretary. So what is the Palace’s take on this development with the…

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I believe there is a certain process going on and we don’t know yet the final status of those fire trucks. We… the final… I mean if there’s a need for a formal statement to stop the…

Ms. Salaverria: There is… a DILG official said that it will continue in the absence of a TRO and it’s a perfected contract. So is there a move for Malacañang to ask the DILG to stop it or…

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: None at this stage, none that has reached my desk at this stage.

Ms. Salaverria: So at this point sir if it will continue, what is the Palace’s take about it since the President has spoken about this?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I understand where you are coming from, but like the man said, unless there’s a TRO, okay.

Ms. Salaverria: There’s nothing that the Palace can do…

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I’m sure they are taking the appropriate actions. But it has not reached my desk at this stage.

Joseph Morong (GMA 7):  Sir, sa Nueva Ecija… ay, Nueva Vis, no Nueva Ecija, the President has cancelled his supposed scheduled trip to Viscaya no, this morning, ah this afternoon, but he’s going to meet instead with the Secretary of Transportation?

SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I believe there is going to be a security briefing regarding the matter.

Mr. Morong: Okay. On the agenda and target outcome with the…

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I don’t know about the outcomes but there is going to be a briefing regarding the matter.

Mr. Morong: Okay sir.


Ms. Andolong: Some travel agencies sir has expressed concerns about the recent incidents involving terror groups. They feel it might have an adverse effect on tourist arrivals. Is there any directive or effort from the Palace to allay fears of foreign tourists?

SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: First and foremost, the ASEAN meeting has proceeded in Bohol, in the area. And also, as far as reports  coming from PNP has come to us, it’s reposing efforts on the security preparations for ASEAN of course. And Task Force Bohol continued to look at the security system in the venue and where the delegates will be visiting and also the PNP’s Regional Public Safety Battalion is also available in Bohol and in the other areas, okay. So in other words, the administration and the military is looking after the security in the area, in the region.

Ms. Andolong: Sir, do you see the problem that may be affecting our tourism targets for the year?


Mr. Morong: This is a follow up. Sir, ‘yung one of the biggest… bigger travel agencies have said that 500 travellers from Japan, I think havecancelled. They would have spent 30 million pesos but because of the travel advisories due to the Bohol incident, they have cancelled. And I think the agency has written Secretary Teo expressing their concerns. How are you treating all these advisories and the possible effects on the tourist arrivals?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Of course the advisories come from outside. These are not within our control. On the other hand, we are responding to that. And as far as we can, as far as we have, we have done our due diligence regarding the matter. However, on the whole, the tourist interest in the Philippines continues to surge. So it will all even up.

Mr. Morong: And we can  confidently say… you talking to the other markets that the Philippines’ is safe?


Ms. Ranada: Sir, I just wanted to get the Palace statement on my earlier question to Chairman Ridon on the erosion of trust among the poor based on the Pulse Asia Survey. Sir, is the Palace worried about this erosion in trust given that the President always… parang positions himself as a pro-poor President, someone who is a champion of the masses?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: You know, Chair Ridon put it excellently. It is in the interest of the poor that these matters are addressed. 

And in the whole, as a whole, the President has actually positioned himself as a pro-poor leader. So in a sense, it’s a question of being able to dialogue with the whole nation regarding the matter. And it is always, like the gentleman said, in the interest of the poor that these things be resolved properly.

Ms. Ranada: But sir, is the Palace, does the Palace think these figures, this erosion of trust is cause for alarm, concern?


Ms. Ranada: So what’s your reaction to the erosion? The reaction of the Palace to this—?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I would say that there is a dip instead of an erosion.


Pia Gutierrez (ABS-CBN): Hi, Sir. Good morning. Sir, DENR Secretary Gina Lopez has said today that the President has given the go ahead for her to work with the members of the NPA, that’s for development projects in mining communities in Agusan del Norte. Sir, can we confirm this and are there directives already coming from the President how this can be done?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Regarding that, that needs to be verified. If she actually has the particular agreement but that needs to be verified. Thank you. Anything else?

Mr. Tinaza: Sir, just to be clear about the statement of the President, his plan to, ‘yung armasan ‘yung mga civilian. Sir, ano ba ‘yon, linked doon sa Bohol, against the terrorist Abu Sayyaf or nationwide ‘yung scope ng pag armas?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I think the statement was about Bohol ‘no, but in a sense it was a dramatization of making sure that security is raised up in the area.

Mr. Tinaza: Relatedly, ‘yung sa kampanya laban sa terorista, wouldn’t you push for urgency ‘yung pagpa-pass ng panukalang national ID system para once and for all magkaroon, mas mabilis ‘yung identification, who are roaming around each community, like what happened to Bohol, ‘di ba nakapasok ‘yung Abu Sayyaf?


Mr. Tinaza: Would you push for the passage of the national ID system?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: That seems to be the general tendency, the general direction, yes.

Mr. Tinaza: Also, last point. Sir, kasi last administration nagkaroon ba ng inventory doon sa mga colorum, mga buses na, or plying EDSA even in the provincial roads na mga hindi na dapat nandon sa kalsada. Walang nangyari. Now, can you assure us na may political will this time na and do you have a timeline na kasi identified na ‘yun eh, ‘yung mga colorum, mga kambal plaka, and those who are not already worthy to be at the roads already, na matanggal na ‘yan kasi paulit-ulit lang ‘tong scenario, ‘yung nangyari sa Nueva Ecija eh.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: We need to refer this to the DOTr.

Mr. Tinaza: Can we expect Secretary Tugade to do, I mean–

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I would say so. I mean, I’m sure that’s going to be part of the outcomes of the briefing this afternoon.

Mr. Tinaza: Totoong may paramdam?


Mr. Ganibe: Sir, one clarification lang. Good afternoon po. Sir, you said dramatization lang. What do you mean?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: If… Can you… What was the statement of the President, to…?

Mr. Ganibe: Armasan  ‘yung mga sibilyan.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: It doesn’t mean to say that every house and you know will be having that. I’m sure it simply– I’m assuming that part of the civil defense, in civil defense will be, the ante would be pushed up.

Mr. Ganibe: But the President is serious about that pag-aarmas?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: He’s serious about raising security, yes.

Mr. Ganibe: Raising security, but not doon sa isyu ng pag-aarmas?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: That’s something, that will be left to him but definitely what he’s saying is that he supports raising security in the area.

Mr. Morong: Sir, hindi naman figurative speech ‘yan?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Let’s put it this way. The President, he has a way of underlining what he wants to do, okay?

Mr. Morong: So it is?


Mr. Morong: The pag-aarmas ng sibilyan. Because you know if it’s a figurative speech, some may take it literally.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: It’s not a policy direction, okay. It’s not a policy… There’s no paper to support that. But what I’m saying is that this is his intention to raise security. Okay.

Celerina Monte (Manila Shimbun): Good afternoon, Sir. Sir, clarification lang regarding sa statement niyo na regarding the national ID na that seems to be the general direction. So does that mean that the government would revive this national ID system which was junked before by the court or ipa-prioritize ba to?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA:: I think it’s being considered in other words. As far as ano, it’s being considered.

Ms. Monte: When you say being considered, magkakaroon ba ng sariling draft ang administration or would just support some pending bills na nasa Congress?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: We’ll see what, we’ll see what happens. We’ll see what happens.

Mr. Monte: But will you, will this be part of the priorities of the administration?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: It’s part of the, in terms of being pushed in the PLLO, I mean in the legislation, I’m not sure. That needs to be verified.

Ace Romero (Philippine Star): Spox, gusto ko lang malaman kung meron na pong bagong Bangko Sentral Governor appointee?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: As far as we know, none yet.

Mr. Romero: Pero ‘yung announcement ba forthcoming na? Kailan maga-announce ng bago?


Mr. Romero: Wala pa?


Mr. Morong: ‘Yung sa Reuters lang, ‘yung campaign is being staged according to two PNP officials? I don’t think we got the reaction from yesterday, so ngayon na lang.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, you know, the admission of Reuters that it could not independently verify or confirm the allegations, you know is… weak.

Mr. Morong: Parang familiar sir ‘yong term na ‘yan.


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