Press Release
October 6, 2022

Transcript of Senate President Juan Miguel "Migz" F. Zubiri

OCT 6, 2022

QUESTION: (inaudible)

SP ZUBIRI: Hindi naman. The Commission on Appointments kasi, ang sistema niyan, meron po silang committees that handle those offices. In this case, meron po tayong committee for PCOO and Press Secretary. It is headed by Chairman JV [Ejercito]. Yan ang tanungin ninyo, the chairpersons. Ang style diyan, the chairperson will say: "Chairman Migz, Senate President, we already have all documents ready for these ladies or gentlemen and we'd like to schedule them for appointments." So, I await the scheduling of the chairpersons. Maybe nagkataon lang kay Trixie. Hindi pa siguro sila kumpleto sa dokumento, or hindi pa sila handa sa hearing kaya hindi siya na-tackle.

QUESTION: (inaudible)

SP ZUBIRI: I don't want to be misquoted but, I think the problem with Chairman Calida is his health. He has health problems. I've already met with him. We already had a meeting at my office and I already assured him of our cooperation when it comes to the hearings, that we will make sure that we will hear his confirmation hearings as soon as possible. But unfortunately, when the time had come that we could tackle these particular appointments, he was on a health leave. Nagkaproblema siya sa kaniyang kalusugan. That's what I was told, ha?

QUESTION: But you have assured him that he has support from the committee?

SP ZUBIRI: No, that I cannot categorically state that because there are 24 members plus me, 25. Anyone from the members of the Commission on Appointments can always do a Sec. 20, which is basically to stop the whole process. I cannot categorically answer for the members of the commission, my colleagues. But what I can say is - noong handa na yata yung chairperson nila, and I believe that it was Chairperson Villar, who is head of the Constitutional Offices, ang balita daw was, he was having health concerns. Hindi na namin pinilit.

On the issue of Vic Rodriguez, yes, Vic Rodriguez never submitted to the commission, a single document. Yes.

QUESTION: General statement on the back-to-back resignations this early. How...

SP ZUBIRI: I think it's birthing pains, baby steps. They're still trying to find... ika nga, they're trying to get into the groove of things. It is the President's prerogative. Hindi ko po gustong magkomento sa mga nangyayari sa Palasyo, dahil yan ay prerogative po, sole prerogative ng ating Pangulo sa kaniyang mga alter-egos. I don't want to speculate why they were removed or for those who were newly appointed, I don't want to speculate why. That's the President's prerogative.

QUESTION: (inaudible)

SP ZUBIRI: Wala naman. I think the confirmations, they'll just go a series of questions on policy on, of course, their qualifications to head a particular position. Normal po 'yan. Meron sigurong matatagalan, merong mabibilisan. Yung mga highly-qualified na nakita na po natin sa ilang taon and nagbigay na po ng serbisyo sa ating bayan, katulad ni, for example, Sec. Diokno, I don't think he will have a difficult time. I think the economic team of the President will not have a difficult time. But we will have to go through the process of answering questions from our colleagues. Ika nga, kailangan nilang sagutin yung mga policy questions ng ating mga kasama sa Komisyon. Other than that, I don't see particularly would have a difficult time.

QUESTION: (inaudible)

SP ZUBIRI: On the budget, we already submitted for plenary deliberations. Ibig sabihin, committee level, napasa na po natin yung DBCC, that's the Development Budget Coordination Committee, the Judiciary, the Department of Justice, all other small agencies like the MTRCB, Office of the Ombudsman, Commission on Audit, Department on Information and Communication and Technology or DICT, marami na. These are two pages, too many to read one by one. We've already submitted a number of agencies for plenary. Ang naiiwan na lang, today we are having DBM, DOT. We are also discussing DILG, DOLE - that's just for today, in the morning. We also have on Monday, the DPWH, PAGCOR, Games and Amusements Board, Philippine Sports Commission and Office of the President.

We're on track. Actually, isang page na lang pala naiwan. Ito na lang naiwan. [Shows last page of list of agencies.

QUESTION: (inaudible)

SP ZUBIRI: No, absolutely not. We're gonna follow the schedule. Ang gusto po namin, by end of November magkakaroon na po tayo ng approval on Second and Third Reading.

Let me go back. Let me step backwards. Right now, break po tayo pero ongoing ang committee hearings. Ang gusto po ni Sen. Angara, by next week tapos na po ang mga committee hearings on all these agencies to be moved towards the plenary. Tapusin niya yan next week. Ang plano po natin by November 7th pag balik po natin ay, within the week or the week after we are going to proceed with plenary debates. We will have at least two weeks for that. Dalawang linggo. With of course, the usual suspend session tapos ano tayo, morning till evening, morning hanggang sawa, ika nga ang ating hearings. Nandito po kami, 12, 13-hour days until we finish the budget. We're looking at third or maximum, fourth week approval on Second or Third Reading. After that, Bicam, we're looking at maybe - best efforts, first week of December, Bicam approval. Pinakamatagal na po, within the second week yung Bicam and ratification.

QUESTION: Based on your info, wala naman masyadong controversial...

SP ZUBIRI: Wala naman. Sa mga Viber groups namin, between all member senators and majority senators, wala po tayong nakikitang malaking hadlang para maipasa yung budget. Remember, that this budget is almost identical to the last budget. Maliit lang po yung additional funds. It's only about P200 billion. It used to be P5.1 trillion, it's now P5.3 trillion. Very small difference from the past budget. Ang mahalaga dito, pondohan natin yung mga ahensiya na, sa tingin namin, ay talagang karapat-dapat na mabigyan ng pondo para lalong gumanda ang ating pagbibigay po ng governance and tulong sa ating mga kababayan. So, I trust my colleagues. Sen. Angara is doing a great job, our chairperson on the Committee on Finance. I salute him, saludo po ako sa kaniya. Lahat ng subcommittee chairmen and women, napakasipag nilang lahat and I don't think we will have a big problem. As a matter of fact, sa dami po nating subcommittee chairs, I think 12 together with the Chairman? Iilan na lang po doon ay... halos lahat members. I don't think we'll have a difficult time pagdating po ng plenary debates.

QUESTION: If the 2022 budget is on COVID-19 recovery, how will you define the 2023 budget?

SP ZUBIRI: Recovery pa din. We have problems with inflation, we're having problems of course revenue generation. Alam mo sa dalawang taon na nakaraan from 2020 to 2021, bagsak ang collection ng BIR and Bureau of Customs, So you have to remember that because of that magkaakroon tao ng higher deficit for the budget 2023. Ibig sabihin mangungutang tayo muli para mabayaran natin ang ating expenditure program for 2023. So ano ibig sabihin niyan? Double time tayo sa revenue collection. Kaya yan ang talagang direction natin ngayon. Ang direction of the national government as you can see in the budget is first of all we have to be thrifty and save were we can save. Number 2 we have to continue our revenue collection plugging the leakages para sa ganun ay mawala na itong avenues of corruption para sa government na pupunta ang pondo, kaban ng bayan at pangatlo makikita po natin ay belt tightening, we have to belt tighten at this point in time. And fight inflation. We have to fight inflation and this phenomenon is not only in the Philippines. Mahalaga po na malaman ng taong bayan na ang inflation po ngayon ay hindi lang po sa ating bansa, kundi sa ating region, ibig sabihin Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia nagrarally po ngayon sa Indonesia dahil sa pag akyat po ng presyo ng langis, dahil hindi na po nila i-susubsidize, nauubos po ang pondo nila sa pag susubsidize ng fuel cost dun. Yung tinanggal po iyun nag alsa balutan ang mg atao dun. So, this is happening all over the world. I believe England has a 10 percent inflation rate. Tayo 6.9 percent so far for this quarter. But Europe ngayon US almost 10 percent inflation rate, so obviously external forces po itong pag mahal ng mga fuel, pagmahal ng gasoline ng krudo, pag mahal ng kuryente dahil nga sa imported coal, dahil sa gyera sa Ukrain and of course regional instability. So the president and the government is looking towards a post pandemic recovery but looking at other external factors weighing down on our inflation.

QUESTION: About sa ongoing budget deliberation ng DBM marami natatanong sa NTF-ELCAC na hindi ganun kalinaw kung paano ginagastos do you thingk we should revisit the NTF-ELCAC budget allocation?

SP ZUBIRI: I'm personally in favor of NTF-ELCAC because it works in our province of BUkdinon which is one of the recipients of NTF-ELCAC funding and I think in many areas of eastern Mindanao where there is a problem on insurgency marami sa ating mga barangay ngayon ay kumpleto na po ang mga health centers. Kumpleto po ang kanilang infrastructure. May ilaw na fully funded ang kanilang lighting projects. Mga kalsada papunta sa mga inaayos na so I think it is a good thing. There may be reportorial issues but this should be subject of course to COA audits but overall I am infavor of NTF-ELCAC.

QUESTION: Acceptable ba at reasonable yugn mga confidential budget?

SP ZUBIRI: That is a practice that's been there for seveal decades now since the new constitution was adopted. Dati intelligence funds ang tawag dyan. So pinalitan nila ng pangaln ginawa nilang confidential funds because intelligence funds were only limited to intelligence agencies or agencies that have armed components. For example the Armed Forces of the Philippines the military, the PNP, ISAFP, NICA yun they are all just called intelligence funds. When it comes to government agencies pinalitan po yugn pangalan to confidential funds. I think the use of confidential funds is still subject to COA. May COA approvals din yan.

QUESTION: Lighter yung requirement?

SP ZUBIRI: Because there are some needs for it like for example, confidential intelligence funds have been utilized in the past for rewards system. Eh papano mo naman makukuba yansa MOOE or personal services magbibgay yung agency ng kapag meron po kayo naturo na drug lord na sobrang laking drugs o sobrang daming drug ay meron 1 million reward yan or 500,000 rewards yan, that come from the confidential funds.

QUESTION: Need to make sure na there is enough safeguards pagdating sa mga confidential funds...

SP ZUBIRI: The COA should just double time in its efforts to audit these particular agencies. But to remove it completely I'm not in favor. Maybe if they ask for a larger amount of funds then through an executive session they can explain to the lawmakers bakit kailnga nito and for whatever reason.

QUESTION: Wala po bang accountability ang NTF-ELCAC to report and how do we compel ...

SP ZUBIRI: They are supposed to. The NTF-ELCAC kase is allocation for anti-insurgency program. Pero yung pag gawa ng kalsada DPWH yun so under sa COA yun diba? Okay, yung livelihood component under sa DSWD meron dun TUPAD ng DOLE , so each and every one of them have the reportorial responsibility to the COA. Ang nangyayari lang siguro walang nag co-collate nitong mga information, I think the NTF-ELCAC leadership should now get the audit reports from the DPWH, DOLE and DSWD to make sure that the funds were properly given out to their recipients.

QUESTION: Audit taking one year...

SP ZUBIRI: That's how it is. That's how government is. It takes a while,. It takes one year. if you see may kalokohan, kasuhan. That's why we have the Office of the Ombudsman. If they see that what was supposed to be allotted for example P1-million for this barangay from DOLE fund for TUPAD eh ang nabigay lang P500,000, o ninakaw yung P500,000 edi kasuhan yung implementer yung taga-DOLE.

QUESTION: Nabigyan additional P10 billion..

SP ZUBIRI: I did not attend the hearing. Particularly hearing on the committee for LTF-ELCAC, Is that today? So lets listen to them first and find out what their report is. Baka may report na sila so they want to jumpstart the discussions.

QUESTION: Walang list mabigay DBM...

SP ZUBIRI: The plenary is still at 2nd week of November, so they have enough time to provide us the detailed information by then.

QUESTION: Explanation is walang specific projects kaya sabi ni Angara...WALANG SPEC PROJECTS

SP ZUBIRI: E'di gawin nilang specific. Everyone in the budget committee together with the DBM They have one month to do so. They can make it no line-item. But to completely remove that program is a step to the wrong direction.


SP ZUBIRI: I think he is doing a good job. First of all, he jumpstarted it with several cabinet meetings on daily basis. He chose a very good cabinet team. Outstanding economic team. And he is the best salesman for the country. Right now, he is our top salesman he went to Singapore and Indonesia as well as the US selling our country to foreign direct investors, possible foreign direct investors that has not been done for how many years. When was the last time there were road shows? I think during the time of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, where we rebounded our economy. In fairness to the former president you may like her or hate her , but during her term napakaraming investors na pumasok sa economic zones and PEZA was one of the top performing agencies of government at that time and after than parang nag slowdown yung mga roadshows ng government ang ginawa puro housecleaning housecleaning lang tayo, wala nang pumasok na iba, iniwan lang tayo ng Vietnam, lahat pumunta sa Vietnam. So now the President wants to do is get these investors because right now there is a tightening of policy in China. Maraming European and American companies na gusto nang umalis ng China at lumipat. Ang tininignan nila ay Thailand, Vietnam or Philippines. So kailangan unhan na natin sila. Unahan na natin yung dalawang bansa na yan at sabihin natin na we are ready for business,

We want your investments we want your workers, we want to hire your workers, at yan ang pinakamahalaga. So I think he is doing very well. For the last three months, he was abnle to achieve that.

QUESTION: Sa foreign trips, may mga nagtatanong lang, bakit sa previous Congresses, usually kasama yong Senate President, mga senators sa mga byahe, pero ngayon, si Romualdez, laging "ikaw", bakit hindi kayo sumasama (inaudible). Sir, di ba may mga meeting kayo with your counterparts, legislators sa US, bat daw kayo parang hindi kasama?

SP ZUBIRI: Actually, hindi ako makakasama kasi ako ang chairman ng Commission on Appointments. Kung wala ako dito, walang ma-appoint. Lalo na tayong lagapak sa appointments. If I join the President in the last three weeks, siguro, dadalawa lang siguro ang secretary na na-[confirm]. So, I have work.

As a matter of fact, I was excited to see, to talk to the Speaker and the President today, sana, for the signing of the two measures, which was postponed to next week. Pero walang problema 'yan, as a matter of fact, we were supposed to have LEDAC also.

QUESTION: Sir, kalian?



SP ZUBIRI: Ang sabi ko kasi sa kanila, marami kasi - break na kasi 'yong Senado at Kongreso, I would suggest, para fresh ang pag-uusapan namin sa LEDAC, first week of November na lang mag-LEDAC. Para sa ganoon, 'pag balik namin sa November 7, fresh na fresh pa ang pag-usapan naming mga plano at hingi ng mga government agencies particularly on legislation.

QUESTION: On President Marcos' attendance in the F1 race, how do you find the idea that he was there, not for entertainment, but set meetings with investors?

SP ZUBIRI: You, know, hindi naman ako - wala naman akong pakialam sa Pangulo nong umuwi ako ng Mindanao kada linggo, 'di ba? Umuuwi ako ng Mindanao kada linggo, hindi rin ako makikialam kung anong gagawin niya during his free time. Simple as that. I mean, I mean, if he was able to sell the country, that's a bonus for the country. But then again, I said, he doesn't ask me 'pag umuuwi ako ng Mindanao, kung bakit ako umuuwi doon, at hindi rin ako magtatanong sa kanya on his free days, on his off days, kung anong ginagawa niya. Kung magde-date man sila ng kanyang asawa kung saan-saan, that's his private time. Now, bonus na lang kung nakakuha po siya ng investments at investors papunta dito.

Tama ang sinabi niya, who's who sa business community nanood sa F1 Race, and almost all the big wigs of business are there attending.

So again, that's his prerogative. And if he brings in additional investments because of his trip, then that's good. That's his free time. Remember, there were presidents in the past that also did trips to Hong Kong with their families, no big fuss. Nobody made a big fuss about it. They were not informed; the public was not informed when they go.

QUESTION: (inaudible)...Use of government resources?

SP MIGZ: Well, I don't want to comment on that basta as far as I'm concerned, if he did it on official capacity, bringing in additional foreign direct investments to the country, so be it. But I know many of them were sponsored. Sponsored 'yon, eh. 'Yong tickets non, sponsored. I'm sure he will not go there if he's going to pay for the ticket, if he's going to pay for the hotel - lahat 'yan sponsored. He was invited by the Prime Minister, ang hotel niya binayaran ng Prime Minister ng Singapore.

QUESTION: Sir, sorry, can you say categorically na 'yong ticket and hotel niya hindi government fund?

SP ZUBIRI: If he was invited - I'm not sure. I don't want to be misquoted. I'm not sure but I know he was invited by the Prime Minister of Singapore. I presume, I cannot confirm. I presume that that was paid for by the Singaporean government.

QUESTION: Are you familiar with "SIP SIP", in the lump sum? Support for Infrastructure Projects? Kung saan napupunta?

SP ZUBIRI: Hindi ko alam 'yon. Ngayon ko lang nadinig 'yong SIP SIP, ang alam ko lang sipsip. Hindi ko alam 'yon...I don't know; I don't want to comment on something I have no clue about just right now. Mahirap.

QUESTION: Sir, going back doon sa LEDAC meeting, no specific date pero upon resumption na lang ng Congress?

SP ZUBIRI: Ang suggestion ko upon resumption na lang. Kasi if we discussed LEDAC within the next few days, or within the next week, parang ang tagal pa. Everybody going to go on "break mode", so mas maganda pagbalik na lang para fresh na fresh 'yong issues na ididiscuss natin dyan for the resumption of the session on November 7. That's my two cents.

QUESTION: Sabi kasi ni Sec. Balisacan yesterday, next week na daw po.

SP ZUBIRI: Kung gusto niya after we signed the two bills, mag-LEDAC, pwede, okay lang, walang problema sa amin.

QUESTION: So today po iyon?

SP ZUBIRI: No, wala, na-postpone nga, eh. Parang Monday nga ata or latest Tuesday.

QUESTION: Sir, ano po masasabi niyong accomplishments ng Pangulo in his first 100 days. Kasi may mga nagko-comment na wala daw nakikita...Kayo po, ano nakikita niyong nagawa niya?

SP ZUBIRI: Sus, nagbubulag-bulagan siguro sila. Hindi nakikita, eh, ang daming nagawa ni Presidente na groundbreaking, 'yong Metro Subway the other day. The formal opening of the subway, itutuloy niya lahat ng Build, Build, Build Projects ng ating dating Pangulong Duterte. And the roadshows, he just spoke in front of all the CEOs in the New York Stock Exchange para mag-invest dito. He's gotten investment pledges of about $20 billion for the country in the last three foreign trips. He's going to go to Davos to represent the Philippines. And Davos is where all of the G20, all the big economies meet up to discuss policy issues. I think he's doing a great job in the last 100 days.

QUESTION: Kailan po 'yong Davos?

SP ZUBIRI: I think Davos is November, December? Can you check with Dr. Google?

QUESTION: After po ng two bills na mapipirmahan, ano pa 'yong mga bills na priority ng two House para po ma-address po 'yong inflation?

SP ZUBIRI: On top of mind, of course, the national budget. Ang priority natin ngayon is the national budget. And we're looking at non-contentious measures like 'yong CDC, Center for Disease Control, Virology Institute; 'yong mga naipasa na natin dati, mga happy bills. 'Yong e-commerce law, we're looking into that first, medyo matagal ang debate niyan.

Remember na medyo magkakaproblema tayo sa committee, passage of bills, because we're going to go on budget hearings in plenary. And for two weeks, wala tayong session kundi budget lamang. So medyo made-delay po 'yong passage of different measures during the two weeks. We only have, how many weeks, from November 7 to December 16, we have about 5 weeks. Of the 5 weeks, 2 weeks would be dedicated for the passage of the budget, the GAA, in plenary. So technically we'll only have 3 weeks to pass some measures.

Of course, we're looking at the National Rightsizing Program, medyo madugo 'yan; Budget Modernization Bill, medyo madugo din 'yan; 'yong E-Government Act at E-Governance Act, matagal pa po ang debate niyan sa committee.

I think the Virology Institute pinag-usapan namin sa caucus, walang problema 'yan; Medical Reserve Corps; Department of Water Resources, medyo matagal pang usapin 'yan dahil gagawa po tayong bagong departamento. 'Yong Philippine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, okay po 'yan.

'Yong Valuation Reform Bill, hindi ko po alam kay Sen. Gatchalian kung saan na po 'yan sa committee niya. That's Tax Package 3 and Tax Package 4, 'yong Passive Income and Intermediary Taxation Act or PIFITA.

'Yong Internet Transactions, E-Commerce Law, medyo mahabang usapan din 'yan, because it's a tax for internet transactions. So medyo madugo 'yan. And we're looking at GUIDE Act, amendments to the Build, Operate, and Transfer Law - I think the amendments to the Build, Operate and Transfer Law, kaya nating ifast-track 'yan.

Enabling law for the natural gas industry should be also - depending on Sen. Tulfo kung kaya niya pong mailabas po 'yong committee report; Amendments to the EPIRA, medyo matagal na usapin 'yan but we're dedicated to pass it because of the high cost of electricity.

The National Land Use Act, the National Defense Act, 'yong ROTC, and institutionalizing of the separation, retirement and pension of military officers.

'Yan, condonation of loans to farmers. We're also dedicated to pass that because the President has already signed an executive order doing so and many others - there's Waste to Energy Law, Magna Carta for Seafarers, and amendment to the Passport Law, 'yong regional specialty hospitals at marami pa pong iba.

QUESTION: Comment on OPEC and non-OPEC will reduce production of oil by 2 million barrels for November. How will it affect us?

SP ZUBIRI: It will affect us. Alam mo that's unfair to non-oil producing countries. I share the sentiments of (US) President Biden noong sinabi niya na "That is so disadvantageous to the rest of the world and very advantageous to a monopolistic group of oil producers." When I say monopolistic, they monopolize the sale and control of oil resources. Countries like the Philippines na wala po tayong langis, wala po tayong krudo, kawawang kawawa po tayo diyan. Sa binanggit po nilang control of 2 million barrels a day of less output, it will affect the price of fuel... it could bring back the price of fuel per barrel maybe from 81 to possibly 90 to 95 dollars per barrel which will again increase our pump prices on a local level and it will trigger inflationary problems for many countries.

I think and I believe that the world now, should band together and look for solutions na hindi na po tayo kailangan gumamit ng langis. For example, naipasa na po natin yung E-Vehicles program. Bilisan na natin ang pagpasok dito sa ating bansa ng mga electric vehicles, electric jeepneys, electric motorcycles para sa ganoon, plug and play na lang, plug and use. Pagkatapos mong i-charge ang iyong sasakyan sa inyong tahanan, pwede na po kayong pumunta sa opisina, walang problema, hindi na po ninyo kailangan mag pa-gas in fuel stations. We have to show them: "OK, you want to do that. Let us come up with an alternative." Yan po, mag solar na po tayo, mag wind power, using less fossil fuels. I believe the United States, by 2030 or 2034, they're planning to do an all-electric program. By that time, in a decade's time, wala ng gasoline or gas-fuel powered or fossil-fuel powered vehicles in the United States. We have to do the same in the Philippines. Pinasa na natin yung electric vehicles, bakit hindi natin na-implement? Allow people to import. Liberally na itong mga electric vehicles and that would be the best dahil walang gastos, kuryente lang. Of course, we have to settle that other problem with electricity.

QUESTION: Kasi yung price po ngayon ng oil, medyo OK na...

SP ZUBIRI: Yun nga e. Tataasan yan. Easily 10 to 15 percent increase on fuel prices per barrel of crude oil. I'm really afraid that it will impact globally particularly developing countries like the Philippines on our inflation rates. Baka mamahal ang presyo ng gasolina, definitely mamahal ang presyo ng bilihin natin. Alam mo yung mga magsasaka kailangan nila ng fuel para sa kanilang mga tractors, pag transport ng gulay galing sa Benguet papunta ng Manila, syempre aalma yang mga yan, tataas ang presyo ng bilihin. Pati sa transport costs, will go up. Let's now add, and that's why the President is going to the right direction, because under the DOTR budget, I think yesterday or two days ago, the DOTR committed to an additional 1,000 kilometers of railways, madami, 1,200 kilometers of railways within Metro Manila and Central Luzon only. Kailangan natin dagdagan ang mass transportation natin para dependence on fossil fuels ay bababa.

QUESTION: Ombudsman Martires is pushing for the repeal of the Anti-Red Tape Law.

SP ZUBIRI: First of all, if I may be allowed to read from my statement, as author of the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act or EODD Law, we crafted this law with a singular law of cutting the bureaucratic red tape and developing a business-friendly environment for government transactions and applications are processed as quickly and painlessly as possible. When we created this law, there was no plan to encroach on the powers and functions of the Ombudsman.

As a matter of fact, we have the utmost respect over the Office of the Ombudsman. Kaibigan ko si Omb. Martires and ang gusto po sana namin mangyari ay magkaroon po tayo ng dialogue as authors of the measure with the Office of the Ombudsman para malaman niya ang pinanggalingan nitong ARTA Ease of Doing Business Law. Napakaganda ng presentation ng ARTA kanina. Almost 91 percent of all government agencies now have a Citizen's Charter na dati wala pong Citizen's Charter. Nakalagay po doon yung 3-, 7- and 21-days transaction period. Nakasalalay na doon at naka-post diyan in areas of transaction and in the website. Kung ma-violate po yan, ng isang clerk na hindi po nila ginawa ay in violation na po sila ng kanilang Citizen's Charter which also is in violation of the Ease of Doing Business Law.

The Ease of Doing Business recognizes the powers of the Ombudsman and that ARTA has no prosecutorial powers on its own. Hindi sila puwede mag prosecute. It is all recommendatory. They only initiate investigations and refer the same to the Ombudsman for immediate action. Ganun lang po yan. Ngayon, para lang Blue Ribbon Committee, diba? Yung Blue Ribbon Committee magiimbestiga dito sa Senado, lalabas ang findings ng Blue Ribbon Committee, isa-submit lang po yan sa Ombudsman for action, wether they will act on it or not, that is upto the Office of the Ombudsman. Mahalaga po na malaman ng taong bayan yan. Kaya umaapela po ako sa ating mahal na Ombudsman na mag dialogue po tayo para hindi naman maging sayang ang ating mga hakbang na ginawa para sa Anti Red Tape.

Kung business as usual po, katulad ng dating Red Tape Law, I'm sorry to say, for 20 years, walang ginawa ang Anti Red Tape. Marami pong mga negosyo nung lumang Anti Red Tape Law ay talagang nagdusa dahil naghintay po sila sa kanilang mga permits for up to six months to one-year na simple business applications lang at simple government transactions umaabot ng anim na buwan o isang taon. Ngayon, ang average is between 20 days for complex transactions of national government agencies. With local government agencies, nasa 3 to 7 days na po ang transaction. Nakapakaganda. Because of that, bumaba po tayo sa index world rankings for Ease of Doing Business. Dati nasa 124th level tayo noong 2019. Ngayon ay 95th noong 2020. Ang sabi nga nila kung sana natuloy yung 2021 survey, baka lalo pang bumaba to the 80 to 85 ranking of Ease of Doing Business. Malaking bagay po iyan at ito po ay nakakatulong sa napakarami po nating mga kababayan na gusto po mag-setup ng MSMEs, sa ating mga kababayan din na nag-apply ng mga driver's license, passport, o iba-ibang permits and certifications.

Clearly, my personal opinion, if we repeal the law, it is 1,000 steps to the wrong direction. Pabaliktad tayo. Ibig sabihin niyan hindi na po matatakot yung mga ahensya na sabihin sayo: "Bumalik ka na sa susunod na buwan. Ayoko sayo. Hindi ko type mukha mo." Puwede nila gawin iyon. Without a law they can do that and in the old law they left it to the Civil Service to implement the penalties or to take action. During our hearings, ang Civil Service Commission mismo ang nagsabi: "Wala po silang tauhan, wala po silang opisina na puwedeng mag-implement ng Ease of Doing Business or Anti Red Tape Law. Kaya ang nangyari, walang aksyon. Walang nangyayari. Wala naman gustong magkusang loob na matapang na dalhin itong kaso sa Office of the Ombudsman dahil syempre natatakot po sila. Kaya ang ginawa po natin sa Ease of Doing Business, meron po tayong reportorial program which is yung pagtawag sa DTI, pagsumbong sa DTI. Yung DTI at yung Anti Red Tape Authority will now take action and do an initial investigation. Kaya umaapela po ako sa ating mga ahensiya na tumututol sa Ease of Doing Business Act, lalong-lalo na ngayon na gusto ng ating Pangulo na i-road show ang Pilipinas para sa ating mga foreign direct investments, ay kailangang kailangan po natin maimplement itong batas. Remember, this was in full support of all the foreign chambers, the European Union Chamber of Commerce, the AMCHAM, the Japanese Chamber of Commerce, Korean Chamber of Commerce, all chamber of commerce na international, German Chamber of Commerce, the Dutch, the British were in support of the Ease of Doing Business and the creation of the Anti-Red Tape Authority kaya pag tinanggal po natin iyan, baka makita nila na: "Uy, wala na palang Ease of Doing Business, doon na tayo sa Vietnam. Doon na tayo sa Thailand. Doon na tayo sa Singapore." This law was patterned under three countries that are top 5 in the Ease of Doing Business rankings: the Australians, the New Zealanders and the Singaporeans. This law was patterned after their measures and laws and offices that were put up for Ease of Doing Business kaya top 5 po sila sa Ease of Doing Business rankings.

Bigyan po sana nila ng pagkakataon na maimplement ng maayos itong batas na ito. Umaapela po ako sa Office of the Ombudsman na mag-dialogue po kami para siguro kung meron siguro silang iaayos na reportorial provision, maybe we can work that out under the IRR. But repealing the law and abolish the agency is a step in the wrong direction. We are appealing for dialogue with these offices together with the DOJ para makita po nila yung pinakita sa akin ng Ease of Doing Business kanina na napakagandang mga numero at hakbang na nangyari na para mawala po itong Red Tape sa ating mga government agencies.

QUESTION: Foreign countries on killing of Percy Lapid. Will this affect the impression

SP ZUBIRI: You know I condemn, I totally condemn the attack on journalists, particularly kay percy Lapid it is a heinous crime and dapat hindi natin palampasin ito. We like to ask on the part of legislative branch of government, the agencies of government in charge to investigate such as the PNP and the NBI to act expeditiously on the investigation. Every life is sacred to all of us so one life lost due to such dastardly act should be punished with the full force of the law. So it's unfortunate na nangyari iyan and nabanggit ng ating pangulo that he wants to have a free. The media the Philippine media to have a free environment hat would be able to report out its news items without fear of reprisal or deadly attack such as this. So we are appealing now to the government agencies such as the NBI together with the PNP, act immediately investigate and put these people under prison.

QUESTION: Impact our identity as an investment...

SP ZUBIRI: I don't want to pick a fight with other countries but you have to remember like for example there was a European country where they ridiculed the prophet Muhamad, and because of that there was an ambush and they killed the whole office there were two gunmen with AK-47 and destroyed totally and killed so many of their reporters. We condemned that, but it happens in every country di ba? Whether it's a developed country or not. We totally condemned the terroristic and dastardly act to all journalist. So whether it happens in this country or in other countries, it is happening in Myanmar as we speak now. It is happening in Russia. It is happening even in Thailand where governments are stifling the media. Even in our neighbors, there are institutions that are being stifled. China, you know you cannot report this way in China. So we condemn that in a free democratic society. But again what is important is what the government will do about it if they sleep on it and they don't act on it, then may problema. Pero I believe the President has already instructed all the agencies of government that is in charge in investigating to already find the perpetrators and put these men udner bars and prosecute them to the utmost extend of the law. I think ang napakahalaga diyan ipinasa na po natin ang batas na ito, yugn ating Supermax prisons kausap ko na po si Sec. Boying Remulla, itutuloy po natin ang pagpapatayo ng Supermax prison sa Mindoro at tutulungan po natin siya sa budget na ito para maumpishan nap o ang pagtayo ng Supermax prisons. Napakaganda po nito dahil ito po ay parang mga parang federal penitentiary sa US kugn saan in isolation po ang atign mga criminal na nagsagawa ng heinous crimes and they will be in isolation, there will be no telecommunications facilities available nearby. It will be totally blocked out from the real world and they cannot use gadget there will have no wifi. Ang nangyayari kase napakarami pa din sindikato as I was told yesterday in an briefing in Mindanao that there are still some prisoners in provincial jails in bureau of corrections facilities that still use their gadget. Eh yung tumawag sa akin intitially dun sa scammer nay un alam nyo kugn saan galling yung tawag? Nung na triangulate yung kanyang call sa loob ng bilanguan sa Bicutan. Yung first communication sa Akin na siya si governor so and so, na kaingan nya nag pera paras a gan ito ganyan. When it was first investigated by the CIDG they triangulated the call, it was in Bicutan jail, isolation facility for criminals. Kaya sabi ko mag Supermax na tayo para dun natin i-lalagay itong mga kriminal at matakot talaga sila na dun natin sila ililipat. Kase hindi na po magiging country club ang kanilang jail house kase pag dating sa mga prison system natin may kanya kanyang kubol, may kanya kanyang parang country club parang clubhouse yung kanilang lugar, hindi na sila natatakot at lalo pa dumadami ang kanilang mga kasabwat sa krimen. In other words doon sila nag kaakroon ng recruitment. Kaya akoy naniniwala yung pagpapatayo ng Supermax is one way of addressing the issue of the death penalty, that we no longer need the death penalty, that we can just put them in isolation so that they can no longer transact illegal activities within the jail system and it will also prevent them from making illegal transaction within the premises with other syndicate members. So, I am happy to say that we already have a property, the DOJ has already located a property in Mindoro and I will push for the initiative to build the Supermax prisons for this year para by 2025 siguro mailipat na natin yung mga hardened criminals ng Muntinlupa dito sa mga lugar na ito. Yes itutulak natin na by 2023 meron budget itogn pagpapatayo ng Supermax prisons.

QUESTION: Scammer nahuli?

SP ZUBIRI: Yes nahuli po sila nahuli isla ng CIDG.

QUESTION: Increasing unemployment rate...

SP ZUBIRI: Well that's also an effect of the pandemic. You have to remember napakaraming MSMEs na nawalan ng negosyo at dahil sa pagwala ng mga negosyong ito particularly sa tourism industry ay napakaraming nawalan ng trabaho. So, kailngan tutukan ng DOT ng DTI itong mga negosyo programs, itong mga pagtayo muli ng tourism centers, tourism growth areas para sa ganun buhay na muli ang MSMEs at turismo sa ating bansa. Napakahalaga po niyan that should be the first item on their agenda to address the issue of unemployment.

QUESTION: Japanese Grand Prix

SP ZUBIRI: No Comment

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