Press Briefing by Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar, National Economic and Development Authority Chief Ernesto Pernia, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi and Bases Conversion and Development Authority President Vince Dizon
Grand Hyatt Hotel, Hong Kong
12 May 2017


President Rodrigo Roa Duterte begins the second leg of his three destination official and working visits to Phnom Penh, Kingdom of Cambodia; Hong Kong, SAR; and Beijing in the People’s Republic of China.

The highlight of his visit to Phnom Penh was his plenary talk in the World Economic Forum on ASEAN.

As current chair of ASEAN, he addressed issues and challenges faced by the region, highlighting how the Philippines will sustain ASEAN’s community building process focusing on inclusive growth.

Today, we have invited the Cabinet secretaries who presented issues germane to the major thrusts of the Duterte administration’s campaign against poverty by providing employment and business opportunities for the Build, Build, Build infrastructure program, support MSMEs and tax reforms all calculated to put more disposable income in the hands of the average Filipino.

Later in the afternoon, the President will meet with members of the Filipino community at the Grand Ballroom of the Regal Airport Hotel before proceeding to Beijing.

We’d like to introduce to you, Secretary Mon Lopez of the DTI; Secretary Art Tugade of the DOTr; Senator Mark Villar of DPWH; and Senator Ernie Pernia…  Secretary Ernie Pernia of NEDA, and of course, Vince Dizon, President of BCDA.

Let’s start. We just like to us… We’d like to ask them to give a one, two-minute presentations of what their position was and what they presented or summaries of.

I’d like to begin with Secretary Art Tugade to my left.

SEC. TUGADE: Magandang… Good morning to you all. [International media ba ‘to?] Okay.

The thrust of the Department of Transportation in this working trip of the President is precisely to present to the international family of nation what are our infrastructure projects related to the Department of Transportation.

We highlighted certain things which for the first time will be happening in the country. Foremost of which is number one, the subway.

A subway which will soon hopefully be a reality in the country. We will highlight and we have highlighted what we are doing insofar as the airports are concerned, what is our railway system that is supposed to be in place in our country during the full term of the President.

We have also indicated and have intimated to the family of nation about our maritime thrust. Already in the last couple of weeks, we have started what we call the Ro-Ro, the roll-on roll-off roll-on nautical highway where we have started the connectivity between Indonesia and the Philippines.

With this business model being put in place, already we are being sounded out by Malaysia and Brunei to do a similar navigational relationship because we feel that being an archipelagic area, we feel that it is through Ro-Ro among others that will give us the connectivity and mobility.

In maritime, it is imperative also that we create and establish ports as we refurbish and improve existing ports and complement this with the equipment that will travel from port to port.

As you can see, in this visit we are trying to show and underscore another picture and feature of President Duterte. Emphasis has been on President Duterte’s effort in doing safety and security and corruption.

In this… Our visit, we are trying to show the economic persona of the President that he will also handle not only peace and safety but more importantly the economic development of country in relation to the development from within, as we consider the relationship from without.

Hopefully, we can see a completed persona of President Duterte. One that is very uncompromising in corruption, one that is very committed in peace and security, and one that is concentrated and concerned with the development and growth of our country.

This is the dimension we are trying to reach in this working visit of the President.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: We’d like to appreciate the summary that Secretary Tugade has given. We’re going to be open now for a few questions. Any questions you’d like to ask?

Tina Panganiban-Perez (GMA-7): Sir, I’m Tina Panganiban-Perez of GMA. Sir, can you please expound on the subway — subway project that you mentioned?

SEC. TUGADE: Okay ma’am. Let me put into geometric presentations the subway. Number one, it is between 23 and 25 kilometers covering 14 stations.

Number two, that there is a feasibility study that will be about to be completed. A feasibility study which will serve as the foundation in establishing the cost of the project and it will serve as the trigger in doing our negotiation to have a financial package.

And number three, we have mentioned before, as we would like to mention again now, JICA which is spearheading this project has agreed that the lone agreement between Japan and the Philippines hopefully will be formally signed in November when Prime Minister would have visited the country.

The signing will be done hopefully between President Duterte and Prime Minister Abe.

Doris Bigornia (ABS-CBN): Doris Bigornia of ABS-CBN. Good morning, sir. The signing between Abe and PRRD, this is in November?

SEC. TUGADE: Yes ma’am, targeted to be in November in time for the ASEAN meeting of the world leaders. Hopefully, prior that time, the details on the feasibility study, the engineering design would have been finalized and completed.

Ms. Bigornia: And how much would the subway project cost, sir?

SEC. TUGADE: Again, as I mentioned earlier, targeted ballpark number will be between 290 to 300 billion.

However, as I mentioned earlier, a lot would depend on the engineering details, engineering design details and the feasibility study. That is the ballpark figure.

Ms. Bigornia: Okay. Sir, you said that this in line with showing the other side or the other persona of the President, economics, progress, development, and how would this go hand in hand with the security situation in the country?

SEC. TUGADE: Very well said, ma’am. Let me say that the security situation of the country will be one of platform upon which the Build, Build, Build can fly and can go.

Because you can build and build and build, but if there is no security and peace in the horizon or in the surrounding, where will the building go?

Number two, I mentioned about no corruption. Again, this is another platform upon which a successful, economic development program can stand, okay. No corruption, it levels the playing field.

But you have to marry this with two things. The no corruption, the peace and order, you have to marry it with two additional platforms upon which this Build, Build, project stands.

Ano ho ‘yun? Number one is what we call transparency and accountability.

Already in place, done by BCDA, spearheaded by BCDA is what we call the Freedom of Information platform.

Upon which, you can see who are — what are the projects, who are interested in the project, what is the status of the project, where is it going as of the moment, you want to find out.

Number two, as initiated and started by BCDA, we do live screening on bidding. Live screen ho, nakikita. That is full, full transparency.

So no corruption, peace and order, full transparency and accountability. The other platform upon which all these project stand is what I call reducing processing time. Okay?

Gone will be the days when approvals are done after a long period of time, say six months, one year. We have reduced processing time. Processing time insofar as project approvals are concerned, processing time insofar as PPP is concerned, and bidding, et cetera, et cetera.

All this form will serve as the platform upon which the infrastructure project stands.

Now, if you marry these peace and security, no corruption, and you have the project and you have transparency, hindi ho ba total — total package ‘yun in terms of pushing and pushing the economic program?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Before we go to the next question, we’d like to give the microphone to Secretary Ernie Pernia of the NEDA.

SEC. PERNIA: Yes, good morning. An important part of the conference that we have presented to the media and to the participants in the WEF forum is the DuterteNomics.

DuterteNomics is simple, can be described as the thrust of the economic agenda of the President which is regional and rural development. And regional and rural development is important because this will address the huge inequality in our country in terms of incomes across households, as well as incomes across regions.

And this is really the nub of the economic problem of the Philippines. And this regional and rural development will be accelerated by the Build, Build, Build program which is concentrated more on the regions than on the developed mega urban industrial region comprising Metro Manila, Calabarzon, and Central Luzon. So the… Most of the projects under the Build, Build, Build are in the regions.

Those in Metro Manila essentially be to connect better Metro Manila with the regions. So that you know not everybody will be concentrating in Metro Manila. Businesses will not be concentrating in Metro Manila but improve the access across Metro Manila and Calabarzon and the other regions, as well as among the regions in the outlying areas of the country, Mindanao, Visayas, and Northern Luzon. That’s really the essence of DuterteNomics.

SEC. VILLAR: I’d like to add also that during the conference marami pong nagtanong kung paano po namin gagamitin ang budget dahil ito po ‘yung pinakamalaking budget sa kasaysayan po ng ating bansa.

And when they asked, in terms of the DPWH, concern din nila ‘yung mga — our programs for disaster resilience. And I said that this year we’ll be spending a third of the DPWH budget sa resiliency programs in preparation sa mga natural calamities, natural disasters.

We’ve also allocated a fourth of our budget, 100 billion sa decongestion program which is nationwide.

So all these programs in the DPWH are designed to unlock the potential kasi napakalaki po ang nawawala dahil sa traffic, dahil sa natural calamities, and we feel that this will be the — one of the ways in which we ensure na tuluy-tuloy po ang paglalaki or pagtataas ng ating GDP growth.

So… And it’s also important that the President was also very adamant that we — under this administration, wala pong corruption. We have no, zero tolerance for corruption in all these projects in all the agencies.

And we are very firm about that kaya meron po tayong mga transparency, meron pong website, naka-post na po ‘yung mga biddings, ‘yung mga details ng mga projects to ensure that there will be no corruption and that there will be an absolute transparency in this golden age of infrastructure.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERON ABELLA: All right, before we open to questions, we’d like to recognize Secretary Al Cusi, he’s with the DOE and after which we’ll continue with the questions and then we’ll ask the other secretaries to expound some more on issues relevant to them.

Ben Tesiorna (CNN Philippines): Ben Tesiorna from CNN Philippines. I’m just curious as to the reception of the international business community when you presented the Duterte economic persona. What was the reception?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: We can ask either Sec. Mon or Sec. Ernie.

SEC. PERNIA: Well, the other feature by the way of DuterteNomics which is very important is speed in the planning, processing, and execution of projects.

So, meaning that we are going to depart from the practices of previous administrations to — for projects to take so long to get processed and implemented.

So President Duterte is action-oriented. He admits that he is impatient because he wants to get things done quickly in order to alleviate the suffering of people in the regions — poverty reduction and inclusive growth. These are the… These are really the features of DuterteNomics.

Mr. Tesiorna: So what was the reception?

SEC. PERNIA: Ah the reception… The reception was pretty good, you know, as you could perceive and infer from the reaction of the media as well as foreign personnel, foreign personalities who were in the press conference and in the presentations in the fora, in the different fora of DuterteNomics and the Build, Build, Build.

SEC. LOPEZ: Sige, if I may add. Siguro it’s about time we correct also the misperception on the President.  

You know, every time we are out and we usually accompany the President, he is the one that’s really becoming the some kind of an economic ambassador as well.

He is not only known for the drug campaign — anti-drug campaign, addressing criminality and all that. That’s very well recognized. And the international community also understands that those are the basic foundation if we are to develop a very robust economy.

But what I meant by becoming an economic ambassador, he’s the one… Whenever he’s faced with the leader, the counterpart, you know he’s the one promoting trade. He’s saying, ‘Please let us balance the trade. We import more from you.’ For example, that’s practically true to, with respect to China, our trade deals with them. Even with some Middle East countries in our last visit, he has been the one saying that ‘buy more of our products, Philippine products.’

He will be also inviting investors to ride on the economic growth that we’re having that… He will mention the infrastructure program in general and then he will lead to, you know, this infrastructure program will help repair our economy ‘no, to absorb, to encourage more investments.

And then… Kasi itong mga infrastructure programs are not only — the roads and the transportation — these infrastructure programs actually help bring down cost of doing business. And ‘pag naririnig na ng ibang ano ‘yan, mga foreign investors, they automatically would realize that it’s getting to be a better business environment for the Philippines.

So sasabihin niya, ‘more investments, come to our country, invest…’ And minsan may sinabi pa nga siya, ‘invest and get rich’ ‘no. Parang you ride on the economic growth.

Because he would say that we have a huge population, the growth rate is also high, sasabihin niya ‘yung mga 6.9 percent. And yesterday, after we reported to him that our exports figure grew 18 percent, natandaan niya and he mentioned it during the forum.

Sinabi niya, yeah we even… ‘Our industry is up. Economic growth is up. Even export is up’. And then sabi niya rin, ‘the investments from China also grew’ and then exports, he cited 2 billion dollars because — which is true.

As you know, after we have strengthened that relationship with China, China immediately ordered 1.7 billion dollars and another 100 million dollars on actual purchase orders. So he can really present the bright developments, the very good developments that our country is experiencing. And he’s really pushing for that because he knows those things — investment, trade, industrial development, developing competitive industries with all these infrastructure development ano, alam niya this will create jobs.

Kasi ang bottom line kay President, gusto niya talaga magkaroon ng trabaho, magkaroon ng negosyo ‘yung mga kababayan natin. Talagang ma-empower sila, lalo na ‘yung mga nasa baba na lahat pwedeng umasenso, lahat pwedeng magtagumpay.

So sinasabi ‘yung “Prosperity for All” na drive natin. And that to us is real — the real lasting solution to poverty alleviation na, which is really the, you know, the mantra and the main vision of our President and, of course, the economic and the whole — the whole team. Thank you.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA:  Vince Dizon of BCDA would like to add a few things.

BCDA PRESIDENT DIZON: Thank you very much. Good morning po. Siguro po dapat makita lang po natin ‘yung konteksto nung DuterteNomics in the overall vision and beliefs of the President and the administration.

Because I think what some of the critics are saying now is that — they seem to be saying that this DuterteNomics, this Build, Build, Build is a — is an aside to the peace and order platform of the President. In fact, some might be even insinuated that it’s a way for us to divert attention. This is absolutely false ‘no, absolutely false.

And I just like to echo exactly what Secretary Mon Lopez and Secretary Tugade have said.  

The President from the very beginning and when I say beginning, from the beginning of his political career, has always believed that the foundation of economic progress is peace and order. Hindi po pwedeng magkaroon ng economic progress, hindi po pwedeng umunlad ang ekonomiya kung hindi secure ang ating lipunan.

Bakit ko nasasabi from the very beginning? Kasi ito ang ginawa niya sa Davao. Davao is the story of how fixing peace and order first leads to economic progress later on. And this same principle is what President Duterte is trying to adhere to as President of the Republic.

So ano po, kailangan pong maintindihan nating mabuti ‘yon na ang foundation nang paglago ng ekonomiya ay seguridad, ay peace and order.

Ngayon, ngayon po ay iniro-roll out po ng administration ang kanya pong economic platform, ito nga pong Duterte economics, DuterteNomics.

And I think the Build, Build, Build program is, the key ingredient to this kasi nga kailangan nating mapalago ang imprastruktura natin na napag-iwanan dahil sa kakulangan ng nakaraan.

Kailangan tapatin natin ang sarili natin doon ‘no. Kailangan natin maghabol ngayon at mapabilis, sabi nga ni Secretary Ernie kasi nga ‘yung mga dapat nagawa na dati ay hindi natapos.

So ‘yun po ang pinipilit natin gawin ngayon. And I think the plans are there, we are very transparent about them. They are all on for everyone to see, including of course our friends in the media, our friends and partners in the media.

And I think this is a perfect way to hold the government to account na talagang seseryosohin at talagang hahabulin natin ang paggawa nitong mga kinakailangang mga project na ito. Iyon lang po. Thank you so much.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Secretary Tugade would like to add just one more point. After which Sec. Pernia. And then we’ll have more Q & A.

SEC. TUGADE: Ang tanong ho kanina is how was the reception of the World Economic Forum with the economic persona being projected by President Duterte? Beyond — let me address that by saying — beyond the applause, na nagpapalakpakan pag ka nagsalita siya, meron pong mga pulong-pulong na ginawa ang ating Pangulo, where I was privileged to attend one. Ang tawag ho doon is bilateral talks.

Nakausap ho namin ‘yung Air Asia na kung saan sinabi ng Air Asia, si Tony Fernandes, ‘Mr. President, just to show my faith in your country and my trust in your leadership, I am ready to expand my air coverage, air travel coverage in Manila. Now in Caticlan, I can go to Puerto Princesa, I can fly to Davao. And Mr. President, if the law would allow, I am even ready to help put up airports.’

This is a specific, very clear indication on the acceptability of the President’s leadership insofar as his economic program is concerned.

Tama ho, nagpapalakpakan, nagtatayuan but beyond the standing ovation and the applause is a commitment to invest in real term in our country. That to me is a glaring, glaring manifestation of the very well accepted economic program exemplified and perorated upon by the President.

In fact, lagi niya hong sinasabi, ‘Know me as a peace and order man; know me as a corruption buster; know me as a fighter of drug users and drug habits. Why am I doing this? Because I’m setting the environment for economic development.’

Ito ho ‘yung ikinakalat niyang posisyon na tinatanggap naman ng mga negosyante, specifically doon sa World Economic Forum na kung saan I was blessed to attend a bilateral and I was witness to that.

SEC. PERNIA: I just want to add one quick point on what BCDA President Vince Dizon made about the importance of peace and order for the economy to thrive.

And if you recall, shortly after or even before the President assumed office, shortly after he was elected, there was a 10-point agenda, socio-economic agenda that was, you know, discussed, that was presented to the media by the President’s people at that time.

And actually, it’s not a 10-point agenda. To remember this, it’s a zero to 10-point agenda, socio-economic agenda. And the zero is precisely peace and order.

Fighting criminality, fighting corruption, fighting smuggling and peace and order. And that’s because zero is the origin of the 1 to 10 points socio-economic agenda. It’s the bedrock that has to be addressed and this is what the President had been harping on during the campaign as well as now.

He’s addressing that main bedrock of the 10 points economic agenda so that the 10 points economic agenda can materialize. Without this bedrock, then it will be difficult for the economy to thrive and flourish and for the country to prosper.

So don’t say that it’s a 10-point agenda. It’s zero to 10-point socio-economic agenda and that is what the President has been concentrating on. And he said that, in our first Cabinet meeting, he said that, I will focus on the zero, on the bedrock and I will leave to you — to your own devices matters having to do with the economy, having to do with economic reforms and so on and so forth.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Okay. Thank you. Questions? This lady and then, and then the other one. Okay.

Joann Villanueva (Philippine News Agency): Sir, Joann from the Philippine News Agency.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Joann from Philippine News Agency.

Ms. Villanueva: Sir, with the Build, Build, Build program where do you see the — for Secretary Pernia, sir — where do you see the contribution of the rural areas vis-à-vis the GDP because of this program?

SEC. PERNIA: Okay, in fact last year — in the last quarter of last year, agriculture had about a negative growth rate of about one, 1.5 percent.

This quarter, you will see that agriculture will be exhibiting positive growth rate and that’s going to contribute to a better performance of the economy as a whole.

And we will see these numbers… May 18 is going to be the official date of presentation of the first quarter performance of the economy. GDP, and then — as well as performance by sectors of the economy will be presented May 18.

And we are quite upbeat about what the GDP growth rate will be because of the uptick of the agriculture sector, exports, investments, as well as manufacturing.

So… We’re crossing our fingers but we are crossing our fingers on the positive — on the upbeat side for the performance of the economy during the first quarter of this year.

Bella Cariaso (Bandera): Sir, you mentioned of peace and order and inviting investors to invest in our country, pero may issue tayo sa terror threats, especially now that some tourists have cancelled their bookings in Palawan in light of the terror and kidnapping threats. So paano niyo po iko-convince ‘yung ano na it’s still safe in the country?

SEC. LOPEZ: Well, as explained also yesterday, you know, ‘yung terror threats talaga, actually it’s worldwide eh.

But what the President also assured is that these are under control. In fact, if you noticed nga ‘yung the one that happened in Bohol immediately may — sinundan kaagad at naputol kaagad ‘yung mga masamang balakin doon at nahuli lahat eventually.

And the Mindanao has been saying also that that is an area that really… Ipinapaintindi niya rin the long history kung bakit may kaguluhan doon. But the terrorism, in fact, he has mentioned has been entering even countries in ASEAN.

And that’s why he’s calling upon the ASEAN brothers and sisters to really address also this, to be careful, and to really address altogether itong mga terrorism, so kaya may…

In the last ASEAN, pinaguusapan nga ‘yung mga security cooperation, precisely to address the realities of terrorism. But in our country, as you know, that’s being contained very well and full force ang…

Sinabi rin ni Presidente ‘yung approach niya that he has been using all resources of government, military, police to really run after the terrorist groups ‘no. At saka ‘yung trying to address the security problem, most especially in the Mindanao area.

So and kasama doon nakadikit doon ‘yung peace and development. That’s why he has been emphasizing the need for peace. Kasi in peace, that’s where we can have development.

On the positive aspect also, let me report again that aside from that positive growth in the exports of 18 percent for the first time, last year kasi, early last year, nag-ne-negative ang exports.

And starting fourth quarter last year and now first quarter, ‘yun na ‘yung 18 percent.

And ‘yung January to April for investments, 31 percent growth. So napakaganda ng momentum natin. And that’s why we call on our all kababayans na dapat pagtulong-tulungan ‘to.

We only have one country. Pagtulong-tulungan. Let’s not shoot ourselves in the foot again ‘no, na kung kailan gumaganda, maraming kokontra.

Alam mo ‘pag kumontra ang nahihirapan taong-bayan. Nawawalan ng investment, nawawalan ng trabaho. Pero ‘pag ka maganda, tuloy-tuloy ito, ang makikinabang taong-bayan. More jobs, more income. Lalo na doon sa maliiit.

And our President pushing for ‘yung talagang upliftment nung mga maliliit ‘no, bottom of the pyramid, that is really the way to address inequality.

And maybe later on… Siguro sabihin ko na rin quickly about that question on the President talking about economics. In the… Especially kahapon, doon sa maraming…

Kasi kahapon by the way, in the World Economic Forum, hindi lang isang forum ni Presidente. I think there’s about five fora na inatendan (attend) niya, isa na doon ‘yung bilateral namin na inatendan ‘no on transportation sa Air Asia.

In these fora, aside from ‘yung security aspect, he has been talking about reducing development gap dito sa ASEAN. Alam niyo may malaking countries, Singapore. May maliliit din, mga Cambodia, Laos. Reducing development gap.

He has been talking also about ‘yung inclusivity, ‘yung pagpo-promote ng mga micro SME in the region. He’s talking also about equitable development, connectivity, remember ‘yung Ro-Ro, the infrastructure, the transportation infrastructure, also that we are building together as a community it will facilitate trade.

He’s also talking about developing human capital. You know to support talaga ‘yung long-term development goals natin. Kailangan matatalino’t magagaling ‘yung Pilipino, that will — that will improve our future economic growth.

Invest in youth entrepreneurship ‘no, and then empowering the people. Iyan ‘yung mga lengguwahe ng ating Pangulo doon sa mga sessions kahapon at ‘yung reaction nung mga listeners eh ‘di siyempre nakikilala nila lalo ang ating Presidente na he really goes beyond ‘yung security and peace. Thank you.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: We’re going to be having the last three or four questions. Before that, we’d like to have… We’d like to give the floor to Secretary Cusi.

SEC. CUSI: Good morning. Thank you Sec. Abella.

In yesterday’s WEF Forum, in the DuterteNomics, actually we highlighted — this administration highlighted ‘no that we are in a hurry to improve the lives of the Filipinos.

And at DOE, we are working together that all this Build, Build, Build, all the infrastructures, it requires — it require power and we have to support that.

We highlighted also that the Philippines in the energy sector, we are open for business. There is an opportunity under this AmBisyon 2040 for — around 100 billion-dollar investment in power.

So we pointed to them the locations where the power plants can be put up and we are inviting investors of all nationalities.

So the importance of this DuterteNomics as we’ve said is that we highlighted the urgency that we have to work fast to improve the lives of the Filipinos. Thank you.

Ms. Cariaso: Sir, President Duterte mentioned about drug-free ASEAN. What was the response of the ASEAN members in the light of our issue on still EJK, sir?

SEC. LOPEZ: Actually lahat sila if you talk to the ASEAN counterparts, the leaders, heads of state, they’re in full support of the drive, the campaign against drugs.

And we’ve been clarifying also ‘yung EJK, the word is really an allegation. And as you know, si Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano has presented already the numbers and it’s not really — the government does not sanction human rights violation.

Ang take ko lang dito ‘no, let’s all realize, kung hindi iso-solve ni Presidente Duterte ang drug problem, sino magso-solve?

Parang sa UP rin ‘yan eh ‘no. Kung hindi tayo, sino? Kung hindi si President Duterte, isipin natin. Sino po kaya ang kayang mag-solve? Let’s talk of the past, let’s talk of the future.

It’s only now we have this President who has the guts to really implement and impose. Kailangan po natin talaga ‘yun because na-present na sa atin ‘yung four million immensity of the drug problem.

Kahit hindi ko po ‘to area, I’m very passionate on this kasi itong kailangan ng Pilipinas. I-solve talaga itong ills of society. And this is the root cause that’s being solved.

That’s why any effort to counter that is really counterproductive to me, na sinisira ‘yung momentum to solve that problem that will in the end, you know, ‘pag na-solve ‘yung problema na ‘yan, sagana lahat tayo.

Hanggang may problema ‘yan, eh talagang meron pa rin tayong magiging kahirapan and lack of development. So it’s really important. And the numbers presented, napaka… Iyong presented by Senator Cayetano na it’s not the 9,000, it’s… Maraming peaceful arrests. Ang talagang related sa police killings are the 1,000 plus. And it’s not really EJK but, you know, ‘yung hinuhuli lumalaban.

So sabi niya naman sa pulis, huwag naman kayong magpapatay ‘no. So talagang lumaban din kayo at hulihin niyo.

So ‘yun lang ‘yung clarification po doon. And if you… And after those talks full support ang mga leaders. Because I think they think that way also, in their countries, they are solving it that way.

Ben Rosario (Manila Bulletin): We are pushing for new projects but recently ‘yung Commission on Audit asked government to be more decisive about previous projects, projects of the past government and it is referring actually to the North Rail project na noong kay Macapagal-Arroyo pa. And according to COA, it has — it still has a 1.5 billion from BCDA. Ano hong gagawin natin dito?

SEC. TUGADE: Can I handle the issue of North Rail? Please be patient a little bit more. Siguro in the next couple of weeks, we will formalize a settlement on the North Rail.

Para ‘yung mga bagay-bagay na masalimuot na issue na napunta ho sa tinatawag na arbitration ma-address.

Parating na ho kami doon. We have been quietly working on this, on the North Rail issue. Kailangan magkaroon ng settlement ‘yan, to the best satisfaction and to the best interest of our country and China’s too.

Ganyan ho ‘yung settlement sa compromise, kailangan mutual interest.

Pangalawa ho, kailangan hong mawala ‘yung issue ng North Rail para ‘yung pagtakbo ‘nong ginawagawa natin na railway system from Tutuban hanggang Clark, kung meron mang issue ‘yon, eh mawala. Kasi baka maging balakid ho ‘yon.

Sinasabi ko ho na give us a little bit more time. We have been quietly working on this. How much more time? Siguro mga hanggang end of the month, lalabas na ho ‘yang anunsyo na ‘yan.

Sana ho walang pagbabago sa mga posisyon at masosolusyonan ‘yung issue ng North Rail.

Kasama ho namin, nabanggit niyo ‘yung BCDA, kasama ho namin ang BCDA sa pagbalangkas ng settlement agreement dito na kung saan pati na rin ‘yung pamunuan ay naa-advise namin ng day to day.

Sana lang ho maintindihan niyo na hindi ko pa kayang tumbukin ‘yung full details kasi wala pa pong napipirmahan.

‘Pag may napirmahan na ‘yan, iaanunsyo ho ‘yan. Kami lang po ba ‘yun? Hindi ho. Meron hong abiso. We are following the… Our lawyers are negotiating that. We will be getting advices from the corporate legal counsels. We have been advising the Office of the President on the detail.

As soon as that is finalized, then hopefully we can breath a sigh of relief that that issue will once and for all be addressed.

Let me just add, while we address the issue of settlement, ‘pag meron hong kata******* diyan, we will not let go naman people na gumawa ng kata***** go scot-free kung meron ho.

BCDA PRESIDENT DIZON: Sorry, I think ano ‘no… Ang isang importante din… Salamat po, Sir Ben, diyan sa tanong mo.

Siguro dapat pag-usapan natin ‘yung prinsipyo ng pagtutuloy ng mga proyekto ‘no. Tingin ko hindi lang kami ‘to pero siguro marami sa ating mga kababayan ang pinaka — isa sa mga pinaka-malaking frustration is kapag merong bagong administrasyon na pumasok, lalo na kung ‘yung administrasyon na ‘yun ay hindi kakampi nung nakaraan, ang madalas nangyayari po sa atin ay halos lahat ng mga proyekto na sinimulan nung nakaraan, hinihinto at hindi itinutuloy nang bago.

Hindi ba po? Kaya nga ho ‘yan ang isang problema natin, tapatin natin ang isa’t isa. Kaya marami sa mga proyekto natin na magaganda, kahit magaganda, hindi natatapos kasi nga hindi natutuloy.

Tingin ko ‘yun po ang isa sa mga pinakamalaki at pinaka-importanteng pagkakaiba ng administrasyong Duterte.

Kasi ang administrasyong Duterte po, simple lang. Kung maganda ‘yan para sa bayan, kung makakabuti ‘yan sa ating mga kababayan, kahit na sino pa ang nag-umpisa niyan, itutuloy at sabi nga ni Secretary Art Tugade noong nakaraan, sisiguraduhin naming tatapusin ‘yang mga project na ‘yan para mabenepisyuhan naman ang ating mga kababayan.

Example lang po ano, ‘yung NLEX-SLEX. Ano pa po ‘yan eh, time pa po ni President Ramos, ‘di ba Secretary Mark? Pero dahil nga po ano, hindi sinimulan nung bagong papasok na administrasyon, na-delay po nang na-delay.

Dapat po ilang taon na tapos na ‘yan eh. At dapat siguro mahigit kalahati nung trapik sa EDSA ay wala na dahil doon na lang dumadaan eh.

Pero ‘yun po I think ang ano importante ano. And ‘yung sa North Rail, ‘yung salitang North Rail kasi ano ‘yun eh. Alam niyo hindi ma… Ano na marami na tayong pinagdaan diyan eh. Simula pa po ni… Hindi pa ho ata President Arroyo eh, parang President Ramos pa po ata eh. I think ang unang nag-proponent diyan hindi pa nga China, Spain pa ata no’n if I’m not mistaken ‘no.

Pero sabi nga po ni Secretary Tugade, ‘yan pong tren na ‘yan mula Tutuban hanggang Clark ay matatapos during the term of President Duterte.

And I think ‘yun po ang pinakaimportante and itong mga magagandang proyektong ‘to na kahit na matagal nang nasimulan o matagal nang napag-isipan, dito po sa panahon ni President Duterte ay matatapos na finally.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Last two questions. Meron pa? Anybody else?

Deo De Guzman (RMN): Good morning, sirs. Deo de Guzman po ng DZXL – RMN Manila. Diretso po tayo sa sikmura ng ating mga kababayan. Sinabi po ni Secretary Al Cusi kanina na meron pong mga investments sa kuryente and isa po sa mga tinitingnan din ng mga investors ay ‘yung presyo ng kuryente sa isang bansa para sila ay mag-invest. Doon po sa investments na sinabi niyo, will it eventually — will we eventually see na bababa ang presyo ng kuryente sa atin na mararamdaman talaga ng ating mga kababayan?

SEC. CUSI: That’s the desire of this administration that’s why we are trying to increase the supply.

Alam naman natin ‘pag ka mas marami ang supply, that will pressure the price down and that’s exactly what we’re doing that’s why we’re inviting investors in power plants.


Mr. De Guzman: Additional to that. Did we bag any investors in energy during the attendance of the President sa WEF?

SEC. CUSI: Wala naman, maraming namang… Maraming nag — expression of — yeah. [Ano ito?] Yeah, oo, we will go in that Energy Summit. Marami kaming naka-schedule na summit, August and September this year.

SEC. LOPEZ: With respect to energy, may nakipag-bilateral meeting din sa amin sa DTI, hindi lang nga pwede si Secretary Cusi, ako na lang ang humarap.

And may intention mag-expand ‘yung isang Korean company actually for renewable energy but ‘yon diniscuss ko na kay Sec. Al.

So hindi pa natin pwede i-announce dahil exploratory ‘to but they’ve indicated interest to go into solar energy project, power generation ito and, of course, isa rin sa mga gusto nilang ma-address, itong mga foreign equity restriction para talagang ma-allow sila na mas makapag-invest nang mas malaki.

‘Pag ka na-solve natin ‘yon and that can be solved through legislation, so may mga proposal tayo to liberalize ang mga ibang activities tulad din nung — those that pertain to, let’s say the ‘yung air transport ‘no at saka itong mga energy. So that’s why we’re also trying to solve that.

Nakakatuwa dito, basta pagdating sa investments, si ‘yung… Ibabalik ko lang ‘yung mga pangako ni Presidente very hands-on.

Imbita siya nang imbita sa lahat ng forum. ‘Come to our country. I’ll guarantee you, no corruption, no extortion. If you encounter corruption, talk to me.’ Ganyan ang lengguwahe niya. So talagang personalized guarantee. So a very, very good reception.


Mr. Rosario: Sir, the impeachment will… The impeachment proceedings will be — will start on Monday sa House. How does the economic managers see this impeachment issue?

SEC. LOPEZ: Impeachment.

Mr. Rosario: Isa lang ho ang ngayon eh at saka kay… Wala pa ho kasing endorsement ‘yung tatlo — ‘yung tatlong impeachment kay Presidente ho Duterte.

SEC. TUGADE: Alam mo ‘yung ekonomiya, ‘yung paglago ng ekonomiya, tutuloy-tuloy ‘yan.

Iyong impeachment ho, kasama na ho ‘yan sa tinatawag nating political processes. Kasama rin ho ‘yan sa sinasabing workings of democracy.

Mr. Rosario: Yeah, what I mean is…

SEC. TUGADE: When the political processes are in place and you allow the democratic workings to make usad, kailangan ho, ‘you know, ituloy natin ‘yung pag-develop ng

ekonomiya. Magiging sagabal ho ba ‘yan? Sa aking pananaw, hindi ho. Hindi ho.

Pagkat alam naman natin ‘yung base nung impeachment eh hindi naman sa mapapaunlad ‘yan eh. Wala hong kuwan ‘yan, walang epekto ho sa kuwan ‘yan.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Okay. Last question, Ms. Doris you were —

Ms. Bigornia: Sir, clarify ko lang ‘yung when you talked about speed sa pag — ‘yung mga proyekto — gaano kabilis? At talaga bang magbaba-bye na tayo doon sa sistema na ilang dekada bago matapos ‘yung mga proyekto?

SEC. TUGADE: Yes ho, sana ho magbaba-bye na tayo sa masamang sistema. Talagang dapat iba-bye na ‘yan.

Doon sa gaano kaiksi ‘yung proseso, maalala niyo ho laging sinasabi ng ating Pangulo, ‘I want licenses and permits to be issued in three days. If you cannot, I will hold you accountable.’

But that having been said, in their own area, NEDA and ICC are looking into the processes na kung saan, kung meron hong mahigit benteng steps diyan, binabawasan ho ‘yan. Ganon din ho ‘yung PPP. Tinitingnan ‘yan kung paano — how to abbreviate the process without sacrificing the quality of decisions that has to be made and without incurring unreasonable cost and delay.

Napapakita na ho na ‘yung mga proseso na kung saan tumatagal ng isang taon, mahigit isang taon, natatapos ho ‘yan in 40 days. Meron hong mga tinitingnan na mga proseso na duplicitous in nature na hindi na ho kailangan, irrelevant and immaterial, tinatangal ho ‘yon, tinatanggal ho ‘yon. And that is a continuing process.

The improvement on processes is never a one-shot deal. It is a continuing process and we will always be looking into the processes as we address and as we seek to achieve quality decisions.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Thank you Sec. Art. Si Sec. Mark will add one or two things.

SEC. VILLAR: Dalawang bagay po. Una, I’d like to speak for also the approval sa NEDA, napakabilis po ngayon ng approval ng ating mga proyekto sa NEDA and I think this is unprecedented.

And we can see that the President is very focused on improving and creating a pipeline of projects that can be implemented at the soonest possible time, preferably during his — of course, we all want to finish this in the short to medium term so para guminhawa kaagad ang buhay ng ating mga kababayan.

At the same time, kaya po nag — pinopost pa namin ang aming mga timelines, in fact it’s accessible to everyone, this is because we want to pressure ourselves and we want to put ourselves on the line to guarantee that ito pong mga proyekto ay matatapos sa lalong madaling panahon.

So if you see our projects, we’ve identified every project. Na-identify na po sa Build, Build, Build website. Makikita niyo po ang start date, ang end date for everyone to see and this is para ma — to give us — to pressure ourselves and to put — to show the people that we are sincere in finishing these projects.

We’re putting ourselves on the line and we are ready to implement these projects and make sure that they are implemented at the fastest possible time and this is the commitment of us and the President that we will move and we will move quickly.

Ms Bigornia: Sir, sundutin ko lang ‘yun. Lahat ba ng mga bataan ninyo na-inform? Same page ba? Kasi hindi naman po natin maikakaila kung matino man ‘yung mga lider, meron naman sa baba ninyo na gumagawa ng sarili nilang racket.

SEC. VILLAR: Una po, sinasabi ko po — sinasabi po namin sa baba na either you step up or you step down. This is the time that we have to work together and culturally, we also want to… In our department, we wanna make sure that everyone’s on board sa programa ni Presidente and if you’re not, then I think you have to step aside for someone else who’s on board with this program.

Pero sa amin naman po, we will not tolerate slowness. We know that na malaki po ang pangangailangan ng ating mga kababayan and everyone and we will… Our commitment is we have no tolerance for people who are moving slowly. We have… This is our commitment to move fast and ‘yun ang, ‘yun po ang — and that this is what we will do.

Ms. Bigornia: Sir, hindi lang slowness kundi syempre may mga bata-bata sila, merong mga tinitingnan, may mga kinikilingan?

SEC. VILLAR: Well, sa amin, at this point, this is a… We don’t want to politicize. Like I said earlier, wala ng pulitika sa mga projects.

Ang importante tinitingnan po namin ang, kung… Well, it doesn’t matter who started it. It doesn’t matter kung may mga political considerations.

Iyon po ang maganda po kay Presidente. Wala pong pulitika sa kanya. Tinitignan lang niya ‘yung merits ng project at kung makakatuong sa ating mga kababayan.

So that is a shift in our, I think you’ll notice that there is a shift in our mentality regarding these projects and how we execute them.   

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: This has been a very fruitful one hour at least, thank you. Thank you very much. I think there is gong to be a one summary line. Sec. Mon, are you going to…?

SEC. LOPEZ: Eh kasi we came from World Economic Forum so medyo lagyan lang natin din nung medyo storya on the economic side.

Let me relay lang one finding doon sa mga diniscuss (discuss) sa World Economic Forum and it’s about ASEAN.

If you will remember in the last ASEAN Summit, pinag-usapan din nila ‘yung the need to make ASEAN really close to the people ‘no. So kasi may concern na baka nako hindi naman maka-relate ang mga tao.

So may isang grupo sa — ng mga business sectors sa ASEAN who conducted a survey and to the youth ‘no, kasi ang worry, baka ‘yung mga kabataan cannot relate to ASEAN or may not be aware of ASEAN.

And ‘yung findings, ‘yon ang gusto kong i-relay, survey of 16 years old to 30 years old, 90 percent, nagulat sila, 90 percent know ASEAN. Alam nila ‘yung ASEAN as a group.

And then, two-thirds believe na ‘yung mga buhay nila will be better. I think because siguro naririnig nila ‘yung mga cooperation sa trade, sa investment and that ‘yung career daw nila will be better because of ASEAN.

So it’s a parang one piece of good news na… And this is a survey, kung hindi ako nagkakamali, 24,000 kasi online eh, 24,000 na mga kabataan ‘no ang na-survey diyan.

So that’s one piece of good news and in the World Economic Forum discussion again with the President and then three other leaders: the Prime Ministers of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, they have given their views on ASEAN and the world. They want to ensure peace, there is peace and security to achieve development. Principle of non-interference ine-ensure nila. Growth should be inclusive, i-reduce ‘yung development gap.

Iyong development gap can also be addressed by addressing the brain gap. Ibig sabihin, i-push natin ‘yung mga education and continuous training kahit tapos na or ‘yung mga hindi nakapagtapos ng kolehiyo, pwede namang vocational training para talagang ma-level ‘yung capacity, ‘yung mga kakayanan ng mga tao that will push development further. Successful implementation of ASEAN connectivity.

So when we say connectivity, this could be physical ‘no, ‘yung mga infrastructure na pinag-uusapan or institutional or people-to-people, ito ‘yung mga exchanges. Sharing of expertise, magpapadala ka ng scholars and training.

Promote regional and global trade ituloy ‘yon. Because it’s only in the promotion of regional trade ‘yung magkaisa-isa ‘yung mga bansa that we can have economies of scale. Ibig sabihin kung tayo ay producer ng isang bansa, ang market mo hindi lang ‘yung bansa but the whole ASEAN region, the other countries.

So for example in our case, instead of 105 million Filipinos, your market is 620 million ASEAN market. I-recognize ‘yung mga new technologies in manufacturing, for example, digital automation, robotics, use of more e-commerce. Iyong digital payment is one enabling tool, ‘yung pagbabayad via mobile and digital. It’s a big help and enabler also for micro SME development.

And of course para ma-absorb ang technology, kailangan again education. Readiness of people to really absorb the digital technology. Skills development again is highlighted ‘no. 

And of course ‘yung mga employ — improving further job generation. So again trade and investment is top in the agenda. So ‘yun lang. That’s… Those are the highlights ng World Economic Forum.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: That’s a lot. Actually… As we… Obviously, the Philippines is entering into a new economic horizon and that should give us pause and that should give us — cause us to reflect more positively about the optimistic futures of the Philippines.

Later in the afternoon, the President will meet with members of the Filipino community at the Grand Ballroom… Tomorrow afternoon, so sorry. Time lag. Grand Ballroom of the Regal Airport Hotel before proceeding to Beijing.

Today will be private time for him mostly I think. There’ll be some business but a large part will be some meetings and also some private time.

Thank you very much to the Press Corps. And thank you very much Mr. Cabinet secretaries, Mr. Vince Dizon, Sec. Cusi, Sec. Lopez, Sec. Art, and Sec Mark, and Sec. Ernie Pernia.

Good morning. Blessings.

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