Press Briefing with Presidential Spokeperson Ernesto Abella and Senator Allan Peter Cayetano
New Executive Bldg, Malacañang
28 October 2016

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: You know just to give a little bit of an insight, last night at — was that 12:30? Or 1 a.m.? At the Davao Airport, the President himself led the singing of a happy birthday.

So today’s a resource person is Senator Alan Peter Cayetano. He is the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. His part of the President’s delegation to Laos, Indonesia, Vietnam, Brunei, China, and Japan. Among other things Senator Alan has advocated for a better life for poor Filipinos. He pushed for presyo, trabaho, kita to reduce prices create more and better jobs and to raise income for families.

He was also the primary author of the RA 10648 also known as “Iskolar ng Bayan Act of 2014”. I particularly invited him to join us this afternoon simply because we a—being with him during the past several visits to other countries, he has shown—I observed that he has shown an extraordinary grasp of a — of a Philippine relations with other countries especially his insights into the President and the intentions of a — of President Rodrigo Duterte.

So without further ado, I’d like us to welcome Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, please.

SEN. CAYETANO: Magandang hapon po sa inyong lahat. It’s an honor and pleasure to be here to you but medyo sentimental lang. Kasi 14 years ago, on this day, I brought my dad to the airport to go to the US for a check up but it turned out that he needed a transplant and dito ‘yung opisina niya sa baba. But I haven’t been here much but it’s a pleasure to be here. 

But this time rather than challenging news are good news. Yes, for some of you it’s a roller coaster but I still believe it’s good news it’s good news. So if I can start in just a short introduction.

Through God’s grace and mercy on our nation, President Duterte’s diplomatic initiatives have been highly effective and it’s immediately bearing fruit. And we will expect that this will continue in terms of delivery of projects, funds that will be a product of goodwill that he has worked for because it seems that the one-on-one diplomacy is the one of the things that the President has mastered or it’s a natural in.

While unsettling at times, it is part of the resetting and the correction of our foreign policy. Talaga pagka-inuproot (uproot) mo ang isang policy and especially foreign policy, there will be giant ups and down ‘no.

To just give you an insight into some learnings over the trips and as chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations. You know, all politics is local, this is repeated by all politicians. But was isn’t often repeated in foreign policy is that, all foreign policy is based on local politics. And what is this?

First, the national values. Ano ‘yung kultura mo? Ano ‘yung tradisyon mo? Ano ‘yung values mo as a people? Second, national needs. Ano ang pangangailangan ng iyong mga kababayan? At pangangailangan niyo bilang ng isang bansa? Together the national values and the national needs, come together as the national interest. And when you talked about the national interest, the President together with the leaders of the country have a vision, from this vision you have goals, and you cannot achieve these goals without plans, and from these plans you have strategy and tactics.

Some people confuse the President’s tactics or strategy with the present President’s foreign policy. And we can go on to that later sa question and answer ‘no. But a good example is how he deals with people who criticize the drug war ‘no. That’s not about foreign policy that is really about the strategy or the tactics in dealing with the foreign policy.

The foreign policy has not changed. What has changed is the strategy in implementing it. In terms, for example, of the drug war. What is our national needs? Ano ang pangangailangan ng ating bansa? Unang-una, peace. Peace sa kaliwa sa mga komunista. Peace sa ating mga kapatid sa south and all over the Philippines. Mga kapatid natin na ang kanilang religion ay Islam para ang Kristiyano at ang mga Muslim at iba’t ibang mga religion sa—nagpa-practice ng iba’t ibang religion sa ating bansa, will live in a multi—cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-religious society and we can work and live together.

Peace leads to development, but peace can only be had if you have security. So isang part din ng peace is freedom from the dangers of crime. And from the dangers of illegal drugs. With these, development can come and with development the dignity of life: jobs, healthcare, education, housing, income and prices or presyo, trabaho, kita that will allow us to provide for our families and allow us to create a society of equal opportunities. Hindi ‘yung mayayaman lang o ‘yung malalaki lang, makapangyarihan lang ang naghahari.

That is why President Duterte is fighting so hard and that is why he gets easily angry when there are moves to stop him, or stop us in our drug war; or there are moves to stop us from achieving our goals; and, lastly, ‘pag may nakikita siyang na-aapi.

So having said that, I hope I provide a simple paradigm or way of seeing how the foreign policy is being implemented.

Question, kailangan ba ng paglilinaw? Yes, but we are at the phase one. Wala pa siyang 200 days. Ina-uproot pa niya ang mga maling policy dati. President Aquino. President Aquino changed policy towards China about a year and a half into his administration or after the visit sa China ‘no. And we give him all the leeway because in our country it’s the President—who is in charge of foreign policy… May I also recognize that Secretary Andanar is also with us to here today.

So anyway, let me stop there, because I know you have a lot of questions about this trip and many other trips. So let me just put in record, it was very, very, very, successful. It created an almost unstoppable momentum. Why almost unstoppable? Of course, situations are fluid. There are a lot of things that can happen but can you imagine with a very, very good relations with Japan in the last five years, but Prime Minister Abe and President Duterte agreed together that we will bring the relationship to new heights.

And of all the foreign visits, Prime Minister Abe socialized ‘no with the whole delegation going from table-to-table graciously posing with us for pictures. And graciously engaging some short questions.

When world leaders go off program or off protocol in a face-to-face diplomacy this is a very, very good news because this means that the relationship is really warming.


Rose Novenario (Hataw): Good afternoon, Senator. Ano po ‘yung pagtanggap ng overseas Filipino workers na naka-base sa Japan sa drug war po ni Presidente Duterte?

SENATOR CAYETANO: Ang pagtanggap kay Presidente Duterte at pagtanggap sa drug war niya necessarily nakatali. Because especially during December bago noong campaign pinupuntahan talaga siya ng mga seaman at ibang OFWs na ilang araw lang ang break sa Pasko para sabihin sa kanya, “Sir, kami na bahala sa kikitain namin. Kami na bahala magpa-aral sa mga anak namin. Ikaw na bahala sa safety nila”. Hindi ba? Until now, my wife can’t get over ‘di ba that teenager na napakaganda ng pangarap.

Alam mo meron kami taga-Taguig, na student of Architecture, ni hindi kumuha ng scholarship namin dahil ayaw umabsent ng one day. Hindi bale ng hindi niya makuha ‘yung 10,[000] to 50,000 makapasok lang everyday doon sa lamay niya ipinakita lahat ng drawings niya napakagaganda even the city, pinatay. I mean dalawa talagang sunod- sunod ang pagsaksak ‘no.

Iyon ang inaalala ng mga parents eh, abroad eh. I mean even kayo sa mga may anak, your number one concern is their safety. Of course, their future, but you do not have a future if they are not safe eh. If they can’t come home, what future are we talking about?

So that why I said kanina: yes, it’s unsettling. Meron talagang mga arguments sa human rights ano ‘yung paraan. But doon sa question that should we fight drugs? Yes. Should we declare war on drugs? Yes.

Ang problema culture eh. Ang Europe kasi at US eh mahigit tatlo, ap — siguro 600 years naka-experience ng war. Kaya ‘pag sinabi mo sa kanilang “war” iba ‘yung naiisip nilang giyera eh. If we use “campaign against drugs”, alam mo hindi ganun kalakas ang ally ng Europe at US. So question, why don’t we just use the word “campaign against drugs?” Dahil baligtad naman sa Pilipino. Kapag sinabi mo sa Pilipino campaign, ang dating nangangampanya ka lang, nakikiusap ka. Kapag sinabi mong war, alam mong seryoso ka.

So sino ang uunahin natin? Ang mga Europeans at saka US na hindi hindi nagsu-suffer naman sa nagyayari sa atin or sarili natin? So that’s what I am saying that it’s unsettling because abroad kini-criticize tayo, pinapalabas may mass murder, et cetera na hindi naman totoo. Pero duty naman nila intindihin ang kultura natin. Tayo ba nagco-comment tayo, nagra-rally ba tayo everyday, nagfi-file ba tayo ng resolution sa UN kung bakit legal ang abortion sa Amerika? Eh sa atin human rights violation ‘yan. Walang kalaban-laban ang bata papatayin through abortion ‘di ba? So what would the US President’s feel when they visit the Philippines? We will announce to the world, everytime you come here we will ask: Why do you kill the unborn? ‘Di ba? We don’t agree with them but we are courteous enough to understand their sovereignty and their morality and their concept of human rights.

So is it too much for us to ask: Come here, take a look for yourself and we will show you that this drug wag is a war against drugs and it’s being done in accordance with international human rights standard. But if you tell us to change our language to suit you, that will not help our campaign here.

So that is the reality ladies and gentlemen. Again, it’s unsettling to others but that’s the reality.

Reymund Tinaza (Bombo Radyo): Hi, sir, happy birthday. Ah, anyway. Sir, I understand you have also been part of the close delegation of the President during his closest bilateral meetings with the Japanese counterparts. Was there any — any of those events, either formal or informal, any of those Japanese officials ever mentioned their — or raise concern over that separation — that actuation of the President towards or against the US which is a staunch ally of the Japan?

SEN. CAYETANO: I cannot talk about matters that happened in confidence and when the cameras are out of the bilateral meetings ‘no. But in the first part of the bilateral meeting, after the greetings of the Japanese Prime Minister, all the cameras were still there. So narinig naman nila, narinig naman ‘nung lahat ‘yung statement ng Presidente about the relationship with America and the relationship with Japan.

Now to answer your question directly, the way the diplomacy works, is that, the heads, President to Prime Minister, President to President, Foreign Secretary to Foreign Secretary, hindi nag-uusap diretso kaagad ‘yan. They send a number of staffers, aides, Asecs, Usecs to talk muna to bring up the point muna, para walang init ng ulo.

And even before we left, of course, there were some concerns by the Japanese counterparts because they are aligned with the US policy especially in the West Philippine Sea and South China Sea and East China Sea also.

There were concerns expressed. But there were informal gatherings like a dinner, wherein the President and the high government, high Japanese officials, were able to talk about this. And while they might not agree totally, they came out with a very good understanding of why.

Even the Japanese businessmen in the business forum, were telling our officials, “it’s correct you shouldn’t be pushed around.” So, and even in the, some of the meetings, ‘no, the Japanese just simply emphasized that you understand our relationship with the US and we are aligned with the US, but you are our brothers, we are friends. So that was the track.

I’ll give you another example of something like that that works out. US, South Korea and Japan are allies. But Japan and South Korea do not see eye to eye on many, many issues. Yet they remain friends and the US is able to have good relationship with both. So, under that circumstance or that paradigm, there is no reason that President Duterte cannot have very, very good relations with both Japan and China.

In fact, some Japanese businessmen said, “Our benefit is we’re slow but we’re sure. But now, with what happening in the Philippines, we have to be fast but still sure.”

Kasi may competition na eh, ‘no, its not only American and Japanese money coming in — the rest of the Southeast Asia and Asia ‘no. Even Brunei is interested in investing may pera din sila. Of course, China nakita niyo ‘yung laki ng ilang bilyon ang papasok. And competition is always good.

Question, can Japan play a role in bringing the US and Philippines closer together? Yes, they can, why not? But its really up to the new winner or the new President of the US whether they will take the same tact taken by President Obama and Ambassador Goldberg in the first 100 days of the President, which the Cabinet and the President deemed offensive and disrespectful of his campaigns, of his visions, of his [unclear] or if the new US President would take a step back and say we are old allies, it’s time to renew our friendship, let’s talk.

The President has never said no to people who has asked him humbly or asked him with dignity or with honor: Sir, can we talk.

Mr. Tinaza: Sir, was there also an instance wherein the Japanese officials may have brought up, I mean, directly or indirectly their concerns or whatever their thoughts on the alleged killings due to the anti-drug war?

SEN. CAYETANO: Again, I cannot talk about specifics, but personally I did not hear any. All I heard was full support. Because, one, the Japanese has closer cultural ties with us. Number two, they don’t only have businesses here, they have expats here whose safety was also, always the concern. Remember the kidnappings in the ‘90’s.

And, third, I don’t know if their Foreign Ministry have better interpreters that the State Department because for them, when the President say certain words, nata-translate ‘yung context eh. If it’s an expression or a first expression rather than cursing a person diretso, it’s translated to them eh.

So when the President also says like yesterday ‘di ba anong sabi niya? Sa Isabela, may nawala na mga gamit at sabi niya sa mga pulis: ‘patayin ko kayo ‘pag hindi isinauli ‘yan’. So anong sabi ni Presidente: ‘Maniniwala naman kayo? Siyempre ‘yun ang language ko, ‘yun ang naiintindihan ng pulis eh.’

So, sa Japanese ganun din eh. Look at the Americans ‘no, if they say: Terrorists, please stop. Will the terrorists stop? They adopt language that come hell or high waters, they will use everything they have to go after terrorism. But that’s not considered human rights violation, that’s not considered, you know, pushing people to commit murder against terrorists.

But tayo, when they don’t try to understand our culture, when we’re dead serious at sabihin mong ‘patayan na ‘pag ganyan’. How many of us na naka-attend ng meeting, especially if you’re from the south, at sinabi: kami sa Taguig, sa Maharlika Village, minsan nagkakausap ng ganun, eh kung ganyang usapan, patayan na lang ‘no.

But it’s a — it’s a hyperbole, it’s a way of emphasizing that kung ganyan ang mangyayari, ba’t hindi mo sinasabi magpatayan na tayo. Iba ‘yun. ‘Yung tunay na nagpapatayan hindi na nagsasalita na ‘patayan na tayo’, nagbubunutan na lang, nag-uupakan na.

So it was much, much better with the Japanese counterparts than the US because they made much more effort to understand and much more effort to see the real translations.

Aside from that, the President in his speeches nakita ko inunahan na niya because the Japanese are very polite people, they are very courteous. So they will not come here like the Americans will announce na “I am meeting President Duterte. It will be a pleasure but I will ask him on one, two, three…” Hindi ganun ang Hapon eh. ‘Di ba ang Hapon, “We will go. We will talk. Period.”

So ang nangyari, pagpunta ni Presidente doon, even if he wasn’t being asked about military alliance, about the West Philippine Sea, isinama niya sa speech niya. And very diligent naman ang kanilang Foreign Minister, nilista nila. So it was much, much smoother. So the Americans can best if they learn a lot from the Japanese.

Mr. Tinaza: Last point, sir, you have also been to China. So so far, to whom or to where did you get the warmer or the more special treatment?

SEN. CAYETANO: It’s different kinds of warmness eh. Iyong isa para bang iyong matagal mong hindi nakita na nagisnaban (snub) ka kayo, na bigla kayong nagkabati at nagyakapan. Iyong isa ‘yung dati mo lang ka-close pero iniisip mo ngayon ba close pa rin tayo kasi inaway mo ‘yung isang kaibigan niya?

So both were very warm and remember integrated kasi eh. Sa China kasi, napakalaki ng Filipino-Chinese community natin na may mga umiyak pa rin talaga eh. Kasi the last five years, they were also pained ‘di ba. Just as there are Filipino-Americans who are pained now with what’s happening. There are lot of Chinese-Filipino who were pained with what happened.

Now, sa Japanese naman it wasn’t pain because there’s been no break in the relationship. There’s been no downhill spiral. It was more concern and when their concerns were addressed, and when they were all surprised, ‘di ba that Prime Minister Abe who is a legend also and who is very stern and straight, you know, did not think twice of doing the Duterte sign and did not think twice of introducing his Cabinet and mingling with the Philippine delegation.

It really… You know it was also a diplomatic coup for Prime Minister Abe. The credit cannot go only to President Duterte. Prime Minister Abe, met, you know, the coup happened through the two of them.

And I think, this should cool things down and it should show that in the — in Asia, there is an Asian or Eastern way of doing diplomacy that is different from the West but can be more effective.

Pia Ranada (Rappler): Sir, si President Duterte was observed chewing gum while he was signing documents with President Xi Jinping in China. And also there were reports that some Japanese officials were paranoid that he would chew gum in front of the Emperor. And, you know, he has very informal ways. So as a senator on foreign relations and as a possible secretary on Foreign Affairs, what do you think of this kind of behavior of the President and will you advise him to follow protocol next time?

SEN. CAYETANO: Okay, first of all, no other President has been under the microscope as President Duterte. We didn’t notice when President Duterte was talking about Hitler, the whole world made a comment. But when President Aquino called China Hitler, when they were in the opposite siding the war, he was not under a microscope, okay.

I chew gum, but I don’t chew gum when I’m in Singapore. Not because of diplomatic relations but because bawal din eh ‘pag tinapon mo patay ka eh. Talagang malaking fine or kulong.

So the Japanese and Chinese are so — have so much similarities but also they have so much difference. Sa China, hindi bawal ‘yun at hindi ‘yun discourteous. Sa Japan, it is.

So halimbawa po sa atin, when you put your — your hand in your pocket, here, it could be a sign of humility. It could be a sign of obedience, ‘di ba, nandyan ang Presidente, nandyan ang teacher, so lahat kayo, nakabantay, nakaganun, nakaganyan ‘di ba.

So that’s why we have a professional DFA and a protocol assigned to Malacañang. They were briefed. That’s why, you know, its not, we’re in a democracy so anyone can warn the President, anyone can put on Facebook sana hindi ganyan.

But trust in your fellow Filipino workers. The DFA and the Protocol, Ambassador Paynor is doing a great job and all of this is briefed.

The President could go to sleep early, or can go out before the next meeting. But he spends three to four hours with all of us, listening to all kinds of briefings, starting with the DFA, from any other concern, from the Legislature, to Speaker Alvarez, myself, sa Senate, DND, DTI, et cetera, ‘no.

So, you know, all of these are professionally handled. Question, what is protocol nowadays? I don’t know if you saw sa Facebook a few days ago, President George Bush was taking a picture with ano, tapos hindi niya makuha. So kinalabit niya si, you know, a month, a month and half ago, kinalabit niya si President Obama. Akala ni President Obama, kasama siya sa picture pero nakiusap si President Bush na si President Obama kumuha sa kanya.

That wasn’t protocol. But since they are both Americans and they are both once former Presidents, once Presidents, okay lang. It’s not all over the papers that, “Bush did not follow protocol and insulted the…” Eh ‘di ganyan ‘no.

So to answer your question directly, of course, there are always concerns, that’s why you have protocol. But the opposite side of the coin is may kaunting kapraningan tayo as a nation that he will not follow protocol, but actually he is very astute regarding that. And it’s a different world eh.

You now, ‘yung halimbawa, ‘yung folding of the barong. All of this — or the kind of pants he wears, all of this has been communicated to the host kung allergic siya sa isang klaseng fabric kaya ganun ang gamit niya.

Ang Presidente natin pawisin. Pia, you yourself, ‘di ba naalala mo ‘nung campaign ‘di ba, kayo ni — nung sa CNN ‘di ba pinapahawakan pa ‘yung T-shirt niya kung gaano kabasa eh, ‘di ba? So you know, when he folds his barong it’s because it’s…He’d rather look a little bit less formal than look sobrang pawis na pawis and… You are representing your nation but you are human eh ‘di ba. So that’s the — that’s the reality there.

When it’s required that he wears a suit, he will wear a suit. When it’s required that he doesn’t chew gum, he will not chew gum.

Henry Uri (DZRH): Magandang hapon po, Senator. Habang kayo po’y naghihilik daw at mga miyembro ng Gabinete kagabi ‘nung pagkagaling sa Japan, kinausap ng Diyos ang Pangulo at sinabing ‘wag ng magmura otherwise, ibabagsak niya ang eroplanong sinasakyan ninyo. Minsan ba ipinalangin niyo ang Pangulo na sana tumigil na sa pagmumura? Answered prayer ba ito sa part niyo?

SEN. CAYETANO: Actually, Henry, hindi tayo nagkakausap matagal na ‘no, after the campaign. But for me it’s really answered prayer because I had the chance to pray with him and for him, in Japan. Because he had a word with me and I asked him: “Can we pray,” and we prayed about a couple of things, which we did a few times during the campaign, and I was surprised that he appreciated it ‘no.

But the Lord works in mysterious ways. It don’t know if it had anything to do with it, but going home he was very tired. So I can’t talk about sino humihilik. Maybe that’s part of national security or national insecurity.

Biruan nga namin sa plane, may bilateral at may — may bilateral din eh, kasi nagsasagutan din ‘yung hilik eh. Pero the President was really tired. He slept more on the way home din there. But every time he’d wake up. I, behind him is Sec. Bong eh, nandito ako sa kabilang side. I kept seeing him na ganun, naka ganun eh, tapos nag-iisip.

Usually kasi, kakalabit kay Bong ‘yon or kina Sec. Andanar or whoever is there, kukuha ng briefing papers, magba — so magpapahinga ng konti tapos panay briefing papers, panay basa. Tapos kung may tanong siya, tatawagin, tatayo kami dun sa hall or kung sino man ‘yung gusto niyang kausap. Kung private, papalabasin niya ‘yung stewardess mag-uusap dun.

But on the way back, walang ganun. It’s the first trip I’ve been on in the last four or five trips, alone lang except ‘yung kain niya. And then, naka ganun talaga and everything ano. But he also said another significant thing, he said yesterday, the most significant really is that he said na he felt it was a message from God.

And I’ve always said to the protest of our religious leaders or some religious leaders that he is a deep, spiritual person. He is not religious, but he believes in God. He doesn’t do the rituals or traditions of traditional religions, you know, but he talks to our Lord and he prays ‘no

And the other thing I heard from him is a strategy. You know, “golpe-de-gulat” is part of a Duterte strategy. But let me stop there because you can only talk of strategy, halimbawa sa campaign, many of you asked about the campaign, about the false accusations sa kanya sa bank accounts. He only talked about it noong tapos na kasi may strategy siya eh kaya hindi niya inilabas kaagad para ipakita na wala talaga.

But you cannot talk about strategy while it’s ongoing. Ongoing pa ‘yung strategy niya about the West Philippine Sea. Ongoing pa ‘yung strategy niya for closer ties with all our neighbors including China and Japan.

So those who are calling for hearings, those who are calling for clarifications, that’s welcome. But I direct them to use a budget hearing rather — because all that can be revealed can be revealed there. But if they want to know the strategy it has to be closed door and there has to be people who agree with this strategy because many of the senators who are asking for a clarification actually believes in the Aquino strategy which is saying into death China and following US whatever they say.

And that is… I’m not saying it’s the wrong strategy. It might have been—I don’t know. Kasi ‘yung strategy depende sa time yan, ‘di ba? You know if you look at Japan. May time na magkagalit na magkagalit sila ng China. May time that ‘yung national consensus was to build a relationship through economics. And then nag-shift ulit. So ngayon medyo hindi warm ang kanilang relationship but their diplomats are trying.

So we cannot… You cannot expect us and the team especially the DND, the National Security Adviser to speak on the strategy especially sa military because you never tell your opponent—isipin mo kung si Manny Pacquiao sasabihin niya, “Pare, una kong tira diyan jab and then after pitong jab ulit upper cut.” Eh di alam na nung kalaban kung anong gagawin mo.

So if they want to know what is the policy: independent foreign policy. What it is based on? Security, peace and order, food security, jobs, trade, one of the problems of our security is we have 10 million people abroad and it’s causing dysfunctional families. One of our problems are drugs. So nakatali lahat iyon sa foreign policy.

But President Aquino saw the number one problem to be economics so he based his policy on economics and then some other issues sa South China Sea. But President Duterte is saying aanhin mo ang economics kung patay ka? Aanhin mo ang economics kung bangag ka? So he’s not saying that economics is not important.

In fact, ‘di ba nagbigay siya ng computation eh. If you have three million addicts, 216 billion is being spent at least for isang hithit lang a day for the three million addicts. Two hundred sixteen billion which could have gone to buying goods, services, building roads, schools buying food, no? This does not include what you’re paying for rehab. Kinompute ko ‘yung sa rehab, if we follow world standards we need six trillion pesos — that’s two years budget to build rehab centers for three million.

Where is the computation? If you follow the world standards it’s around one billion for five hundred people that need rehab kung susundin mo ‘yung world talaga, kung ano yung facilities, kung ano yung materials, how to keep them safe especially sa phase one. Yung phase one kasi detox iyon yung merong suicidal tendencies, ‘yon ‘yung merong nag-aaway, ‘di ba nag-aano. So the economics of what we’re losing — the economic opportunity we’re losing because of drugs, tremendous.

So the foreign policy of the President is also based on our local needs. Iyong sinasabi niyang hinarass siya, diplomatic passport, these are anecdotes to show kung paano tayo inaapi, to show na hindi equal ‘yung relations. Hindi natin sinasabi na iyan ang foreign policy natin huwag niyo tayong hanapan ng visa, hindi.

Foreign policy natin security, food security, jobs, et cetera. Ngayon, our brothers and sisters in America, you can meet us halfway, you can treat us as equals. We might be smaller, you might be richer but you can treat us as equals, pwede tayong magkaroon ng magandang relationship.

Pero hindi, we have all of these neighbors who are hungry for friendship and brotherhood dito muna kami.

Iyan ‘yung ano ‘no ‘yung sober explanation of the foreign policy ‘no? Question: Why can’t we always explain it that way? Bakit ire-report niyo ba kung parating ganito ka-calm ang pagkasabi? Ang US ba, President Obama ba, ang State Department kikilos ba ‘pag ganito? Hindi.

I’ll give you ano, not a challenge but give me a birthday wish. Research the aid given to us from the 80’s to the present, no? Ang baba natin parati. It is their enemies or where the countries they have problems with na pinakamalaki ang aid na ibinibigay nila. Pero tayo na napakalapit sa kanila at tayo na sumunod-sunod sa kanila they give a trickle and then ang turing sa atin para bang patay gutom ka na binigyan ka ng pagkain sunod-sunod na lang.

Iyon ang inaangal ng Pangulo. There’s no problem with the American people. There’s no problem with American businesses, they were assured here. Can I address just that one point din ‘no. Ang daming nagte-text sa akin, paano, sir, yung mga BPO, call center? Ang gustong magpatanggal ng call center at BPO sa Pilipinas is not Duterte.

President Duterte is keeping their incentives. President Duterte is making the environment more conducive. People in BPOs, in call centers are often victims of crimes dahil sila ang umuuwi ng madaling araw. It is actually the American politicians including President Obama who wanted to remove call centers.

Take a look at the debates and the speeches of President Obama in 2008 and 2012. He was saying the other nations are getting our jobs. Dapat ibalik na dito. Jobs that should belong to us are now overseas. Simple jobs of working at home and using the phone and Internet are now overseas.

Ang negosyante nila ang gusto dito bakit? Magkano na ba ang minimum wage sa US ngayon? It’s between 10 to 15 dollars an hour. So that’s about 500 to 750 dollars an hour. Which is what? Our daily wage already. So ikaw mamili, if you’re gonna work eight hours, they pay eight times more plus benefits and work in the US or ibigay mo sa Pilipinas?

So iyon ang pakiusap ko doon sa ating mga foreign relations, diplomatic affairs na experts, ‘no? When there’s a ruckus and there’s unsettling statements even coming from our President, let’s not throw red herrings. Huwag nating lituhin ang tao na para bang magsasara ang mga call centers kapagka may problema sa relationship sa US because it’s purely a business deal, it’s not a diplomatic deal. And they want to be here. They love being here and we love them being here and we are taking good care of them. We’re giving them much more incentives than other countries are. And we’re developing our English and foreign languages. That’s one reason we went to K-12 ‘no.

So this is an example of issues that are spread out in social media and opinion pages but actually ano… So the President has said that he’s willing to meet any of the sectors that have concern. Just like the Jewish people when iba ‘yung dating or the message was different from what reached them. He went to a synagogue and explained to them.

So the Cabinet is very diligent. Cabinet has time to bond to be together to talk with the President during his trips. And the President has made it clear to all the Cabinet members that economics is a priority and if there’s any business sector that needs face time with him to clarify matters, he’s willing to do it.

Ang problema ginagamit ‘nung iba sa pulitika. That’s why nagugulat kami sa China libo ang gustong sumama. DTI had a hard time telling peo[ple] — ‘pwede bang next time na lang or what’. Sa Japan libo din ang gustong sumama. Sa conferences nag-uunahan. They’re all proposing new business tapos sasabihin mababa ang business confidence. May disjoint.

There are some business groups ‘di ba? And then some is not pulitika but business interest. For example, some of those that are hit by the policy of the President. Sa ENDO or making sure that the mines are safe, clean, making sure the oligarchs don’t get everything but then it’s given to small and medium enterprises. These people won’t sit back. Titira din ‘yung mga ‘yan ‘no.

Grace Mariano (RMN): Sir, statement niyo lang sa sinabi ni Ambassador Goldberg na meron kayong secret travel sa China last June with Secretary Tugade.

SEN. CAYETANO: I am writing a letter to Secretary Yasay. I informed him yesterday to complain and to protest the actions of Ambassador Goldberg.

Huwag niyo nang sabihing ako as I was introduced by Sec. Abella I am a guest. I am a resource person. I’m no one in the Duterte team. I’m someone who may have input now and then who’s also learning.

But Sec. Tugade is the alter ego of the President. So, first of all, Sec Tugade and myself we’re not presidents. We do not have departure or arrival statements. So what does he mean “unpublicized trip”? Tuwing umaalis ba ako nagpe-presscon ako? At kung mag-presscon ako pupunta ba kayo? Ngayon kung pupunta kayo tuwing aalis ako eh ‘di magpe-presscon na ako parati para publicized na lahat ng trip ko. But the reality is, it’s only the President that has — that all trips are publicized. Many of the trips are unpublicized. That’s just the reality, ‘no.

But these are the three points I want to make about his allegations against Secretary Tugade. Number one, he’s the alter ego of the President. What business does the US ambassador or any ambassador have monitoring his trips or criticizing whether it’s unpublished — unpublicized or publicized?

Number two, is the US ambassador engaged in “tsismis” and in rumor mongering and in false information because Secretary Tugade did not go. He had a lot of invitations. Any DOTR secretary is invited by many, many countries including China and Japan automatically. But Secretary Tugade during that time and we were often in Davao. I heard him a lot of times say “I will not go abroad until I form my team. And my priority is forming the DOTR team.” That’s why hindi siya sumama sa mga trips until matapos ‘yung — yung kanyang team and may sarili siyang plano because Secretary Tugade doesn’t want to be supply-driven. Ay oo, ang ganda ng tren sige mag-tren tayo. Gusto niya pag-aralan muna ano bang kailangan natin? Saka ko tatanggapin mga imbitasyon niyo dahil ‘yan ang kailangan namin.

Third, you know it was a surprise to us because they were so angry a few years ago and they put some people in jail and they took away US visas from a lot of Filipinos because we were spying on them. So is this an admission now that they’re spying on us? On a Cabinet member and a member of the Senate? Was there anything wrong? Malicious? Of me going to anywhere — to China?

I met with him. I did not publicize that I met with him. Did he talk about my talk with him? No. I met with other people in the embassy. I also met with other ambassadors. I have been in the House — I was in the House for nine years. I have been in the Senate for what? Seventh year? 2007, ninth year. My sister was president of the Interparliamentary Union Women’s Group for two years. She traveled and talked to many, many officials. So is there anything fishy and suspicious? Wala. But the way he threw it in the interview was like his parting shot.

So, at the right time, I will make a full report if at all I am doing something whether it’s in my initiative or I was directed to. Remember I am a senator. I don’t need the President to tell me to do something. If he does tell me to do something, I will follow. But as a senator I can meet my counterparts, I can travel. There is such thing as interparliamentary relations. Hindi parating State Department to Foreign Affairs or Foreign Affairs to Foreign Affairs. Marami na ngayong party to party or Parliament to Parliament or Congress to Parliament.

So, let me just say this ‘no: One of the problems kasi is that the US and Ambassador Goldberg refused to admit that he was a big part of the problem. That’s why ganun magsalita eh. In my humble opinion, he made a mistake during the campaign in handling the candidates. He met all of the candidates and reported to the US. I suppose that is the procedure, I do not know for a fact. But he was not able to meet Mayor Duterte then because he kept on changing the schedule and making it hard for the meeting. So that was his mistake.

Second, he interfered in the election. We know that there is a lot of pro-American, there’s a lot of American influence. He made a comment on a highly politically charged issue. Can you imagine now if our ambassador in the US says something like, ‘you know what, itong emails…It might cause a national ganito…Or you know what, itong treatment nitong isang candidate sa mga babae dapat ganito, ganyan…’ And it affected the 3.5 million Filipino-Americans there, it affected who they voted for.

Don’t you think they will expel that ambassador? But ang bait ng Presidente natin, he met with him. He asked everyone to go out of the room, nag-one-on-one sila. But did Ambassador Goldberg stop there? No. He continued to treat Malacañang as if you can tell the Philippine President what to do. So, the Philippines have communicated to the US, your messenger is also a problem. So until the time he left mangiintriga pa. But there is nothing to the intrigue, in fact, nagkamali pa ano.

But I don’t know his intent or his purpose in doing that but I talked to a lot of people in foreign relations and they said it was, at the very least, a breach of protocol but it was sabi niya, ‘you know it’s something terrible, something a diplomat, a professional diplomat will not do. Unless you are really trying to do something in that country.’ You know, but it’s part of non-interference eh. He is interfering really with our local politics and with how things are run here.

Prince Golez (Panay News): Sir, just a follow up, sir. On your China trip, in your trip to China last June was it your initiative or the President’s initiative?

SEN. CAYETANO: Ako iyon. The President doesn’t tell people to go and as I said I’ll report to the Senate and the at the right time but I went to the US the year before. As all of you know, I aspired for higher office before and for me to fully understand diplomatic relations, international relations, I went to the US in 2015, June also. I went to think tanks, I talked to some officials, I met with some of connections we made throughout as all of you know my mom is American. So I know I have a handicapped when it comes to other nations that are not in that good terms or have tedious relationships with the US.

So I also made an initiative to try to get to know some of them. Especially when the President started saying that he wants me involved in foreign relations. But on the record, my wife is always with me so bantay-sarado naman ako in all of those trips ‘no.

But there’s nothing fishy, there’s nothing suspicious about all of these trips. As a matter of courtesy, et cetera, of course, every time na aallis ka or may mami-meet ka at may chance kang ikuwento sa Presidente, ang Presidente naman titingnan ka lang eh. Tapos sasabihin lang sa’yo what’s good for the nation? Eh subukan niyo. “Sir, I’m going to meet BBC or I’m going to meet CNN in New York. Ano tingin mo sabihin ko?” Sabihin sa iyo, “tell them whatever good for the Philippines. Kuwento mo nangyayari dito.”

Hindi naman siya… I’m not in the Executive branch eh. So, hindi ito parang trip na bibigyan ako ng official orders at may protocol na susundin.

Thank you everybody. Thank you for having me today. God bless you.