Press Briefing of Presidential Communications Office Secretary Martin Andanar
Press Briefing Room, New Executive Bldg., Malacañang, 13 October 2016
13 October 2016


SEC. ANDANAR: Thank you, Rocky. Good afternoon sa lahat. Thank you, ma’am. Thank you.

Change has indeed come and it is being felt by our people. We welcome the September 2016 Social Weather Stations survey showing families rating themselves as “poor” fall to 42 percent estimated at 9.4 million families. From the 45 percent, estimated at 10.2 million in June 2016.

This is the lowest self-rated poverty rate since March 1987. The same September survey likewise revealed new record low of 30 percent estimated at 6.7 million families considered the type of food they eat as poor or “mahirap”. From 31 percent, estimated at 6.9 million families in June 2016.

For the past 100 days since his assumption, President Duterte has been finding ways to make economic growth work for the poor with focus on the country’s 10 poorest provinces. The Duterte administration reaffirms the state policy to preserve prime agricultural lands to ensure food security.

The Presidential Agrarian Reform Council or PARC has finally convened. The Department of Agriculture on the other hand has gone back to its basic mandate that is to produce food for the country. We released billions of worth of former — former idle farm equipment within two months nationwide and awarded millions worth of credit policy and agri-fishery projects to farmers and fishermen and scholarship to their children. We have made a strong start and we expect to continue making headway.

Corollary to this, we thank the Filipino people for their continuing show of approval and trust to the President and his administration as reflected in Pulse Asia’s 86 percent on both presidential approval and trust ratings. This shall be a source of strength and inspiration for the President and us who are part of his entire team to roll up our sleeves and channel all our energies to rid society of drugs, crime, terrorism and corruption.

And again let me take this opportunity to express my sincerest gratitude to everyone. The President for his trust and confidence, fellow members of the Cabinet, colleagues, friends, my family who supported and prayed for my confirmation. Maraming salamat po.

Lastly, the President signed the Administrative Order No. 1 Creating the Presidential Task Force on Violations of the Right to Life, Liberty and Security of the Members of the Media.

Whereas, Article II, Section 11 of the 1987 Constitution declares that the State values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for human rights…Let me correct Section 2, Article II Section 2.

Whereas, Article III, Section 1 of the 1987 Constitution provides that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law;

Whereas, Article III, Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution provides that the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable;

Whereas, Article III, Section 14 (1) of the 1987 Constitution provides that no person shall be held to answer for a criminal offense without due process of the law;

Whereas, Article III, Section 18 (1) of the 1987 Constitution provides that no person shall be detained solely by reason of his political beliefs and aspirations;

Whereas, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) noted that the safety of journalists and the prosecution and punishment of those who kill members of the media are essential to preserve the fundamental right to freedom of expression, guaranteed by Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;

Whereas, the Philippines is a Party to various treaties, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which recognize every person’s inherent right to life; that no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of life, and that no one shall be subjected to torture, or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and that everyone shall have the right to freedoms of opinion and expression;

Whereas, in May 2015, the UNESCO revealed that on average, one journalist is killed every week around the world, and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) reported that the Philippines ranks third in the world in terms of journalists killed in the line of duty;

Whereas, according to the Human Rights Watch 2014 World Report, the Philippines remains to be one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist, and that killings and enforced disappearances remain a serious problem in the Philippines and rarely result in a successful prosecution and punishment of the perpetrator;

Whereas, the continuing attack on media workers is not only erosive of press freedom and free expression but also impedes the flow of information in a community;

Whereas, a free press and media perform the necessary function and providing accurate, fair and relevant information which is vital for a free citizenry to perform its duty of monitoring government actions and communicating its views to the government;

Whereas, the murders and violent incidents against journalists create an impression of a culture of impunity, wherein security establishments of the State and the non-State forces have been accused of silencing, through violence and intimidation, legitimate dissent and opposition raised by members of the press along with those who belong to cause-oriented groups, political movements, people’s and non-government organizations and by ordinary citizens;

Whereas, most of the these violations remain uninvestigated and unsolved, with the perpetrators unidentified or unprosecuted, giving rise to graver impressions of impunity and the commission of more violent crimes;

Whereas, it is highly exigent that these unsolved cases of grave violations of the rights to life, liberty, and security of persons are revisited, investigated and prosecuted until final judicial determination and penal conclusion.

Finally, whereas, the present Administration declares as a matter of policy that all of these forms of political violence and abuses of powers, whether by agents or elements of the State or of non-State forces against the members of the so-called Fourth Estate, must stop, and towards this end, commits to establish a government-wide program of action where the whole system of the bureaucracy is involved in the efficient, coherent, and comprehensive resolution of unsolved cases of violence in the form of killings, enforced disappearances, torture and other grave violations of the right to life, liberty and security of persons against the members of the press;

Now, Therefore, the President, Rodrigo Roa Duterte, by virtue of the powers vested in him by the Constitution and by law signs the creation of a Presidential Task Force against Media Killings or the Presidential Task Force on Violence against Media Workers, which shall have the mandate of ensuring a safe environment for media workers.

And it shall be composed of the following: Chairperson, Secretary of the Department of Justice; Co-Chairperson, the Secretary of the Presidential Communications Operations Office; Members, Secretary Department of Interior and Local Government, Secretary Department of National Defense, Solicitor General, Executive Director of the Presidential Human Rights Committee, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Director General of the Philippine National Police, and the Director of the National Bureau of Investigation.

The Presidential Task Force shall invite the Chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights or CHR and the Ombudsman as observers and resource persons.

The Presidential Task Force shall likewise invite the following as observers and resource persons: the president of the National Press Club or NPC; the president of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines or NUJP; the president of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas or KBP and the president Publishers Association of the Philippines, Inc. or PAPI and Chairperson-President of the Philippine Press Institute.

I will give you a copy of the entire AO. It’s AO No. 1 and it says here at the end signed by the President on the 11th day of October in the year of Our Lord, Two Thousand and Sixteen.

Thank you.


Dexter Ganibe (DZMM): Secretary, good afternoon. Meron na po bang nai-set na date kung kailan magko-convene itong Presidential—itong mga members ng Task Force?

SEC. ANDANAR: I was on the phone with SOJ Vit Aguirre at napag-usapan po namin na most likely, after we fly back from China.

Mr. Ganibe: Sir, may mga nakalatag na po ba kung anong mga cases itong uunahin ng mga media killings?

SEC. ANDANAR: Iyon ang mga pag-uusapan natin pero, definitely, nandiyan po ‘yung Maguindanao massacre, kasama ho diyan. Lahat, wala ho tayong palalampasin.

Rose Novenario (Hataw): Good afternoon. Kung halimbawa sa Maguindanao massacre, sir, ‘di ba nasa court na ‘yon? Iyong past media killings po na wala pa sa antas nung — ng piskal o kaya ng korte, pwede pong, uunahin ho ba ‘yun o ano? Kasi ‘yung mga controversial cases, I understand ‘di ba nasa court na sila?

SEC. ANDANAR: Yes, pag-aaralan po namin ito at sisiguraduhin namin na we are all in one page with all of the departments na kasama po dito sa ating Task Force.

Ito po, gusto ko pong basahin ‘yung Section 4, Rose ‘no.

“The Function. Inventory of Cases: For the first 30 days, the Presidential Task Force shall conduct an inventory of all the cases of violence against Media Workers perpetrated by State and non-State forces alike, from all government sources, for example, the investigative and prosecutorial government offices, including the National Prosecution Service, the Solicitor General, the Ombudsman, CHR, PNP, NBI, AFP, People’s Law Enforcement Board, the National Police Commission or NAPOLCOM, PNP Internal Affairs Service, the Judiciary, and other—and all others, for purposes of categorizing said cases, as follows: Number one, unsolved cases; number two, cases under investigation; number three, cases under preliminary investigation; number four, cases under trial; and number five, cases under appeal.

Simultaneously, the Presidential Task Force shall also source data of cases from non-government sources, specifically independent and non-partisan international and national human rights organizations and groups. In determining which cases are to be included in the inventory, the Presidential Task Force shall draw upon guidelines for the consideration of doubtful cases.”

Ian Cigaral (BusinessWorld): Sir, how about po ‘yung mga online threats po sa journalists na natatanggap po ngayon na who are critical po? ‘Yung mga reports po nila who are — na critical po sa administration? Kasama po ba ‘yun?

SEC. ANDANAR: Iyong mga nabanggit lang po na inventory of cases ‘yung kasama dito.

Benjie Liwanag (DZBB): Follow up ko lang doon sa sinabi ni Ian. Kasi we’re talking about security of the media and ‘yung threats isa ito doon sa mga nakararating palagi sa ano—should this government…Magbibigay ba kayo ng any security for that purpose, ‘yung mga may death threat? Kanino ba lalapit ‘yung media? Ganun pa rin ba? The same? Or didiretso na rito sa Task Force or we’ll be going to the Philippine National Police for the assessment of the threats, Secretary? So what would be?

SEC. ANDANAR: We can assist the media kung merong mga threats.

Mr. Liwanag: Who? Who?

SEC. ANDANAR: The Presidential Task Force.

Mr. Liwanag: Ah the Presidential Task Force.

SEC. ANDANAR: Yeah. Pwede ninyong ibigay sa amin ‘yung report and then as long as it’s…Ito naman ay napag-uusapan. And, of course, kaya nga natin — binuo ng ating Pangulo itong Presidential Task Force on violence of the right to life, liberty and security of the members of the media. So nandiyan po ‘yung security of the members of the media.

Mr. Liwanag: Okay, you will provide security personnel also?

SEC. ANDANAR: I will have to discuss that with the Philippine National Police.

Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star): So, Secretary, just for the record. Online threats are not covered by the AO?

SEC. ANDANAR: I have not seen it here but if it…Not truly…If you are threatened anywhere be that online or on the ground, it’s still a threat. And it still violates your security and your right to have a good life, liberty and security as mentioned in this Administrative Order.

Mr. Romero: So what can the AO do about journalists being vilified, harassed, threatened by trolls or by supporters of whatever partisan group? What can that Task Force do for these journalists and to those threatening them?

SEC. ANDANAR: That’s a good question. The most important function of this Administrative Order No. 1 is again Creating the Presidential Task Force on Violations of the Right to Life, Liberty and Security of the Members of the Media.

So pwede po kayong magsumbong. Ito’y pag-uusapan po ng iba’t ibang ahensiya na kasama dito at iyong mga members or ‘yung mga private members ng Presidential Task Force kasama na po diyan ‘yung KBP, ‘yung PAPI, NUJP. At pag-uusapan po natin ito, ilalatag natin nang husto kung — ‘yung implementing rules and regulations. We will get there.

Mr. Romero: Thank you, Sec.

Celerina Monte (Manila Shimbun): Good afternoon, sir. Sir, after the inventory of the cases, what will happen?

SEC. ANDANAR: After the inventory of the cases then there will be an investigation. At hahabulin natin ‘yung mga tao, tutulungan natin ‘yung pagbigay ng hustisya doon sa mga unresolved cases, ‘yung mga hindi pa nafa-filan (file) ng kaso. At bibilisan din natin ang proseso para mas lalong matulungan sa lalong mas madaling panahon ‘yung mga kapatid natin sa industriya na nanganganib ang buhay.

Ms. Monte: Meron ba, sir, like ilalatag na timeframe as to like when would be these cases be resolved? Meron bang ganun?

SEC. ANDANAR: Oo nga. Meron akong nabasa dito na…”Submission of report…” Sandali lang kasi… “Monitoring and Reporting to the Presidential Task Force of Cases. The Presidential Task Force shall designate a special oversight team composed of investigators and prosecutors which shall actively monitor developments on the cases included in the inventory of cases referred to in paragraph (a) and regularly report and submit recommendations to the Presidential Task Force. d) Receive and Monitor Reports on Media Workers in Danger, and Provide Them Protection…” Ito ‘yung tanong mo kanina, Benjie.

“The Presidential Task Force shall receive reports from groups, citizens and individuals regarding Media Workers in danger. The Presidential Task Force may receive from Media Workers reports or notices of the latter’s deployment or assignment in hostile of dangerous areas, including areas under military operations or armed conflict. And after receiving such reports, the Presidential Task Force shall conduct monitoring and, if warranted, provide the necessary assistance to the Media Workers concerned in accordance with existing laws, rules and regulations.”

“e) Investigation and Prosecution of New Cases. The Presidential Task Force shall also designate a special team of investigators and prosecutors exclusively for new cases, for the immediate investigation and prosecution of the perpetrators. Cases referred to or filed with CHR or the Ombudsman shall be monitored by this special team for action on CHR and Ombudsman resolutions on said cases, if applicable. If the investigation has already been started beforehand or complaints have already been filed with, the agencies included in the Presidential Task Force, the special teams shall oversee, supervise and monitor the investigation or preliminary investigation conducted by the agencies under the Presidential Task Force, notwithstanding the conduct of an ongoing investigation by the CHR or the Ombudsman. However, the special team shall actively coordinate with the CHR and he Ombudsman in the conduct of these concurrent investigations. In the case of torture, the special team shall ensure that Section 9 (a) of Republic Act No. 9745 or the Anti-Torture Act of 2009 on the sixty (60)-day period for investigation of a complaint for torture is followed by the DOJ, the Public Attorney’s Office, PNP, NBI, and the AFP.”

I’ll give you a copy. This is long.

JP Bencito (Manila Standard): Hi, sir, good afternoon. Sir, can we know the wisdom of the President why he signed this particular AO? Is this AO, sir, the response of the President to criticisms on the murder of Jun Pala, the Davao-based journalist, sir? The President if I’m not mistaken earlier said that Jun Pala deserves his death?

SEC. ANDANAR: The creation of this Administrative Order as you all know was announced two weeks before the President took his oath. And I announced it in Davao as one of our plans for the PCOO. And when the President took his oath, about two weeks after that, we began to draft the admin or Administrative Order. But then again, nauna ‘yung Freedom of Information Executive Order.

The reason why the President wanted this Admin Order or Administrative Order No. 1 is because he cares for you, for us. And he believes in freedom of the press.

Mr. Bencito: Okay, thank you, sir.

Ms. Novenario: Good afternoon, sir. Magkano po ‘yung magiging pondo ng Task Force at saan po manggaling ito?

SEC. ANDANAR: Magandang tanong iyan. Kakausapin ko po muna si DOJ Secretary Vit Aguirre as the chairman, as first among equals in this AO. At ito po ay aming babalangkasin. Paguusapan po namin kung magkano ang kailangan dito pero let me read Section 8 or the funding. “The initial funding requirements for the operation of the Presidential Task Force shall be determined by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), subject to compliance with existing laws and the usual government budgetary, accounting and auditing rules and regulations. Appropriations for the succeeding years shall be incorporated in the regular budget proposals of involved agencies.” Section [8].

Ms. Novenario: Sir, kasama na po iyan sa ano, sa budget propo — sa proposed 2017 budget?

SEC. ANDANAR: Hindi pa po.

Ms. Novenario: Ah hindi pa.

Mr. Bencito: Hi, sir, on China. Can we get an outlook of the President’s trip next week? Brunei and China, what do we expect to gain from these trips of the President?

SEC. ANDANAR: JP, we’ll have a formal press brief by the DFA tomorrow, the same room.

Mr. Bencito: Thank you, sir. Another follow-up po sana on the statement of the Vice President wherein she said that the plan of the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council to enforce a moratorium on land conversion it’s somehow hurting the homeless, sir, the efforts of the administration. It echoes basically the economic team of the President in saying. Sir, do we already have a…What’s the take of the Palace, sir, in the issue and has the President said about this, sir?

SEC. ANDANAR: I will have to consult Cab Sec, Cabinet Secretary Jun Evasco.

Mr. Bencito: Okay po. Thank you, sir.

Ina Andolong (CNN Philippines): Good afternoon, sir. On China still. The President has made it clear that he wants to do away with the beggar’s mentality or the mendicant mentality when it comes to our relations with other countries. How does he intend or how does the administration intend to do this in our effort to build stronger ties with China?

SEC. ANDANAR: One is public-private partnership and another one is inviting more investors or foreign direct investors to come in the country. Another one is the build-operate and transfer. There are various ways to do this without begging for money from other countries.

Ms. Andolong: Specifically, sir, how do we avoid that kind of situation when we start talking to China if or when — if and when he starts talking to China about our claims in the South China Sea?

SEC. ANDANAR: How do we avoid–?

Ms. Andolong: Avoid that situation that where we may be or where the President might feel that we’re begging or we’re in that mendicant mentality? When we start talking to China about our claims over the South China Sea.

SEC. ANDANAR: It’s apparent that the President wanted a soft landing on the issue of the West Philippine Sea or the South China Sea, if you’re coming from China.

And it is also clear that the President wants to open our doors to different countries, not only to China, for more investments. And amongst many issues and amongst many bilateral agreements or possible agreements with China or MOUs, the issue of the West Philippine Sea has been settled already as far as the PCA is concerned.

And the President also said and in one of his speaking engagements that he will not go out of the four corners of the document and he will deal with that on a latter—on a later date.

Ms. Andolong: Lastly, speaking of that decision, not to say that we should confront China but are we not being a mendicant when we are asking China to allow our fishermen in Scarborough Shoal, which has practically been declared ours?

SEC. ANDANAR: We will have to wait for the dialogue to happen in China.

Tricia Macas (GMA News Online): Hi, sir, good afternoon. Senator Panfilo Lacson yesterday said that he agreed with actress Agot Isidro when she said that she doesn’t want to be hungry. Sabi ni Lacson na sa isang banda, si Agot Isidro may sense. “Kung gusto mo magutom, magutom ka mag-isa, wag mo kami idamay”. I think this a response to President Duterte’s statement that to “sacrifice a little.” So can we get the Palace’s reaction to this and magugutom ba ang mga Pilipino at some point?

SEC. ANDANAR: Sinabi na po ng Pangulo natin na nirerespeto po natin ang opinyon ni Binibining Agot Isidro. Kaya hayaan nalang po natin na ‘yung sinabi ni Pangulo, let’s just leave it at that.

Ms. Macas: But I think Senator Lacson is trying to express na if sumama ang ekonomiya, if there will be, like, problems in the economy because of, you know, the statements, what can we do about it? Or is there any plan to parang hindi sumama ang ekonomiya? I think that was what’ he’s trying to—

SEC. ANDANAR: Ah okay, okay. Yeah, we have a plan. You can ask the Department of Agriculture, Secretary Manny Piñol and rest assured that ‘yung buffer stock natin ng bigas ay sobra-sobra.

Ms. Macas: Okay, sige, sir.

Vanz Fernandez (Police Files): Sir, good afternoon. How large is the business delegation that will join the President in China? Is it 400 businessmen?

SEC. ANDANAR: Ma’am, magandang tanong po ‘yun. Siguro hayaan na lang po natin ang Department of Foreign Affairs sumagot dahil ito po’y nagbabago by the day. Alam naman po natin ay ang ating mga negosyante ay — they’re spending for their own and everyday, nadadagdagan ‘yung gustong sumama.

Ms. Fernandez: Yes, on another issue, sir. Why is the dissolution of One Negros Region important for the Palace?


Ms. Fernandez: Why is the dissolution of the One Negros Region, yes, important for the Palace?

SEC. ANDANAR: Because we’re going to save more money.

Ms. Fernandez: Short answer?

SEC. ANDANAR: That’s it.

Catherine Valente (Manila Times): Sir, good afternoon po. Regarding Sec. Abella’s statement kahapon. Sinabi niya po the President has own alternatives in defending our country’s executive economic zone. So may we know po kung ano ‘yung mga alternatives na sinasabi ni Sec. Abella? Is there any country that the Philippines will partner with? Alternatives, sir? Meron?

SEC. ANDANAR: Alternative?

Ms. Valente: Yes, sir. Sa joint patrol, sir. Kasi he’s reacting about Secretary—ay Justice Carpio’s suggestion that we continue—we should continue the joint patrol in South China Sea. Sabi niya daw po, the President has own alternatives. So may we know po kung ano ‘yung mga alternatives na ‘yon?

SEC. ANDANAR: We leave it up to the Department of National Defense to clarify these issues. I cannot answer for the DND. Otherwise, I’d be pulling answers from the air.

Hannah Sancho (Sonshine Radio): Sir, kasama po ba si former President Ramos sa China trip? Special envoy po ng Pangulo.

SEC. ANDANAR: Nung nag-usap po kami ni former President Fidel V. Ramos nung nakaraang Sabado, ang sinabi niya po ay hindi siya sasama.

Ms. Sancho: Sinabi po niya ang dahilan, sir?

SEC. ANDANAR: Hindi niya sinabi ‘yung dahilan kung bakit hindi siya sasama pero I believe that it is about giving respect to our current President Rodrigo Duterte. Sapagkat kung dalawang presidente po ang pupunta doon, syempre, posibleng mahati ang atensyon.

Ms. Sancho: Pero nananatili po ‘yung pagiging special envoy po niya?

SEC. ANDANAR: Yeah, we just had a Security Cluster meeting last Saturday.

Ms. Macas: Sir, ito na lang. Obama’s senior US diplomat for East Asia, Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel said that there is a lot of noise and a lot of stray voltage in the media regarding the President’s statements and, well, some of them are a bit — like, your alignment, or, like, a bit anti-US. So how are you, your office, making sure that the statements of the President would be—is clarified or hindi madaling ma-misinterpret? How are you handling those statements?

SEC. ANDANAR: The chief communications architect and the chief of foreign policy, the architect of the foreign policy of this country, is the President himself. So kung ano po ang sasabihin ng ating Pangulo ay—that’s policy and that’s what we follow.

Ms. Novenario: Hi, sir. May statement po kahapon si NEDA Director General Pernia na ‘yung moratorium on land conversation na proposal ni DAR Secretary Rafael Mariano ay hindi raw po—ay tinututulan po nila at sumulat na po sila kay Presidente sila nila DTI, DOF Secretary. At ‘yung ano naman po, panukalang 125 pesos across-the-board wage increase, na panukala naman ni Labor Undersecretary Joel Maglunsod ay hindi rin daw po ano, pinapaboran ng economic managers ng administration. Ano po ‘yung…Meron po bang parang lumalabas na parang may nag-uumpugang interes po ba ito ng mga agenda ng militante na nasa Gabinete or dito po sa — versus dito po sa economic managers ng administration?

SEC. ANDANAR: Hindi ko pa nabasa ang report na ‘yan at hindi ko pa rin po nakakausap ang ating NEDA Secretary at ganun din po ‘yung mga kasamahan natin sa DAR at iba pang mga ahensya na may interes dito sa bigayan ng lupa at ‘yung pagpapataas ng sahod ng ating mga manggagawa across-the-board. Pero hayaan mo at aalamin natin.

Ms. Novenario: Kasi po sa briefing dito ni Ka Paeng, after nung Presidential Agrarian Reform Council ay ipinangako po raw ni Presidente na pipirmahan niya ‘yung Memorandum or Executive Order ng moratorium on land conversion. Iyon po ‘yung basis doon.

SEC. ANDANAR: Hintayin po natin ‘yung pirma ng ating Pangulo if that’s the case.

SOURCE: PND – Transcriber