Press Briefing by Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella with Ricardo B. Jalad Executive Director, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC)
Press Briefing Room, New Executive Building, Malacañang
15 June 2017


PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Good morning. For today, our resource speaker is not new to us. He’s been here… [How many times, sir?] [Usec. Jalad: This is my second time.] 

This is your second time. All right.

He is Usec. Ricardo Jalad and he is the administrator of the Office of Civil Defense and the Executive Director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

He will give us an update on the current risk reduction situation in Marawi. So ladies and gentlemen of the Malacañang Press Corps, let us welcome, Secretary Ricardo Jalad.

USEC. JALAD: Thank you, sir. Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Last March 23, when we monitored the loads of rebellious act of the ISIS-inspired Maute group in Marawi City and we also monitored the influx of internally displaced people from Marawi City to outlying areas like Iligan City and some municipalities in Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur.

In my capacity as the administrator of Office of Civil Defense, I immediately directed the activation of a regional command and coordinating center in Iligan City in order to coordinate the efforts of two regional offices of Office of Civil Defense and these are: OCD-ARMM and OCD-Region 10. 

And that RCCC now transformed into an emergency operation center of the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council because we have activated the response cluster of NDRRMC being led by DSWD to focus for now on the needs of internally displaced people.

And as of yesterday, we have on record 66,738 families composed of 324,406 individuals displaced from Marawi City and Marantao, municipality of Marantao in Lanao del Sur.

Of this number of displaced people, only about five percent are checked in or living, staying inside evacuation centers, numbering about 79 evacuation centers, spread out in Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur — we also have one in Cagayan de Oro City.

Only about five percent are currently staying in the evacuation centers. The rest, the 95 percent are staying in their relatives, in the houses of their relatives and friends, and we call them home-based IDPs.

And at the… Responding to the needs of the IDPs, the DSWD has lead in the management of evacuation centers as well as in providing food and non-food items. The DSW — Department of Health has the lead-in providing for water, health, and sanitation.  

So these two agencies are leading in the provision of assistance to our IDPS, with OCD as the overall coordinator and implementing arm of the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council.

And as of yesterday also, our record is already about 84 million pesos worth of assistance provided by various agencies, including OCD.

So that’s the update. We are still focusing on responding to the needs of our IDPs in areas outside of Marawi and Marantao. 


Tina Panganiban-Perez (GMA): Sir, Tina po from GMA. Sir, meron po ba kayong bilang nung mga nasa ospital naman na mga civilian?

USEC. JALAD: Oh, I asked that from DOH yesterday. I’m sorry I left my note but I remember it’s about 15 inpatient right now, 15.

Ms. Panganiban-Perez: Sir, where are they?

USEC. JALAD: In hospitals in Iligan City and clinics in other municipalities.

Ms. Panganiban-Perez: Sir, clarify ko lang. That’s 1-5? 15? 


Ms. Panganiban-Perez: Thank you, sir.

USEC. JALAD: I might be wrong because I don’t have with me my notes.

Ms. Panganiban-Perez: Opo. And they… Ano po… Do you also have information on why they were hospitalized? Kunyari, shrapnel?

USEC. JALAD: Due to sickness, nothing due to injuries.

Ms. Panganiban-Perez: Thank you, sir.

Maricel Halili (TV 5): Sir, just a follow up on Tina’s question. You said, sickness. They’re suffering from what kind of diseases, sir? 

USEC. JALAD: Some diarrhea. And DOH has activated also its surveillance system to monitor occurrence of epidemic, so far there’s none.

Ms. Halili: But at least ‘yung mga cases po ng diarrhea, did they acquire it from the evacuation centers?

USEC. JALAD: I don’t have that information.

Ms. Halili: Sir, I understand nagkaroon ng difficulties before na makipag-coordinate doon sa mga home-based evacuees. Ano na po ‘yung update? Nakakuha na ba tayo ng communication with them?

USEC. JALAD: Ongoing ‘yung validation. Mahirap talaga i-validate ito dahil napakarami ‘yung ano — napakalawak ‘yung lugar ano.

But there is an ongoing process being conducted by DSWD.  

Alexis Romero (Philippine Star): Usec, have we or do we already have estimate on damage of property? 

USEC. JALAD: Right now, we are still focusing on the response. We will do that as soon as Marawi is cleared. We will deploy rapid damage and needs assessment teams.

Mr. Romero: Kahit wala pang ballpark figure, initial?

USEC. JALAD: Wala pa, wala pa.

Mr. Romero: Thank you.

Pia Ranada (Rappler): Sir, would you know if the President has any plans to visit the evacuation centers?

USEC. JALAD: I don’t have idea about that.

Ms. Ranada: Sir, is there’s any… Since we don’t when these IDPs will be able to go to their homes, is there needs, like the government have any call out to the public to provide — to help provide some goods or basic necessities for the families?

USEC. JALAD: Ongoing ‘yung distribution ng relief items sa — ‘yung basic needs doon sa evacuation center as well as for the needs of home-based IDPs.

And we are also looking at if this — if the number of IDPs will really swell — at setting up tent cities. So the national incident management team deployed in the area is now looking at that possibility.

Ms. Ranada: Sir, you said that the number of IDPs might swell, what makes you say this? How many more po ba are you expecting? How many more are trapped in the city?

USEC. JALAD: We are only… I don’t have the number of the — number of people trapped in Marawi City. 

But we are only monitoring the increasing number of IDPs and we hope… Hopefully, this will flatten.

Ms. Ranada: Sir, just one last. Sir, how many are adding everyday?

USEC. JALAD: Let me check on my record. Parang wala yata dito. But the increase is not, during the last few days, hindi na ganoon karami. But still we monitor the increase.

Maybe it’s because of the — because we are able to validate now the people who are home-based. That’s one thing — that’s one thing that we recognize because of the validation that we are conducting.

Mr. Romero: Usec, may we have a follow up on the rehab plan for Marawi?

USEC. JALAD: As I’ve said, we are still in the response phase. Although there is now a pending issuance of EO on the rehab. We are still waiting for the final issuance of that.

But still the Office of Civil Defense as overall coordinator will be involved in the crafting of the rehab plan.

Initially, through the conduct of post-conflict needs assessment. So we still cannot conduct that activity because we have to clear Marawi City.

Mr. Romero: Where were… Do you know where we will get the 10 billion for the Bangon Marawi program? 

USEC. JALAD: We have the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management fund. We still have some balances on that. That’s one thing that I can see. 

But as to the — aside from the bal… Aside from what we have, it’s beyond me to determine where we will get that.  

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: As of 6 p.m., 14 June 2017, some key developments:

One is engagements and dialogue with the key sectors and local leaders of Marawi is ongoing in preparation for the rebuilding and the rehab phase.

The rehab and the rebuilding — the rehab is contingent upon the clearing operations if the city is actually cleared.

So operations continue to be positive. Out of 96 barangays, four remain as problematic areas and where focused military operations in urban terrain is currently ongoing.

Also, troops continue to gain important foothold in the problematic barangays and enemy resistance continues to dwindle and enemy-held areas continue to get smaller as troops advance.

Compounding development remains to be the use of civilians as human shields and mosques as staging areas and safe havens.

As for… As of 7 p.m., 13 June 2017, a total of ₱60,055,000 fund augmentation was provided by the DSWD Central Office to Field Offices. This does not include the rest of the other agencies supporting.

Further, a total of ₱70,701,994 was provided by DSWD to its Response Centers and Field Offices responding to the conflict in Marawi.

We are open to a few questions.

Before that, all right. We have good news.

Medical Students in SUCs are also set to get free tuition:

The Commission on Higher Education has announced that the Doctor of Medicine students in eight State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) can now avail of full tuition subsidy through the Cash Grants to Medical Students enrolled in state universities and colleges.

The eight SUCs which will grant free tuition are University of Northern Philippines, Mariano Marcos State University, Cagayan State University, Bicol University, West Visayas State University, University of the Philippines-Leyte, Mindanao State University and University of the Philippines-Manila.

The financial assistance is intended for new and continuing Filipino medical students who will be enrolling in the Academic Year 2017-2018.

Also, Foreign Direct Investments increased by 30.6 percent in March 2017, hitting US$1.6 billion in the first quarter of 2017:

The sustained foreign direct investment inflows reflect investors’ confidence in the country’s economy on account of the continued growth prospects and strong macroeconomic fundamentals.

Equity capital infusions during the period were channeled mainly to real estate; wholesale and retail trade; manufacturing; financial and insurance; and information and communication activities.

Regarding the Grenfell Tower fire in London:

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), through the Philippine Embassy in London, has confirmed that some Filipinos are among those injured by the fire at Grenfell Tower.

The Embassy is closely monitoring the situation and is ready to provide assistance to all Filipino fire victims.

We condole with those who have lost families and friends in the Grenfell fire and we take special note of the special needs of Filipinos who also were affected by the conflagration.


Rocky Ignacio (PTV-4): Sir, tanungin ko lang ‘tong from Rose Novenario: “Bakit po hindi paglabag sa Anti-Terror Law o Human Security Act ang isinampa laban sa mga taong sangkot sa terorismo sa Marawi City o sa iba pang lugar sa bansa gaya ni Superintendent Nobleza at iba pa?”

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: So ‘yung tanong po, whether — how come it’s not, how come —

Ms. Ignacio: Bakit daw po hindi Anti-Terror Law o Human Security Act ang paglabag?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: First and foremost, I think it’s being — it’s under ongoing talks ngayon so we cannot really confirm that. 

However, according to the EO and the supporting papers, it said that it was really basically a state — a rebellion. 

So it was not just terrorism but they were trying to actually create a state within a state so the argument is such. 

Ms. Ranada: Sir, how’s the President? Is he sick?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: The President is well. Is… The President just needs… 

After all, you have to consider that he has been on the road for at least 23 days regarding — fulfilling his martial law supervision. 

So, you know, it has been really brutal so we have to allow him this kind of rest.

Ms. Ranada: When will his next public appearance be or activity?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, you know, he’s taking some time off so I cannot really give you the definite date. But he’s just taking some time off to rejuvenate. 

Ms. Ranada: Sir, is it safe to say this entire week he will be resting out of the public eye?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Let’s just put it this way: That he’s resting for some time. Thank you.

Ms. Panganiban-Perez: Sir, as a follow up to that. Is the President in Malacañang because there was a post on social media yesterday that someone saw the President in Davao yesterday?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: He may have been…  [He may have travelled already to Davao. He’s still here?] [“He’s still here.”] According to the report, he’s still here. 

Ms. Panganiban–Perez: He’s still here, sir. Sir, any plans on going to Davao or Mindanao in the next few days?


Ms. Panganiban–Perez: No, no. The President? The President, sir. [laughs] 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: [laughs] I thought you’d be concerned about my socials. [laughter]

Ms. Panganiban–Perez: Well, I am too but, sir, since this is a follow up question to Pia’s question about the President —

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: No, I’m sure he… He usually splits his time between north and south. So I’m sure there’s going to be some chance of him being there.

Ms. Panganiban–Perez: Thank you, sir.

Philip Tubeza (Philippine Daily Inquirer): Hi, sir, good morning. How is the President spending his downtime here in the Palace? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Since it’s private time so I am sure he is spending time mainly resting. 

Mr. Tubeza: Is this the longest time that he’s been out of the public eye? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I’m not entirely sure about that. But he usually he doesn’t just… You know, he is — he has his own schedules.

Mr. Tubeza: Has he seen a doctor, sir, since Monday? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I am not privy to those matters. But I am sure he has checked with his own experts.

Mr. Tubeza: Okay. Thank you, sir.

Pia Gutierrez (ABS-CBN 2): Sir, reaction lang, there are several lawmakers who are calling for regular updates on the President’s health. Do you think that this is something which is necessary, sir?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, it’s usually given, for example, like this in press briefings, we usually give you that. So thank you. 

Rosalie Coz (UNTV): Sir, ibang issue lang po, sa Marawi. Nabanggit po kanina ni, sir, ng NDRRMC na five percent lang po ‘yung nag- stay sa evacuation centers and 95 percent ng mga IDPs ay nag-stay with their relatives and friends. Ano po ‘yung mga particular na tulong na pwede natin ipagkaloob? For example, livelihood assistance dahil — 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I should have… I think that kind of thing is going to be offered after the clearing thing, okay?

Ms. Coz: Pero, sir, immediate assistance? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I’m sure the… He has already referred to immediate assistance being given by… [mga tulong po ‘no?] 

Ms. Coz: Aside from food, water? 

USEC. JALAD: Usually, DSWD has emergency shelter assistance for the repair of their homes. But then, they also have cash-for- work.

But in the rehabilitation and recovery plan, there are components there that they are… The details of that will be formed in the crafting of the rehabilitation and recovery plan.

So livelihood assistance is one thing and as well as repairs of damaged facilities.

This will be crafted by concerned agencies with the OCD marshalling the efforts of the various agencies. 

Ms. Coz: Pero for now, sir, how do they coordinate with the government?

USEC. JALAD: It will be through respective or through the different agencies involved. But for now, we cannot — for the rehabilitation and recovery, we will still be in the coordination and planning stage.

So that hopefully as soon as Marawi is cleared, we can embark on the conduct of the assessment.

And after the assessment will be the crafting of the rehabilitation and recovery plan. The assessment will be done in about two weeks.

Ms. Coz: Okay, sir. Natanong ko lang po ‘yung question na ‘yun kasi may mga comments po na binabanggit na hindi daw po nabibigyang-pansin ang mga evacuees dahil hindi rin po sila nadalaw ng Pangulo recently. And comment na sa military camps lang po. So from the side of the government, how do we ensure na on top — top priority pa rin ng pamahalaan ‘yung mga internally displaced?

USEC. JALAD: Well, it’s the function of the agencies to provide assistance to those people in the evacuation centers. 

So we have there DSWD and DOH, we have there the Office of Civil Defense, as well as the other agencies involved.

So we have activated the response cluster at the national level and they are deployed in Iligan City to address the needs of the IDPs in Lanao del Norte, Iligan City, and Lanao del Sur.

Dharel Placido (ABS-CBN Online): Hi, good morning. For Spokesperson Abella or Sir Jalad po. Sir, how did we arrive at the 10 billion amount for the Marawi rehab? Ano po ba ‘yung naging consideration? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: It was an approximation given by the President.

Mr. Placido: Sir, second question po for… How do we make sure na… Since the storm season is approaching, how do we make sure that we are not spread thin? Ano po ‘yung preparations natin?


Mr. Placido: Relief efforts po?

USEC. JALAD: What’s the question again?

Mr. Placido: How do we make sure that we are not spread thin po pagdating sa relief efforts kasi parating na ‘yung storm season and given the situation in Marawi?

USEC. JALAD: Well, we still have enough resources, the different agencies involved including OCD. And in this case, coordination really is important to make sure that there is no under serving and over serving. 

Ms. Gutierrez: Sir Abella. Sir, the recent Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report of the World Economic Forum has listed the Philippines as the 11th most dangerous country for tourists. Reaction lang, sir? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, you know, contrary to the WEF report, tourism businesses are exposed to security risks. 

Foreign… In spite of that, foreign tourists continue to increase steadily. There are just hiccups every once in a while. But for example… But they continue to increase. 

For example, visitor arrivals from January to March 2017 are 1.78 million, okay, compared to 1.6 million for the same period last year. Therefore an increase of about roughly 11 percent.

We can attribute this growth in arrivals to the 160,000 airline seats that have been added to this year with new direct flights connecting local secondary airports to China, South Korea… For example, like Kalibo to Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Zhengzhou or Cebu to Wuhan, Chongqing, and Chengdu and Clark to Incheon.

In addition there’s one… In less than a year, we already have linked tourism deals with China, Cambodia, Thailand, and Turkey. 

We should be looking up, you know. We don’t really focus on critics. We focus on actual work and processes. And there really is an increase, it’s quite positive. Thank you.

Ms. Ranada: Sir, recently, Cab Sec Evasco gave a statement talking about the new policy of the NFA Council to shift to government to private importation. We recall that the President was against importation to begin with. And given that the NFA Council, of course, works on the — with the blessing of the President, is it safe to say that the President changed his mind about importation?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: We defer to the actual tactical moves that they have made. So we assume that this was done in best of faith. Thank you.

Ms. Ranada: So he has changed his mind about importation?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I don’t know. But definitely, there’s a change in the process. Thank you.

Ms. Ranada: He was consulted on this policy shift, I assume?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I’m sure he trusts the decisions of Sec. Evasco.

Ms. Ranada: Sir, given that, because he fired an Undersecretary because she supported importation. Can we expect him to admit his mistake in firing her? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: You know, we don’t go by mistakes. I think it’s a little bit, you know, blame-calling. 

Let’s just put it this way: He puts the national interest priority, first and last, whatever is best for the nation. So I’m trusting that this decision is part of a considered process.

Ms. Ranada: So he did not make a hasty decision on this Undersecretary?


Ms. Ranada: On firing her on the basis of her support for importation?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: For whatever actions that he did, he was right up to that point, okay.

Ms. Ranada: Sir, last question from me. Just pressing on the health issue. Sir, you keep saying he’s in excellent health, he’s well, but you also say he’s resting. So it’s not totally true that he’s in excellent health?


Ms. Ranada: Yes, sir, I do. 


Ms. Ranada: But that means, sir, that I’m not in excellent health. 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Meaning to say… No, that’s not excellent… I’m talking about is the general sickness condition. I’m saying that there is nothing to worry about in terms of sickness, major sickness.

But what I’m saying is that considering the… Considering the schedule that he has given, he needs to rest. You do need to rest don’t you?

Ms. Ranada: So, sir, just a categorical statement, is the President exhausted? Is he resting from fatigue? Is that… Can we say that?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Tired. He’s just tired. Like I said, he has been on the road for about 23 days.

Ms. Ranada: So that’s the only medical condition he has? Fatigue?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: As far as I can say that he’s resting. 

Mr. Romero: Usec. Jalad, so do we have at least teams ready for deployment in the event that Marawi City is already cleared?

USEC. JALAD: Primarily, we will be tapping on the ARMM government to be augmented with the people from nearby regions, priority will be from Region XII.

Mr. Romero: Can you clarify again what you mentioned about, it will take two weeks, what was that?

USEC. JALAD: Yeah. This is basing on our experience with past disasters. Like for example, in the conduct of post-disaster needs assessment as a result of typhoon Nina in Bicol.

So we conducted that assessment in about two weeks. The rise up will be about one week or two weeks also. And then, after that we will command the rehabilitation recovery plan.

Mr. Romero: So ‘yung signing nung EO, it may take also two weeks o pwede ng i-sign ‘yung EO while your conducting the assessment?

USEC. JALAD: I think the EO is to be released soon, in designating the, whoever will be the lead or the designated rehabilitation czar.

So in the conduct of the needs assessment, we don’t need an EO. So we will come in as soon as Marawi is cleared.

Mr. Romero: So wala pa pong rehab czar? Wala pa?

USEC. JALAD: As far as I know, but our default system is the NDRRMC. And it is NEDA who is the lead agency when it comes to rehabilitation and recovery.

But if the President desires that — to fast track everything, he may designate somebody as the overall in charge for rehabilitation recovery.

Mr. Romero: Thank you po.

Dexter Ganibe (DZMM): Hi, sir, good morning. Sir, it’s either si Spokesman o si NDRRMC. Sir, may ano na ba tayo, may blueprint para doon sa isasagawang rehabilitation na maaaring ito ‘yung susundan ng iba’t-ibang ahensya ng pamahalaan na gustong tumulong o kaya mga private sector na gustong tumulong sa pagbangon ng Marawi? Or kanya-kanya tayo, kung sino lang ‘yung gustong pumunta doon, may kanya-kanyang plano ng rehabilitation?

USEC. JALAD: We have the response clusters. We have about 11 clusters. So, like for example, DSWD is the lead on the delivery of food and non-food items.

So what we do is that if there are donors, we check in — we refer this to the respective cluster leads. If it’s medicine, we refer it to the DOH because it’s them who has the competency to determine whether to accept the donation or not.

Mr. Ganibe: What I mean, sir, is the rehabilitation after na nung — ?

USEC. JALAD: For rehabilitation and recovery, that again, we will determine that once we formulate the rehab plan on the sourcing.

But in the case of the previous rehab plan, we funded it out of government funds.

Mr. Ganibe: So dapat ‘yung rehab plan na ‘yun, ito ‘yung magiging template ng lahat ng iba’t-ibang organization na makiisa sa pagbangon ng Marawi?

USEC. JALAD: Yes, because the agencies will put in there the different [props?] or activities for the rehab plan.

Mr. Ganibe: Kailan po ito magiging available?

USEC. JALAD: Well, as I’ve said, first we have… As soon as Marawi is cleared, we will conduct the needs assessment.

Mr. Ganibe: At saka, sir, I learned kahapon the Vice President has also meet with the stakeholders ng Marawi for the rehabilitation efforts na gagawin?

USEC. JALAD: The 10 billion is just a tentative figure, but the exact figure will be determined once we conduct the study, the assessment, and then formulate the rehab plan.

Mr. Ganibe: Last issue sa akin. Kay Usec Abella or sa inyo din, sir. Sir, ewan ko kung nai-break na rin. Meron ng report na foreign media wounded sa Marawi. Any words from the Palace sa mga kasamahan natin sa media na nagko-cover sa Marawi?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Foreign media? Nadaplisan? Okay. We don’t have official word on that, but we will as soon as we can get proper validation of the report.

Mr. Ganibe: Sir, message niyo po sa mga nagko-cover sa Marawi?


Mr. Ganibe: Sa mga nagko-cover po sa Marawi City, other foreign entities na pumupunta po doon?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: First and foremost, I think they should try to be as objective as possible. And to see it in the context that this is really a — that this is not a conflict of… [How do you put it?] 

That this is basically an action of rebellion, and that they see it along that line. They report along these lines, that their objective, and that they stay out of trouble.

Ms. Sancho: Hi, Sec., kinokonsidera po ba ngayon ng Pangulo to visit po ‘yung mga evacuees po natin? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, as soon as he is able to… As soon as he can fit it in to his schedules, I already seen some of his schedules, then he will — I’m sure he will accommodate some of that.

Mr. Sancho: Sir, kasama din po sa private time ng Pangulo sina Ms. Honeylet and kanyang anak, so—?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Ma’am, this is private time. Thank you.

Mr. Placido:  Sir, Palace reaction lang po doon sa arrest of the another Maute brother, Mohammad Noaim po, on the arrest po?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Okay. We don’t have official update on that. But as soon as we do, we’ll get it to you.

— END —