12 March 2017

Duterte asks Filipinos to use PTV4 to air views
BAGUIO CITY–President Rodrigo Duterte attended the inauguration of PTV’s Cordillera hub encouraging Filipinos to ventilate their grievances through the state-owned television network.

The Cordillera hub, one of PTV’s hubs throughout the country, could be used by the people to air their sentiments like traffic condition and other complaints, President Duterte said. PTV is also constructing such hubs in Davao City and Cebu City.

“Alam mo pera ng tao ‘to. So gusto ng makita ng tao ‘yung anong, what’s happening in this planet. So they want to hear their countrymen,” the President said in his speech on Saturday, March 11.

The President said PTV 4 is for everyone. He also assured that he will never use PTV 4 as a platform for his personal gain.

“What I can assure you during my time is this: There will never be a time that I will use PTV 4 or its allied services there for my personal. ‘Di ko na kailangan. Just better, just tell me. Tell the people about me, the truth,” he said.

At the same time, Duterte stressed he will ask PTV management to use their discretion to the utmost, stressing he is ready to grant all government communication facilities the degree of freedom.

“Bitawan namin kayo and act just like a private and your template is really BBC,” the President said.

Meanwhile, he invited Moro rebels to join him in seeking lasting peace in Mindanao.

The MILF is about to complete the Bangsamoro Transition draft. Duterte said he will study the draft before submitting it to Congress.

The President also renewed his commitment to fight criminality, illegal drugs and corruption. He stressed that abuses being committed against ordinary people must be stopped.

Joining the President on Saturday were Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo, PTV CEO and General Manager Dino Apolonio, and Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan. ###PND

Duterte backs responsible mining, says must follow law that governs it
BAGUIO CITY—President Rodrigo Duterte clarified that his administration is not against the mining industry, but asserted that he is backing the position of Environment Secretary Gina Lopez to close down mines found to have violated mining regulations.

In a chance interview with reporters on Saturday, March 11, following the inauguration of PTV 4’s Cordillera Hub, the Chief Executive said his administration is committed to enforcing the laws covering the mining industry as a whole, including honoring contracts entered into by the government.

He also urged affected communities to elect good leaders who will be able to tap into enterprising new sources of income especially once the administration initiates plans for a decentralized federal form of government.

“We do not intend to close the mining industry. It’s well nigh impossible because there is a law governing the operation of mining. Pagka may batas, you allow it. Otherwise, if you want to do away with mining altogether you, abrogate the law or modify it to something else,” Duterte said.

“So ang mangyari niyan is the fait accompli diyan is you have to do works that Gina wants and she will reconsider her decision,” he said.

The chief executive however clarified that he is backing Lopez’s position on closing down destructive mines, especially ones which have been in operation for some time.

“But one thing is very clear, Gina has the passion for it and she wants compliance. She never said she is going to close permanently the mining companies so ayusin mo lang in accordance with the law. It is not Gina who is imposing the laws and regulations . Its the law and the environment, the need for the moment to improve everything here,” he said.

“Ako, I cannot compromise the environment. That’s very clear. So I am with Gina because I want to protect the Filipino people. It’s all public interest. We protect public interest. Period. No matter who gets hurt and that is what Gina is doing. She’s not really concerned about who owns it. She’s not interested in their money. And she’s just doing it the way a Cabinet member should do and that is ‘yung trabaho,” he added.

The President likewise said he plans to tap into the government’s earnings from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) to subsidize communities that may be affected by the mine closures.

He also said that the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is ready to provide food assistance to those affected by the closure.

“I am ready to extend financial help to those who are displaced sa temporary closure,” Duterte said.

Meanwhile, the President once again stressed that federalism could translate into a better way of life for those in the countryside.

President Duterte also commented on the criticisms connecting the administration with the incidence of deaths arising from the war on drugs.

“Well I disagree with the findings that the government is guilty or liable for those killings. We never do that. I am sure because I am willing to get the consequences,” Duterte stressed.

“There are a lot of human rights everywhere but they could be more circumspect and look at their own
backyard,” he added.

Meanwhile, the President said that he himself is against abortion.

“I am a proponent of family planning but I hate abortion. Di ko talaga pwede ‘yan…,”he said.

“I don’t know the state of mind of these guys promoting abortion and its not allowed under our laws and ako, I do not favor it. I hate it. But family planning, yes. Prevention of pregnancy,” he added.###PND

Duterte tells PMA graduates to serve nation with utmost dedication
FORT DEL PILAR, Baguio City – President Rodrigo Duterte attended on Sunday the commencement exercises of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Salaknib Class of 2017 encouraging the newly-minted officers to serve the Filipino people with utmost dedication and remain true to their oath of defending the country.

“To the Salaknib Class of 2017, may you always stay true to your class name and defend the motherland with all your honor and might,” the President said in his speech before the 167 fresh graduates who were commissioned second lieutenants and ensigns of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

“I have no doubt that you will do this because you are the cream of the crop. You belong to the batch who has successfully hurdled the rigors of the PMA from over 22,000 applicants,” he added.

The President warned them of temptations and pressures that they might encounter in performing their duties.

When facing hurdles, Duterte advised the graduates to just remember their roots and the people whom they have pledged to serve and always put their hearts and minds in the right place.

“Be vanguards of hope; be catalysts of change,” he stressed.

President Duterte also took the opportunity to thank all Filipino soldiers for their loyalty to the Philippine flag particularly those who have risked their lives to defend the country’s sovereignty as well as those who continue to work to build the nation.

“Rest assured that the government will reciprocate your valor and your unwavering courage by providing you with all the necessary support and incentives,” he said.

“This administration will give you and your families the services, benefits and entitlements that you rightfully deserve,” he added.

He said the government will provide the AFP with the proper equipment and weapons, particularly body armors, helmets and rifles as well as short firearms so soldiers could defend themselves when off-duty.

Duterte also pledged to provide flight simulators, radars, support patrol and assault vehicles as well as new surveillance and fighter aircraft in the next two to three years to be used to guard the country’s borders.

He said these initiatives are aimed to make AFP more effective in pursuing its mandate and improve capabilities of law enforcement agencies in battling crime and illegal drugs and in undertaking relief and rescue efforts during disasters and calamities.

“With our people’s continued support, we will have an AFP that we can truly be proud of—an AFP that will be at par with the rest of the world,” he noted.

The President also told the graduates to do their work with great pride, knowing that the government and the Filipino people are with them in every step of the way.

Powered by strong convictions and an unshakable faith in the Filipino, he encouraged them to overcome the challenges that lie ahead and usher in a great future for the nation.

At the same time, the President said the PMA has made history for having eight female cadets in the Top 10 of the academy’s graduating class for the first time including class valedictorian Rovi Mairel Martinez.

“With the highest number of graduating women in PMA’s history, this breakthrough is a fitting tribute to our mothers, sisters [and] daughters as we celebrate Women’s Month,” he said.

The President, meanwhile, pardoned all outstanding punishments of the Cadet Corps as part of the tradition when a batch graduates. The pardon will take effect today, Sunday.###PND

From the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson on the resumption of peace talks
The Palace welcomes the announcement of Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Jesus Dureza in Utrecht, The Netherlands, on the resumption of formal peace talks between the Philippine government and the Communist Party of the Philippines/ New People’s Army / National Democratic Front ( CPP/NPA/ NDF).

We remain hopeful that the leadership of the CPP/NPA/NDF can rein in its forces on the ground in reciprocating the efforts of the Duterte administration to move the peace process forward.

Peace-building, after all, is not the exclusive responsibility of the government. The burden is also shared by those who claim to speak for the underserved.

The resumption of the Peace Talks is a welcome sign that both sides are in agreement about the common good of the Filipino people.