Press Briefing by Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella with Secretary Rodolfo A. Salalima Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT)
Press Briefing Room, New Executive Building, Malacañang
13 June 2017


PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Good morning. Happy Independence Day.

Our resource speaker for today is Atty. Rodolfo Salalima, Secretary of the Department of Information and Communications Technology.

He has had enormous his experience: four decades in the field of Information and Communications Technology, telecommunications and broadcasts, and Value-Added Services.

He was elected as President, Chairman, Head of various national organizations and federations involved in ICT, telecommunications and broadcasts.

He was also a delegate, adviser, spokesperson [of] the official Philippine delegations to the International Telecommunication Union’s yearly Council Meeting and every 4-years at the Plenipotentiary Conference, and to the Asia Pacific Telecommunity yearly meetings.

So ladies and gentlemen of the Press Corps in Malacañang, let us all welcome Secretary Salalima.

SEC. SALALIMA: Magandang umaga po sa inyong lahat. Congratulations on our Independence Day yesterday because yesterday also we introduced our projects along EDSA.

I have a prepared speech but let me do the same extemporaneously. And with me around is Undersecretary General Rio who is in charge of the special concerns of the Department. And we have also Assistant Secretary Allan Cabanlong who is in charge of cybersecurity.

In the event that you have questions other than what I’m going to cover today, they are ready to give you the answers.

Recall that the DICT is only a year old. It was created under Republic Act 10844, the same took effect on June 9, 2016 last year.

I was appointed as the first Secretary of the DICT on June 2016 and this is about a year after I was appointed as the first Secretary.

Recall that under the law, the DICT has four great mandates. One, is the matter of planning and issuing policy in regard the use and applications of technology, DICT.

Number 2, is the need to improve public access to telecommunications services in the country; number 3, is the building of infostructure and infostructure sharing plus capacity building in terms of the structure of the country, in terms of our citizens being aware and being able to use ICT; and number 4, the protection of consumers in regard their ICT rights, particularly the right to privacy and the right to cybersecurity.

Last year po, during the first SONA address of our President, the President mandated, ordered us to do three basic things: the National Broadband Plan; number 2, the Wi-Fi; and the portal.

Ano po ‘yung Broadband Plan? Kasi po kulang tayo ng infostructure throughout the country. Ito po ‘yung broadband is the telecom network which would run from north to south and the purpose of this is for government to have a network, to serve government itself and to serve the countryside.

Status po niyan, we already have a blueprint of the Broadband Plan. The blueprint in the interest of transparency ay iniligay po natin online for the citizens’ comment.

After that, the President approved the blueprint of our plan and currently we are investigating, verifying sites of the National Grid Power Corporation, pinabayaan po tayong pumasok para malaman natin kung anong mga facility ng National Grid Power Corporation ang pwedeng gamitin natin sa broadband.

And we now have with us the Memorandum of Understanding possible for signing by the DICT, the government, and the National Grid Power Corporation in the event that we agree on using the facilities on another terms.

Ito po namang Wi-Fi, ito po ‘yung the so-called Wi-Fi Fidelity or Wireless Fidelity na inilalagay natin ngayon sa mga public places throughout the country even in Metro Manila.

‘Pag wala ang mga taong access sa internet dahil kulang tayo ng connectivity, ‘yung mga tao natin ay hindi ma-reach ang services ng mga telco.

Ito po ‘yung portal naman ay we need to establish a single portal within DICT so that the citizen can access the online services of the various departments of government, centralized doon sa DICT.

So that ito pong citizens natin, instead say for example of commuting from one department of government to another just to transact business with its branches of government, pwede na po tayong mag-transact using the portal.

Ito pong Wi-Fi ay ini-implement na natin through the countryside and an example of that Wi-Fi project is the one that we launched po sa EDSA kahapon, along the entire stretch of EDSA.

The plan is to put up all Wi-Fi facilities in sites. So that po ‘yung citizens natin na nagta-travel along EDSA will have access to the telecommunication services so that in the event siguro kung medyo nale-late because of the traffic, they can communicate to their home or to their offices para malaman kung saan na sila.

And remember here, inintroduce po natin ang concept of telecommuting. There are times when you need to work, there are times when you need to learn. But it does not necessarily follow that you have to go to your physical places of work or to school just to learn or to physical places of conference because there is a concept called telecommuting. That is teletransporting or teletransporting or telepresence where workers can work without necessarily going to work, where children can learn from schools without necessarily going to school.

So kahapon po ini-launch po natin sa EDSA ‘yung free Wi-Fi, at the same time also ‘yung internet speed sa EDSA pinabilis natin.

Sa Shaw Boulevard po kahapon, we made a test of the Internet speed and we monitored something like 200 to 300 megabytes per second upload and download.

Samantalang po ang world record is something like 40 megabytes per second and this is being held by South Korea.

Talking po of our infrastructure or infrastructure, this reminds me of the rural impact sourcing. Ano po ang rural impact sourcing na inintroduce ng DICT sa countryside?

In connection with the so-called rural impact sourcing, we were asked what is po the role of government in providing digital opportunities to our people in the countryside?

So napag-uusapan po natin dito ang livelihood ng mga tao sa countryside far away from Metro Manila.

During a conference in Davao, during the first week of April 2017, we held a nationwide rural impact sourcing and I said, for the government to provide digital opportunities to the people in the countryside, there are about three or four steps.

One, bring technology to the countryside, bring technology, education to people in the countryside.

Number two, educate the people, train our people on the use and applications of technology. And when they are already aware and able to use technology, I said, introduce businesses in the countryside either by these people already trained to use ICT to be entrepreneurs in their own right or bring the BPOs from Metro Manila to the countryside so that those employees or rather, those people in the countryside who were taught on the use of ICT ay pwedeng ma-employ ng BPOs.

An example of self-entrepreneurship in the countryside na ang tao tinirain (train) natin to use ICT for their livelihood.

There is this kapatagan in Lanao del Norte. People there live in the — in a fertile plain and dahil most of them are farmers. During the day, people, very young 30 to 40, are farmers. But during the evening po, they operate their own BPOs, business processing offices. They have clients from abroad and these farmers po are earning something like a thousand to 40,000 pesos a month on top of what they are earning in their lands.

In Cagayan de Oro po, we are also training students not yet out of high school. And these students, once trained, are being employed po by the BPOs in the countryside.

Iyon po namang gustong mamasukan na hindi na pwedeng pumunta sa Maynila to contribute to the congestion, in the overpopulation natin sa Maynila, we have invited the BPOs in Metro Manila to go to the provinces and they have gone to Bacolod, Cebu, Legazpi, Davao, et cetera, and Eastern Visayas.

And how do we either bring the BPOs to the countryside? We invite po the BPOs in Metro Manila under the so-called “first wave cities,” that is a program of the DICT.

Paano po naman ‘yung mga local BPOs? That we establish in coordination with the local government units, the offices of the mayor who provide us with the physical facilities.

We coordinate with the locals of the so-called National Information and Communication Technology Council established throughout the Philippines in coordination with us. And there and then, we established local BPOs run by people in the countryside.

Marami po tayong ginagawa. And sa mga ginagawa namin, some projects I may not be able to mention ngayon. At the end of my talk ngayon sa inyo, bibigyan po kayo ng report to the President tungkol sa mga ginawa natin and attached to that report ay ‘yung pamphlet reporting to our government what we have done in a year’s time.

And we have done this notwithstanding the fact that wala po tayong organization pa ngayon because the DICT is a new department. Ang gumagalaw po ngayon sa DICT ay mga 20 to 30 active people lang.

The law gave us six months to organize the DICT but there are certain coordinations yet to be made with the Budget Department, to be made with the Civil Service so that we can formally organize ‘yung DICT.

So on top po of the broadband, on top po of the Wi-Fi, on top po of the portal; ‘yun pong portal, ready na rin po. By about the end of this month, we will have meeting and we will be — as we have now asked the President to issue an Executive Order urging all departments of government to transfer, to migrate ‘yung lahat ng data nila, lahat ng systems and processes nila to DICT para po ‘yung online service nila, the people can avail of the online services of the various agencies of the government like po ng NBI, like po ‘yung Statistics Office natin.

Kung nandiyan po ‘yan sa — controlled na ng DICT, people need no longer go from place to place just to contact all these departments.

Through our portal, one way — one stop shop portal, pwede na ang tao maski sa probinsya use our portal to transact, say for example, with the NBI, the BIR and other government agencies.

Maliban po doon, ‘yung sinasabi natin “Pipol Konek” dati tawag namin dito is “Juan, Konek,” may nag–object po because wala po sa gender.

So pinalitan namin, instead na calling it naman na “Juana,” baka magalit ang mga “Juan,” ginamit namin “Pipol.” Ito po ‘yung inemploy namin sa EDSA kahapon maliban to the fact na ang “Pipol Konek” ay ini-implement na rin natin sa buong countryside.

So sa cybersecurity naman po, nandiyan si Mr. Allan Cabanlong. We have reorganized and invigorated the Cybersecurity Investigation Coordinating Center, which is chaired by me po so that in the event of kung may mga cybersecurity problems tayo, ako po ang nagtatawag sa mga different agencies of government on how to mitigate, on how to prevent or on how to deal with cybercrimes in — as object of our cybersecurity measures

Ito pong cybersecurity natin, nakapagtapos na po tayo — we have already released a primer, the Cybersecurity Plan of the country up to 2022 and we have had a Memorandum of Agreement between the Cybersecurity of Malaysia for mutual help in cooperation even as we are now coordinating with other local and international agencies on how to deal with cybercrimes via cybersecurity.

Nagkaroon din po tayo ng sinasabing Digital TV Summit last October- November.

Ano po ang sinasabing Digital TV Summit? Ito po ‘yung pag-migrate ng television natin, ng broadcast natin from presently analog to digital.

And in the migration of our television from analog to digital, ang gagamitin po natin ‘yung Japanese technology. Why? Because ang digital po technology ang vision or ang video and the voice are clearer on top of the fact that ‘yung Japanese technology po ay may kasamang national or disaster program in control na pwedeng i-flash natin sa mga TV natin.

Nagkaroon din po tayo ng Philippine Telecommunications Summit noong last first week of March 2017. Ano po ang layunin ng Telecommunications Summit?

In that Telecommunications Summit attended nationwide — attended by people from all walks of life. From those providing telecoms and from those utilizing telecommunications services, we addressed po the concern of the Filipino people in regard our otherwise not yet very good telecommunications service from the viewpoint of affordability or cost.

Bakit mahal sabi po ninyo ang gastusin when we use our services? Bakit ang speed ng internet ay mabagal? And bakit sa ibang lugar there are no ways and means by which people can connect to or have access to the telecommunications service?

Nakita po natin ang mga solusyon but we are only one-year-old. So ang pahiwatig ko lang po sa madlang bayan is be a little more patient. Give us more time because one by one, we will solve your problems in regard the state of the Philippine telecommunications service.

Nagkaroon din po tayo ng ICT Summit? Ano po naman ang ICT Summit? Because throughout the world, we have the so-called Smart City Movement. People improving the cities, digitizing the cities because the technology is the enabler for the people for them to enhance and to improve their lives.

So ito po iyong I-Summit, digitize city or smart city, we want to digitize our city so that we can keep abreast with the other cities throughout the world who are already far advanced as far as smart cities are concerned.

ICT development countryside, we have po ‘yung Tech4ED Project. Ito po ‘yung educational arm ng DICT. We go to the countryside, teach people particularly those youth who are out-of-school in the use and applications of technology.

Even government offices, we invite them for them to learn the use and applications po of technology.

And on top of that, may mga seminars po kaming kino-conduct, and we issue certifications or sort of diploma on a one-week training and these certifications, signed by me, are used by these out-of-school youth so that they can gain employment in BPOs na ino-honor naman po ng mga BPOs.

Iyong rural impact sourcing, ito po ‘yung providing education in the countryside to empower our people in terms of governance for them to be able to participate in Philippine governance, to educate our people, and to make our people employed or otherwise for them to be entrepreneurs in their own right.

Diyan na lang po ako hihinto and unless you have some questions, particularly on what happened in EDSA yesterday when we launched our project, dalawang project po ‘yun: ‘yung free Wi-Fi, kaya nga po ngayon sa EDSA you have three free Wi-Fi, from government, from Smart, and from Globe, and we have or we introduced ‘yung high-speed Internet.

Iyong sabi ko nga sa inyo kahapon, nag-test kami sa Shaw Boulevard na nagkaroon kami ng program kahapon ng umaga, ‘yung speed po ng Internet doon is 200 to 300 megabytes. Samantalang ang world record holder, South Korea, ang speed sa kanila is only about 45 megabytes per second.

But, hope springs eternal, sabi ko sa NPC at DICT after kahapon, go out in the field today and the rest of the week, tingnan natin kung we will be able to retain, maintain that kind of speed.

Because sabi ko, ‘pag tumakbo na ang mga pasahero, humugos na ang tao, maapektuhan pa rin ang speed because siyempre marami nang gumagamit.

So iyan po ang status ng Wi-Fi natin sa EDSA and it may take use more time to do all this in obedience to public service.

But we are glad to be of help and, in some ways, our heart are laden with happiness when we see people happy because they can now communicate in a manner fast, whether employer, whether comrades with their friends, particularly their loved ones at home.

So for all these, salamat po for the time and the opportunity for giving us — given to us this morning to talk with you.


Pia Ranada (Rappler): Hi sir, good afternoon. Sir, just a question on the EO, which you said you requested from the President. What was the President’s reaction to the request?

DICT SEC. SALALIMA: Which one is this?

Ms. Ranada: The EO, sir, on ‘yung asking government agencies to transfer all of their data to the DICT?

SEC. SALALIMA: Nandoon po sa office ng President. But ito po naman kasi ‘yung broadband natin, Wi-Fi and the portal ay inaprubahan po ito ng Cabinet, way, way back. And itong executive order is only a means to execute the portal plan.

So I have no doubt that the President naman will approve the executive order on portal urging simply all government offices to migrate na ‘yung data nila, ‘yung processes doon sa amin.

Ms. Ranada: Sir, given that request you’ve made in this plan, what is your timeline for when people can already use the government portal for all of their transactions with government?

SEC. SALALIMA: Depende na rin sa fast ng migration ng mga government agencies because ang portal po namin, naka-ready na. Aantayin na lang namin ang pag-transfer ng mga processes, ng mga data, ng government agencies.

But I understand that we have already something like 125 minor agencies of government with us. One of them is BIR. And they transferred all their data and processes to us because they feel that their data are safer with us.

And, in fact, after this income tax filing natin last April, the BIR wrote us a letter thanking us for the speed with which people were able to file their income taxes online.

Ms. Ranada: Sir, aside form BIR, which are the other agencies that have already — the major ones?

SEC. SALALIMA: Pia, I would request that you come to my office, nandoon si Denis Villorente. Denis Villorente is in charge dapat kasama siya dito but he begged off because he is rushing another project, but we have the list.

Ms. Ranada: Sir, just last na lang on the date, on the timeline, the target. I know you’re waiting for other agencies to come on board, but do you have a target para we can expect something by this time, parang a goal that you’re trying to reach out for?

SEC. SALALIMA: Siguro naman… Siguro matagal na ang 6 months dapat mag-transfer na ang lahat.

Because we are going to have this portal meeting again at the end of the month, I think June 30 or somewhere there, or first week of July, we have… But naka-ready na po ang portal namin.

Ms. Ranada: Sir, just to clarify. You’re not saying that all agencies will have no websites? You’re just saying, sir, the transactions will be in this portal, but other agencies can have their own websites, tama ba?

SEC. SALALIMA: They may have their own but we are also asking them to transfer it to us na, slowly.

Kagaya po ng Department of Labor and Employment, they have a special website for OFW.

So, during the Cabinet meeting, sabi ko naman kay Secretary of Labor, sabi ko, “Go ahead because that website to be yours on the OFW caters to the special unique needs of our workers abroad, because they can use your websites even if they are abroad.”

But sabi ko, eventually, ‘yung website niyo ay dadalhin natin sa DICT para doon na lang sa DICT, doon na lang ang main central portal.

Ina Andolong (CNN Philippines): Hi, sir. Sir, what effect do you see, itong free Wi-Fi being offered by private telcos? What effect could that have on the services their offering to paying customers? And how are you making sure that telcos won’t use the free Wi-Fi that they’re offering as an excuse, if in case it has or magkaroon po ng negative effect doon sa services for paying customers?

SEC. SALALIMA: Mukhang wala namang negative effect ang Wi-Fi nila to the paying customers.

In fact, they said, they want to put up this Wi-Fi precisely for people to have access to their communication services.

In fact, more than ‘yung sa EDSA route, pati ‘yung mga bus stop stations nilalagyan nila. Because sabi nila this Wi-Fi na ibinibigay naming offer to the public will also hasten the public’s use of our telecommunication service.

Kasi kung minsan, gusto mo mang gamitin ang services nila, but they are certain areas where hindi ka makapag-connect sa service nila. So they put up the Wi-Fi in the same way that that was precisely our plan.

Dahil while they have their network, kadalasan kasi ang network nila are more on those places which are viable. This is business.

So they are putting Wi-Fi, not only government, so that in those places na people have no access to their services, magkaroon na.

So the effect is not negative but positive. And I think they are offering, the way I heard them right, the — every individual is given 30 minutes of Wi-Fi per day refreshable the following day.

Pia Gutierrez (ABS-CBN): Sir, doon sa portal ng DICT, can the public be assured of the safety of government data? What is the DICT doing to prevent the repeat of what happened to the website of COMELEC last 2015, sir?

SECRETARY SALALIMA: Iyon nga ang one of the reasons why we are asking government now to migrate all their databases to us because that it is also part of our mandate and I assure you that the DICT will take care of all your data encoded in the databases of all government.

That is why I got Asec. Cabanlong from the police because he is experienced. He is schooled abroad on cybersecurity and he is working with us, and he is fast enough to issue and publish immediately our Cybersecurity Plan for 2022.

We are doing our best to protect your datas as — in some businesses we are there. And ito po kasing National Privacy Commission, nandiyan din sa amin. So we have great coordination inside even as I was designated by law to be the Chairman on cybercrime.

And more than that, we are doing everything to protect your personal — sensitive, personal data as what happened lately in another case where immediately on the morning of the incident, I called up the industry and said,“Tell me what happened.”

We invited the cyber expert of that entity, I asked him to tell us what happened. We invited the one in charge of the internal processing of that agency, asked them as to what happened and on top of that I said. “Mr. Liboro, issue a formal investigation to them because I want to get into the bottom of all these things.” Because I want to see to it that the sensitive personal data of our citizens are protected in the same way that ‘yung National Privacy Commission po of  Mon Liboro was able to investigate what happened in COMELEC and we were the one who disclosed and in fact in that investigation, some personal data of some of our citizens were compromised. We are doing everything.

Pia,  nung nangyari ‘yon, ‘yung COMELEC wala pa sa amin. After the investigation and we gave them the results of our investigation. Dali-daling ibinigay sa amin ang mga data. Ngayon, they feel safe. Nasa portal na namin.

Rocky Ignacio (PTV-4): Secretary, allow me to ask this question, online question from Jingjing. “Secretary Salalima, kailan po bibilis daw ang Internet na pino-provide ng mga telecoms sa bansa?” From Jingjing.

SECRETARY SALALIMA: I asked them during the Summit. They promised me, September 16.

I will simply follow it up and hope that by September 16, we have a fast Internet as what we did in EDSA.

Ito po ‘yung EDSA, ang nangyari po niyan, si Secretary Abella, kinausap ako isang gabi na inaantok na ako at pagod na ako. Ang sabi niya: “Sec, baka naman pwede nating gawan ng paraan ang EDSA.” Sabi ko: “Kailan natin gustong i-launch?” “June 12.” Sabi ko, isang buwan lang ito, papaano kaya?

So I formed a task force and I said to the stakeholders: MERALCO, MMDA, DOTr, the MRT, everybody who are there, I said,“I am not going to accept no from you. I want speed — high-speed Internet along EDSA, I want Wi-Fi in a months time.”

And we did it. We want to replicate what happened in that project and I want to employ it throughout the country. Even as now, I have a pending draft of an executive order with the Office of the President limiting the time with which the LGUs and local — other local government agencies has to act on the permits ng mga telcos for the purpose of installing and operating the services.

I tell you a very practical solution. Ito pong Vietnam, they have 70,000 cell sites. Iyong mobile nila was established, commercialized only after the Philippines.

Philippines, ilan ang cell cites natin ngayon? 16,000. Our population is less, why? Because ‘yung subdivisions natin in Metro Manila, ang lalaki, don’t want the telcos to come in. And yet they are the ones complaining na hindi mabilis ang Internet nila, nagda-drop ang calls.

Sa probinsya, 25 permits just for one cell cite, for one permit, LGU, how mu — how long does it take? Eight months or more, kung minsan wala pa.

So I drafted this executive order for the President to sign. Even before the President could sign, I already issued a letter addressed to all LGUs I said,“This is a project of national significance.”

Public service cannot wait, you have to issue your permit in 9 days time, beyond which, you will suffer the wrath of government. They are moving. But I feel that with the executive order, they will move faster than what I ordered them. So iyan po.

Rosalie Coz (UNTV): Sir, in relation to that, ‘yung September 16 date po na ibinigay niyo, sir, kasi last year nag-issue rin ng statement si Pangulong Duterte na ‘yung mga major telecom companies if they will not improve their services, i-o-open po natin ‘yung atin pong bansa sa international competitors. So ‘pag hindi po nag-improve ‘yung services nila by September 16, are we going to accept ‘yun atin pong international competitors?

SECRETARY SALALIMA: Tama naman si Presidente because even under Executive Order 7925, which took effect in March 1995, the country is free for anyone to enter as a third, a fourth or a fifth party operator in the country. Nandoon po ‘yon sa batas.

And we are inviting… But ang sabi ko lang sa NTC, ang sabi ko, if you are going to license a third party operator, may mga third party na tayo dito but they are not of such size as to compete with the duopoly.

Sabi ko, get a third party operator with a big local component and a very big partner from abroad because they have to have deep pockets to compete with the duopoly. So open po tayo.

Ms. Andolong: Sir, before I go to my question on cybersecurity, I just wanna… I just want a quick follow up. Pagkatapos po ng MRT, ano po ‘yung next target na public areas na bibigyan ng Wi-Fi and how soon?

SECRETARY SALALIMA: Iyong Wi-Fi po natin, ‘yung sa government at least, nagsimula na po tayo. May mga listed  areas po tayo, so naglalagay na po tayo. It is…

Some areas in the north may mga listahan po tayo. Sa Mindanao. In fact, sa Legazpi I was there, I was speaking in a conference, sabi nila, “Walang connect dito.” So I said, “[Put for?] Wi-Fi.”

May listahan po tayo. Ang listahan po nasa kay Denis Villorente, if you want to examine our list.

Because you might be living in the province na walang connect so that you can tell your congressmen na may — nasa listahan sila. In fact, I invited the congressmen to see also our list para ma-accelerate ang paglagay ng Wi-Fi. Nandoon po kay Denis Villorente.

Ms. Andolong: Sir, what role does DICT have in the AFP’s request to take down, I believe, more than 60 social media accounts that are spreading ISIS propaganda?

SECRETARY SALALIMA: To the extent that they effect or they commit cybercrimes, then DICT takes over. Remember, rebellion, sedition are crimes under the old  penal code. You do sedition, you incite people via cyber or via Internet, I call it there is cyber rebellion. There is cyber sedition. But kasi ang rebellion, there must be a taking up of arms. So ‘pag sa online, it could amount to cyber sedition.

Ms. Andolong: Sa ngayon, sir, ano po ang assessment ninyo doon? So are you taking any action?

SECRETARY SALALIMA: We are involved. We are involved. Confidential lang ha. Confidential lang ito.

We are involved confidential. May huhulihin na. Cyber sedition, may huhulihin… We’re not going to name the persons. We are able to track about more than one last night.

Ms. Andolong: Galing po ‘to doon, sir, sa 60 plus, sa 63 na nire-request ng AFP na—?

SEC. SALALIMA. Hindi ko alam. But nandito si Asec. Cabanlong. But he is not going to be interviewed on the details. Okay?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Good morning. We’d like to go straight to the update on the action in Marawi as of 7 p.m., 12th of June 2017.

We’d like to go directly first to significant developments. As of…

  1. June 12 ceremonial flag raising events were successfully held in Marawi Capitol and the City Municipal Hall.
  1. Troops continue to gain important foothold [into] the inner areas of terrorist held areas.
  1. Enemy resistance continues to dwindle and enemy held areas are getting smaller as troops advance.
  1. Various critical sectors in peripheral areas are now cleared.
  1. Compounding development remains to be the use of civilians as human shields and madrasahs and mosques as staging areas and safe havens.
  1. The continued discovery of tunnels that are possibly utilized by the enemy remains to be among the compounding issues.

General Eduardo Año, the Chief of Staff, AFP, reiterates his continuing guidance to put premium on civilian lives, respect for civilian property during clearing operations and complete discipline among our men in uniform conducting military activities in the area.

As of 8 a.m. this morning, June 13, the Maute/ASG shot dead five civilians while five others escaped and were retrieved by troops in Marawi, while another eight captured by terrorists on the morning of Monday, June 12 2017.

According to the five survivors, Maute/ASG knocked on the door of a house, where 18 were trapped — where 18 trapped civilians were staying and that prompted the civilians to run using the back door going to the river.

The terrorists ran after them and indiscriminately fired at them, killing five of the civilians and taking the remaining eight as hostages.

The five newly rescued retrieved civilians were immediately given food, medical help, and processed by joint AFP/LGUs/CSO.

As of date, total rescued civilians numbered now 1,618, where recovered civilians; while recorded civilians killed by Maute/ASG is 26.

End of statement regarding Marawi.

On other aspects. The Philippines is still considered among the most promising

investment destination:

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has stated in its World Investment Report 2017 that the Philippines is included in the list of most promising investment destination in the Asian region.

In addition, it [is] also reported that the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflow of the Philippines in 2016 has recorded an increase of 60 percent amounting to $8 billion.

Among salient points, it is the reduced red tape and efficient delivery of government services that are the hallmark of the current government.

Also, employment rate in April 2017 is estimated at 94.3 percent:

The April 2017 Labor Force Survey (LFS) of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) has projected an increase of 94.3 percent in employment rate for the month of April, higher than the April 2016 employment rate of 93.9 percent.

Out of the projected employment rate, the service sector has the highest percentage of workers gaining 55.4 percent followed by the agriculture sector gaining 26.1 percent.

Similarly, the unemployment rate is projected to reach 5.7 percent for the month of April, lower than the April 2016 unemployment rate of 6.1 percent.

Also, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas has reported a growth in the overall confidence index (CI) of 13.1 percent for the second quarter of 2017.

There is soaring consumer optimism is due to the improvements in the peace and order situation in the country, higher salary, stronger business activity, increase of available jobs and number of employed individuals and effective government policies such as Pantawid Pamilyang [Pilipino Program] (4Ps) and increased pension for retirees.

We are open for a few questions.

Tina Panganiban-Perez (GMA): Sir, Tina from GMA. Sir, there are reports that the Palace knew of the Marawi plot even before the attack. So there are questions why it has reached to this level? Bakit po hindi napigilan agad ng government? And also, AFP had several intel reports na nandoon na si Hapilon in Marawi, April and May. Sir, the Palace knew of the Marawi plot?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: There were details regarding the Marawi plot, yes. And that is exactly why they took advantage — they started to take action.

So you know, and we need to understand also that the perception that it was… Well, we need to also take note of the fact that the early action of the military and the government has actually preempted their plans to be able to capture the city. So we need to accredit that.

Yes, there were intel but it was something that had to be vetted and to be authorized properly. Thank you. Next.

Ms. Perez: So, sir, wait. Sorry. Are you saying that the situation could be worse?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Apparently. You know, but were it not for the — were it for the early and decisive action of the military, then it would have been — it could have been worse.

Ms. Perez: Sir, another, totally unrelated to Marawi. Yesterday, Secretary Cayetano said the President wasn’t feeling well. What exactly happened? May we know? And how is he now?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: The President is actually in excellent health, except for the fact that his schedule had been brutal.

I mean, you have to credit the President, considering everything, that he has been actually honoring the military dead, the civilian dead, and he has been actually going around.

And, in fact, he would have wanted to be at the symbolic raising and honoring of the dead.

However, the fact is he was already doing it for the rest of the week. So I think we need to allow him a few rest. He was actually on top of the situation, however, he was — he also needed rest.

Ms. Perez: Sir, sorry, last. Going back to Marawi, has China or Russia offered any help to the government?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: As far as we know, there are no direct offers regarding the matters.  But we’ve been doing pretty well considering the situation.

Ms. Perez: Thank you, sir.

Gerard dela Peña (TV5): Good morning, sir. Gerard dela Peña from TV 5 and Bloomberg TV Philippines. Given the developments in Marawi, can we say that there are signs that Maute group is already withdrawing?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, as I previously said, you know, it seems that the resistance is dwindling.

So we can only give you calibrated answers. We cannot give you absolute answers at this stage.

Mr. Dela Peña: Sir, we also received reports na meron daw mga 60 cops na nawawala and also may mga nadukot na military men. Do we have any information on this?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Regarding that, we don’t have official reports as of now.

Mr. Dela Pena: All right. Thank you.

Tuesday Niu (DZBB): Hi, sir.


Ms. Niu: Sir, malaman lang po namin. Ano po ang naging reaksyon ni Presidente doon sa hindi naabot na target po na ma-liberate ang Marawi dapat po kahapon as mentioned ‘nung ating military officials. Meron po ba siyang mga bagong directives regarding this?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, tuluy-tuloy po ang laban. I just said, we will not stop until it’s finished. The June 12 was a working deadline set by the military.

However, as we have very well seen, that the issue is more complicated on the ground. But considering the fact that they’ve done great advances, I think we need to credit that.

The President has been very supportive and is quite emphatic that the Marawi should be totally settled.

And not only Marawi, but also the threats — terrorist threats, should be completely addressed in the entire island of Mindanao.

Ms. Niu: Sir, one thing, sir.


Ms. Niu: There are information circulating na ‘yung Maute brothers daw po ay napatay na at nailibing na raw po, nakita raw po ito nung kanilang mother bago siya naaresto. Nakarating na po ba itong impormasyon na ito sa Presidente?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: If so, it must be verified. Thank you.

Q: I want to know yesterday’s timeline which was set by President Duterte. So now, it’s still not finished. So is there any next timeline set by the President?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: As I said earlier, let me just say it more slowly, I suppose. It was a working deadline set by the military and the President is set — is very — his intentions are really to complete the work. But it must be complete and total work.

In other words, it’s not just the Marawi situation that has to be addressed, it must be the terrorist threat in the entire Mindanao and in the Philippines.

So we are achieving our milestones. We celebrate the milestones. We in fact… The fact is we were able to raise the flag in Marawi yesterday in spite of some pockets of resistance.

So yes, we continue to do… We continue to pursue the total, complete clearing of Marawi and hopefully of Mindanao.

Q: Okay sir, I understand. So how can we call it an end?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA:  Like I said, it’s a working deadline. It’s something that they set for themselves.

And so, we are… It’s a process of achieving towards that. It’s not an end, it’s a goal, okay?

Q: Thank you. 


Ms. Ranada: Hi, sir. The Integrated Bar of the Philippines Lanao del Sur chapter issued a statement condemning illegal searches and seizures as martial law — as abuses in the martial law being implemented in Mindanao. How is the Palace treating these claims? Are we looking into them?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA:  First and foremost, the President appreciates the support of the Lanao del Sur’s IBP chapter for its declaring — declared support of martial law. 

However, he also ensures them that concerns over alleged excesses will be quickly addressed and all abuses will be stopped and punished.

Ms. Ranada: Sir, what is the mechanism for addressing these concerns? Are we creating a task force to look into it? Is the AFP, PNP going to create… Is there already a mechanism for this?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: They already have their own set of mechanism. We cannot… They have their own set of mechanism.

But regarding this particular situation, let’s leave it to both DOJ and the administration.

Ms. Ranada: Sorry, sir, who is investigating these claims? Is it DOJ or —?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: First, it must be… First it must come from the military itself.

Ms. Ranada: Sir, deadline for the results, the investigation to be finished to be started what’s the timeline?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: We’ll see how it follows. How it unfolds.

Philip Tubeza (Philippine Daily Inquirer): Good morning, sir.


Mr. Tubeza: US Senator Gardner, Cory Gardner visited two weeks ago. And when he returned to the US, he mentioned that he was able to secure a guarantee from the President, that the Philippines would stop trading with North Korea, is that correct? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: The meeting was private and we are not privy to whatever concerns there were from our side. Thank you.

Leila Salaverria (Philippine Daily Inquirer): Sir, there were reports that ISIS ordered more attacks during Ramadan. Is this going to affect our deadline in Marawi?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I don’t know if you call it affect but it’s something — our deadlines are [how would you call it?] are — include all of these concerns and so I’m sure this is going to be factored in.

Ms. Salaverria: Sir, how are we responding to these reports that more attacks will be planned?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, with concern and with continued decision — decisiveness.

Ms. Salaverria: Sir, follow up sa health ni President. How is he doing as of today? Is he well enough to work or did he receive medical advice to scale back his activities?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, I suppose, you know, frankly you don’t need medical advice in order to tell you that you should rest.

Your body tells you that, you know. So but anyway, having said that, he is resting these days.

Ms. Salaverria: Today, sir, is he —

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Today, today he is resting, it’s private time. Yes? O sige, may isa pa.

Ms. Salaverria: Until when, sir, ‘yung rest days?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Ang pagkakaalam — you know, we… The appointments given to us are calibrated, given daily.

There’s some long-term appointments yes. But as of today, he is… We know that he has private time. Let’s all wish him well.

Ms. Gutierrez: Sir, I just want to ask if the scope of information that the government had on plans to attack Marawi include ‘yung timeline of the terrorists attacking Marawi? And if so, sir, why during that time was — were all the security officials of the country, meaning the AFP Chief of Staff, the PNP Chief, NSA Esperon, SND Lorenzana, why were they allowed to go to Russia?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: They were all on top of the situation. They were actually monitoring everything, you know.

So on the other hand, let’s also give them credit that actually, the action on the ground actually preempted a proposed — the plans.

So let’s give them credit, let’s give credit to the military and understand that they were actually acting purposively and decisively and actually preempted. I think the keyword is “preempted,” okay?

So I think it’s not a question of being failure or what — from their point of view… From our point of view, we were able to stop something that could have been much, much bigger.

Ms. Gutierrez: Eh kasi, sir, the questions of the public was if the government had information, why were all security officials out of the country during that time when they had information that there — serious information?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: There’s ongoing information, always ongoing information. And this is all being vetted. They are all being vetted and so the question was — you know. And the point is that they were all informed and they were all on top of the situation.

Ms. Andolong: Related pa rin po, sir. But the military seem to have had a clearer idea of the supposed bigger plan of the group when they discovered ‘yung video po. Are you saying that similar information —- kung ano rin po —

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: No, the video was not received until after the — until during the fightings, okay?

Ms. Andolong: Yes but you’re saying, I just want to clarify that even without a video, you knew about that plot set in the video?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: They knew that there were activities on the ground and, you know, I can only say  that so far.

They knew that there were activities that were being — that there were abnormal activities. Abnormal activities, yes.

Ms. Andolong: Okay. Thank you, sir.