Press Briefing of PCO Secretary Martin Andanar, DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez, and  National Security Adviser Secretary Hermogenes Esperon
Melia Hotel, Lima, Peru
20 November 2016

SEC. ANDANAR: Welcome po sa APEC Philippine Media Press Conference. Kasama natin ngayon si Secretary Mon Lopez ng DTI at bibigyan po tayo ni Sec. Mon ng kanyang rundown tungkol sa mga nangyari noong mga nakaraang dalawang araw. I believe nauna ka ‘no?

SEC. LOPEZ: Oo, nauna kami ni Secretary Yasay dahil noong Thursday, Friday, iyon ang tinatawag na APEC Ministerial Meeting. So all ministers of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Industry had that conference on Thursday, Friday so this is what they call AMM that will lead to the Leaders’ Meeting this Saturday, Sunday. So… 

SEC. ANDANAR: Yeah, alamin natin kay Secretary Mon kung ano ‘yung mga napag-usapan pagdating sa trade and industry, pagdating sa kalakalan at kung sino ‘yung mga nakausap ni Secretary Mon Lopez in the past few days.

SEC. LOPEZ: Okay, thank you, Sec. Martin. Parang ‘yung ulat natin sa bayan, nagkaroon talaga ‘nung ano ng conference itong APEC.

APEC is a conference of 21 economies at ibig sabihin ‘non itong grupo na ito nag-uusap-usap ito every year, more than once a year pa ito and really talking about how we can really promote prosperity in the region.

Promoting prosperity would mean encouraging flow of trade, goods, services, economic cooperation, promotion of — ‘yung mga recent discussion on micro-SMEs dahil ‘yon po ‘yung itinutulak din ng Pilipjnas.

Economic cooperation when it comes to ‘yung exchange of experts, technical experts that will help each other.

Reduction in mga trade — non-trade barriers at saka mga non-tariff measures para mas mapaganda ‘yung flow of goods and services.

Meron ding pinag-uusapan on human capital development…[Welcome muna natin si Sec.] [Secretary Hermogenes Esperon enters the room]

SEC. ANDANAR: Welcome muna natin si Secretary Jun Esperson.

SEC. LOPEZ: Yeah, so ituloy ko lang. Nasaan na ba ako? Ah iyong human capital.

So human capital naman ibig sabihin tulungan iyon in terms of promoting ‘yung education, mga training, skills transfer, at… Of course, in our case, itong maganda, in the conference naman nila President Duterte  with other leaders yesterday, President Duterte really proposed ‘yung what we have been doing in the Philippines and if there can be more cooperation in the APEC region with respect to, of course, magkaroon ng tulungan sa poverty allegation.

In our case, of course, Philippines’ case, we’ve been talking about helping the bottom of the pyramid. When it comes to…And in our country, that means ‘yung mga micro, small tulungan — micro, small, medium enterprises.

So pagdating doon, the power of mga training, mindset change, empowering the bottom of the pyramid so that — we believe in empowering the bottom of the pyramid, you empower the nation.

And kasama diyan ‘yung training, mentoring, access to capital, access to market. And then when we talk of access to market, iyong pag-promote ng mga digital technology, e-commerce sa mga micro-SMEs. It is recognized as a way to really improve ‘yung access to market especially by the micro-SME because as we all believe technology is a great equalizer. Hindi ka kailangan magkaroon ng pwesto sa isang commercial center para makabenta ka. And MSMEs, marami nang gumagawa noon na through social media nakakapag talagang benta sila, marami ng lumaking negosyo dyan.

And that is being supported by APEC in general. And to support naman the micro-SMEs, of course, we are talking also of having infrastructure — the right infrastructure development. And, of course, we all know, the President would always prioritize infrastructure on Day One. Hitting the ground running when it comes to infrastructure development. Ang dami ng inapprove recently ng — the NEDA board. In just few weeks, nakadalawang meeting na ang NEDA board approving several infrastructure projects that will really facilitate again ‘yung operations, lower the cost of production in our country and also ‘yung connectivity sa — and logistics pag-export ng mga produkto.

So when we talk of micro-SME, we are talking of the digital using Internet and e-commerce and at the same time the infrastructure that will deliver the goods and services. And then, of course, ‘yung lowering the cost of operation ‘pag nandiyan na ‘yung infrastructure, ports, airports, sea ports, farm-to-market roads, all those infrastructure.

And we all know that ‘yung infrastructure budget natin has been increased from three percent to five percent of GDP. So it’s a big support immediately, right from the start of the administration. So that’s the big help.

So after MSME, infrastructure, we cover again the human development, human capital. And then in human capital, the President highlighted the basic needs eh. If we want to really bring back dignity to the the Filipino people, we make sure that there is food, they are fed ‘di ba? Nakakain ka na ba? Ano ba…

SEC. ANDANAR: Pambayad sa ospital.

SEC. LOPEZ: Are you healthy? You know, ‘yung developing health care system and then the health care system, make sure are you safe ‘no? That’s why ‘yung peace and order campaign ni President Duterte it’s really known worldwide, ‘yung war against drugs, bringing down criminality as well as corruption. Corruption that encourages flow of investment. Kasi si President mismo is always reiterating na if you are an investor, I’ll be the one to protect your investment. Parang gina-guarantee niya na if you encounter any corruption, talk to me and I will talk to those guilty. Iyon ang promise niya sa lahat ng investors.

He is one that is really promoting investment. So, tatlong aspects sa human capital and the last aspect, of course, is education. So, making sure na ‘yung education system natin at saka ‘yung — we have a population that’s empowered, that’s educated because ‘yung health, education iyan ‘yung mga importanteng aspect ng human development so that we will have a sustainable development, long term ‘no. You have an educated manpower backing your trade and industry development, and agriculture development.

SEC. ANDANAR: Sec. Mon, bago natin kausapin si Sec. Jun Esperson pagdating doon sa maritime security, transnational crimes, ikwento natin sa media kung ano ‘yung napag-usapan doon sa bilateral ng China at ng Russia pagdating sa trade and industry at export and import bilateral relations.

SEC. LOPEZ: Ah okay, yeah, yeah, thanks, Sec.

Noong Thursday, Friday, at the trade and industry secretary level, we’ve had several bilaterals muna ano. Ikwento ko muna ‘yung we’ve had bilaterals with Chile, with Hong Kong, with…I forgot the others. Basta merong mga bilaterals eh, three or four or five bilaterals. Then with the President naman, yesterday we had bilaterals with China and Russia.

Ang bottom line doon, of course, on the China we all remember that we had that recent state visit. That state visit talagang malaking nagawang improvement sa relationship natin with China.

I guess on a personal level as well as at an official level, nagkalapit talaga ang ating dalawang leaders between Philippines and China.

With that renewed friendship, it really opened up a lot of opportunities. Now, we are talking of economic cooperation na dati hindi masyadong pinag-uusapan.

For example, sa trade lang as we reported last time and ngayon na parang nagkwento si President Xi Jingping that immediately after that visit, they — he commissioned a team that will see through, they follow through ‘yung implementation of all those discussed in the state visit.

For example, in buying more fruits from us. So, I took note of a report sent to me the other day na meron ngang Chinese delegation that went to the country, closed a transaction that committed to buy 100 million dollars worth of fruits from the Philippines, primarily mga banana ito. That’s about 100,000 tons na…And if…For prospective, isang transaction pa lang iyon. As far as I remember, our banana exports to China is about 700,000 tons a year. So ang laking percentage kaagad nito just for one transaction.

Of course, the…A follow through when it comes to…. The President of China reiterated the financing facility made available for the Philippines. I think it will be through Eximbank. Not to mention that there is also the three-billion dollar facility from Bank of China for mga industrial and infrastructure projects.

So, trade…And, of course, the infrastructure… The other infrastructure projects that we can start studying and also hopefully implementing in general ano.

Kasi when say infrastructure covers a lot as we reported last time, transportation, even railways and aside from private business to private business discussions, joint ventures, cultural exchange pinapalakas pa ngayon, exchange of experts, technical cooperation just reiterated.

Ang maganda they…And also I think October 20 they lifted out the travel advisory. So sabi ni President Xi Jinping, we expect a lot of tourists. There will be a sharp rise in tourists. And we reported to you last time from 500,000 typical number of Chinese tourists, it can easily double. Also we have to be prepared with the infrastructure, mga hotels, para ma-absorb natin ‘yung tourist because China sends out about 100 million tourists a year. So konti pa lang ‘yung napupunta sa atin and tayo ‘yung malapit na kapit-bahay. So, iyon ‘yung mga ano — iyon ‘yung mga napag-usapan, so far.

On Russia naman. Again, it’s our first time to have that bilateral meeting.  Very good rapport again immediately with President Putin and we can only look up, I mean, nowhere to go but up because it’s really a relationship that offers a lot of opportunities dahil halos walang nangyayari before eh when it comes to trade and investment with Russia.
Russia, of course, commits to sabi nila I think from several million dollar imports from the Philippines, they are saying immediately I think on fruit and other products, they can easily bring up daw — they project to bring up imports from the Philippines to the tune of about 2.5 billion dollars. So, ano kaagad ‘yon kaagad ‘yung na-estimate nila. 2.5 billion dollars, that’s a number they quoted na…

Bernie Magkilat (Manila Bulletin): From how much, sir?


SEC. LOPEZ: 80 ba ang sinabi? 80 ano? Basta less than…

SEC. ESPERON: Million.

Ms. Magkilat: From?

SEC. LOPEZ: 80 million dollars, oo. Kasi less than 100 million dollars eh.

SEC. ESPERON: Exponential.

SEC. LOPEZ: Oo eh. So ang laking kino-commit kaagad. Not to mention they commit to help in mga energy…

SEC. ANDANAR: That’s the potential.

SEC. LOPEZ: Oo, energy and infrastructure [sandali ha tingnan ko lang ‘yung iba pang item] machine engineering, hardware, modernizing mga industrial machineries, railways lalo na ‘yung mga long range railways, port infrastructure, mga monorails, mga light transit transport system, agriculture, of course, tourism — we can expect more Russian tourist and ‘yung cultural development. Of couse, the other side of this is ‘yung commitment nila to work with us on mga counter terrorism, counter drugs, law enforcement, education finance, and I’ll leave that to Secretary Jun naman.

Rocky Ignacio (PTV-4): Pero, sir, is this the first time na ang Russia ang nag-invite ng Philippine President for a state visit?

SEC. ESPERON: No, we had a state visit of President Ramos and President Arroyo.

Well, if you trace the history of those visits, it would be 1970’s when we established diplomatic ties almost at the same time with China.

Ms. Ignacio: Bilateral meeting with former President Gloria Arroyo?

SEC. ESPERON: I don’t think there has been but there had been — the leaders have talked during APEC.

Rose Novenario (Hataw): Iyong state visit po, sir, ng Philippine president to Russia?

SEC. ESPERON: Yeah, I was with the ’97 visit of FVR.

Ms. Ignacio: So, nag-state visit? So after Ramos ito?

SEC. ESPERON: GMA. Then I am not aware of…

Ms. Ignacio: PNoy?

No. I don’t think there was.

Roices Naguit (TV-5): Sir, doon sa counter terrorism, anong klaseng tulong ang ibibigay ng Russia?

SEC. ESPERON: Ah well, we are in APEC so we would most likely be talking about trade and economics here ‘di ba.

But remember, there should be an environment that we should maintain or strive to put up to be the twin of all economic developments. It works both ways. Kung wala kang economics at saka trade at walang security environment, hindi maganda. Iyong security naman, nae-enhance ng economics at saka trade hindi ba, it works both ways.

So…But I think from my own side here and we have been discussing this, APEC is an opportune time to simply put into work your instruments of national power, you are talking about diplomacy, information operations, kailangang iulat din natin ang ating ginagawa kung saan dapat makarating ‘di ba? Then economics is one of the instruments. Then military, legal, intelligence, finance, you can also consider geography as well as your population. Iyon ang mga instruments natin. They are all into play now supporting economics and at the same time supporting the overall national security. So ganun lang naman interplay.

Now, let’s go to the…Nauna ang China, nauna ang China. And I would characterize the bilateral as a follow through, a big follow through of the big state visit.

Remember that we had more than 20 agreements both commercial and government-to-government in Beijing and now, there is now a follow through of all this. On the economic side, only last week, the National Development Reform Council of China visited us and met with our economic team led by among others si Secretary Dominguez, sa trade, to follow through on the agreements in China.

On the security side, we again talked yesterday, the two leaders clearly talked about maritime arrangements because that’s one of the committees that was agreed upon in Beijing.

The implication and the effect of this is that there will be more coast guard-to-coast guard relations in areas like Scarborough and, of course, in other areas of the South China Sea, West Philippine Sea.

If you do that, more of coast guard that means — that simply means that there is a degree of demilitarization in the area. Demilitarization. Because coast guard is a civilian. We call that the white ships going there. Compared to gray ships going to Scarborough.

But what is very clear now is there is an appreciated…There is an expression of appreciation from the President of his satisfaction in knowing that our fishermen can fish in Scarborough as is naturally done or traditionally done. While we may at this time set aside the negotiations or the issue on territorial ownership of Scarborough because Scarborough is entitled to 12 nautical miles as per tribunal ruling. We do not set that aside but we consciously think of it. However, we go into more productive activities like fishing and more maritime cooperation and on land ‘yung sinasabi ni Secretary Mon Lopez ‘yung ating mga trade and commerce relations.

Lynda Jumilla (ABS-CBN): Before you leave that point, I just want to ask, the last time that the fishermen were able to go to Scarborough talagang nakapag-fishing sila doon sa area and they reported “a very good catch”. But at the same time, they also said that the Chinese ships are still guarding the parang entrance of Scarborough and they cannot go in. So was there any discussion yesterday about either pulling out the ships or allowing the fishermen to go inside?

SEC. ESPERON: It is our position not to have fishing activities inside the triangle — parang triangle kasi ‘yung Scarborough. At the bottom dito sa kanan na leg, dito sa corner, right corner is the opening.

Correct, there are two coast guard ships there of the Navy, of the Chinese coast guard. But that is our — also our position to make that as a sanctuary.

And, in fact, if I may tell you now, we are coming out, the President has decided to declare that as a sanctuary. That is a unilateral action from government. That means so what is happening now? I think we have — we have reporters from ABS, GMA, ano pang mga channel? Everybody. DZRH. You want the people there, sige kayo na lahat. Lahat na kayo. Hindi parang na-report kayo lahat nandun.

But the observation, as we would now confirm is that kung ganito ‘yung Scarborough, may dalawa dito sa opening ng coast guard, iyong lahat ng fishermen nandito sa labas ng triangle. That is the desired arrangement.

Ms. Jumilla: Including the Chinese, sir?


Ms. Jumilla: Are there Chinese inside that fisherman…

SEC. ESPERON: No fishing there. In fact, as far as I know, there are — there had even been seasons when they would close it, closed season.

To us that’s good but what is important now is we are coming up with an instrument in the form of a marine protected area declaration

Ms. Ignacio: But what will happen doon sa mga fishermen na iyon lang…I mean ‘yung nga ‘yung forms of ano nila — livelihood…

SEC. ESPERON:  No, no, no. But the harvest…But the catch just outside is actually good.

SEC. LOPEZ: Iyong fish naman umaandar.

SEC. ESPERON: Kung dito ka sa loob, ang nahuhuli mo doon maliliit pa, spawning ground iyan eh, spawning ground. Imagine an area that is almost as big as Quezon City, iyon ang iyong spawning area, nasa loob.

SEC. LOPEZ: At saka ang ating mga coast guard more of parang alagaan ‘yung mga fishermen, parang ganun lang.

SEC. ESPERON: So, walang confrontation but we are there to take care of our fishermen even now our fishery ship is there. So, wala na ring fill in Navy doon.

Dexter Ganibe (DZMM): So paano kapag may masamang panahon kasi ginagawang kublihan iyon ‘di ba kapag…

SEC. ESPERON: That becomes an alley, a shelter. It becomes a shelter allowed iyon sa…Kaya maganda ang maritime, ang coast guard na nandoon because we take care of safety of life at sea. Ganun ang mga ini-implement diyan.

Ms. Jumilla: Sir, sorry lang, just to finish the point. So pumayag ba ‘yung China? Did the President inform President Xi about the declaration to make it a [sanctuary]?
SEC. ESPERON:  He said about it. Whether there was a response or not there was already…

SEC. LOPEZ: Hindi ang malinaw sinabi niya na kaya kung magpapadala ng ships tayo is really to take care of the fishermen.

Q: So we are sending…

SEC. ESPERON: Yes. The Coast Guard had been going there. They have been…They report to us sa ngayon ha, I think there is at least one Coast Guard sit there. So…

DJ Yap (Philippine Daily Inquirer): Sir, there are no feedback from Xi about the proposal?

SEC. ESPERON: Alam mo itong mga agreement that is not part of an agreement. We are working on that. Very oriental. I mean, whatever you want to call to it but…

Q: It was an agreement…

SEC. ESPERON: Whatever you want to call it, what you see is what you get. We used to be shooed away.

Mr. Yap: And he is open to that idea?

SEC. ESPERON: What do you mean? Well, remember China even sent some technicians already to Zambales to talk to the fishermen. 

Mr. Yap: But on this particular proposal, sir, on this particular proposal to declare sanctuary?

SEC. LOPEZ: Kasasabi pa lang eh.

SEC. ESPERON: Kasasabi pa lang eh. Iyong… At saka ‘yung hindi ko naintidihan ‘yung sinabi eh. [laughs]

I mean there was simultaneous translation ‘di ba?

Ms. Ignacio: Confidence building muna, sir.

SEC. LOPEZ: Hindi sasabihin ko ‘yung ano, may feedback si…But not on this, in general feedback. Ang maganda si President Xi Jinping, in general, ito ang sabi niya…Maybe just to set ‘yung tone din ‘nung discussion na sa umpisa pa lang sinabi ni President Xi Jinping ‘di ba piniraise (praise) niya si President Duterte for ito ha “leadership”, “patriotism”, “humility”, “love”, and “sincerity to the Filipino people”.

He viewed him as a principled man sabi ni President Xi. And then sabi niya, “President Duterte does what he says.” So parang…So kung titingnan mo ‘yung mga ganung views ng isang leader to another leader, you can see the element of trust there and confidence and lagay ‘yung loob niya. So parang magka-ano na sila, magka-ano na sila…

Henry Uri (DZRH): Are the two countries coming out with a formal agreement?

SEC. LOPEZ: Sa mga bilaterals wala eh.

SEC. ESPERON: On which? We have several committees.

Mr. Uri: On declaration.

SEC. ESPERON: From the joint statement of the China visit, you go back to the website of DFA and you will see there the joint statement. Nandun lahat eh.

And the general idea now is to simply follow through on those agreements. Kaya nagkakaroon na…Iyong National Development Reform Council nila pumunta na sa atin. That’s the highest development planning…

SEC. LOPEZ: At saka ano, they were told that NDRC from China iyon ‘yung point person or council nila. Ang sa atin naman, ang equivalent, we appointed also ‘yung NEDA Board na Investment Coordinating Committee, ICC. Parang ito naman ‘yung ating screening committee of all the projects that we will do with China and also the process, we look through that process. Remember, we were talking about some of the proposals– study stage, exploratory, and then pagka found feasible, io-open up for ‘yung mga proposals na and bidding. So yun yung magsi-see through that process, sa ICC.

Q: So ang sinabin ninyo po, Sec, parang oriental na di na kailangan ng–

SEC. LOPEZ: No, these are these parang siguro in general–

SEC. ESPERON: There will come a time. There will come a time.

SEC. LOPEZ: Yung mga general, shall we say, relationship, ano naman yan eh, informal naman talaga yan eh. But when you go to the actual transactions, yun na yung may mga agreements.

Henry Uri (DZRH): So sa news pwede namin sabihin na pinayagan na?

SEC. ESPERON: Hindi pinayagan. Because we are not asking them to allow us. Dapat maliwanag sa atin yun ha.

We are not asking them to allow us… We are out of sheer courage ng fishermen natin at saka dire need to go into economic activities, nakapangisda sila doon at hindi na sila itinataboy.

So bakit nagkaroon ng ganun? And it came after the visit. So sasabihin ba nating effect yun ng ano?

Mr. Morong: Sir, for clarification–

SEC. ESPERON: But we did not…We were not allowed kasi lagi kaming binabato ‘pag sa… “We were allowed to fish?” No. We were not allowed to fish. We went fishing. We went fishing.

SEC. LOPEZ: Kasi ano pa yun eh, ‘yung contentious issue nga ‘yun na we’re just putting aside. Kasi nga…

SEC. ESPERON: Ano yan eh, that’s a traditional fishing ground kasi. Hindi ba? 

SEC. LOPEZ: Hindi pinag-uusapan yan eh.

Mr. Ganibe: Iyong unilateral declaration, sir, ipinaabot niya kay Xi?

SEC. ESPERON: Sinabi niya.

SEC. LOPEZ: Sinabi niya nga eh na ano — na we will declare it, mag-e-EO siya declare it a sanctuary.

SEC. ESPERON: You imagine this. The bilateral is scheduled for 30 minutes. Tapos meron siyang prepared statement, may prepared statement dito.

Within that 30 minutes, hindi mo masagot one to one hindi ba? Nakipag date ka na ba lately? May iniisip pang ganun. Di ‘ba? Meron kang iniisip na sasabihin  pero hindi niya masasagot lahat kaya kung minsan, hindi niya ako nasagot. Hindi ba Rose? [laughter] Parang ganun lang yun.  [media teases Secretary Esperon: Parang may hugot?”] Hindi…Kaibigan ko kasi si Rose eh kaya…Parang kayo din.

At saka ano lang naman ito…Remember na sa relations natin sa China, the sum total is not Scarborough. Mas marami pa tayong pinaguusapan eh.

Kaya meron tayong joint committee on trade, joint committee on maritime, joint committee on – anim yata iyong committee– and we will have also a joint committee on the South China Sea.

SEC. ANDANAR: In fact, sabi nga ni President Xi Jinping and he really emphasized that we are off to a very, very good start and because of that, the Chinese President invited us to attend—invited the President to attend two major events next year.

SEC. LOPEZ: So merong ano, so dahil nga sa magandang relationship, inulit niya ‘yung invitation to attend the BRICS Dialogue in September in China next year as an ASEAN Chair kasi, ang Philippines. Isa pa yung Belt and Road Forum nila on May 2017 din. Belt and Road so ito naman ‘yung mga economies na along that belt and road strategy ng China.

Ace Romero (Philippine Star): Sir, regarding doon sa ano — sa declaration, ‘yung unilateral declaration. At least they are not preventing us from coming up with a declaration?

SEC. ESPERON: Tulad nga ng sinabi ko, actually doon tayo nagkakaroon ng congruence ng gusto rin doon eh

Kung ayaw nila magpa-fishing doon, tayo din naman ayaw nating magpa-fishing. So it will come out naturally.

Ms. Magkilat: Sir, is the President coming up with an executive order for that?

SEC. ESPERON: Yes, yes.

Ms. Magkilat: When?

SEC. LOPEZ: Soon. Kayo kasi nabanggit niyo na eh.

SEC. ESPERON: I’ll tell you that in the security cluster, we will meet next week and submit the papers.

Ms. Ignacio: The recommendation will come from you or the suggestions will come from the—

SEC. ESPERON: Actually, ang marine protected area, which is an implementation also of the provisions of the NIPAS Law – National Protected Area System – yan ‘yun mga areas kaya nagkaroon tayo ng – magkakaroon ng marine protected area sa Davao, meron  ‘yan sa Samal, ‘di ba ganoon? So implementation na ito and it is within our EEZ ‘di ba.

Mr. Morong: Sir, itong ano natin, slow moving but I think surely moving na negotiation? You can call it that?

SEC. ESPERON: I would not even call it slow moving eh. Fast, fast.

Mr. Morong: Very careful?

SEC. ESPERON: Measured.

Mr. Morong: Measured, yes, measured. Sir, some are saying, baka mamaya naman we are giving up na our win in the tribunal?

SEC. LOPEZ: No, no.

SEC. ESPERON: Well, what is – No, no, no. The President has always said we will not get out of the four corners of the tribunal.

But that will be… There will come a time to discuss that fully. So are we giving it up or we are just doing…Alam mo kasi sa strategy meron ‘yang envelopment, sidestepping, meron ‘yung frontal attack, ‘di ba? Meron yung, ‘mahal mo ba ako?’ Ganun kaagad eh [laughter] — Sabay lang lingon sa iba.

Mr. Morong: Sir, how would you describe our dealings with China? How would you describe ‘yung ganyang strategy natin with China now?

SEC. ESPERON: Very… I must say, very effective. Very effective rather than…Ang mangyayari kasi ‘pag ginawa mong win ako or lose ka, ‘di ba? Walang mangyayari doon, kailangan lumalabas ‘yung mga outcomes na win-win. Kung sa Ilokano pa, wen-wen.

Ms. Novenario: Sir, ‘yung magiging EO on declaration doon sa sanctuary in Scarborough. Anong…Pwede ba namin yun i-interpret as preemptive move para doon sa implementation nung PCA decision?

SEC. ESPERON: Wag kasi medyo ano yung preemptive eh kasi para mong iniisahan yung isa eh.

SEC. ANDANAR: Ito ‘yung verbatim na isinagot ni President Xi Jinping. After nabanggit niya ‘yung

Q: In Chinese, sir?

SEC. ANDANAR: Galing doon sa interpretation. Sabi niya: “We will mobilize government forces to promote our agreements, step up guidance to create favorable environment.” Iyon ang sinabi niya pagkatapos mabanggit ni Presidente Duterte ‘yung kanyang unilateral declaration na gawing marine sanctuary.

SEC. LOPEZ: At saka sinabi ni President, he will issue executive order.

Ms. Magkilat: Sir, because this is unilateral, are we also expecting reciprocity on the part of China?

SEC. LOPEZ: Shall we admit that to you? Shall we expect?

SEC. ESPERON: ‘Pag ‘yun bang sinabi mong…Ay hindi na bale baka sabihin niyo iba nanaman ang sinasabi ko. ‘Pag sinabi mong mahal kita at hindi siya nagsabing mahal kita eh, ibig bang sabihin nun hindi ka nag-e-expect?

Ms. Naguit: Sir, Secretary Yasay also mentioned that China has offered to provide training for the fishermen. May we know what kind of training?

SEC. ESPERON: That’s exactly ‘yung sa Zambales at saka Pangasinan. Iyon na ‘yon. They want to see…Pero ano lang ‘yun, that’s part of the agriculture.

Remember that we have a committee on agriculture also. That’s part of it. So makita mo? Sinabi mobilize government machinery to…

SEC. LOPEZ: Ang bilis nga nila eh.

SEC. ESPERON: Ito mabilis. Nagulat nga ako, parang tingin ko. Uy, may nakapasok ah. Pero hindi na ganun ang iniisp ko eh. Hindi na.  Iba na ang tingin eh. Hindi nag-paalam sila sa ibang agency, arranged pa nga ‘yun.

SEC. ANDANAR: Hindi, mabilis talaga. They want the agreements implemented.

Mr. Uri: They have mutually agreed?

SEC. ESPERON: Exploratory but in the name of cooperacion en fiscalla.

Mr. Romero: Iyong ibang areas, Sec, halimbawa ‘yung Ayungin hindi ba nila haharangin?

SEC. ESPERON: Ayungin is what…Matagal nang hindi hinaharang ‘yon. Matagal na.

SEC. LOPEZ: Wala nang harangan iyon.

SEC. ESPERON: But I will tell you that we will also in advance na baka i-declare din natin marine protected area ‘yung mga banda na ‘yon.

Mr. Ganibe: Magkakaron ba, sir, ng later–  kasi ‘di ba meron pa tayong mga ban kapag mga ganitong season? Doon ba sa Scarborough meron ding ganung ipinaplano na merong isang month na walang mangingisda?

SEC. ESPERON: We will leave that to fisheries kasi hindi natin alam yung seasons eh.

SEC. ANDANAR: Hindi, kasi maritime sanctuary nga. So meron siyang lugar na kasing laki ng QC na hindi pwede mangisda. So you would just imagine the fish will triple the number of—of fish, tapos ‘yung kanilang mga coral reefs ‘di ba? Eh alam naman nating wala naman passport ‘yung mga isda. So ‘pag dumaan ‘yan.

SEC. LOPEZ: Wala silang nakikitang triangle doon. Tuluy-tuloy lang sila doon.

SEC. ANDANAR: Tuluy-tuloy ‘yan.

Ms. Ignacio: Sandali lang po bago mag-Russia. Iyong other…Iyong mga contested areas like ‘yung mga Ayungin and other areas parang anong plano ng government doon? Same with Scarborough Shoal to declare a sanctuary unilaterally?

SEC. ESPERON: Matagal pang usapan ‘yan. But if you will look at the South China Sea, nandiyan ang Paracels and the Spratly group, ‘di ba? Iyong Paracels, wala tayo dun, Vietnam at saka ano nandun but andyan ang Woody Island, which is an Air Force base right now.

Dito naman sa Spratlys is where the Kalayaan island group municipality is located. We have occupied eight islands: Taiwan has one; China has seven; Vietnam has 25, nandun tayo lahat. So ‘yun ang inaayos natin na in the long of time, we hope to….

Mr. Morong: Sir, pa-soundbite lang ‘yung sa marine sanctuary, pareho tayong hindi pwede ha? Chinese and Filipino?

SEC. ESPERON: Yes, of course.

Mr. Morong: Sir, sino ‘yung hindi pwede?

SEC. ESPERON: Pwede tayo…

SEC. ANDANAR: Lahat hindi pwede.

Mr. Morong: Iyong hindi pwedeng pumasok sa Scarborough?

SEC. ESPERON: Remember that Scarborough — Bajo de Masinloc, Panatag, ano bang gusto niyo? Yung Pilipino kalboro.

Ms. Jumilla: Anong term doon sa ‘yung area na inside the triangle, anong term dun?

SEC. ESPERON: Sa loob ng tatsulok. Lagoon. Inside the lagoon.

Mr. Morong: Sir, bawal pareho?

SEC. ESPERON: Bawal pareho. They have been imposing that. We will also impose that.

SEC. ANDANAR: You can go in but they don’t fish. Because it’s a maritime sanctuary nga eh.

Q: May sanctions?

SEC. ESPERON: Alam mo, ‘yung mga bilateral, nagsisimula ‘yan sa desire for unilateral declarations or nagsimula ka sa unilateral, mapupunta ‘yan sa bilateral in due time.

Mr. Yap: Sir, in your knowledge, there was ever a time that there was fishing in that lagoon?


Mr. Yap: I mean that is a policy on…That they not allow fishing there? How do we know?

SEC. ESPERON: How do we know? Meron tayong ano eh satellite pictures, meron tayong reports.

Mr. Yap: And what are they doing there? They are just watching over there?

SEC. ESPERON: Yeah, sort of.

Mr. Romero: Pero ‘yung how about ‘yung kahit wala sa lagoon pero endangered species? May mga poachers kasi ‘di ba na–

SEC. ESPERON: That is constant.

SEC. LOPEZ: Bawal na sa batas iyon.

SEC. ESPERON: That is constant like if you get the endangered clams, corals, ano yan eh, bawal sa ano yan eh CITES ‘di ba? Pero pangingisda sa labas eh…

Mr. Romero: So, sir, i-impose din natin…In the event na merong…

SEC. ESPERON: Let us not even talk about imposing now our will on the neighbor. ‘Wag mong pipilitin at baka…  You know a Rose is as Lynda as possible. [laughter] Your relations will get Rocky. [laughter]

Ms. Novenario: Sir, ano po ang sagot ni President Vladimir Putin doon sa anti-US sentiments ni…

 SEC. ESPERON: Bago natin iwanan ‘yung China, nandun pa rin ‘yung ating cooperation on narcotics, anti-drugs, terrorism, transnational crimes. So meron tayong mga…Remember na sila ang nagbigay ‘yung ating malaking rehab center

Ms. Naguit: Sir, sa kanila kasi galing naman ‘yun…

SEC. ESPERON: But that is not to say it is government… Magkaibang bagay ‘yun kasi may problema din sila sa drugs. Wag naman ganun.

SEC. LOPEZ: Oo, huwag naman ganun. Kaibigan na nga pag-aawayin niyo pa. Gusto ninyo away.

SEC. ESPERON: Kung gusto mong sabihin na ganun eh sayo nalang ‘yan.

SEC. LOPEZ: Haka-haka.

Ms. Novenario: Sir, Russia na. Sir, ano po ‘yung sagot ni President Putin doon sa anti-US sentiments ni President Duterte kahapon?

SEC. LOPEZ: Hindi naman siya anti-US eh ‘di ba? Anti-critic.

SEC. ANDANAR: Hindi, kasi first time mag-meet si Presidente at saka si President Putin. So it was merely setting the context of the argument of the President way before. At ine-explain niya lang kay President Putin kung ano yung naging dahilan kung bakit nasabi ni Presidente itong mga ‘yung mga sinabi niya noong mga nakaraan.

Ms. Novenario: Sir, ano na po ‘yung sagot ni…?

SEC. ESPERON: Ang sagot ni, generally, ang sinabi ni President Putin is that, we share your sentiments and your…We share your sentiments and ano ‘yung sinabi niyang word?

[overlapping voices] 

SEC. ESPERON: Wala siyang sinabing ganun.

Ms. Novenario: May sinabi siyang America –

SEC. ANDANAR: No, the Western hemisphere is part of the globe.


[overlapping voices]

SEC. ESPERON: Merong sinabing, “our assessments coincide in many respects.” Ibig sabihin marespeto sila.

[overlapping voices]

SEC. LOPEZ: At saka may sinabi siya na maganda ‘yung parang — naging moves ni President Duterte na ‘yung firm siya, ‘yung ganun. Iyong parang, may sinabing at least maganda yung ano niya naging firm siya. At siguro, in a way, parang hindi na siya apihin, something like that. Hindi ba? In the future.

Mr. Morong: Si President ‘di ba sabi niya medyo idol niya si Putin. So after the meeting, what he said to you?

SEC. ESPERON: Hindi naman niya sinabing “idol kita”. This is not because you’re in front of me that I will tell you that I have high respects for you ganun lang.

Mr. Morong: And how was the actual meeting? Natuwa ba siya na nakausap na niya finally si…?

SEC. ESPERON: Pati nga kami natuwa eh.

Mr. Romero: So, Sec, anong aspects ‘yung pinag-agreehan?

SEC. ESPERON: The President invited, of course the, our President to visit.

Ms. Ignacio: Umoo na si Presidente?

SEC. ESPERON: I think very so.

Ms. Jumilla: December na sir, huwag na kayong bumiyahe.

SEC. ESPERON: Hindi very soon ha. I think very so. Iba yun.

Mr. Yap: Sir, doon sa our assessment on both sides and high respects, did he say anything else? Did he express any disagreement with some of the things that the President said?

SEC. ESPERON: You know in the…Ganito na naman ang porma nun ano, iba naman — 30 minutes pero successive translation. So ‘yung 30 minutes mo naging 15 nalang kaya na extend sila ng 15.

Q: So 45 minutes? One hour?

SEC. ESPERON: I don’t know parang medyo matagal pareho.

Mr. Yap: Ano pa ang sabi aside from sharing the sentiment?

SEC. ESPERON: Oo. Maraming cooperation. There were a lot of offer on trade, agriculture…

SEC. LOPEZ: Iyon nga iyon parang na-appreciate niya ‘yung stance, ‘yung pagiging firm leader ni President Duterte. Parang, in a way, pinuri niya na ano, dapat lang, ganun, hindi ba. Na may respect, may dignity.

Peng Aliño (DZRB): Is that the reason why SFA is going to Russia, because of the invitation?

SEC. ESPERON: Yeah, I think the Secretary is going with Secretary Lorenzana. Ako sana yung pangatlo pero tapos na kami eh.

SEC. ANDANAR: First week of December.

SEC. ESPERON: December 3 or something.

Mr. Romero: Sir, do you agree sa sinabi niya in several respects?

SEC. ESPERON: Anong several respects? In many respects. Kaya nga respectful dahil may plural eh.

Mr. Romero: Sir, kasama ba dun sa agree siya sa pambu-bully diumano ng US? Naniniwala ba siya na nam-bubully ang US?

SEC. LOPEZ: Wala naman siyang sinabing ganun.

Mr. Romero: Does Putin share the same sentiment?

SEC. LOPEZ: Hindi naman sinabi iyon eh. I mean hindi ganun ang sagot ni Putin. Hindi naman niya sinabing I agree in those words eh.

Q: Pero hindi rin niya…

SEC. LOPEZ: Let’s not dwell on those kasi…Negosyo nalang.

SEC. ESPERON: Linggong-linggo tapos ganyan ang mga tanong ninyo.

Ms. Magkilat: Sir, what comprised yung 2.5 million dollars?

SEC. LOPEZ: Well, yun din. Sinabi nila, we were talking then of of ‘yung mga pwede nilang bilhin from us.

So if I remember right, they were discussing din ‘yung mga agriculture products that they can import. So very broad, hindi rin ini-specify kung anong mga produkto. But I  understand, we supply them also in huge quantity ‘yung banana as our main export, mangoes. So obviously ‘yon ‘yung  mas marami…Parang  with these kinds of discussions, parang mas open na ngayon yung mga trading opportunities, more, more export opportunities.

Mr. Romero: Sa trade volume, Sec, ilan bang percent ang Russia ngayon?

SEC. LOPEZ: Maliit lang ‘yung Russia sa atin. We’re…The number I remember iyon nga 80 million dollars. So imagine that’s too small compared to our total 50 billion dollar –

Mr. Romero: Less than one percent.

SEC. ESPERON: We buy more from them because of oil.

Mr. Romero: So pagpasok nila, definitely tataas yung share?

SEC. LOPEZ: Yes. Definitely.

Ms. Jumilla: Sir, yung BRICS na event next year, it’s going to be held in Russia?

SEC. LOPEZ: Yes. Ah, wait. Ang nag-imbita kanina China. China ‘yun pero Russia is kasama doon, Russia is included there. Iyon ‘yung invitation kanina sa China. BRICS.

Ms. Jumilla: Ang nakalagay kanina doon sa kay Yasay, sa Russia ang event.

SEC. LOPEZ: Hindi. Kasama ang Russia kasi ano yan eh, Brazil, Russia, ano pa ba? India, China, South Africa.

Ms. Jumilla: Parang sinabi niya kasi na President Xi invited President Duterte to the BRICS event in Russia.

SEC. LOPEZ: Paki-correct nalang, paki-correct. At saka iniimbita doon ‘yung ASEAN chair of the year kaya since Philippines ang chair… Hindi personal. Syempre, sa China parang looking forward to—you know, you’re my friend, come over, ‘di ba ganun?

Mr. Morong: Si Presidente– sound bite lang – absent siya sa gala kahapon?

SEC. LOPEZ: May sakit. Masama ang pakiramdam.

SEC. ANDANAR: Hindi kasi ‘nung pag-ano, pagpasok ko doon at nakausap ko si Secretary Yasay, ang sabi ni Secretary Yasay sa akin, dito ka nalang umupo katabi ni Mrs. Yasay doon sa – kasi doon ako uupo sa taas kung saan si Presidente naka-assign umupo dahil nga masama ang pakiramdam.

SEC. LOPEZ: Noong ano palang, last meeting that kasama natin si Presidente, yun yung nung afternoon, ‘yung sa Pacific Alliance at saka yung Mark Zuckerberg session, so that’s the last meeting in that afternoon. Nung natapos yung meeting, binubulong na niya sa amin ni Bong, ni Sec Bong na masama pakiramdam  niya baka hindi na ako maka-attend mamaya.

So parang, hindi nga siya masyadong makasalita noon eh. Although, he was reading yung materials during the meeting with Zuckerberg pero right after the meeting. So sabi niya masama ang pakiramdam niya baka hindi na ako maka-attend ng dinner.

Ms. Ignacio: Migraine, sir?

SEC. LOPEZ: Hindi sinabing migraine.

Mr. Yap: Kay Mark Zuckerberg, did he engage in–?

SEC. LOPEZ: Wala, wala naman. Kulang din yung oras eh. Hindi rin lahat naka-raise. Basta maganda yung discussion naman.

Mr. Morong: Sir, nagkita ba sila ni Obama?

SEC. LOPEZ: Ako hindi ko alam.

SEC. ESPERON: We could not determine the direction of the eyes of both.

Mr. Morong: But there was a chance they were in one room.

SEC. LOPEZ: Of course, leaders yun eh. Noong first meeting yata.

Mr. Morong: Sir, nagpansinan ba?

SEC. LOPEZ: Wala kami dun eh, leaders lang kasi yung nandun eh.

Mr. Ganibe: Sir, originally, doon sa gala dinner dapat, kung pupunta si Pangulo, sinong katabi niya? Kasi si Yasay tinabi lang din dun sa mga representatives – 

SEC. LOPEZ: Hindi natin alam kasi nasa dulo si—

SEC. ANDANAR: Usually kasi ‘yung arrangement kasi, depende ‘yung arrangement pag bago ka lang na leader, dun ka sa medyo malayo. Tapos  yung mga medyo matagal na, bandang gitna. Pag talagang pa-exit ka na, malalaglag ka na doon sa dulo.

Ms. Jumilla: Hindi siya alphabetical or–?

SEC. ANDANAR: May method sila pero the method is if you’re a new leader, dun ka sa pinaka—

Mr. Morong: Alam ba ni Presidente talaga ‘yung sa date sa Marcos burial?

SEC. ESPERON: Alam mo hindi ko naramdaman eh because it was a go. So ang usapan namin is itong byahe na ito so whether–  ako din naman tinitingnan ko may novena pa eh.

So it was a purely…I mean, the matter of interring your father or your parent is–  was left to the family and when they decided, balikan mo ‘yung sinabi ni General Resty Padilla, Jr. Sinabi niya na we were notified at 5 o’clock then so we prepared.

Ms. Jumilla: 5 o’clock in the morning?

SEC. ESPERON: Di ko pala na check yun kung 5 o’clock in the ano.

Ms. Jumilla: Sir, ito nalang ang tanong ko because there are still rallies and parang demonstrations and protests. Do you see any possible threat, security threat with these continuing rallies?

SEC. ESPERON: I would rather look at it as a democratic expression of sentiments and beliefs. So magkakaroon ng rally ‘yan, I would expect, just like what happened, there was a rally at the People Power monument na umabot ng 2,000 then right on that night nag-decide na mag-call off.

The following day, meron namang… Bumisita ulit yung pamilya Marcos sa Libingan at may mga supporters din nandoon na umuwi din pagkatapos.

You would expect na merong kanya-kanyang plano as a matter of democratic advocacy. So nandyan pa rin issue… bBt as a threat, I would like to think that everything has been done in due process.

May legal decision, may Supreme Court decision pa, ipinaubaya ng Presidente doon ang decision and when there was a decision, they simply interred the former President.

Ms. Jumilla: So the government, especially the security cluster will not take any steps or anything to —

SEC. ESPERON: If we have to we will. But security cluster as it is, we always, you know, it doesn’t disappear from our horizon.

Mr. Yap: Going back to the gala dinner, kasi, sir, meron nang precedent eh, he skipped an event and then masama ‘yung pakiramdam niya but later he admitted that he did it intentionally because he didn’t want to go so parang–

SEC. ANDANAR: You’re referring to the ASEAN East Asia Meeting? ASEAN-US meeting? He skipped that then now, the gala? Hindi naman.

Mr. Yap: Was he trying to avoid someone?

SEC. ANDANAR: No, not really. Everyone was there, the leaders who were supposed to attend, they were there.

Mr. Yap: Parang this would have been a good opportunity for him to…
SEC. ANDANAR: Sa palagay ko kung masama ang pakiramdam, pagod, jetlag. Kung tayo nga naje-jetlag at this age.

Mr. Romero: Ang problema kasi ‘yung sinabi rin ‘nung officials sa Laos masama ang pakiramdam then he came, sabi, ‘no, “I deliberately skipped that out of principle”.  Baka naman ganun din ang mangyari ngayon?

SEC. ESPERON: Tingnan natin. [laughter] Ay ano ba ‘yung sinabi ko? Nag-uusap kami ni Rose eh.

SEC. ANDANAR: Thank you, thank you.

Mr. Romero: So officially wala? Hindi niya iniiwasan si Obama or?


[overlapping voices]

SEC. ANDANAR: Kausapin ko muna si Presidente kasi nagre-request kayo ng…

[overlapping voices]