Press Conference of Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella with National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council Executive Director Ricardo B. Jalad
Press Briefing Room, New Executive Bldg, Malacañang
17 October 2016

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Good morning. The President and delegation are on a three-nation State Visit starting, that was starting yesterday, to Brunei, China and Japan. In anticipated response to questions, the President has said that we will speak softly but we will not bargain anything, especially regarding issues about the West Philippine Sea.

Regarding the burial of former President Ferdinand Marcos, President Duterte has said that he may, that he would abide by whatever the Supreme Court decides on the petition to stop the burial of former President Ferdinand Marcos at Libingan ng mga Bayani. He has said, ‘We will follow what the Supreme Court says for after all, it’s the Supreme Count that follows the law.’ He said this in a brief press conference Sunday afternoon shortly before he left for his State Visit to Brunei and China.

Regarding the Senate Committee report, Senator Richard Gordon on Sunday said that, ‘The Committee Report on the legislative inquiry into the alleged extrajudicial killings would be out next week. I intend to file a committee report with recommendation by Monday, if possible or within the week.’

This morning, we’re going to be graced by the presence of Executive Director of NDRRMC, Mr. Ricardo Jalad. He is the administrator of the Office of Civil Defense and the executive director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

Usec. Jalad is a retired Army general and former acting commander of the 5th Infantry Division, which covers Northeast Luzon. Prior to that post, Jalad was the Army’s commander of the 2nd Mechanized Infantry Brigade, which covers the areas of Iligan and Lanao del Norte.

His long years of experience as a man of uniform have prepared him best for his current post. He is the best person to enlighten us regarding the current weather situation in the Philippines and how the nation should respond. Sir, Mr. Jalad.

USEC. JALAD: Thank you, sir. Good morning, everyone. The Office of Civil Defense, as the implementing arm of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, orchestrated the conduct of preparedness and response measures in connection with typhoon “Karen” with international name Sarika, which affected the country last week and as backgrounder, let me go back that it was in 13 October last week that the LPA in the east of Samar developed into a tropical depression and was named “Karen.” It intensified into a tropical storm that same day and further intensified into a typhoon the following day.

It was 2:30 of 16 October, yesterday, that typhoon “Karen” made landfall over Baler, Aurora and right now, it’s now approaching, it’s now over the West Philippine Sea and about to exit the Philippine Area of Responsibility.

And here are the effects monitored by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council but right now, the–our regional offices as well as the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council are currently conducting the rapid disaster and needs—damage and needs assessment on their respective areas. But offhand, from this data, from the DSWD, we now have about—after the LGUs were able to conduct preemptive evacuation before the landfall of typhoon “Karen”, totaling a number of 8,000 families that were preemptively evacuated in Region I, II, III, Calabarzon and Region V, we now have 5,077 families still staying inside the evacuation centers in these—in those regions.

We are now expecting the gradual reduction of its—from its peak before the landfall of early morning as the situation permits them.

There were three reported dead but—and five reported missing but these are being—validations are being conducted to make sure on the cause of death of these—cause of death and the circumstances on the—their being declared missing.

There were two incidents of capsizing of boat and vessels but fortunately, all the passengers and crew were immediately rescued and this happened in Catbalogan City. There were three incidents of stranded mountaineers with a total of 128 and fortunately also, all were found to be safe and rescued.

There were incidents of fallen rocks and soil collapse, which rendered some roads impassable but as of now, all are currently passable with the corrective measures conducted by DPWH.

There were damages also to houses, totaling a number of, totaling 943 but mostly these are partial damage in Regions I, II and Cordillera. There are also reported damage to crops but this is one of the reported damage that our regional offices will be conducting assessment and validation with the cooperation and participation of other agencies, particularly Department of Agriculture on this damage to crops.

And right now, our office is initiating preparedness measures in response to the threat of a coming typhoon, which we will name typhoon “Lawin” as it enters the Philippine Area of Responsibility, which is expected today and immediately, based on forecast from PAGASA, it is expected to largely affect the country by Thursday. So that’s all as of now regarding typhoon “Karen” and typhoon “Lawin.”


Tina Mendez (Philippine Star): Sir, good morning. You mentioned dumaan ‘yung bagyo, typhoon “Karen” sa West Philippine Sea. Do you have any satellite reports or reports from the ground regarding the impact on the reported ships there from China?

USEC. JALAD: None so far.

Ms. Mendez: By the way sir, when do you expect the assessment from regional office ng Agriculture? ’Yung impact sa mga pananim sa Luzon?

USEC. JALAD: Well, right now they are still conducting that assessment but we will- it is just a rapid assessment. The comprehensive assessment will come much later. That will be done by the Department of Agriculture.

Rosalie Coz (UNTV): Sir, may mga areas na po ba na dineclare under State of Emergency? And may mga areas din po ba na hindi pa po nako-contact ng NDRRMC?

USEC. JALAD: The feedback from the LGUs is that the situation is very much manageable, there were damages to houses and some fallen posts, electrical posts that rendered the—some power outages but mostly they are being restored now. We have no report of any declaration of state of calamities within the LGUs.

Mon Gualvez (TV 5): Sir, question lang po sa Batanes sana kasi dalawang bagyo na rin po ‘yung dumaan sa kanila. Ngayon po ba naapektuhan din ba ‘yung Batanes and how are they dealing with this?

USEC. JALAD: There’s no report of any effect in Batanes.

Giovanni Nilles (Philippine Star): Sir, what kind of preparation are we doing for “Lawin”?

USEC. JALAD: Initially, today, we will be conducting a pre-disaster risk assessment meeting and we are anticipating that typhoon “Lawin” will be much stronger than “Karen” because it started way outside of the Philippine Area of Responsibility, meaning that it will have sufficient time and distance to intensify. So we will exert all our best effort to anticipate the damages and make the necessary preparation and measures.

Dexter Ganibe (DZMM): Sir, good morning. Based doon sa track na pinoproject para dito kay bagyong “Lawin,” anong mga lalawigan ang kanyang madadaanan? Posible bang sumunod ito kay “Karen”?

USEC. JALAD: As of now, I think the track is a little bit higher than the track followed by “Karen.” Possible to be affected is the Northern Luzon.

Mr. Ganibe: Pero may epekto rin po ba ito dito sa mga dinaanan na ng bagyong “Karen,” sa mga lalawigan?

USEC. JALAD: It’s possible because I think the coverage of typhoon “Lawin” is a bit larger, bigger than typhoon “Karen” so we expect a larger coverage of area to be—to have rainfall.

Mr. Ganibe: Sir, bago umalis ang Pangulo, ano ‘yung marching order niya? Itong dalawang magkasunod na bagyo at posibleng taga-Northern Luzon and Central Luzon ang affected?

USEC. JALAD: We were together in Batanes last Saturday and one of the marching order was of course is to deliver what’s expected of us and, as well as to fast track our delivery of services. And that includes the rehabilitation and reconstruction of damaged infrastructures.

Chona Yu (Radyo Inquirer): Sir, anong assistance ang ibibigay ng government doon sa tatlong namatay sa bagyong “Karen”?

USEC. JALAD: They are still undergoing validation as to the cause and if it’s determined that the cause is related to the typhoon, from OCD, they can expect some financial assistance.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Good morning. Floor open for questions.

Ms. Mendez: Sir, who’s the caretaker at Malacañang?


Prince Golez (Panay News):  Sir, good morning sir. Sir can we get an update about the proposed Executive Order dissolving the Negros Island region, sir?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Its supposed to be for signing already. So we’ll just follow-up. I think I answered that the last time. Okay, thank you.

Mr. Golez: May date ba sir on when the President–


Mr. Golez: Any statement from the President himself of support, or supporting the dissolution of the Negros Island Region?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: No statements but then it’s all out for signature. Okay, thank you.

Ms. Mendez: Sir any update on the–kung nagpadala na ng formal invitation sa US and EU regarding summary executions? The President has been making public pronouncements about it.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: What we do have is for the Office of the—for the Special Rapporteur.  I think we already supplied this ‘no last, we already supplied you this. So basicallythat, at this stage, it’s for the– Agnes Callamard, Special Rapporteur of the United Nations.

Ms. Mendez: Sir, have they responded?


Mr. Ganibe: Good morning sir. Ano po ang nagpapatagal sir?  ‘Yung postponement ng barangay elections? Kasi ang binabanggit ng Pangulo naririnig natin, before sinabi niya 3,500 barangay captains, now 4,000 to 500 barangay captains ang involved sa illegal drug trade. May kinalaman ba ito kaya hindi pa mapirmahan itong  postponement—itong Republic Act—postponement ng barangay elections?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Pero that’s already all part of the ano, I think it’s already na—it’s already in the pipeline, the  signing of the—the signing of the postponement, it’s already inthe pipeline.

Mr. Ganibe:  Sir may mga lumalabas kasi na binabanggit, it’s either, kasi ang gusto ng Pangulo mag a-appoint ng OIC lalo na doon sa mga barangay na kung saan ang barangay chairman ay involved sa illegal drugs. Would you confirm?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA:  I cannot confirm, but it –but at this stage, it may be procedural, what’s delaying the whole thing. So but it just, but definitely it’s on—it’s on the pipeline for being postponed.

Mr. Ganibe:  Because the barangay elections is schedule on October 31?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA:  Yes, so like I said, it’s already set for postponement. Yes, for the signature.

Benjie Liwanag (DZBB):  Sir, good morning.  Sir, merong mga dumating ng mga timber coming from Germany. Nasa Cebu Port tapos hangang ngayon hindi pa nilalabas because of taxes and storage fee. May problem yata sir?


Mr. Liwanag: Sir, bakit hindi pa inilalabas daw ‘yung mga timber na galing ng Germany?


Mr. Liwanag: And German NGO galing ito, sir.


Mr. Liwanag:  Yes sir. Cebu Port po.


Mr. Liwanag: Yes, and another one sir. May magfa-file po yata ng case against the government because ‘yung postponement nga nung barangay elections?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Okay, we’ll also look into that. Okay thank you.

Mr. Liwanag: Okay sir.

Hannah Jane Sancho (Sonshine Radio): Secretary, good morning. Follow-up ko lang po. Kasi laging name-mention ng Pangulo na ini-invite niya ‘yung UN and EU, pero ‘yung invitation po natin sabi ninyo, ‘yung UN rapporteur palang. Are there any plans na magbibigay po ng invitation ang—ng formal communications po ang Office of the President sa US and EU?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Okay, we’ll confirm that, okay. But definitely one that has gone out is UN, okay.

Ms. Sancho: Alright sir.


Mr. Liwanag: Okay, sir ‘yung pagka-aresto ni Kerwin Espinosa kanina?


Mr. Liwanag: Doon sa—Abu Dhabi with the, the Philippine National Police


Mr. Liwanag: Alam na po ba ng Pangulo ito sir?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I suppose, by this time he knows about that.

Mr. Liwanag: Any statement sir, coming from Malacañang?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA:  There’s no statement except that I suppose—except that the process of law, it may be slow but it’s consistent. Okay, thank you.

Mr. Ganibe:  Secretary, clarification lang. Kasi noong last na—it’s  either the 6th or 7th Cabinet meeting. May nabanggit ba ang Pangulo kung ano ang mas prefer niya. ‘Yung sa postponement ng barangay election kung ‘yung mga barangay official ay hold over or mag-aappoint siya ng mga bagong opisyal?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: That’s something that we need to check with the ES, okay, if it’s going to be holdover or new appointees, okay.

Ms. Mendez: Sir, I heard there’s a six billion budget for the barangay elections. What will happen to the budget?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: It will be on hold. Until such time it’s used, okay.

Ms. Mendez: So walang lapse, sir?


Ms. Mendez: Walang lapse nung paggamit ng budget, nung  appropriations? It can be used next year?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Again, we’ll have to check on that, okay.

Mr. Gualvez: Sec, good morning. May minention po si President po na mga sadyang pinapatay, pero dinistansya po niya dito ang government. But are there any efforts po from the government para imbestigahan po ‘yung mga kwestyonableng death?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Hindi ba there’s an—there’s an item there called ‘death under investigation.’ So that falls under death under investigation.

Ms. Coz: Sir, after po na i-turn over ni Pangulong Duterte ‘yun pong list  sa DILG  and AFP, ano po ‘yung concrete plans, lalo  na po  may mga barangay captains na na-involve doon and then mga LGU chief executive?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: It’s a—they, the whole process is being worked out simply because the—because as you very well see, it’s already systemic, you know, na the involvement of government officials is already widespread. So, they are working out the proper procedure regarding how to address it. Thank you.

Mr. Gualvez: Sir, follow-up lang po doon sa death under investigation. Do you have a number po ng mga ini-imbistigahan natin under that?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: In the—in the second—in the second brochure that was put out, it was about hundred—a thousand plus, I don’t have the exact number, but a thousand plus.

Mr. Gualvez: May percentage po ba tayo sir ng mga kahina-hinalang pagpatay, outside the police operation?


Mr. Gualvez: O included na po doon sa one thousand plus po na ‘yun?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Do you have the brochure? We can—I can refer it to you, I can refer the brochure to you. But it’s divided equally between death under legal operations and death under investigation.

Ms. Coz: Sir, ano po ‘yung more definite doon sa procedures na ginagawa? Ini-imbestigahan na po ba ‘yung mga involved? Kasi hindi po ba last week, October 11 ay sinayn (sign) po ng Pangulo ’yung EO number 4 inter-agency task force, eh involved din po ‘yung mga LGUs, sila po ‘yung pangunahing makakatulong sa pagtatayo ng mga rehab centers. Eh may mga involved po na mga LGU officials. So paano po ‘yung definite na proseso? DILG po ba ang mag-iinvestigate sa mga involved po?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: At this stage, we can assume that it comes under DILG.

Ms. Mendez: Sir, over the weekend, you issued a statement that the Senate panel has absolved the President of any involvement sa summary execution?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: That is a statement that they made, that the President is not directly involved in any of these.

Ms. Mendez: Based on the statement not on a committee report or–

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Based on the statement made by the committee chairman.

Mr. Liwanag: Sir, on the rehabilitation. ‘Yung sa Nueva Ecija, Laur, Fort Magsaysay. Kailan po mag-ooperate ito sir? Kasi sabi ni Presidente tapos na raw siya by October 15?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I don’t –it should be– I think their projected date is November.

Mr. Liwanag: November.

Ms. Sancho: Sir, follow-up po doon sa Executive Order–


Ms. Sancho: Doon sa creation po ng Constitutional Commission para po sa Cha-Cha. Kung ano na po ‘yung status, nung August sinabmit ng House?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Okay, we’ll also follow-up on that. We’ll come up with an answer for all your questions.

Ms. Sancho: Sir, phone-in question. Kailan po daw masasampahan ng kaso si Senator De Lima?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: We’ll just wait for the process, okay. Thank you.

Ms. Mendez: Sir, any update noong delegation. How big the delegation is sa China?  

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, as the anecdotal report, it’s about 500 business people. Okay. Thank you very much.

SOURCE: PND – Transcriber