Press Conference of Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella and DICT Secretary Rodolfo Salalima
Press Briefing Room, New Executive Bldg., Malacañang
08 November 2016

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Good morning, Malacañang Press Corps. 

Today we celebrate the third anniversary of the ‘Yolanda’ disaster. We celebrate the triumph of the human spirit, the human community, the Filipino people and the survivors and all those who stood with us, all the nations who helped us get back on our feet, the agencies, the organizations, and all who pitched in.

They, together with all the communities affected by ‘Yolanda,’ are living examples of what can be achieved when we work together.

‘Yolanda’ brought misery and grief to our people, but it has likewise provided us with many lessons in our pre- and post-disaster response.

On the part of the government, this ordeal taught us to exercise tapang at malasakit.

Politics and disasters, as they say, is always a bad mix. So we will have none of that in this administration.

The concerned department is now formulating new guidelines for the distribution of the employment shelter assistance to facilitate the speedy delivery of aid.

Let us continue to stand and work together and carry on to show genuine care and compassionate service for our countrymen.

Two other matters:

President Rodrigo Duterte said he will uphold the Paris agreement which seeks to cap the rise of global temperature resulting from climate change. 

During his speech in Malacañang, President Duterte said it took him and his Cabinet some time to discuss the agreement, which was agreed upon by the previous administration.

He did say that he would sign, he would sign the agreement, explaining that it was a unanimous vote for his Cabinet but after he and another member raised concerns. 

However, Duterte warned that although the agreement is a binding treaty, it does not have sanctions to hold countries accountable.

He said bigger and industrialized nations could violate it and the same time could not be forced to pay for damages. 

He also pointed out that the climate fund will not be used to pay for damage incurred by climate-vulnerable countries. Instead, it will be allotted for projects.

Regarding the signing of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, Nov. 7, signed an Executive Order creating an expanded Bangsamoro Transition Commission in an attempt to make the peace process in Mindanao more inclusive. 

From the 15, the new BTC will have 21 members tasked to draft the enabling law in establishing a Bangsamoro government in Mindanao.

Eleven of the members will come from the MILF, including the chairman of the BTC. Ten of its members will be nominated by the government. Three of the government’s nominees will be from the MNLF.

The BTC is expected to submit the draft law to Congress in the middle of the next year.

I’d like to open now ourselves to a few questions.


Rose Novenario (Hataw): Hi sir. 


Ms. Novenario: Good morning po. ‘Yung nakaraang press briefing po rito ni DSWD Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, ang sabi po niya ay naisumite na niya kay Pangulong Duterte ‘yung kanilang investigation report hinggil po doon sa ‘Yolanda’ funds na allegedly daw po ay 200,000 families po ang hindi nabigyan ng emergency shelter assistance ng Aquino administration. Ano po ‘yung update natin dito?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Since then, we have not received any formal updates but we’ll follow-up on that. Okay. Thank you.

Dreo Calonzo (Bloomberg): Sir, in an interview with CNN po, MNLF founder Nur Misuari said, expressed… I mean called the MILF traitors, parang expressed distrust towards them. So how will the government try to solve this rift considering that they will be sitting, their members will be sitting in one panel. How will this affect the peace process po?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: It will have to be settled, even before the process takes place. So, they’ll have to sit down together and be able to express their opinions and doubts and difficulties. 
But it will have to be resolved before they actually sit down.

Mr. Calonzo: Sir, wouldn’t this slow down the peace process?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: It’s part of the process of peace, you know, resolving difficulties and conflicts. Thank you.

Leila Salaverria (Philippine Daily Inquirer): Sir, just for clarification. When you say they have to sit down, are you saying the OPAPP has to mediate between the MILF and the MNLF? Because they’ll be sitting on separate panels to craft their proposals for a new Bangsamoro entity?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: The OPAPP will be in charge of settling those matters, yes.

Marlon Ramos (Philippine Daily Inquirer): Sir, will the President bring up the issue of the country’s claim on Sabah when he visits Kuala Lumpur within the week?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: We do not– the details regarding those matters but as far as I know, it’s not on the table, as far as I know. As far as I know, but I may be wrong.

Mr. Ramos: How would it affect sir ‘yung relasyon ng pagbisita ng Presidente sa Kuala Lumpur regarding doon sa sinabi ni Nur Misuari that Malaysia was behind the kidnappings in Sipadan?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: That was Nur Misuari’s opinion, so it will have to be… but the President himself did not voice that concern.

Leo Palo (DZME): Sir, balikan ko lang ‘yung ano, sa Yolanda. Nag… may Cabinet meeting naman ‘di ba and the Vice President was there also, hindi ba natanong si Vice President Robredo kung bakit hanggang ngayon wala pang pabahay?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Ewan ko po kung—It was a direct address, that sort of thing. It wasn’t directly addressed.

Mr. Palo: So wala pa until now? Kasi lahat naman, alam naman na nasa dilawan si Vice President. So parang ibinigay sa kanya ‘yung katungkulan na ‘yun bilang HUDCC and then until now parang wala pa. Ang mga taga-Amerika nagtatanong dahil pumunta siya doon, humihingi siya ng tulong, humihingi siya ng pondo. Bakit walang nangyayari?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: It’s something that we’ll just have to wait for the report, the final report coming from Secretary Judy Taguiwalo.

Mr. Palo: Thank you sir.

Henry Uri (DZRH): Sir, just a follow-up doon sa statement ni Ginoong Misuari about Malaysia’s—he tagged as a kidnapper. Are the government… is the government disowning the statement of Mr. Misuari?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Not disowning but not taking it own, taking it as it’s own position. Okay. That was Misuari’s position.

Mr. Uri: So ano ho ‘yung eksaktong pagkakatimpla doon ng gobyerno? Wala tayong… ang gobyerno walang ano roon, walang kinalaman sa sinabi niya?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Walang kinala—That was the position of Misuari and if it’s talked about in the sidelines, then it will be talked about. But it’s not the government position.

Mr. Uri: It’s his own?


Ted Tuvera (Daily Tribune): Good morning sir. Sir kahapon po may binanggit po si Secretary Delfin Lorenzana na magpapatuloy pa rin po ‘yung Balikatan Exercises as he presented it to the President, sir. Any thoughts on this sir, bakit nagbago po ‘yung posisyon ni President? Kasi sinasabi niya last na daw po ‘yung joint military exercise, ‘yung PHIBLEX po sir.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: This particular exercise is going to be the last, right?

Mr. Tuvera: ‘Yung PHIBLEX po sinabi niya, ‘yung last October, ‘yun na raw po ‘yung last pero sabi ni Secretary Lorenzana kahapon magpapatuloy pa rin daw po ‘yung  Balikatan sir?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: It’s a statement we’ll have to clarify with the Secretary. We’ll get back to you on that. Okay. Thank you.

Mr. Ramos: Just on the Paris agreement on climate change. When the President said he would sign the international treaty, is he joking or should the people take him seriously this time?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Why should he be joking about that?

Mr. Ramos: It’s a serious–?


Mr. Ramos: Sir can you tell us about the, exactly how the discussion went about the, were you there sir, kasi sinasabi niya na parang–

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA:  Basically ah, ah basically he, at the end of the meeting, Sec. Gina was tasked to go, to join the Marekesh, the Marekesh meet up, and she would come back, and, but basically the President already gave his implicit, his implicit agreement to sign, just as long as all the issues would be clarified. His main issue of course is climate the justice, he was very very concerned about climate justice and also, there were certain things that he was quite concerned about, like sanctions to be taken, if and when, because the agreement is supposed to be binding, he want a clarification regarding that. So, these are some of the matters that need clarification but implicitly, he does agree with it. He did agree with it, as he said so yesterday.

Mr. Ramos: Sir, the President said he and Secretary Yasay were among those who, actually they are the only ones who opposed the, the signing of the declaration of the Paris agreement. 

How about dun sa mga, among those who supported, sino ‘yung pinaka vocal about the signing of the agreement? 


Mr. Ramos: May we know your position, sir?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA:  My position is I don’t have any opinion.

Benjie Liwanag (DZBB): Good morning, Sir. Other topic. Yesterday, may sinabi si Pangulo na, sa mga reporters na… okay sir. May sinabi si Pangulo yesterday na inutusan lang bumilii ng tinapay, naging broadcaster na. Are you privy kung sino itong broadcaster na tinutukoy niya, sir?


Mr. Liwanag: Okay.

Tina Mendez (Philippine Star): Sir, may, may we know any updates dun sa rescue operations sa German national? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA:  It’s, it’s, it’s being undertaken. The whole matter is under investigation and there’s a process going on behind it. Thank you.

Ms. Mendez: Sir, last week may nabanggit din ang Pangulo sa kidnapping sa Binondo, of six nationals, dineny, may denial, tapos ngayon may clarification nagang NCRPO. Any update?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Basically the, the, I think recently, Senator Lacson made mention of that, okay. So, there seems to be an acknowledgment regarding the matter, okay, thank you. 

I would like to make a correction regarding the statement that today, regarding ‘Yolanda,’ the ‘Yolanda’ event. We remember the third year anniversary, and, but we also remember the triumph of the human spirit. 

Ted Tuvera (Daily Tribune): Sir, regarding po dun sa, sir regarding po dun sa sinabi kahapon ni Presidente na kina-cancel niya na po ‘yung pagbili nung mga armas sa U.S., Sir, how do you reconcile ‘yung statement niya kasi ‘yung unang sinabi niya may, pwede naman siyang bumili sa ibang bansa, pero sinabi niya towards the end ng speech niya na “hindi naman natin kailangan ng armas”. How do you reconcile ‘yung ganung pagkakaiba, sir, ng statement niya. 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA:  From what I understand from the statement, he said pwede, although he, there’s caution in the statement, in other words, there’s a, he said that what’s the purpose of purchasing so many, so much arms, otherwise it would be used, would it be used against the Filipino people.

So there is a certain caution that he asked himself, although in terms of purchasing, it can be purchased from other places. 

Mr. Tuvera: Sir, may binanggit din po si Pangulo last week na gusto niya raw po bumili ng missile sa Russia, is that a joke, sir? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA:  Probably so, probably so. Maybe it’s a lighthearted statement.

Henry Uri (DZRH): Sir, regarding sa ‘Yolanda’ ho, anong ilalatag na ngayon ng Duterte administration sa pabahay, livelihood, sa matagal ng hinihinging tulong ng mga biktima ng ‘Yolanda.’ Anong–?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA:  I think that’s part of the report of Judy Taguiwalo, it’s going to, is finalizing and, and laying out. So we’ll, we’ll ano, as soon as the report is made clear and final, then we can discuss that. 

Mr. Uri: Meron na ba tayong certain amount na pinag-uusapan sa Palasyo kung magkano ang ilalabas na pondo ng gobyerno para sa ‘Yolanda’?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA:  I don’t have the amount for that.

Nel Maribojoc (UNTV): Sir, suportado po ba ng Malacanang ‘yung version ng Lower House na emergency powers? Kahapon idinetalye nila ‘yung nilalaman ng emergency powers. It includes ‘yung preventing lower courts to issue TRO on programs to, para sa traffic programs, traffic crisis. Then ‘yung rationalization of PUVs. Supportive po ba tayo dun SA–?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA:  It would be have, it will have to go through Sec Tugade’s ano, opinion, and so we’ll just have to wait until the, he come up with the final statement.

Mr. Maribojoc: But, are we on target? Kasi by December yata ang kanilang target to pass the emergency powers nung…

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA:  Well, yeah, I suppose we are still on target considering that it’s still November, December is coming up. Thank you.

Mr. Ramos: Sir, how do you respond to criticisms that the brazenness of the killing of mayor Espinoza  and other drug suspects who are already detained, or already in custody, were actually a result of the President’s remarks about the drug war and about–?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA:  You know, the death of Mr. Espinosa does not add to the gain of the government nor to the President. There is nothing to gain in that situation. So, it’s something that really needs to be examined and investigated properly.

Mr. Ramos: Do you think sir, that the policemen who are behind those killings, not only of the death of Mayor Espinoza, but of others na nahuli na but they were killed while in custody. Do you think that’s directly a result of ‘yung mga strong statements ni Presidente in public, papatayin niya ‘yung drug pusher that…

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA:  I think the better thing is to really refer to this as part of the, this is a side comment, this is already opinion, but what does the President have to gain– what is to gain from having those people allowed to be killed while in custody? So, the better part of, the better part of the understanding of this matters would be to consider that it is our part of, in terms of killings, of drug related deaths, drug trade related deaths. 

So, its not a question of being incited by, being incited by the words of the President, I think these are actually actions taken by certain parties who are interested in the elimination of those parties who are being decimated. 

Mr. Ramos: But, alien nga sir eh, there are several cases already of, yun nga of, yung persons are already in custody, they are already arrested, and yet they’re still, what, as, what Senator Lacson said, are summarily executed.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA:  I think that’s an unfortunate way of describing the situation because that would assume that those people who are being killed are because of state sanction. So, it really is not. It’s not the best part of, its not the best way to describe the situation.

Reymund Tinaza (Bombo Radyo): Hi sir, good noon, good morning. Sir, na-clarify na ba sa PNP or NBI, na-clarify na ba sa PNP or even sa NBI ‘yung nireport ni President previously na six cases of kidnapping in Binondo over the past three weeks. Kasi parang it, it appears na parang ‘yung NCRPO are, ika nga parang blinded, or nowhere to find these cases daw. 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I think based on Senator Lacson’s report yesterday, his statement yesterday, I think he’s already, there is an acknowledgment that the situation really exists. 

Mr. Tinaza: Sir, dun sa cancellation of the purchase order of the 26,000 assault rifle from US, categorical, what was the real reason? Is it because of the alleged pagharang ni Senator Cardin or it’s because actually not necessary to buy new weapons for the PNP?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA:  Well, based on the statement of, based on the statement of the President, he said he could look elsewhere. So, in other words, an alternative is being provided although it’s not necessary that he may actually purchase the whole matter, the whole 26,000 because he said, what’s the cause, what’s the reason for actually loading up on artillery. 
Mr. Tinaza:
 So it’s actually… Yeah. 


Mr. Tinaza: Sir it was actually cancelled because it is US?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKEPERSON ABELLA:  That’s your statement, that’s not my statement.

 Mr. Tinaza: Thank you.

[Event in Shangri-la with Sec. Salalima]

SEC. SALALIMA: So we now have someone from the greatest sponsor and it is also is Malacañang. And we need to hear from the Office of the President. And person who will deliver the address from the Office of the President is someone I knew quite well when I became the Secretary of the DICT because during Cabinet meetings, we are seatmates together with the  Secretary Andanar, Mr. Pernia, and the Budget Secretary. 

This person, he is only human to our mind, (…) This person is very good-natured, he is a very, very (…) person, very rationale.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present now to you the defender of the Filipino, the defender of Malacañang, the Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Ernie Abella.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKEPERSON ABELLA: Secretary Rodolfo Salalima of the Department of Information and Communication Technology; Honorable Congressman Cesar Sarmiento, Chair of the House Committee on Transportation; Executive Director Julito Vitriolo of the Commission Higher on Education; Undersecretary Eliseo Rio of the DICT; Undersecretary Dennis Villorante of the DICT, industry partners, media, and fellow public servants, good morning.

In his first State of Nation Address, President Rodrigo Duterte addressed the national traffic situation and called it a crisis. saying congestion impedes the mobility of people, goods and services and threatens the livability of our cities.

He also urged government agencies to make use of the computers, which is as graphic way of saying that government needs to leapfrog into the information age and make full use of information technology to deliver more efficient public service.

Metro Manila’s massive traffic gridlock costs the economy,  according to studies, 2.4 billion pesos a day in business losses opportunity costs, (…) expenses and lost income owing to the lost of time and decreased productivity. 

These are moneys that we can ill afford to lose and which we proposed can [plowed?] back into productive use to the societal applications of ICT, information and communication technology solutions.

Our workers, employees, business, households, and students spend many unproductive hours on the road not only in Metro Manila but also in highly urbanized areas a Rizal, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, and Metro Cebu. 

The root cause being the lack of roads and inadequate mass transport system. While we expect the needed public infrastructures to be addressed within a few years, the negative economic result caused by massive traffic jams, cannot wait that long. Information technology can provide the necessary intervention. 

For example employees can telecommute, instead of physically travelling and thereby help unclog blocked traffic arteries.

In this different forms telecommuting refers to teleworking, tele-presence, tele-learning. Through teleworking the employee utilizes communications and I.T. solutions, so he or she can work from home or an alternative worksite as they would in the traditional workplace.

Through tele-presence, small groups can have face-to-face meetings through video conferencing and remote presence technology.

Education can greatly benefit from tele-learning technology. Public schools and government learning centers, can allow students and faculty to hold classes and school activities… and school activities without being physically together on campus. 

This is especially helpful for community-based learning, TESDA courses and continuing adult education. In this regard DICT is

leading government-wide telecommuting efforts.

Since telecommuting technology is broadband internet-based, DICT is facilitating and accelerating public access to the internet by expanding the broadband structure throughout the country, ensuring connectivity and lower cost for high-speed remote and mobile access.

To promote the concept of telecommuting, it is important to have significant public private partnership and a public policy-enabling environment.

For example, the private sector in partnership with the government sector aim to develop and provide ICT solutions, lasting systems, ICT-based traffic management, parking management, carpooling, installation of high-speed Wi-Fi zones along congested roads.

These incremental efforts to mitigate the traffic crisis as government continues to expand and improve the road network and public transport of the country.

The responsibility of providing a more comfortable life for every Filipino, as the President said in his inaugural speech, cannot be done by a single government agency, but only through the collaborative effort of all agencies in partnership with private industries.

It (…) to Bayanihan, an ancient Filipino value that we need to rediscover as we pull together in our quest to build a nation that serves the Filipino people’s interests ahead of personal gain, believing that as we give, so also we receive.

We are confident that this forum will be a success with the draft EO to be recommended to the President. We thank the organizing committee, the DICT agencies, the individuals and partners in the industry who have collaborated to make this event possible.

Thank you for lightening the load. Mabuhay tayong lahat.

SEC. SALALIMA: Thank you Secretary Abella.

Vanz Fernandez (DZRJ): Hello sir. Yes. Good morning sir. This is with regards to the BPO industry. I think that the President mentioned last time that we would be able to get out of this BPO industry with the United States now. What can this, DICT do with this kind of – what you call – what can this be DICT do with this BPO industry in the Philippines?

SEC. SALALIMA: Right now we are experience volume problems. I think it would be (…) that I go there and explain (…) but this is precisely the problem that we are facing in our country right now.

We still have to improve (…) structure so that thing things like these will be minimized. Actually, (…) is that Malacañang had a fire drill, 9 o’clock in the morning, they cut off all the electricity in the whole compound of Malacañang. And (…) doing very fine before 9 o’clock, ut when you out on the power button, then (…) more or less consider these things in our, the wind, (…). 

Thank you very much. (…) we could do this later (…).

Secretary Abella, thank you very much for gracing our summit.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Our pleasure. Thank you very much.