Interview of Presidential Communications Office Secretary Martin Andanar
CNN Philippines – The Source by PINKY WEBB
12 January 2017

SEC. ANDANAR:                            Hello, Pinky. Good morning.

WEBB:                                                 Let’s start with something which I’m sure you’re looking forward to, the chairmanship—I mean, the Philippines is looking forward to the chairmanship of the ASEAN 2017.  It will kick off next week in Davao?

ANDANAR:                                      This coming Sunday, on the 15th of January.

WEBB:                                                 Oh, this week. Ok. What can we expect on Sunday?

ANDANAR:                                      This Sunday is the usual launch. It’s going to happen at the SMX in Davao City. The majority of the Diplomatic Corps will be there, majority of the Cabinet will be there, the President will be there and it’s a ceremony that will kick off our chairmanship of the ASEAN and the 50th Anniversary or Golden Anniversary.

WEBB:                                                 I was just going to say that, it coincides with the 50th anniversary of the ASEAN.

ANDANAR:                                      Yes, 50 years of being together.

WEBB:                                                 So very exciting time. What can we expect? What can the Filipinos gain from this?

ANDANAR:                                      There are 630 million people in ASEAN, 2.5 trillion dollars of business that goes around ASEAN every year. And as Filipinos, we need to realize that ASEAN is so important for us Filipinos because of the integration of this entire region. Now, here’s the thing: Only 23 or 24 percent of the entire ASEAN population basically understands or have a basic understanding of ASEAN. So us, in the Communications department, our objective is, kahit sana papaano, Pinky—

WEBB:                                                 Information dissemination and educate the public.

ANDANAR:                                      Yes, gusto natin lahat ng bansa, kahit 50% man lang ng populasyon ay naiintindihan ang ASEAN. So we have this road show and we have this media blitz for people to understand ASEAN not only to the market that’s watching CNN but also iyong iba pang mga merkado, iyong iba pang mga probinsya, mga dialects, we try to reach out to them.

WEBB:                                                 Yes. And you know, I mean, one thing is definitely… aside from educating them, it’s good kasi mas maiintindihan ng tao ito. But how do you plan to do this? Paano mo mapapalapit ang ASEAN sa Pilipino?

ANDANAR:                                      Yes, we will use all of the government platforms and private media platforms to work it for nation building. Government platforms, apart from television, Radyo ng Bayan and PTV, we also have the Philippine Information Agency. So I have already tasked them to really go to the grassroots level and bring some comics, bring some polyetos. You know, we have—

WEBB:                                                 Parang kampaniya?

ANDANAR:                                       Parang kampaniya. One point nine (1.9) billion pesos po iyong inilaan ng gobyerno para sa Communications. So every time that there is a huge event like ASEAN or APEC, ang pansin ko po, hindi nararamdaman noon. As a broadcaster, I have this parang—

WEBB:                                                 You see the disconnect ‘no, when you were still doing the news ano?

ANDANAR:                                      Yes, parang I have a fixation on really—because it’s our job to bring the policy to the grassroots level. So kaya I’m very passionate about it. We go around … I’ve been going around the different media network companies here in Metro Manila, and also we have the roadshow happening in different parts of the country especially those na mayroong ano na rin, TV at radio.

WEBB:                                                 Yes, pero iyong road show, how many … ilan ang pupuntahan ninyo? What’s your target?

ANDANAR:                                       Our target is as much city or province that we can go to, especially iyong cities na mayroon na ring TV, mayroong radio, para hindi saying iyong lakad.

WEBB:                                                 Absolutely.

ANDANAR:                                       Oo, hindi saying iyong lakad.

WEBB:                                                 In coordination with the local government units, I’m sure?

ANDANAR:                                       In coordination with local government units, in coordination with all the Philippine Information Agency offices in the regions, with other regional offices of the different departments. So lahat, we really go there. So people will understand what ASEAN is—for example, Pinky, let me give you an example.

WEBB:                                                 Yes, give us an example.

ANDANAR:                                       Para kay Juan, Maria, kay Pepe, ito iyon, ito iyon. Kung ikaw ay isang OFW, anak ka ng OFW at gusto mong mag-aral or magtrabaho abroad, did you know that you can go to specific universities or colleges here in the Philippines na accredited ng ASEAN?

WEBB:                                                 Ok.

ANDANAR:                                      When you say accredited, halimbawa kumuha ka ng kurso na … for example lang, nursing or kumuha ka ng broadcasting, at itong university na ito ay accredited sa ASEAN, so that course kikilalanin doon sa …

WEBB:                                                 In that country?

ANDANAR:                                      In that country, Indonesia for example. Or if you want to cross-enroll, gusto mong …

WEBB:                                                 Mag-aral sa ibang bansa?

ANDANAR:                                       Sa ibang bansa, within ASEAN. Let’s say, itong university na ito ay accredited doon sa Singapore, you can get an student exchange.

WEBB:                                                 But people probably don’t know that.

ANDANAR:                                      Well, that’s our task, for people to know that there are so many opportunities out there. Did you know that lawyers can go to Singapore and become lawyers, too?

WEBB:                                                 Ok, I didn’t. (Laughs)

ANDANAR:                                       And doctors go to Singapore to be doctors, Philippine doctors.

WEBB:                                                 Because of this ASEAN integration and relations. Well, that’s really good news. All right, so exciting times for the Philippines. I mean, number one, you have siyempre, ngayon ang pinag-uusapan is the Miss Universe pageant at the end of the month and then we also have the ASEAN, the chairmanship of the ASEAN coinciding with 50 years. So we’re going to take a short break. When we come back, we’re still going to have Secretary Martin Andanar with us and we’ll be talking about more controversial issues.


WEBB:                                                 We’re back and still with us, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar. Secretary, let’s talk about, I said, other controversial issues like LeniLeaks, number one.

ANDANAR:                                      Bring it on.

WEBB:                                                 What is the government’s stand on this? I believe the National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon is supposed to be looking into this, investigating this?

ANDANAR:                                      Yes, yes.

WEBB:                                                 Mayroon na po bang update dito?

ANDANAR:                                      So ang involved ho sa investigation is my office, Secretary Esperon, of course, being the National Security Adviser, and Secretary Rudy Salalima of the DICT because they have the online forensic experts.

WEBB:                                                 They have the equipment and the experts, okay.

ANDANAR:                                       You have to check kasi Yahoo groups, and you have to check the veracity of the document. And once you’ve checked it—but anyway, to cut the long story short, Secretary Rudy Salalima is already investigating this, and he will give us a report maybe within the week or next week.

WEBB:                                                 But, if he looks into it, what can he say about it? I mean, they’re e-mails. Let’s show some of the e-mails. Kasi iyong iba, Secretary, sinasabi naman what’s wrong with those e-mails? Sinasabi lang na hindi niya tinupad iyong kaniyang plano to finish drugs in this country in six months, so he should resign. Iyong ganoon ba, is that … ano ba iyan, is that tantamount to—

ANDANAR:                                      Acts of sedition or …

WEBB:                                                 Sedition, yeah. What do you think?

ANDANAR:                                      Ayaw kong pangunahan si Secretary Jun Esperon. But the fact is, this document leaked by a blogger and became viral for how many days until now—

WEBB:                                                 And then it’s called LeniLeaks.

ANDANAR:                                       It’s called LeniLeaks. And then, it has their propaganda strategies to either, well, discredit the former Senator Marcos, even discredit this government, undermine the government of President Duterte. So if these people have the right to throw brickbats, or to plan, to have a sinister plan to bring down this government, now we also have the right as Cabinet members to protect this government. Ms Lewis said that we have a low threshold for all of these criticisms, we don’t have a low threshold. It’s just a matter of defending the President.

WEBB:                                                 Ok. But what would her involvement be? How far?

ANDANAR:                                      Si Ms Lewis?

WEBB:                                                 Yes, Ms Lewis.

ANDANAR:                                       Her name is mentioned there. Her sister’s name is also mentioned there, and other cohorts from the US, and even the Office of the Vice President. I don’t want to judge now. I don’t want to say that kayo talaga iyon because we have an investigation going. But the fact is their names are there.

WEBB:                                                 Papaano kung sila nga? Hypothetically.

ANDANAR:                                       Papaano kung sila? After the forensic investigation at sila talaga iyon, now, Secretary Jun Esperon will have to decide what recommendation to give the President or the Cabinet.

WEBB:                                                 Do you have any idea Secretary what would be at the least recommendation and the worse? I mean, sedition is … you know, we’re just talking about possibilities.

ANDANAR:                                       (Laughs)

WEBB:                                                 Pero kasi kung iyong ending ng e-mail, one of the e-mails ‘di ba, parang join the Duterte Resign Movement, parang ganoon ano? Is there something wrong with that?

ANDANAR:                                       There is nothing wrong, because we have freedom of expression, di ba? Ganoon lang naman iyon eh. But then again, I just want to wait for that official investigation and I want Secretary Esperon to decide on this.

WEBB:                                                 Ok. Iyon na nga, so tinitingnan na lang niya. I guess the DICT, sila talaga iyong makakasabi na, number one, is this legit? Did it really come from where it was supposed to come from, etc.

ANDANAR:                                      And there’s no denial, apart from Vice President Leni Robredo who denied that she’s part of it. And it clearly shows that wala naman ang pangalan niya talaga doon as an active person, who—

WEBB:                                                 Playing an active role there?

ANDANAR:                                       First to note, is she capable…

WEBB:                                                 Ok. The vin d’honneur. Can you please clarify this for us: Was the Vice President invited through e-mail, December 28, and then retracted by phone on January 4? What’s the real story behind this?

ANDANAR:                                       Spokesperson Abella already released a statement last night, and saying that the President has the prerogative who to invite and who not to invite. I guess, the Office of the Vice President would just have to respect the decision of the President.

WEBB:                                                 Yes, but you’re not answering my question. Was she invited through e-mail and then disinvited? Is that true?

ANDANAR:                                       I saw the reports on TV and here in CNN, on online as well. I have not seen the e-mail, so I have to see the email.

WEBB:                                                 You didn’t ask? You’re the Communications Secretary. You didn’t ask if they invited her?

ANDANAR:                                      (Laughs) I’ve messaged already the Appointment Secretary—

WEBB:                                                 But you should have done that yesterday, right? (Laughs)

ANDANAR:                                       Yes, yesterday, I messaged yesterday. I haven’t gotten a reply yet. The point is—

WEBB:                                                 It’s the President’s prerogative.

ANDANAR:                                      It’s the President’s prerogative. If you’re invited, then good; if you’re not invited, then that’s ok.

WEBB:                                                 Yes, but her office was saying she was invited. I mean, that they were saying she was disinvited.

ANDANAR:                                       Ah, ganoon ba?

WEBB:                                                 Hindi ba iyon ang sinabi ng kaniyang spokesperson.

ANDANAR:                                      Iyon ang sabi ng spokesperson?

WEBB:                                                 Yes. I’m sure you know that – December 28 and January 4. Invited via email, December 28 – if I’m not mistaken – and disinvited via phone January 4.

ANDANAR:                                       We’ll see. (Laughs)

WEBB:                                                 Ok. The visit of Japanese Prime Minister Abe this afternoon, and also very interesting, he’s going to go to Davao.

ANDANAR:                                      Yes. So it’s exciting for everyone because this is the first head of state visiting the country this year, Prime Minister Abe. And we all know that when the President went to Japan last year, the President was warmly welcomed by the Prime Minister. He was a rock star in Japan, and it ended up with a banquet that went all through the night, tapos mayroon pang picture-taking doon sa mga tables. Anyway, it’s important for us Filipinos to recognize the fact that Japan is a country that gives us a lot of donations.

WEBB:                                                 ODA.

ANDANAR:                                      A lot of ODAs. And we should show our appreciation to the Japanese government by going out on the streets. If we know that Prime Minister is going to the street, mag-print tayo ng Japanese flag, ng Philippine flag and wave it. It’s one way of saying ‘thank you’ to Japan for all the help. And it is also the first time na mayroong head of state na pupunta ng Davao.

WEBB:                                                 Davao. I know, I know. It’s just really exciting time to also Davao City. We’re going to have to go, Secretary. Thank you so much for coming over. We wish you luck on the roadshow and educating the people on the ASEAN, chairmanship of the Philippines at the ASEAN 2107. Secretary Martin Andanar, maraming salamat po sa inyo.

ANDANAR:                                       Thank you rin, Pinky.


source:  Transcription NIB