Press Conference Of PCO Secretary Martin Andanar, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella And Socioeconomic Planning Secretary And Director General Of The National Economic And Development Authority Dr. Ernesto M. Pernia

PRESS CONFERENCE OF
PRESIDENTIAL COMMUNICATIONS OFFICE
SECRETARY MARTIN ANDANAR
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ERNESTO ABELLA
AND
SOCIOECONOMIC PLANNING SECRETARY AND DIRECTOR GENERAL OF THE NATIONAL ECONOMIC AND DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY
DR. ERNESTO M. PERNIA
[Press Briefing Room | August 23, 2016]

 

SEC. ANDANAR: Good morning. Good morning, everyone. How are you today? It’s a fine Tuesday morning. I hope you were able to write a lot of news articles for today, because yesterday I think you were bombarded with so many stories.

Okay. So we are in another exciting press brief here inside Malacañang. We have a new resource person with us, first time, I think sir, first time in the briefing room.

Secretary Pernia is a professor emeritus of economics at the University of the Philippines and lead economist at the Asian Development Bank. Dr. Pernia was a visiting research fellow at the East West Center Resource Systems Institute in Honolulu and was regional adviser on population and employment policy for the Asia and the Pacific, with the International Labour Organization.

The outstanding boholano was once an outstanding young scientist from the National Academy of Science and Technology. Balik Scientist awardee of the Department of Science and Technology and currently ranked 7th among the 250 scientists in the Philippines, according to Google Scholar citations public profiles.

As one of the members of the President’s economic team, Secretary Pernia’s areas of expertise on economic growth and poverty reduction, population and development augur well to the thrust of the Duterte administration to make socioeconomic growth and development self-sustaining and inclusive for all Filipinos.

Ladies and gentlemen of the Malacañang Press Corps, let us please give a warm welcome to one of the President’s economic managers, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and Director General of the National Economic and Development Authority Dr. Ernesto M. Pernia.

SEC. PERNIA: Good morning, co-workers toward inclusive and self-sustaining economic growth over the next six years at least and of course, hopefully beyond.

Press Secretary Martin Andanar, we come from the same region, almost. Secretary Ernie Abella, my tukayo. Good morning everyone, everyone in the media.

So, I am pleased for this opportunity to report on the accomplishments of our agency, the National Economic and Development Authority over the first 50 days under the administration of President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

Guided by the zero to 10-point agenda of the President, we are carrying on with the macroeconomic policies of the previous administration, but ramping up infrastructure spending, promoting regional and rural development and investing heavily in human capital development which includes health and education and nutrition.

In the first 50 days of this administration, I can say that we are on the right track and at a faster pace to make sure that we achieve our goals. Allow me to just highlight the number of important areas, namely: accelerating infrastructure development projects; revisiting agricultural and rural development policies; and innovations in development planning.

First, we have moved quickly to implement reforms to accelerate infrastructure development which has been rather slow in the previous administration.

The Investment Coordination Committee or the ICC has so far approved 10 projects already, just last August 2nd. With a total of 320 billion pesos in project costs.

The NEDA Board chaired by the President will take up these projects for approval in September and thereafter implementation by the concerned agencies. The NEDA Board approval is the last stage of the hurdle for projects.

This list includes among others, projects in rural development including irrigation, farm irrigation, farm-to-market roads, even school buildings in depressed areas, regional hospitals, airport modernization, flood management, the North-South Railway South Line Project and the Metro Manila Bus Rapid Transit Project on EDSA, among others.

Likewise, NEDA through the Infrastructure Committee or InfraCom has directed prioritizing the completion of the Mindanao railway projects initial phase. The project will be implemented in 2017, once approved by the NEDA Board within the year.

The InfraCom has also specified measures to urgently address the Metro Manila traffic crisis and decongest the city. Once such measure is the immediate implementation of the Bonifacio Global City-Ortigas Link Bridge which is expected to divert 25 percent of the EDSA traffic.

Another is the early resolution of the common station for the MRT-3, LRT-1 and MRT-7 which has been stymied by controversies in the previous administration.

The Department of Public Works and Highways will hand the final configuration of the station to the DOTr or Department of Transportation and likewise, the InfraCom has urged the use of the Batangas and Subic ports to decongest the Manila ports.

The InfraCom has also identified measures to address institutional legal and policy issues in relation to infrastructure programs. Part of the legislative agenda to be submitted to the LEDAC or the Legislative Executive Development and Advisory Council – well this has not been, this has been dormant in the previous administration. So, we are revitalizing and getting that active again

The LEDAC is scheduled to convene in September or October and the following will be submitted to the LEDAC: the creation of an apex or super body for the water resources sector, proposed to be the Water Resources Department or Authority; secondly, the creation of an independent economic and financial regulator for the water sector; number 3, the National Transport Policy which ought to coordinate different transport projects so that the movement, the connectivity across regions, and across provinces will be more systematic; number 4, amendments to the Build-Operate-Transfer or the BOT Law and its IRR, this has to do with hurdling the right of way problems, procurement, and other implementation problems that tend to stymie the rapid processing of projects and implementation of projects; 5, amendments to the Electric Power Industry Reform Act or the EPIRA and amendments to the Water Code of the Philippines.

Another important reform to accelerate infrastructure development is the streamlining of processes of foreign investment programming. NEDA has recently launched an online database system and streamline the project approval process.

In line with the updating of the core investment program, the Public Investment Program Online System or PIPOL was launched to allow agencies to submit automatically online their data entries, updates and reports on their priority programs and projects.

For the ICC, the Investment Coordination Committee, for the ICC approval and appraisal process, NEDA has raised the project cost floor from one billion to five billion, meaning that projects below five billion can go faster. It doesn’t have to go through the entire process of hurdling the ICC and the NEDA Board.

As well as updated the social discount rate which is some kind of criterion that would decide whether a project is acceptable or not. We have updated the social discount rate from 15 percent — which is pretty high by today’s interest regime, interest rate regime – to 10 percent so that should also speed up project approval, as well other reform initiatives on the process are currently proposed to fast-track appraisal and approval process while still ensuring quality of infrastructure projects.

Moreover, we are revisiting policies in agriculture and rural development which have lagged behind amid consistent economic growth.

NEDA has continued to monitor the status of previous programs on rice and the effects of El Niño to make sure that there’ll be no shortage, no shortages of food or — so that there’ll be spikes in the price of rice which tend to impact heavily on the poor and you know, price hikes tend to increase our poverty, poverty incidence.

We have been monitoring rice production and consumption to determine whether and when to import given risks of La Niña and other weather disturbances.

Finally, I am pleased to share with you that the NEDA innovation—I’m pleased to share with you NEDA’s innovation in planning through the ‘Ambisyon Natin 2040’ the long-term vision of the Philippines.

This continues to gain traction since the launch of this project in March 2016. We have been receiving very positive feedback and support from various stakeholders to whom we have reached out through numerous briefings, presentations, and consultations.

Apart from government, international development partners and civil society and the private sector, we have been engaging the youth through extensive use of social media and other forms of new media.

Through Facebook alone, for example, we have already reached 14.3 million users in only a matter of four months. In face to face interactions, the support has been overwhelming and we are pleased that our aim to make ‘Ambisyon Natin 2040’ a basis for unity among Filipinos is being achieved.

Also important is the support we’re getting to make this long-term vision an anchor for development planning across administrations, whereby a plan is built on the previous plan of the previous administration, thereby ensuring sustainability of development initiatives with long-term goals in mind and thus, safeguarding against drawbacks of having plans pound by the terms of political administrations.

To further cement the long-term vision in the country’s development priorities, NEDA has recently submitted a draft Executive Order adopting the long-term vision as a guide in crafting the next Philippine Development Plan.

The PDP 2017-2022 Framework is already taking shape, taking into account the Zero to 10 Socio-Economic Agenda of the Duterte administration and the long-term vision.

The planning process is underway with the drafting of the framework, outline and listing of planning committees and sub-committees for this PDP 2017-2022.

The planning guidelines for the PDP formulation are also already drafted and will inform agencies in the priority areas in each sector that they will work on.

Furthermore, we will continue the efforts of strongly linking the planning and budgeting process to ensure the sustainability of priority programs and projects.

We have been consulting with different stakeholders to disseminate the proposed framework for PDP 2017-2022 and to obtain inputs for the plan. The consultations ensure that there will be inputs coming from a broad cross section of society and the citizenry.

We have also been presenting the platform of government as well as our long-term vision for the country in international fora like the UN and APEC meetings.

Concerning APEC – Asia Pacific Economic Forum in particular, we are making sure that priorities we have identified during our hosting last year are being followed through.

In addition, we are introducing our new priorities of balancing growth opportunities across regions, sectors and socioeconomic clusters in the APEC agenda.

These are just some of what we have done meaningfully in just the first 50 days in NEDA under the Duterte administration. We have hit the ground running and we intend to do much more in collaborating with the other agencies, development partners and key stakeholders.

We trust that in the next 50 days, we can mobilize more people and resources to accomplish even more and continue improving our processes that will benefit the Filipino people especially the poor and those left behind. Maraming salamat at magandang umaga sa inyo muli.

 

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS:

Reymund Tinaza (Bombo Radyo): Just two big points sir on the matter of policy. You have mentioned on your opening statement that you are continuing the macroeconomic policies of the previous administration and yet, you are wrapping it up. Sir, can you elaborate or discuss further on what do you mean actually by elaboration of these policies?

SEC. PERNIA: Well, that’s why I’m wearing a yellow shirt because we are continuing the… No, I’m just kidding.

Anyway, what we really mean is that we actually credit the previous administration for sound fiscal and monetary policy which has you know, maintained our strong macroeconomic fundamentals and that is why during the previous administration, the economy has earned upgrading by these credit rating agencies.

But the point is that well, I think the focus of the previous government was too much on the macroeconomy. What we intend to do is to focus now on the subnational economies, subnational, regional economies, including rural areas and agriculture in order to disperse development away from the mega-urban industrial region comprising Metro Manila, Calabarzon and Central Luzon.

As you know, these three regions alone account for two-thirds of GDP and the 14 other regions have to be content with the one-third of the GDP. So you can imagine the inequality, the massive inequality which also explains, which underlie the massive poverty we have in this country, which has been a difficult nut to crack.

Mr. Tinaza: Sir, last point. Sir you mentioned the—

SEC. PERNIA: So we’re ranking infrastructure and investment in the other regions without of course, stifling needed infrastructure projects in Metro Manila.

Mr. Tinaza: Sir, good thing you’ve mentioned the agriculture sector which is very much lagging behind for years, especially those in the rural areas, the poor, small farmers. Sir, what are exactly in the pipeline to modernize the agriculture, especially those in the rural areas? I understand majority of the farmers in the provinces are still using the traditional method, are still using carabao to plow their fields.

SEC. PERNIA: That’s right. I think one of the measures we are trying to introduce in agriculture in the rural areas is to consolidate. You know, our land reform, our agrarian reform has resulted in small business of plants which are not economically productive.

I mean, they are not of economic scale that would make farm productivity, you know, high enough to produce enough rice or enough other food crops.

So land administration is going to be clarified and improved so that titling will be done on untitled lots so that they will be easier to consolidate.

For those who want to sell their small plots of farm can sell so that there will be some consolidation, so there will be investors coming there and therefore making the farm enterprise more productive and more modern with the modern farm implements, not carabaos but mechanization as well and better irrigation, whether large scale irrigation or smaller irrigation systems that would benefit groups of farms.

Mr. Tinaza: Thank you, sir.

JP Bencito (Manila Standard): Hi sir, good morning.

SEC. PERNIA: Good morning.

Mr. Bencito: Sir, in the previous administration, it has been a big problem sir that the Private Public partnerships were not continued well. Some projects were not — despite being implemented, it’s not in the pipeline, it’s not being implemented. Sir, what are the mechanisms that the new administration will do to prevent these backlogs, some sort of, and how will the government address these backlogs that are being — in the previous administration?

SEC. PERNIA: Yeah, we are speeding the processing of PPP projects. In fact, some of the 10 projects that the ICC – Investment Coordinating Committee approved just last August 2nd are PPP projects that you know, got stalled in the previous administration.

Mr. Bencito: Sir, we’ll just clear out if pwede po, ‘yung numbers lang sir. Ten yung na-stall from the previous administration?

SEC. PERNIA: Hindi naman 10. I think because among the 10, there are some new ones like the, you know, Mindanao Railway and you know. But many, I think most of the 10 were just sitting idly in the list in the previous administration.

Mr. Bencito: Sir, can we just know what are the PPP projects that the new administration will pursue?

SEC. PERNIA: Those I mentioned as well as the prison, the prison — modern, large prison or jail to be sited or to be located in Fort Magsaysay, which should decongest our overcrowded jails and prisons.

So that’s one. That by the way alone, costs 50 billion dollars. A little over 50 billion dollars. Not dollars, pesos, pesos. And that’s well, Justice Secretary Aguirre is very passionate about getting that started already and that also came from the previous list of the previous government.

Mr. Bencito: Sir last na lang po. Will the Metro Manila Subway will push through under the new administration?

SEC. PERNIA:  Yeah, the Metro Manila subway. We just need to choose which of three possible alignments should be, you know, should be implemented and JICA is keen in you know, partnering or financing that project.

Mr. Bencito: Thank you, sir.

Joseph Morong (GMA 7): Sir, based on your presentation kanina there are at least – correct me if I’m wrong – at least four projects that are aimed to solve the Metro Manila traffic. Tama ba sir ‘yung Metro Manila Bus Transit, BGC, a common station, and then there’s another one, there’s North-South Railway. These are new projects or ito ‘yung mga na-stall ‘no?

SEC. PERNIA: North-South, they were started in the previous administration.

Mr. Morong: Yes sir. Just a little more background sir, can you expound on the BGC-Ortigas Road Link?

SEC. PERNIA: Well, that is an additional bridge to what we have now on the east side of Metro Manila, there’s a bridge there C-5 ‘no. So we need another one there to, you know, to add road space for those travelling between, you know, between the two parts of the Pasig, the two parts of Metro Manila that is cut by the Pasig River.

Mr. Morong: When do you expect to start the project?

SEC. PERNIA: That’s already in an advance stage and we just need to remind Secretary Tugade that how… that he said, he himself said that it’s a very urgent project.

By the way, that’s also needed because we need to retrofit, to reinforce Guadalupe bridge and so that when work on Guadalupe bridge is going to start, then I think only one lane, I mean only the north or the south going part of the bridge will be used, the other one will be closed, so we really need that additional bridge.

Mr. Morong: Sir just on taxes. Sir, may proposals ang DOF for lifting of the VAT. I think… which will identify the services and the products that will be affected?

SEC. PERNIA: There’s a long list of exempted. Many exempted items, exempted from the VAT. They’ll all be lifted or be removed from the list and the only ones that will remain would have to do with the food, health, food, medicine – no, no, raw food, not the restaurant type food but the raw food, home-cooked food, medicine, and education. So health, education, and home-cooked type food or the thing that you buy in the wet market and then cook at home.

 Ted Tuvera (The Daily Tribune): Sir follow-up lang po muna doon sir sa PPP, do you consider sir na PPP ‘yung one billion na donation ng San Miguel sir?

SEC. PERNIA: One billion?

Mr. Tuvera: Donation po ng San Miguel Corporation?

SEC. PERNIA: For the rehab?

Mr. Tuvera: Do you consider that a PPP?

SEC. PERNIA: That is not… Well, that’s not… that is a just a new volunteer type measure. It’s not really ano, it’s not really, you know, a project per se yet that would have to be, the project would have to be conceptualized and formulated properly. But that can be a contribution to the financing of that project.

Mr. Tuvera: Sir, on another topic sir. Labor groups and other sectors usually say GDP growth is not felt by those in the bottom part of the society. How do you suggest or intend to translate such growth to ordinary people, is it possible, say to increase the minimum wage of workers sir?

SEC. PERNIA: No, minimum wage increases tend to be counter productive actually, because then instead of two earning members of the family, maybe only one will survive the, you know, the hiring and the firing of companies, the laying off.

The better thing is always to ano, to generate more jobs and well the thrust of the Duterte administration is regional and rural development and development outside Metro Manila, the Metro Manila, mega-urban industrial region so that… because poverty is really more in the regions outside this mega-urban regional… mega-urban region than— It’s more prevalent, poverty is more prevalent in regions of Mindanao, in the regions Mindanao and Visayas and the rest of Luzon.

So that policy thrust, that strategy should address the puzzle why high economic growth is not trickling down. And also, there’ll be more investment in education and heath care, human capital investment and health care in the regions not in, not here. So those are the things, those are among the measures needed.

Mr. Tuvera: Sir, last question from my part. Sir what impression do you think is brought about by the killings caused by the administration’s war on drugs to foreign investors?

SEC. PERNIA: Well, we need to counter the negative, the negative, you know, effect, the negative perception for those observing what’s happening here from afar, because usually when you are from a distance, then you see the thing is really, you know, more serious than what it really is because it’s really localized and also — The Press Secretary and the Presidential Spokesperson, they are both working on countering this negative perception.

You know, the thing to do is, the problem is the only ones interviewed by media are those who have been, whose husband or child has been killed ‘no or have been killed. We should also interview, we should also try to get the view of others who approve of what’s happening and see it as really, see it as you know, maybe a necessary evil that leads to the, that has to happen in the pursuit of greater good.

So, I put it that way. You know, I think foreigners have to be informed that if they come here and they behave, they didn’t do anything, you know, any, they don’t do any misdeed, then they’re safe.

In fact, the crime rate has gone down substantially because of this fight against the drug menace. So, these are the kinds of things that we need to do to counter the, you know, the perception from afar.

Mr. Tuvera: So sir follow-up. Do you see the effect of the war on drugs as making the country a safer place for investors or a dangerous place?

SEC. PERNIA: Well, definitely it’s a, the number zero in the zero to 10-point agenda is peace and order and included in that is the fight against criminality and drugs and smuggling and tax evasion and other illegal activities and if we have peace and order, which is the bedrock of the 10 points, the foundation of the 10 points, then the investment climate will definitely, substantially improve and many will be rushing to the Philippines to invest.

Leila Salaverria (Philippine Daily Inquirer): Sir, just to clarify. Is your timeline for the traffic projects dependent on the President getting emergency powers?

SEC. PERNIA: The emergency powers would help and I understand they are forthcoming, just a matter of time. Definitely, because the procurement problem, the bidding, the right of way and many other road blocks tend to, you know, stymie efforts to improve infrastructure.

Ms. Salaverria: Does this mean if the emergency powers come, we will be adjusting the expected completion date of the projects?

SEC. PERNIA: Yeah. Those having to do with addressing the traffic crisis. Yes, like the bridge thing and okay… the other thing is that even without the emergency power, we are going to work on, we are going to make sure that work on major infrastructure projects will be round-the-clock, so 24/7. No let-up.So there’ll be three shifts and that shouldn’t be a problem because we have a high unemployment rate.

So it’s very logical, it’s going to be good for improving the employment concern and also good for finishing projects faster. So it will be 24/7 – both DOTC and DOTR and DPWH have already that policy.

Ms. Salaverria: Have you received an assurance on when the emergency powers are forthcoming or will you take it up with the LEDAC, if it hasn’t been given yet?

SEC. PERNIA: Well, if it’s not yet here, if it’s not yet approved by the time LEDAC convenes, then we are certainly going to take it up.

In fact, I’ve also suggested that perhaps we should include in a some kind of an informal gathering, caucus among the legislative, executive, and judiciary, some informal conversation so that we you know, we draw in the justices and the well, especially the Supreme Court so they will be, they will understand why is it, why is our judicial system a problem, a stumbling block in our development, the TROs.

So they have to… they can argue among themselves, the three branches of government but they should be one in acting toward our common goal. And I think President Rodrigo Duterte is the kind of President who can probably pull them together, the three branches of government.

Alexis Romero (Philippine Star): Sec, you mentioned about your legislative wish list. Can you tell us why you’re proposing those measures?

SEC. PERNIA: Because they are needed.

Mr. Romero: What effect would they have?

SEC. PERNIA: Well, we need a, you know, we need a Water Resources Authority because we are not really secure in terms of our water needs. You know, there are many areas that are waterless.

We don’t appreciate the problem because we are watered everyday. But there are many areas that are ‘unwatered,’ completely ‘unwatered.’ They have to buy at expensive prices ‘no, at high prices.

Mr. Romero: Okay. Regarding your idea of having an informal talk between the judiciary, executive, and legislature, what’s the progress on this?

SEC. PERNIA: Well, no. I’ve been thinking out loud mainly and I’ve suggested that in some fora that I had, you know, I had businessmen there. But I haven’t really suggested that to the President.

Maybe Spokesperson Ernie Abella, my tukayo, can do it for the President. I mean, you know, just an informal friendly conversation, not the LEDAC type, because LEDAC is too formal I think. So I think that’s done in other countries.

Marlon Ramos (Philippine Daily Inquirer): Sir, I was supposed to ask about the Sangley Point airport. But I was drawn to your statement a while ago that the drug killings could be a necessary evil.;

SEC. PERNIA: The what?

Mr. Ramos: ‘Yung binanggit niyo po. You said that the drug killings could be a necessary evil.

SEC. PERNIA: Yeah—

Mr. Ramos: Isn’t that big deal sir coming from a presidential—

SEC. PERNIA: [inaudible] that’s a correct theological statement.

Mr. Ramos: Isn’t that dangerous sir coming from a presidential advice to be… even considering that?

SEC. PERNIA: Which one?

Mr. Ramos: When you said that killings could be a necessary—

SEC. PERNIA: No, it’s a by-product of you know, something. Everything it’s a– it’s a self-defense thing, right? Self-defense is legitimate. Isn’t it when you are attacked our new [inaudible] law enforcers try to, you know, do something and the criminal resists and is armed and is likely to get, you know, get first. I mean, draw his gun first faster than the police, then you have to do something.

Mr. Ramos: Sir, from the point of view of an economist, does it do some good to the society if the government–?

SEC. PERNIA: It’s better that there are no killings, of course. It’s better that there are no killings. And also, we have to realize that our justice system is dysfunctional. I think that should also be made known. We have to— yeah, people know that our justice system is dysfunctional and so the justices, the Supreme Court should know that. They have to shape up before we can really, you know, follow due process.

Mr. Ramos: Sir, JICA has suggested the construction of an airport in Sangley Point?

SEC. PERNIA: Well, there are many proposals, many proponents and it’s still up in the air.

Mr. Ramos: Is it viable, sir?

SEC. PERNIA: Well, it can be for general aviation but then, you cannot use NAIA and Sangley at the same time because the air space is going to be limited and you know… Meaning, that if a plane lands or takes off from NAIA, Sangley would have to wait, you know, for clearance.

It’s not going to be a good arrangement, so for general aviation but then spending so much for general aviation is you know, it’s probably not good. So I think, you know… So, it’s up in the air, I’d better say it’s up in the air. Nothing, nothing definite about it.

Ms. Ignacio: Thank you Secretary Pernia and thank you, Malacañang Press Corps.

Secretary Abella, I think you have a meeting? Can you accommodate more questions, Secretary Abella? For Secretary Abella, two more questions. Secretary Pernia, maraming salamat po. Secretary Abella will accommodate two questions.

SEC. PERNIA: Thank you for this opportunity.

Tina Mendez (Philippine Star): Good afternoon, sir. Any comment on the latest statement of the US State Department that it is deeply concerned that the statistics of drug-related killings have reached to 1,500 already as testified by chief PNP Bato Dela Rosa yesterday at the Senate?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: So what is your question?

Ms. Mendez: What’s your comment on that? And second, they describe the President as a plain-speaking politician, nonetheless, they also, they remained committed with the bilateral relationship between the two countries.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Based on the statement that you just quoted, I think that’s a very significant development, right? That in spite of the fact that the President is plain speaking, the relationship continues.

Ms. Mendez: Nonetheless, they also expressed deep concerns about the–?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: We are addressing it from our side. As you can very well see, for example, the PNP Chief Dela Rosa is already facing the Senate regarding that and I think he has also made references to the fact that whatever incidents that have serious concern are already being addressed.

Ros Coz (UNTV): Kunin lang po namin ‘yung comment. May mga lawmakers po na nagsasabi na hindi po dumaan sa due process ‘yun pong pagtatanggal ng mga appointees dahil po ‘yung mga reported corruption ay hindi po muna inimbestigahan.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Which? Are you referring to the statement of the President? The courtesy?

Ms. Ignacio: The courtesy resignation, sir.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I think it’s very clear. If you actually make reference to the memorandum, Memorandum 04, it says that, “In view of the President’s desire to rid the bureaucracy of corruption,” the action is that everybody, especially—Those of the past… All the appointees excepting a few, excepting A, B, C, D, all the way to F, are meant to submit courtesy resignations, alright? And those who are not to be… except in the following: the newly appointed…

In other words, if you really think about it, this makes reference to those appointees of the past administration who were, in a sense, holding over, alright?

So there is no such thing as undue process and stuff like that. In a sense, it’s a heads-up, it’s a heads-up especially for LTO and LTFRB, it’s basically a heads-up for those agencies to make sure that the operations within their own departments and offices are being conducted in an ethical, proper manner.

Mr. Morong: ‘Yung Supreme Court sir issued a status quo ante order and then they moved the oral arguments I think for August 30. So, SQA sa Marcos burial.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Ah alright, okay. So, you’re asking?

Mr. Morong: Comments sir.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: No, we cannot make any comments on that.

Ms. Coz: Sir, doon po sa Napoles issue. Kasi na-mention po ng President na kailangan po i-revisit ‘yung sa Napoles issue. Ano po ba ‘yung kailangan na balikan? Meron po bang hindi nagawa during the time of Secretary De Lima? Or may mga mas marami pa po bang hindi naiimbestigahan–?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: For the record, the President said that his drive is against crime, criminality. And corruption. So, in his view, from his point of view, the Napoles case has to do with corruption so it has to be revisited. Thank you.