Press Briefing by Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella with Department of Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello III
Kalayaan Hall, Malacañan Palace
04 July 2017


PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: As we proceed with the run-up to PRRD’s State of the Nation Address, we continue to give snapshots of the Duterte administration’s one year accomplishments and we are lucky today to have Department of Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bebot III.

Sec. Bello will highlight the labor department’s first year accomplishments and how these projects and programs deliver public service to local and overseas employment and help in bringing about a comfortable life for all Filipinos.

Ladies and gentlemen of the Malacañang Press Corps, let us welcome warmly Labor Secretary Bebot Bello.

SEC. BELLO: Thank you, Sec. Ernie. My dear friends in the media, magandang umaga po sa inyong lahat.

After one year in the Department of Labor, ang hirap kasi magbuhat ng sariling bangko eh.

So first let me tell you about what we failed to do, what we failed to do. Number one is we wanted to bring home all the stranded 19,000 stranded workers in Saudi. But we only succeeded in bringing home about 16,000.

Why? Because many of them opted to stay because they had money claims. So we allowed them to stay but we spent almost more than half a billion in bringing them back, repatriating them. That is with respect to our OFW.

Then what did we fail to do with respect to the security of tenure of workers. We’ve failed to regularize the contractuals as much as we wanted to. We have a workforce of about 40 million employees.

Ngayon, while we wanted to regularize all our employees under laws on contractualization, medyo nahirapan kami dahil unang-una, we are supervising almost 900,000 business establishment throughout the country. And I am very sorry to tell you that we only have a little over 500 labor law compliance officers, inspectors for short.

How can you expect 500 plus labor law inspectors to supervise and inspect almost a million business establishment in the country to see to it that they comply with all labor laws standards and benefits for our employees.

But I don’t want to make that as an excuse because in order to meet that problem, what we did is to request the President to give us additional inspectors.

Luckily, he agreed to give us 200 additional inspectors. But definitely again, kulang pa rin ‘yan. We need to be able to effectively inspect all these business establishments, we need at least additional 2,500 inspectors.

So what did we do? We requested all the labor unions and all the employers’ organization to nominate to us any of their people whom we can train and we utilize as our inspectors.

After a few weeks, we were able to receive five representatives from the employers group and then 50 from the labors group.

We train these people and after 10 days they graduated as labor law compliance inspectors. They will then be deputized by the Secretary of Labor. Ide-deputize ko sila and then we utilize now, we utilize them now as inspectors.

Kulang pa rin, but we will continue to accept nominees from both labor and management so that we can have enough inspectors to see to it that all our labor establishments will comply with labor laws standards — labor law standards. ‘Yun ang aming hindi nagawa.

Now going to back to the OFWs, which is the first love of our President. Although we failed to do so much, let me inform you of the major accomplishment that our department did for the past 12 months.

First, we were able to establish 17 one-stop shop all over the country. So that our OFWs in trying to meet the requirements for their deployment, they don’t have to travel from one place to the other — from POEA to OWWA to the Department of Justice to the NBI to the PhilHealth to the Pag-IBIG to the SSS.

What we did was to have a one-stop shop where all these agencies are located and where they can service our OFWs.

The result is we have 17 one-stop shop all over the country and we have, so far, serviced one million five OFWs.

Malaking bagay po ‘yan dahil hindi na sila kailangan magbi-biyahe pa. Nakabawas sa gasto, nakabawas sa energy, at nakabawas sa dangers of travelling.

Another benefit that we gave to our OFWs is the establishment of a[n] OFW bank. This is a bank that will solely service all our overseas Filipino workers.

This bank will be formally inaugurated… Originally, it was supposed to be September, but Secretary Dominguez announced it yesterday that it will be launched on October this year. So we will have a bank that will service our OFWs.

Another milestone in the benefits of OFW is ‘yung 72-hour policy. Under this policy, when a document filed by an OFW is filed with any of the agencies under the Department of Labor, that document, whether it is an application or a letter should be acted upon within 72 hours.

Otherwise, the person or the employee accepting that document and does not act on it within 72 hours can be administratively liable.

Another, you learned I think about two months ago that the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia declared an amnesty on all undocumented OFWs in the Middle East. Thirteen thousand applied for amnesty. And of this 13,000, we were able to repatriate 6,000 of our countrymen working in the Middle East. Meron pang naiiwan na 2,400.

Kasi although 13,000 sila, some of them opted to stay. Nakakuha na sila ng exit visa pero they decided to stay dahil nakahanap sila ng panibagong trabaho. Okay.

Because of that, we only have now 2,400 OFWs who are still there and have to be repatriated. And by July 12, we are sending five PAL or Cebu Pacific airplane to bring them home together, all the 2,400 of them.

Some will be directly flied to Mindanao, probably in Davao. Another flight will probably be directly flown to Cebu, for the Visayan OFWs, and most of them will come home directly to Manila. So we will be able to bring home ‘yung 2,400 plus OFWs.

Another major breakthrough. Ito hindi niyo pa siguro nalalaman pero if you have any friend who is an OFW, then you will appreciate this. Dahil alam mo, if you want to be deployed or before you can be deployed for an overseas job, you have to obtain an OEC from the POEA.

OEC is an Overseas Employment Certificate. So bago ka ma-deploy, kailangan pumunta ka sa POEA and through the process you obtain an OEC.

With that OEC, you can be validly deployed for a work — overseas work.

With the introduction, my dear friends, of the iDOLE. And that is the ID of the Department of Labor and Employment, we will be doing away with the OEC.

Because under this program, all bona fide OFWs will be given iDOLE. That is the ID of the Department of Labor and Employment. At no cost to the OFW and this will serve as your OEC. ‘Yun ang OEC ng mga OFWs.

So they don’t have to go to the POEA every time they go and they come back and they go back again. They always have to get their OEC. Hindi na kailangan, all they have to do is show their ID, the iDOLE and that will serve as their license to go abroad, come back here, and then go back anytime they want to go back.

‘Yan po ‘yung iDOLE. The best gift of our President to our OFWs. Kasi alam mo madalas nagrereklamo ‘yung mga OFW natin.

“Sir, ang hirap ‘yung nandoon kami sa ibang bansa nagpipila kami, kung minsan masungit ‘yung mga labor attaché niyo. Kung minsan tamad sila, pinababalik kami, ilang oras kami naghihintay, pagkatapos magbayad pa kami. Kung minsan sabihin, ‘hindi kami qualified’.”

That will be a thing of the past with the entry of iDOLE. Permanente ‘yan. Maliban sa ‘yung data that will be included in the iDOLE is ‘yung kanilang SSS membership. Gagamitin… Pwede nilang gamitin sa SSS ‘yan. Gagamitin din nila sa PAG-IBIG at magagamit din nila sa PhilHealth.

And maybe given another six months, we are trying to adopt a system that this iDOLE can serve as their passport. Kakausapin naming mabuti ang Department of Foreign Affairs and, of course, the Department of Justice, through its agency which is the Bureau of Immigration.

Para ‘yung iDOLE na ‘yan eh pwede na ring gamitin na passport. You see the advantage. OFW ka, pwede ka ng maka-biyahe anywhere you have your passport. And hindi mo na kailangan ng OEC. Hindi mo na kailangan harapin ‘yung mga masusungit na empleyado ng POEA.

That to me is a major gift of the President to our OFWs who we always call as the “bagong bayani.” Pero ‘yung pagsasabi natin minsan ng “bagong bayani” lip service lang ‘yan eh, lip service lang kadalasan.

Now, na-substantiate na ‘yung meaning ng “bagong bayani” sa ating mga OFW. The President has seen to it that their life is more comfortable, more secured, and their stay abroad are properly attended to. 

And it has been my policy and I made it very clear to our labor attaché, I told them, “You have the best position in the department.” ‘Yan ang pinaka-number one position. Even my undersecretaries are applying to become labor attaché because of the benefits ha, especially if you are a labor attaché of Milan, or Rome, or Madrid or Washington or Geneva, Australia. Huwag lang Saudi.

But I told them, “You enjoy the position but please take care of our OFWs. If any complain reaches me, coming from OFW that you are not attending to them, without any hesitation, I will recall you.”

Which I did. When I found out that we had 19,000 Filipino overseas workers who have been stranded in the Middle East for more than two years. Ewan ko kung anong ginawa ‘nong dating administrasyon.

I found out that we had 19,000 countrymen stranded in the Middle East. What did I do? I recalled the two labor attaché in Riyadh, Saudi and also in Jeddah.

And I did that again in Kuwait when one of our countrymen was executed Ms. Pawa. Dahil the news of the execution did not reach me by a communication from our ano — our labor attaché. Nakatanggap lang ako ng text message galing kay Toots Ople ng OFW party- list nila.

Because of that, I flew immediately to Kuwait hopefully to be able to see the burial of Ms. Pawa.

Unfortunately, 24 hours lang ang mga Muslim. So ang nadatnan ko ay ‘yung kanya lang libingan. But when I went home, I brought with me ‘yung labor attaché because hindi siya karapat-dapat dun. I immediately caused his recall. So that is the state of our OFW.

Sa employment naman, again, ang hirap, Sec. Ernie, magsabi eh. We reduced the unemployment rate by, well, a very modest percentage of 1.7 percent.

We also reduced the unem — underemployment rate — again, by modest rate. This is only less than 1 percent, pero nabawasan. Through our efforts, napababa namin ‘yung labor force natin. Dati, medyo matatanda ang labor force natin. Ngayon, because of SPES and JobStart, napabata natin ang ating labor force.

Meron na tayong mga labor force na bagong graduates ang dali na lang makahanap ng trabaho. How many… [Abby, how many ’yung job fairs did we conduct for the year?] [Aide replies: 1,847?] 1,800-plus job fairs throughout the country. And as a result of these job fairs, we have what we call “hired on the spot.” [How many?] [Aide answers: 139] 139,000 hired on-the-spot employees, as a result of our job fairs.

And we will continue to do this in cooperation with DTI and with the Employer’s – ECOP – Confederation of the Philippines. They’ve been very cooperative on this program.

Now, on the security of tenure. Ito ‘yung contractualization.  Iniwasan ko ‘yan dahil madugo ‘yan eh. On the issue of endo and contractualization. ‘Yung endo is a thing of the past.

Definitely, endo is going to or has already ended. Why? Because management and employers realized that this is unlawful. And that it is unlawful for them to engage in endo.

So in fairness to the management group, to the employers, they all committed to stop the practice of endo, the practice of 555. Hindi ‘yan ‘yung ano ha ‘yung sardinas. That is the… every five months, i-hire ka for five months and then terminate you, and then after one month, re-hire you for another five months. ‘Yun ‘yung 555. 

Wala na ‘yan, bawal na ‘yan. Alam naman nila ‘yan, bawal. Ang issue na lang ngayon ay ‘yung contractualization. If you recall about three months ago, I issued Department Order No. 174 Series of 2017. The framework of this Department Order is that contractualization is prohibited.

That is the framework. Bawal ang contractualization. Except, merong exception siyempre, in anything, in life, there is always an exception.

Like for example, there is an exception in the case of security guards and their, I think, DO150-16. You can outsource your security guards. You do not have to hire your own security guards. You can get it from the security agencies.

And that is also true with the janitors. And there is an existing administrative ano — department order in DOLE, you can also outsource your janitors. You do not have to hire your own janitors. Okay?

Another exception is ‘yung tinatawag na project-based workers or employees. I will demonstrate you a very, very clear example.

Let’s say you are a shipbuilder. And as a shipbuilder, you have your regular employees. You have your clerks, you have your cashier, you have your jani — your [what’s this?] your mga utility man, your regular employees, to run your business. Because your business is to build ships.

‘Pag may nag-order sa’yo ng isang barko, or let’s say ‘yung isang cruise ship, you will need at least 10,000 workers to put up that ship, ‘di ba? You have to need more than 10,000 workers to build that ship. So you build that ship, and after building it, you deliver it to the person who ordered the ship.

Now, natapos na ‘yung project. Naideliver mo na ‘yung goods. What will you do with the workers? Retain them as regular employees? If you do that in less than a year, you will go bankrupt. That is why under the law, you are allowed to outsource this. Get it from a service provider. That they are called the project-based workers.

Then we also have ‘yung seasonal. If you go to SM… Favorite example ko ‘yang SM not because it is a violator, pero… Many of you, you go to SM almost every weekend, ‘di ba? Magsha-shopping kayo.

Doon, they have, let’s say… Mga ilan kaya nandiyan sa SM MOA? Mga — maliit na ‘yung 300. Okay? These are their regular salesgirls. Pagdating ng opening ng classes ‘di ba? Nag-iba na ngayon, Sec. Ernie, ang ano eh… Dati May ‘di ba? For the opening ng June… Pero iba na ‘yung schedule. May August. ‘Yung daughter ko, nabigla ako, August na mag-ano pala, babalik sa klase.

Pero during enrollment, peak season ‘yan. Dadagdag sila ng additional salesgirls. Meron bang salesboy? Wala ‘no? Wala. Salesgirl lang.

These are the seasonal workers. They have them only for that season, and after that season, they are terminated. Because otherwise, wala naman silang use. They are there only for the season.

And that is also true during Christmas. These are examples where you can outsource the employee — the worker. But going back to SM, I ask you… I know, most of you go to MOA and SM or a Robinson.

I ask you, if you are keen observers, may nakita ba kayong salesgirl na nakaupo? Wala, ‘di ba? Palaging nakatindig ‘yung mga salesgirl natin. Apat na oras na nakatindig.

More than kung minsan more. And then during lunch break, they are only given I think 20-30 minutes. Then back to standing again. Bawal ‘yun. Violation of labor standards. Pero nobody’s complaining. Nobody’s complaining, pero bawal ‘yun.

That is hazardous to the health of the salesgirl. I wonder why nobody is advocating for this — for the welfare of the salesgirls? Pero bawal na bawal ‘yun. Marami sa kanila ang babata pa nila pero kagaya ko, marami na silang varicose veins.

‘Di bale, sabi sa amin ni Sec. Ernie dahil medyo 50 above  kami eh. Pero ‘yung mga salesgirl natin, may mga 19, 20, ganun, standing for five hours and interval of 30 minutes, then another four hours. That is hazardous to their health. Iyon ang bawal dito. So ‘yun ang aming ano. That is our Department Order 174.

We were accused of violating the commitment of President Rodrigo Duterte because according to them, the President said, “No to endo. No to contractualization.”

Yes, that is the promise of the President. And yes, the President is going to keep his promise. When he said, “No to endo,” unclassified ‘yung endo. But when he said “contractualization,” he meant illegitimate, unlawful form of contractualization.

Like for example, in salesgirls, you cannot outsource the salesgirls because they are beneficial and necessary for the conduct of the business. Hindi ka pwedeng maging retailer kung wala kang mga salesgirls. ‘Di ba?

Pwede ka bang pumunta sa MOA tapos tayo ang maghahanap ng sarili natin? Kailangan ng salesgirls. Beneficial and necessary in the business. Kaya hindi dapat ina-outsource ‘yan.

By law, they have to be regular. That is why if you recall, I directed the PLDT to comply with the law. And I told them, if they will not regularize their more than 11,000 employees, I told them that the Department of Labor will direct that all their employees will henceforth be classified as regular. That is ano… That is what is meant by Department Order 174.

And that is what the President said: “No more unlawful, illegitimate contractualization.” Because hindi mo maiwasan eh na sometimes, you have to resort to a contractual arrangement.

Talking about contractual arrangement, even in agriculture. ‘Pag nagtanim ka, kailangan mo ‘yung planter, ‘di ba? Pero pag-ani, hindi mo ma-hire ‘yung planter na mag-ani  because he doesn’t know anything about harvesting. All he know is he is planting. So you have to hire, for the season, a harvester. ‘Yung taga… Anong tawag dun? Taga-ani.

So that’s what the President said, “No to endo. No to illegal — illegitimate form of contractualization”.

So with that, my dear friends, we have 12 years — 12 months doing all these to ensure the security of tenure of our workers. At the same time, provide our management and employers the flexibility of running their business.

We also told you what we did to our OFWs. The real bagong bayani in the Philippine society.

Salamat po.


Dharel Placido (ABS-CBN Online): Hi, sir. Two questions lang po from my part. Sir, President Duterte promised inclusive growth through job generation doon po sa kanyang first SONA. Sir, with the decrease in unemployment, would you say that the government is on its way to achieving inclusive growth? If not, what measures are we doing, sir? 

SEC. BELLO: Yeah. Not on its way, in fact, we have already achieved that. I mean, partially. We have increased labor opportunities because alam mo ang hindi natin nalalaman, while the President is providing protection to our OFWs, ang final goal ng ating Presidente is to get them back, repatriate all of them, because the President is aware of the social implication of Filipinos going abroad to look for jobs.

So ang final goal ng ating Presidente is to get them all back by providing good jobs with good pay.

So, I don’t know if you… Sec Ernie, ‘di ba during our China? China, we mentioned that — we mentioned ‘yung Dutertenomics, where the President will go into major infrastructure program and our financial advisers said that they will spend about six trillion, which will create two million jobs a year.

That means that by the time, by the time, by the end of the term of the President which is five years from now, we will have almost — almost 12 million jobs available.

Mr. Placido: And, sir, do you qualify that as inclusive already, in your definition, sir?

SEC. BELLO: Definitely. Definitely. Alam mo ba ang… Alam mo ang epekto niyan, dahil alam mo, ngayon ang mga workers ‘pag naghahanap ng trabaho hindi namimili ‘di ba kasi ang hirap maghanap ng trabaho.

So hard, too difficult to look for a job. So kahit mababa ang sweldo, hindi na sila naga-ano, hindi na sila nagtatanong kung magkano ang sweldo. All they are interested in is to get a job.

But if we create 12 million jobs, eh ‘di ang daming available jobs. Ngayon, ang mga workers naman ang magpapakipot ‘di ba?

O kailangan mo ng ano, ng welder.  Ikaw welder sabihin mo, “Magkano ang sweldo?” O ‘di ba? Kasi ang daming available jobs, ang daming available jobs kung there are no takers, walang mangyayari.

Sabihin ‘nong welder, “Kung hindi mo taasan ang sweldo ko doon na lang ako sa Kuwait. Ang laki ng sweldo doon 1,200 dollars. Bigyan mo ako ng kahit man lang 500 dollars pwede na.”

So magiging ano na, demanding na ang ating ano, ang ating mga labor — work force.

Mr. Placido: Sir, last question na lang po from me. Sir, President Duterte has mentioned several times that you would create ‘yung separate departments for OFWs. Does your department still back this? I believe there are six proposals in Congress to create these departments, sir?

SEC. BELLO: Actually, being the Secretary of Labor, I hesitate to comment on that ‘no kasi it will be self-serving.

But anyway, objectively, under the Department of Labor we have two agencies solely devoted to OFW concern, that is the OWWA and the POEA.

So if we create another ano, bureaucracy, it’s no longer in line with the thrust of government to come up with a leaner — leaner government ‘di ba? Magdadagdag ka nanaman, another layer, where as we already have ‘yung OWWA at tsaka POEA.

And sa tingin ko naman if you strengthen ‘yung POEA and OWWA, they can service our OFWs very effectively.

So hindi ko sasabihin na hindi kailangan. We’ll just… I’m just saying that we already have two agencies in government that is servicing our OFWs.

Mr. Placido: Thank you, sir.

Alexis Romero (Philippine Star): Secretary, on another issue. Meron na bang petsa kung kailan magre-resume ‘yung fifth round ng talks between the NDF and the GPH panels?

SEC. BELLO: Tinanong mo na rin lang, eh ‘di sasagutin kita. Supposed to be, hindi muna namin sasabihin.

Mr. Romero: Meron na?

SEC. BELLO: Pero nagusap kami ni Chairman Agcaoili last Sunday evening. And meron kaming initial understanding that we will probably have the — ‘yung naudlot na fifth round will probably be realized second or third week of August.

But before that, para maganda, this time we will have a good result, there will be an informal meeting between the panel.

And the meeting may be in Asia or the Philippines. Although ‘yung NDF would like to have it somewhere in — they were mentioning Japan. Ang compromise ko naman, ang layo naman ng Japan, baka pwede ng Hong Kong or the Philippines. Especially so that Joma Sison will not be attending, it will only be their panel, so walang problema doon.

So there will be an informal meeting and they will discuss mainly on the issue of socioeconomic reforms and ‘yung possible interim unilateral ceasefire.

Maguusap na sila para pagdating ng August, eh maliwanag na. And it will only before submission to the panel for formal approval by the panels.

Mr. Romero: For third week ‘yung formal? ‘Yung informal kailan?

SEC. BELLO: ‘Yung informal within the third or last week of July. So you can join them if you want.

Mr. Romero: Na-resolve na ba Secretary ‘yung issues kasi ‘di ba ‘yun ‘yung reason bakit natengga ‘yung talks because of ‘yung continued attacks by the — against security forces. Naayos na ba ‘yung issue na ‘yun?

SEC. BELLO: Actually naman ‘yung… The cancellation of the fifth round was not attributed to the attacks ‘no. Because the reality is that there is an existing armed conflict. That is the reason why we are talking to end the armed conflict.

So habang naguusap tayo, you expect some skirmishes once in a while.

Ang naging dahilan doon ay ‘yung kanilang statement na — if you recall before we left for the Netherlands, may statement ang CPP na “We will accelerate and intensify our attacks against government.” Which is no longer in keeping with the provisions of the Hague Joint Declaration, which says that both parties should provide an atmosphere conducive to the conduct of a peace negotiation.

‘Yun ang naging dahilan na sabi namin, “Uy, you are violating the basic framework of our process and that is the Hague Joint Declaration.”

Mr. Romero: So [inaudible] a truce. Truce muna while we speak?

SEC. BELLO: It’s possible. ‘Yun nga, sinabi ko na that informal meeting in the end of July, we’ll be discussing ‘yung interim unilateral ceasefire, separately signed by both parties.

Mr. Romero: Last question sa akin, sir. So overall ano po ‘yung nakikita niyong prospects ‘nung talks between the NDF and the GPH? ‘Yung mga nakikita niyo sa ngayon, ‘yung prospects?

SEC. BELLO: I don’t know. Pero you have to… I hope you will understand me. I’m the ever optimist na I always say that, “There is always a hope for a peace process.”

If you borrow the words of Secretary Dureza, in the process, there will be humps and bumps but we will not — we will stay in the course of the process because there is no alternative.

This is the best legacy that our President can give to our country: an enduring and lasting peace for everyone.

Mr. Romero: Thank you Secretary.

Pia Ranada (Rappler): Sir, before my question. I just wanna clarify what you mentioned earlier. So sir, the unilateral ceasefire na interim, it will be — will it be a requirement before the formal peace talks or it will be signed during the formal peace talks in August?

SEC. BELLO: It could be before or it could be during. Ang importante ay paguusapan na nila para kung kinakailangan na hintayin pa ‘yung formal bago magpirmahan, then we will wait for that.

Otherwise, pwede na ring ano kasi interim naman eh, interim unilateral ceasefire.

At masyado na yata akong nagiging open sa inyo ah. ‘Yung ano, kasi one of the issues there would be, who will be the referee?

Sino ang… Kung halimbawa may violation, saan ka tatakbo? Ganon. So ‘yun ang isang sensitive issue, who will be the referee?

So merong magandang pinagusapan si Chairman Fidel and our panel member Secretary Braganza, which is a very, very ano… Anong tawag doon? Innovative idea of a referee. It could be a joint team, joint monitoring team of the ceasefire.

Ms. Ranada: Sir, will there be a timeline for the ceasefire, a deadline? Or how many months would it last, how long?

SEC. BELLO: Sa akin, it will be for as long as we do not have the bilateral ceasefire.

Ms. Ranada: Sir, does the President have the— blessed this ‘yung possibility of talks in August, it comes with his blessing?

SEC. BELLO: ‘Di ba may statement si Presidente na, “Let’s talk.”?

Ms. Ranada: Sir, going on to my question because the AFP released a directive, identifying the NPA as one of the targets of martial law. This is AFP Operational Directive 0217. Sir, how will this directive affect the peace talks?

SEC. BELLO: Ano ‘yung directive?

Ms. Ranada: AFP Operational Directive 0217. So it’s a martial law directive, tapos the third directive is to degrade arm capabilities of the NPA.

SEC. BELLO: Well, that’s a normal operation of the Armed Forces. So, the NPA — the CPP understand that. Just like the once in a while also launch offensive against our forces.

Ms. Ranada: Sir, didn’t the NPA — didn’t the NDF released statement, sir, saying that martial law might target their forces and that’s why they have to ramp up attacks versus government?

SEC. BELLO: Wala namang ganon. Wala namang… I don’t think the President has any intention of doing that because he made it very clear that he declared martial law in the fight against terrorism.

So, martial law was declared to counter ‘yung terrorism.

Ms. Ranada: And yet, sir, we have nga po a military directive identifying the NPA as one of the targets of martial law. Will this have any impact on the peace talks?

SEC. BELLO: Wala naman. Wala naman.

Ted Tuvera (Daily Tribune): Good morning, Secretary. Kahapon po, sir, na-interview po si Secretary Lorenzana, ang sabi niya, I, for one, has already been talking to the GRP panel kung pwede huwag muna tayong makipag-usap sa CPP-NPA kung hindi nila nako-control ang kanilang NPA na gumagawa ng mga extortion. Sir, how do you take ‘yung ganitong advice or suggestion ni Secretary Lorenzana?

SEC. BELLO: Well, you know, whenever the panel goes to the venue for the peace talks or the round of talks, we regularly consult the intelligence community of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

We talk to Secretary Esperon, our National Security Adviser. And the mere fact that we go to the venue of the talks is an indication that their assessment is that they are still the right person to talk to.

Otherwise, ‘pag sinabi niya sa amin na, “Huwag niyo nang kausapin mga ‘yan, hindi naman nila kontrolado ang pwersa nila.” We will not go there anymore.

But the fact alone that we are still there is an indication that from the assessment of our intelligence community, they are still the right person to talk to.

Mr. Tuvera: Sir, sabi nga po ni… ‘Yun nga, sabi ni Secretary Lorenzana, huwag daw muna dahil nga doon sa extortion scheme na ginagawa daw nila and at the same time ‘yung warning po ata, I guess, over the weekend na magkakaroon daw sila ng public attacks. How do we respond to that, sir?

SEC. BELLO: Well, I don’t know the basis for the statement of Secretary Lorenzana. I respect him for his views. But maybe you took him out of context.

Kasi ‘yung palaging pinaguusapan ‘yung extortion activities, ganon. Alam naman natin na they are not into extortion, they’re into what you call… Ano ‘yung paborito? ‘Yun, revolutionary tax collection. 

Philip Tubeza (Philippine Daily Inquirer): Sir, good morning po. Doon lang po sa OEC and then ‘yung iDOLE, ‘yung sa ID natin, kailan po mag-sa-start ito at saan mag-a-apply ‘yung mga OFWs natin?

SEC. BELLO: July 12 sa Aguinaldo, we will launch it before the President.

Mr. Tubeza: Ano pong mga kailangang documents at gaano po katagal ‘yung processing before ma-release ‘yung IDs? 

SEC. BELLO: Actually, all we need is ‘yung inventory of all the bona fide OFWs. On the basis of which our POEA, in conjunction with the Department of Labor, will start processing the IDs.

Mr. Tubeza: Opo. So, sir, pag nag-apply po ‘yung OFW natin, kailan po niya makukuha?

SEC. BELLO: Hindi na kailangan mag-apply. If you are an OFW, bibigyan ka na. Kasi nandoon ka na sa roster ng mga OFWs, so we will start processing ‘yung ID and then we will give it to you.

Mr. Tubeza: Ito po ay for sa ide-deploy pa lang or kahit pwede rin po ‘yung nagbabakasyon lang?

SEC. BELLO: Lahat na ng mga present ano, OFW. ‘Yung mga idedeploy pa, that has to be processed kasi you have to determine that they are qualified to be for overseas employment.

Mr. Tubeza: So, sir, ‘yung magbabakasyon po ba, dadaan pa sila sa BM Online or wala na ‘yun? 

SEC. BELLO: Wala na, wala na kasi nandoon na ‘yung ID nila. ‘Yun ang kailangan kasi no’n, kailangan mo ng OEC eh pero ngayon hindi na.

Mr. Tubeza: So pwede rin po itong gamitin for the travel tax and the terminal fee sa airport?

SEC. BELLO: Yes, hindi na kailangan din, oo. ‘Yung terminal fee, hindi na. Matagal na ‘yon eh. Matagal ko nang ipinababalik ‘yung perang kinolekta eh. 

Mr. Tubeza: So wala na ring pila, sir, sa NAIA? Wala na pong pila sa NAIA? Last question.

SEC. BELLO: Wala na dapat, wala na dapat, oo.

Mr. Tubeza: Thank you, sir. 

Ian Cruz (GMA 7): Hi, good morning, Secretary. 

SEC. BELLO: Good morning. 

Mr. Cruz: Related ‘to doon sa tanong ni Philip. Kasi you mentioned kanina na baka wala ng passport ang mga OFWs and kakausapin niyo ang DFA and then ang Bureau of Immigration. Pero sir, I think walang problema ‘yun dito sa bansa natin pero ‘pag nandoon na sila sa country like sa Middle East or sa Europe or sa America or any parts of the world, baka hingan sila siyempre ng passport. Paano ‘yun? Iyon bang iDOLE natin pwede ng maging passport din nila doon? Paano kaya ‘yun? 

SEC. BELLO: That’s why I said we have to talk to the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Justice through the agency Bureau of Immigration.

Kasi we have to see to it na ‘yung passport natin hindi lang valid sa Philippines but also valid to all other countries, oo. That will be through diplomatic channels na ‘yan.

Mr. Cruz: Pero, sir, nabanggit niyo na ‘yung iDOLE pwede ng parang passport nila?

SEC. BELLO: Kung… No, hindi pa. That’s why we have to meet with the DFA and DOJ para ‘yung pass —‘ yung iDOLE na ’yan can later on be converted or can be used as a passport. Eh siyempre pakikiusapan pa ni Secretary Cayetano ‘yung mga other countries.

Mr. Cruz: Ah so parang talagang mawawala na ‘yung passport nila, sir, na ginagamit?

SEC. BELLO: Oo, eventually. Kung we will succeed in making arrangements with other countries na ‘yung ID na ‘yun can already be considered as a passport of our OFWs.

Mr. Cruz: Sir, nabanggit mo rin kanina ‘no sa mga manggagawa naman ‘yung marami kang nakikita na mga malls na mga hazardous ang work like sa mga saleslady. Meron bang ginawa ang DOLE para imbestigahan itong mga kumpanya na malalaki ang kinikita eh hazardous pala ang ginagawa sa mga saleslady? 

SEC. BELLO: We did, we did. We already notified them. We already notified them. And by the way, ‘yung tungkol sa PLDT, I am transferring our regional director of NCR for his failure to give a[what do you call that?] a notice to PLDT to regularize their employees, oo.

Eh that was… I remember that was two weeks — two months ago eh, hindi pa niya nagagawa so I’m going to transfer him to another region and put somebody here who can more be — who will be more effective.

Mr. Cruz: Sir, doon sa mga saleslady, anong sabi ng mga mall? Talagang bibigyan na nila ng break ang mga saleslady na kada ilang oras na ngayon pwedeng umupo sila?

SEC. BELLO: Sa ngayon kasi, sabi ko ‘yung because of the very big — wide difference of our numbers of inspectors and ano — and ‘yung business establishment na iniimbestigahan namin, we are concentrating on more serious violation.

But the moment we will have the number, if we can get additional 2[000] to 3,000 labor law compliance inspectors, ‘yung mga ganyan papatulan na namin.

Kasi ngayon ang hinahabol namin ‘yung mga kagaya yesterday, may magtataho, he has four branches ha, he has four branches. Sa makatuwid, kumikita nang husto. Alam mo kung magkano ang sweldo nung kanyang mga trabahante? 270, which is very, very much lower than the minimum wage in Metro Manila which is — ‘yan, sa inyo hindi niyo alam.

What’s the minimum wage in Metro Manila? O kita niyo, 491. That’s the minimum wage in Metro Manila. And yet, ang sweldo ng mga trabahante nila is only 270. 

Mr. Cruz: Opo. Sir, going back doon sa saleslady ‘no, paano niyo nasabing hazardous ‘yung four hours na nakatayo sila? Ano bang standard talaga na kailangan umupo ang isang tao sa trabahong ganun?

SEC. BELLO: Sabi nung mga kwan eh, sabi nung occupational — hindi ba meron kaming office na Occupational Safety and Health Council ba ‘yun? Center, Center. Sabi nila dapat nagre-rest sila ng at least every two hours.

Mr. Cruz: Every two hours. Okay. Sir, last question na po from me ano. Kasama po kayo doon sa Cabinet meeting kahapon? Pwede niyo po bang i-share sa amin ‘yung ilan sa mga highlights?

SEC. BELLO: I think Secretary Ernie is in a better position. Mas malapit siya doon kay Presidente eh.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Thank you, Sec. Bello. I’d like to proceed. We have a few items to share on.

The United Nations World Tourism Organization Secretary General Taleb Rifai has expressed his support for the Philippines as he calls out to everyone to experience the Philippines.

He also describes the Philippines as a country full of life because of its culture, nature, and optimistic citizens.

This assures that the Philippines continues to be a safe and relaxing place for foreign and local tourists, which will further increase the country’s investment and business expansion.

Also, Moody’s retains the Philippines’ credit rating and stable outlook:

The Department of Finance has reported that the Moody’s Investors Services maintained the Philippines’ credit rating of Baa2 and stable outlook indicating the country’s strong economic performance marked by its rapid real GDP growth, improvement in debt manageability supported by a tighter fiscal policy and the ability to withstand domestic political risk.

According to BSP, “the decision of Moody’s speaks well regarding the favorable path that the Philippine economy continues to tread.”

The Duterte administration continues to sustain the robust economic growth of the country and make it more inclusive by attracting more businesses, investing in human capital and increasing infrastructure spending.

On the meeting of PRRD with US Ambassador Sung Kim:

The Department of Foreign Affairs, through the Office of Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, released the following information on the President’s meeting with His Excellency Ambassador Sung Kim of the United States of America.

They had a very productive and fruitful meeting this afternoon, yesterday afternoon.

The Ambassador reiterated the US government’s full support for the Philippine government operations in Marawi as well as its — in its reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts for the Islamic city.

Ambassador Kim also conveyed to the President the US government’s approval of the duty-free entry of travel goods from the Philippines to the United States, which will generate 70,000 new domestic jobs and an additional P5 billion in revenues annually.

The US Ambassador also congratulated the Philippines for the success of its anti-human trafficking program. This is manifest in the retention of the Philippines in its Tier 1 ranking in the list of countries, which have complied with international standards on countering human trafficking.

On Marawi: I would like first to read a press statement regarding the 500 million jewelries looted by Maute/ASG rebels and criminal gangs in Marawi.

Fresh from inside Marawi comes disturbing narratives of looting, burglary and theft. An estimated P500-million worth of cash was reportedly looted and stolen by Maute/ASG rebels together with criminals in Marawi City, according to revelations by hostages who successfully escaped and were later on rescued by government forces.

Seven hostages who were able to reach government forces a week ago, followed by another who escaped a few days later and by another two several days ago, made this disturbing revelations, corroborating earlier information received by Joint Task Force Marawi headquarters.

All these hostages revealed that they were forced to convert to Islam or be killed. According to them, they were initially tasked to loot and steal from the houses, establishments for ammunition, firearms, cash, gold and jewelry.

They estimate that their group alone was able to loot and steal at least P500 million in cash, not to include other items they have taken from households and business establishments.

They believe that the amount of cash and valuable items looted could be worth more as there were several other groups being forced by terrorists to loot and steal for them.

The rescued and escaped hostages said they were forced to loot and steal under duress and upon instruction and supervision of Maute/ASG rebels and local criminals.

The rescued individuals also revealed that they followed a daily routine looting-stealing schedule: morning from 7 am to 11 am, return for lunch then back to looting and stealing after lunch, up to 3 pm and then back to their holding place.

It is believed there are countless other crimes being committed by the Maute/ASG groups and criminal gangs while fighting is going on. More revelations and information were divulged by the rescued hostages, some of it awaiting validation.

Regarding numbers:

Civilians killed by terrorists, the number remains the same – 39;

Civilians rescued by group troops, by government troops and LGUs remain the same – 1, 717;

Terrorists killed – 337 from 336 or an increase of one;

Recovered high-powered firearms from terrorists – 410 from 402, increase of eight; and

Government casualties killed-in-action, 85 from 84, or an increase of one.

Again, we reiterate that the government’s policy is not to negotiate with terrorists remains.

The AFP reiterates its call to all our citizens to practice the concept of shared responsibility in security by being vigilant, alert, and conscious in the immediate environs wherever they are and to report to the authorities suspicious persons or items left unattended immediately.

From DSWD, as of 12 midnight, July 2, 2017: a total of 84,351 families or 389,366 individuals have been displaced by the armed conflict in Marawi. Of which, 3,798 families or

17,389 persons are currently staying in 79 evacuation centers and 70,359 families or 333,779 persons are staying either with relatives or friends.

As of midnight, 2nd of July 2017, a total of ₱117,707,504 fundaugmentation was provided by DSWD Central Office to Field Offices.

Further, a total of ₱123,609,994 worth of food and non-food items were provided by DSWD.

Regarding the Cabinet meeting last night:

The 16th Cabinet meeting of President Duterte went like clockwork and covered significant items among which: The Marawi City Response and Relief Operations, DSWD; updates on the opening of classes in Marawi 2017-2018, Department of Education; and the proposed Fiscal Year 2018 National Expenditure Plan from DBM.

The Marawi City Response and Reliefs Operations:

As stated earlier, this has slight variation. People displaced as per DSWD data, they were 84,855 displaced families or 400,440 displaced individuals. 3,798 families or 17,389 persons are staying in evacuation centers and more than 70,000 are home-based, found in 400 host communities.

There are several relevant issues needing attention, among which: camp coordination and camp management by DSWD; IDP protection also under DSWD; health under DOH; logistics under the Office of Civil Defense; emergency telecommunication under OCD; search rescue and retrieval, AFP; education under Department of Education; law and order, PNP; management of the dead and missing under DILG; and the early recovery and livelihood plans.

Their guidelines remains, to shorten the process by which internally displaced persons can access assistance without jeopardizing safeguards to protection of people’s money and resources.

Also, LGUs of Marawi and ARMM are key actors in the early recovery and the next stage of rehabilitation. And third, the dignity of IDPs must be upheld.

I’d like to go now to the report of the DBM.

Very interesting, they said, it’s a budget that reforms and transforms.

It covers medium-term macroeconomic assumptions and fiscal targets, key budget dimensions, expenditure priorities.

The 2018 budget amounts to 3.767 trillion or 12.4 percent more than the 2017 budget and 21.6 percent of the GDP.

The allocation by expense class: LGUs receives 16 percent; GOCCs receive 4.5 percent; infra and capital outlays receive 25.4 percent; personnel services receive 29.4 percent; maintenance receive 14.5 percent; debt burden, 9.8.

The top departments: Department of Education, SUCs and CHED; next, DPWH; third, DILG; fourth, DOH; fifth, DSWD; [sixth] Department of Agriculture; next, ARMM; and then DENR.

The priorities of framework. Number one, to enhance the social fabric to make sure that the entire budget is spent to make and being people-centered, fair, just, and value-based; to reduce inequality; to increase growth potential; to maintain foundations for sustainable development.

Secretary Ben Diokno round up his report by saying, “The budget aims for a safer, greener, wealthier, and more beautiful country, making space for the youth, the poor, disadvantaged, and handicapped.”

End of statement.

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