Press Release
May 3, 2023

Transcript of Interview - Senate President Juan Miguel "Migz" F. Zubiri in Kapihan sa Manila Bay with Marichu Villanueva

SENATE PRESIDENT JUAN MIGUEL "MIGZ" ZUBIRI: Hello, good morning, Marichu, sa ating mga kababayan, sa ating mga kapatid sa media, magandang umaga po sa inyong lahat. It's nice to be back sa inyong Wednesday Kapihan.

Timing po, noong Lunes, nag-celebrate po tayo ng Labor Day at nilabas ko po muli ang ating commitment sa Senado na maipasa ang isang Legislative Wage Hike para matulungan po natin ang ating mga kababayang manggagawa na nangangailangan talaga ng tulong dahil sa napakamahal talagang bilihin due to inflation that we are experiencing in the country. Binabanggit ko po ito palagi kapag may kausap po akong foreigner tinatanong ko kung magkano ang minimum wage sa kanilang bansa, sa kanila $10 ang minimum per hour. Sa atin dito, isang araw po ang $10. Kaya nagugulat sila. Paano daw makaka-survive ang ating mga manggagawa? Ako po ay sumasangayon sa kanilang pananaw na talagang hindi makaka-survive ang ating mga manggagawa sa minimum wage of P517 a day. Alam niyo po, dito pa yan sa NCR, hindi ko pa binabanggit yung sa probinsya. Sa probinsya, P300 per day - its less than $7 per day. Paano mo naman papakainin ang inyong pamilya kung meron po kayong 4-5 anak sa P300 araw-araw. Paano mo naman sila bibigyang tulong sa kanilang educational requirements?

Napakatindi ng sitwasyon ng ating mga manggagawa. Lalong na-highlight po ito noong nagkaroon ng pandemya. After ng pandemic, nagkaroon naman ng problema sa inflation. Biglang tumaas ang presyo ng lahat ng bilihin - from sugar to vegetables to fish, pork, other meat, lahat po tumaas. Gasolina, kuryente, walang bumababa. Ang nananatili na lamang ay ang suweldo ng taumbayan. Hindi naman umaakyat ang suweldo ng taumbayan. It's not inflationary, it doesnt go up with inflation. Steady ang salary wages ng ating mga kababayan.

Kaya kami sa Senado, dito sa aming mga grupo katulad nina Sen. Loren Legarda, Sen. [Nancy] Binay, Sen. Joel Villanueva, Sen. Raffy Tulfo, marami po sa kanila ay talagang sa tingin po namin ay panahon na gumalaw po tayo, one-time big-time, para matulungan ang ating mga manggagawa.

Let me give you an example. Sa Estados Unidos po, kung saan andoon po ang ating pangulo, meron po silang Federal Minimum Wage per hour. Meron po silang itinalaga na isang amount para sa buong Estados Unidos. Hindi ka pwede bumaba sa amount na yan - I think its no less than $9 to $10 per hour. Bahala ka na sa estado mo, nasa California, Florida at kung saan mo gustong itaas pa iyon. Walang pagbabawal sa pagtaas noon sa mga estado ng Estados Unidos. Ibig sabihin sa California, mas mataas ng $10, I think its $11.50 per hour ang minimum wage, if I am not mistaken.

Ang gusto ko lang i-point out na meron talagang Federal Minimum Wage na binibigay ang Federal Government ng Estados Unidos, which we can do under our situation now.

Q: For how many years na (ang Federal Minimum Wage sa Estados Unidos)?

SP ZUBIRI: Matagal na. They continuously review that policy, I think every decade meron silang review. Even less than a decade, every five years they do a review.

Now, of course, we passed Republic Act 6727, ito yung Regional Wage Productivity Board. Meron po tayong panukala para hindi na dumaan sa Kongreso ang pagtaas sa sweldo ng ating mga kababayan, meron po tayong tinalaga na Regional Wage Boards. Pero let's face it, Marichu, napakahina ng Regional Wage Boards, napakabagal ng galaw nila. At kung hindi lang umiiyak at nagra-rally ang mga manggagawa sa ibat-ibang tanggapan ng Regional Wage Boards, hindi po gumagalaw ang ating mga Regional Wage Boards. Pag gumalaw naman, ang kanilang increase ay P16, P15 kada araw. Ano po ang makakain ng tao sa P15, e kulang pa nga yan sa Selecta ice cream na P20. Hindi ka pa makabili ng Selecta ice cream na ice drop.

Sabi ko nga kailangan tulungan natin ang ating mga manggagawa. Let's share. Post pandemic, ang dami po nating nakita sa business pages ng Phillippine Star, sa business stories ng iba't-ibang agencies and news outlets, makikita po natin na post-pandemic, ang daming nakarecover na mga negosyo. Ang daming businesses nakikita ninyo, back to pre-pandemic numbers. SMC, ShoeMart, lahat sila. Mga banko, ang tataas ng mga income nila at binubulgar pa: "We are now back to pre-pandemic numbers." Pero yung ating mga manggagawa, hirap na hirap parin. Hindi naman tumaas ang kanilang suweldo. May napanood po akong interview noong isang araw, 10 taon na siyang minimum wage. More than10, 12 years na siyang minimum wage si Manong. Ang sabi niya, wala naman akong nararamdaman, minimum wage po ako, dahil 12 taon na akong minimum wage, 12 taon na ako hirap na hirap pakainin ang aking pamilya.

Wala ba tayong puso in terms of compassion for our people? For the poorest of the poor?

Alam ninyo po ganito mangyayari dyan, there will be a diaspora of Filipino workers. Maraming aalis ng bansa dahil hindi nila kaya ang mga sweldo na tinatanggap nila dito. Kahapon nanood po ako sa show ni Karen Davila at ang sabi nung taga Sudan na OFW sabi ni manag dun ni ate sabi niya, "happy na po ako dito sa Sudan maski na mag buwis po ako ng buhay at least nakakatanggap ako ng $1,200 a month. Magkano na lang ang $1,200, P60,00 diba? Mag bubuwis buhay ang mga OFW pupunta sa Sudan, sa Uganda, sa iba't-ibang parte ng Africa para makatanggap lang ng over $1,000. Hindi ba natin pwedeng ibigay yan dito sa ating bansa? Na umuwi na lang po sila at magtrabaho dito? Magbubuwis buhay sila sa napakababang halagang sweldo. Kase wala po eh, kung nandito nga si Secretary magkakaroon kami ng hearing ng May 10 ang maganda nandyan siya ay dapat ay nandun po siya. Dapat ay tanungin natin sa kanila, ano baa ng living wage na kailangan ng ating mga kababayan. Galing lang po ako ng New Zealand at doon sa New Zealand ang dami ko nakausap na mga Filipino. Sa Queenstown ang sabi nila sa akin "masaya ang buhay naming dito senator" sabi ko bakit? Mataas ang sweldo dito sa totoo lang ang iba naming mga kamaganak pinag-aapply naming dito sa New Zealand dahil mataas ang sweldo nila doon. Biruin mo may nakilala ako nagtatrabaho sa dairy farm ang natatanggap niyang minimum wage doon is $3,000 a month, $3,000, P160,000 P170,000 a month ang sweldo niya, nag aalaga siya ng baka doon sa New Zealand. Eh dito magkano ang nagaalaga ng baka sa atin? Buti sana kung nakakatanggap ng P300 a day yan. baka hindi pa kase alam mo naman ang iba hindi nagbabayad ng eksakto. Kaya anong gagawin ng ating mga kababayan? Very simple, they would rather work abroad. Sabi nga ng mga kaibigan ko kahapon "alam mo ang restriction lamang ay visa kung walgn restriction ang visa kung may visa po ang ating mga kababayan na makapagtrabaho sa ibang bansa, aalis at aalis sila maniwala po kayo sa akin. Maraming Filipino ay aalis at magtatrabaho sa ibang bansa.

So ano ang mangyayari sa atin? Ang mangyayari sa atin ang maiiwan sa atin ay non-skilled workers so mawawal ana yung mga call center agents, mawawala na yugn mga nurse, mawawala na yung mga doctor. Kanina nabanggit ninyo about nurses, marami na sa kanila nag aabroad na dahil napaganda ng benefits na ibinibigay nila sa Europe for our Filipino nurses. We cannot compete unfortunately. Now, ang binibanggit ko lang is mag share tayo ng konti sa atign mga kapwa manggagawa.

Ako ay negosyante rin po and in my business I pay over and above minimum wage, para matulungan ko sila. I give them 14th month pay. May 13th month, may 14th month and this year I gave them 15th month pay. Dalawang bonus ang nabigay ko. Share the blessings, kailangan para masaya sila at magugustuhan ng mga manggagawa yan, bakit? Yung mga manggagawa natin lalong sisipag, lalong gusto mag trabaho ng maayos dahil binabayaran po natin sila ng eksaktong sweldo diba po? E kung ganun na lang ang sweldo nila eh di punch in and punch out na lang sila hindi na sila gaganahan mag trabaho dahil wala na silang pag-asa sa kanilang natatanggap na sweldo. Kaya po ako'y umaapela sa mga negosyante, umaapela po ako sa top 400 corporations which are billionaires, pagmamayaari ng mga bilyonaryo. Hindi naman po kayo magiging pulubi, mananatili po kayong magiging bilyonaryo at milyonaryo. Ang sinsabi ko lang po ay bigyan natin ng pag-asa an gating mga manggagawa na magkaroon ng disenteng buhay dito sa ating bansa para ang pangarap ng mga OFW ay makauwi na. Pero kugn ang sweldo po ay P517 a day, walang uuwing OFW dito sa atign bansa. Iyan ang katotohanan. Kaya po, ako'y umaapela na suportahan natin ang ating one time, big time legislative wage hike of P150 across the board for all region. Ito po ay dagdag sahod sa ating mga mangagawa.

Q: Nai-file moa ng bill sir?

SP ZUBIRI: Yes, it's Senate Bill No. 2002.

Q: Ang counterpart mo naman na speaker meron ban a ganyan?

SP ZUBIRI: Hindi ko po alam.

Q: Pero may other congressmen?

SP ZUBIRI: Yes, meron, may mga P750 na increase. May P150, so I believe TUCP representative Cong. Mendoza is also supportive of this, sa grupo ni partylist TUCP and sa tingin ko alam niyo po for the record lang. Since 1951 to 1989 nagkaroon po tayo legislative wage hikes. From 1951 to 1989 there have been several legislative wage hikes and presidential decrees during the time of President (Ferdinand) Marcos, meron mga presidential decree na inilabas po niya. The last one was July 1, 1989 before we passed the creation of the regional wage boards. In that legislative wage increase in July 1, 1989 Republic Act 6727, they passed an P89.00 increase in minimum wage. So, imagine yung 1989 na yun, so kawawa naman po ang ating mga kababayan. Since then pipitsugin ang pagakyat, P10.00, P7.00, P15.00. If you total it, it's less than P100 in the last how many years. Tignan niny naman po ang pagakyat ng kuryente dumoble, tignan ninny ang pagakyat ng gasolina, dumoble. So, let's help also our workers and laborers, yan ang talagang pakiusap ko sa ating mga sector, both in private and of course in the worker sector, let us help the laborers get a decent living wage.

Q: So, ang observation ko lang diyan, walang clause ang [RA] 11627 na katulad ng review every five years. May defect of the law. So in your proposed new bill, maglalagay ka na ng automatic review across national wage, hindi ano --

SP ZUBIRI: Yes. That's part of the, uh, part of the law. And of course, in coming up with an increase, we'll also come up with guidelines for the regional wage boards to act faster. Particularly, with inflation --

Q: May period.

SP ZUBIRI: May period.

Q: Right now, wala. 'Di ba?

SP ZUBIRI: Wala. I don't think so. Kaya minsan matagal, it takes years bago mag-aksyon ang regional wage boards. Mababait lang talaga ang mga Filipino, eh. Sa ibang bansa, kung nasa Pransiya tayo, France, nagkakagulo doon. Kahit isang anomaly lang doon sa kanilang wag requirements or rights of laborers, grabeng alsa-balutan doon sa Paris o sa France. Dito sa atin, mabait ang mga Pinoy. Ang nagra-rally na lang ay 'yong mga kaibigan natin sa kaliwa. But why do we have to wait for our people to suffer? Kaya kami po, ang mga representante ng ating mga kababayan, kasama ang mga manggagawa diyan, we have to act.

And we will balance it, Ma'am Ichu. Ang sabi nga ni Secretary [Laguesma] ayaw naman po natin na pikit-mata na gagawin ito na hindi po natin papakinggan ang mga small, medium enterprises, kasama po ang mga big corporations. Sa aking pananaw, sa malalaking corporations, wala po tayong problema. 'Yong top 1,000 corporations ng ating bansa, sa tingin ko, it will not make big dent on their financial stability. Ang titignan natin - kasi ang pakiusap po ni Sen. Jinggoy Estrada sa akin, [he is the] chairman ng Committee on Labor - tignan natin kung pwede nating gawing graduated for micro and small and medium enterprises. Para sa ganoon, 'yong mga livelihood rin ng mga maliliit na negosyo at livelihood ng ating mga MSMEs ay hindi apektado. Dahil malaki naman talaga 'pag almost P3,000 ang dagdag sa sweldo ng iba'ti ibang mga workers nila. So, we can do a graduated [increase] depending on the total income generated by the corporation.

That is subject to amendments, subject to debate, but what is important, bilang Senado, iyan po ay aming pangako na aksyonan po namin iyan. Hindi po ito , hindi po ito - this is going to be a statement of the Senate. We will make a stand. Hopefully, with all my colleagues supporting, imagine, it has the support of the Senate President, the Majority Leader, the Minority Leader - naglabas din po ng statement si Sen. Koko Pimentel, the minority leader, in support of a legislated wage hike. So, sa tingin ko, maikli na lang po ang debate doon sa Senado, and we're committed to hopefully pass this before the break.

Q: Para bang that is cast is stone, we will pass another legislated wage across --

SP ZUBIRI: As far as me and many of my colleagues are concerned, we want to make this a stand, a statement that the Senate is looking out for the welfare of our workers. It is not a political gimmick. Hindi po ito political gimmick. First of all, wala naman akong plano tumakbo for higher office. This is not a popularity contest. Marami tayong kaibigan na magaglit sa akin, marami po ako - you know, I'm also pro-business - I am also pro-labor. Why? Because we must strike a balance. I'm a businessman, I know, if your laborers are happy, then business will be good and productivity will be high.

So, hindi naman po pwedeng suwapang ang negosyante. Dahil kung suwapang ang negosyante, marami sa kanyang mga manggagawa ang aalis sa kanyang kumpanya at lilipat lamang. Iyan na po ang nagyayari ngayon sa iba't ibang mga kumpanya. Kaya ang magiging stand po namin sa Senado: Let's look for balance, but we have to pass it soon. Para maramdaman po ng taong bayan ang tulong ng gobyerno lalo na sa mga manggagaw, sa panahon na mataas ang inflation, mataas ang presyo ng bilihin.

Q: Ano po ang business niyo, Sir?

SP ZUBIRI: Ice. I am in the ice business and powerplant...hydro powerplant sa Mindanao. Saka sa Iloilo din. Kaya 'yong ice ko naging tubig na lang, kaya galit na galit ako noong walang power.

Q: Kanina may statement ka on power. Panay Island, Negros, Guimaras and Occidental Mindoro power supply problem.

SP ZUBIRI: Alam mo, unang-una, nananawagan kami sa DOE at sa NGCP: Get your acts together. In this day and age, we are 2023, we are trying to be a developing country, we are trying to modernize our structure and infrastructure, we are trying to ask people to invest in the Philippines, and yet, in the middle of the Philippines, in Western Visayas, in Visayas Region there is rotational brownout up to this day.

Okay lang po 'yong brownout na isang araw, magkaroon ng malfunction, magkakaproblema sa mekanismo, maiintidihan po namin 'yan. Pero rotational brownout? Araw-araw? Kalokohan po iyan. Hindi na po nararamdaman 'yan ng isang developing country, hindi po nangyayari 'yan sa Thailand, hindi po nangyayari sa Vietnam 'yan. So, the DOE, I have not heard the voice of DOE yet --

Q: He is in the US with the President, and entered into a nuke deal --

SP ZUBIRI: Okay naman, we can look for alternate sources of power, but all hands should be on deck on this problem of rotational brownout. I have not heard yet the voice of the DOE, I have not yet gotten feedback from the NGCP, and they were giving me a number of excuses. Sabi daw nila, dahil may kakulangan pong kuryente sa power generators; ang sabi po nila sa isang statement, may ahas daw, may sawa na pumasok doon sa system nila. Ano ba talaga? Sabay-sabay pong nangyari 'yon? Parang mahirap paniwalaan.

Q: Mayroong ahas?

SP ZUBIRI: Mayroon, nakalagay dito sa statement na pinadala nila sa akin. May isang distribution facility nila, may sawa daw.

Q: Remember, 'yong jellyfish sa Pangasinan?

SP ZUBIRI: Baka si Aquaman 'yon (laughs). Kaya at this day and age, we are urging - we are not asking -- the DOE and the NGCP to sit down, to talk about, to discuss this situation and get their acts together. Kailangan nilang itigil itong rotational brownouts dahil ang dami nating kababayan ang nahihirapan dito, ang dami pog negosyo nagsha-shutdown. For example, 'yong ice plant, syempre 'pag walang kuryente, nagiging bottlled water na lang, nagiging purified water na lang. (Laughs)

Talagang hirap na hirap ang mga negosyo, ang mga MSME sa Western Visayas. That's s a very productive area, Iloilo is very productive, Negros is a very productive, they cannot perform their fuctions. And how can you ask investors to come to the Philippines? Eh walang kuryente. Mahal na nga ng kuryente, wala pa.

Q: how can you make the NGCP comply or hear you out when NGCP is owned 40 percent of Chinese corporation?

SP Zubiri: Well in fairness naman sa kanilang president si Anthony Almeda, I've been talking to him everyday, actually nagpapadala sila sakin ng update sakin everyday, pero parang yung updates are mere excuses for what is happening. We need to find the bottom of this. Nung isang araw sawa, ngayon putol na kueyente, mamaya naman may system failure, that's a poor excuse for running a facility. That is inefficiency.

We have to make sure that government now steps in which is within the ambit of government's powers. They can step in to make sure there is efficient and effective deployment of energy resources to the region. Kaya nga kailangan pumasok na yung DOE, kung may problema sa kooperatiba pumasok na ang NEA, ang National Electrification Administration, pero yung ganito nagtuturuan lang sila, ayan ang mahirap, dahil kung nagtuturuan lang sila kawawa po ang mga taga Western Visayas at hindi lamang dahil pati na ang Mindanao at Luzon magkaka-problema kung wala po silang sistema na gagawin para I address ang problem sa Viasayas.

Q: You have the power supply situation in Visayas, in Metro Manila our airports were down by blackouts.

SP Zubiri: Ayan na naman ang airport natin, di ba pinagusapan na natin yung New Year's shutdown of the air system control. This time naman May 1, bakit kaya nagkaka-timing sa mga holidays kung saan ang dami dami po nating kababayan na nagba-byahe at dumadaan sa ating airports. Ako po ay nagtext nga sa aking frustration si Don Ramon Ang, ang sabi ko kayo nalang ang pagasa ng bansa, ang private airport nyo sa Bulacan. We need a brand new airport, we need a brand new facility. Yung mga facilities po ng NAIA 1, 2 and 3 are very outdated and obviously are lacking in maintenance. Imagine nagtututuan sila kahapon, Meralco is blaming the facilities of NAIA 3, NAIA is blaming Meralco for the surge. Ang sabi naman ng Meralco wala naman kaming surge sa aming system pero nung tinignan naming ang mga kable lumang luma na, puro 30 years old, hindi kaya.

So, ano ba talaga? I think if they can't run it efficiently then they should have be replaced by competent people or even better. Why don't you get an internationally known airport operator to run the airport, di ba? Para sa ganun no fear or favor. Wala po silang takot, pagsinabi sa mga politiko kung sino man government officials na hindi kayo pwedeng pumasok dyan, inaayos namin, may system check po kami walang pwedeng makialam. Sa mga bidding na mga wires ay hindi po kayo pwedeng makialam, we need to get the best of the best. If you give it to the internationally recognized airport operators like in Changi Singapore, bigay mo sa mga taga Changi Singaopre and they will run it efficiently without fear or favor kung sino man nanggugulo sa kanlang mga Filipino but I'm sorry marami na naming magko-comment kaya naman ng Filipino yan, yan ang sinasabi natin 30 taon na ilang beses nang nagkakaaberya ang ating airport baka kailangan talaga professionally run ang airport na yan. So under the Public Services Act, we approved the law, it can be run already by internationally known corporation. So that is an option kung hindi kaya ng mga kababayan, mga genius na nanduduon ngayon ay baka pwedeng ibigay nalang natin sa iba. There were power failures after May 1, meron pa sunod sunod. May one hour brownout, may 30 minutes brownout. That's a failure to something bigger. Kaya nagtatawag sila sa May 17 for the system shutdown para matignan nila ang problemang ito, but my point is mediocre is not an option for the Philippines. We have to run them efficiently and effectively and that is what we're appealing to all public servants in our country hindi pwedeng mediocre service, our kababayan deserve better than that.

Q: Ngayon bumalik sa inyo ang problema, nireitirate ng DOTr ang need for P1 billion budget for Genset

SP Zubiri: Nung January 1 hearing, nandun kami sa CAAP, sinabi na po naming kay Sec. Bautista give us your wish list at ilalagay naming because this is essential and strategic infrastructure facilities of the country. Airports are strategic facilities and therefore kung anong pondo ang kailangan nila dapat po ibigay natin sa kanila para mapaganda ang sistema at pag manage ng ating airport. Now we need to make sure also that the money is well spent. So gaya ng nabanggit mo generator lang ba or we need to rehab the whole electric system. There have to be an electrical audit. But we are in the Senate are ready to fund the DOTr par asana matigil na itong power interruption, itong mga failure of mechanism at system na nakakaperwisyo sa ating mga kababayan. Kagabi naunuod ako ng TV umiiyak ang ating mga pasahero at nakita ko ang mukha ng mga foreigners hindi mo maipinta ang mga mukha nila, siguro sa loob ng utak nila hindi na kami babalik sa bansang ito, yan ang nakakasira an gating turismo sa pananaw ng iba't iabng bansa.

Q: sa Public Services Act, nasabi mo na pwede naman international operators, di ba there is a move to privatize NAIA 1, 2 and 3?

SP Zubiri: Why not, under the Public Services Act we can do that. I'm sorry but we are looking for more options para mapaganda ang sistema at pamamalakad ng ating national airports. If it means being handled by the Singapore Group of Changi Airport which is the number one airport in the world bigyan natin sila ng pagkakataon. Alam mo dati sa customs ang may hawak nun SGS France. It was a foreign company that did the check prior to the delivery of the containers, pre-shipment inspection para pagdating dito walang daya. Hindi nila malagyan yun kasi French base at napaka gandang company.

Q: Sir, the president of the US has already announced in the joint statement of President Biden in the EDCA sites are more US... coming here first kind of ever daw na padala dito sa Pilipinas. How is the Senate preparing for the ano as a treaty ratifying body, meron bang any new basing agreement in the works?

SP Zubiri: Under our new Constitution, bawal na po ang permanent basing dito sa ating bansa ng mga banyaga. We have EDCA, which is the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, which was signed in 2014 by the way. This was during the time of President Noynoy Aquino. Now, under the EDCA sites, we allow our partner and ally, our treaty ally, the United States, to do temporary basing ng mga equipment nila. Para pag magkaroon po ng calamities, this is also for calamities or natural disasters na tatami sa atin, makagalaw kaagad sila at makakatulong sa atin, Katulad ng nangyari sa Mindoro, yung may lumubog na barko, ang US Navy yata ay tumulong din sa... sa Palawan pala, sorry. Yung lumubog na yate doon sa Tubbataha na dive boat, ay sila po ay tumutulong sa paghahanap sa mga kababayan natin na nawawala pa. And also, at the same time, kung magkakagulo, they could also act with dispatch on how to help defend us, in times where there will be intrusions from other countries because they are a treaty ally. We are a treaty ally with the United States. Ang sagot ko naman po diyan sa kasi maraming nagsasabi bakit may EDCA sa ating bansa, ang masasagot ko lang naman po diyan, ang sabi po ng ating pangulo, nung unang SONA niya, we will be a friend to all and an enemy to none. Di ba, sabi niya? Wala po daw tayong kaaway, kaibigan natin lahat. Pero, subalit, meron po tayong mga bullies na katabi natin, isang bully na nanggugulo sa ating mga mangingisda, nanggugulo sa ating mga Coast Guard, at nanggugulo sa ating mga Navy ships. At dahil doon, sa aking panaanaw, talagang kailangan natin ang EDCA sites. Kailangan natin ng tulong galing sa ating kapatid at treaty ally na Amerikano. Let's face it, kulang na kulang po tayo ng armas, wala po tayo masyadong surface-to-air missiles, wala po tayong mga torpedo, wala po tayong mga anti-tank missiles, maliliit po ang ating barko, nakikita ninyo naman ang MV Malapascua, parang speed boat katabi ng malaking boat. It is David and Goliath. David and Goliath, but in the bible, David was blessed by the Lord above. Kaya sabi ko nga, itong budget na ito, nakikiusap din po ako sa DBM, katulong ng ating mga senador na magdagdag pondo po tayo para sa Coast Guard, Bilhan po natin sila ng mas Malaking mga barko. Ang Navy, bilhan din po natin sila ng mga barko. At dadagdagan po namin sa ting budget ang pondo para sa mga anti-ship missiles, anti-aircraft missiles. Yung (unclear) defense posture lamang. Pag may pumasok, ay meron ba naman tayong isang (unclear) sana na makakalaban ang ating mga, makakabawi pa ang ating mga military. We have to give them that credible defense posture by giving them credible equipment and of course, efficient and effective equipment. So, my point is, kung walang bully, walang nangbu-bully sa Pilipinas, wala po tayong pinag-uusapan na EDCA. Kung may EDCA site man, means isang lugar lang, and nakakapagtaka, at ang binabanggit ko nga ay maraming nakikipag comment minsan sa online, masabi ko, commonsense lamang. Tingnan mo kung gaano kalayo ang Tsina, sa Scarborough Shoals. Tingnan mo kung gaano kalayo ang Tsina sa Ayungin Shoals at sa Pagasa Island. Tingnan mo kung gaano kalapit ito sa Pilipinas. It is well within the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines like many other countries around the world have their exclusive economic zones. But yet, ang trato nila ay kanila yan. Lahat, paglampas po ng Pangasinan, palabas ng Sual, papunta ng dagat after about 80 kilometers, kanila na yan, gusto nila. Sa Palawan, after Puerto Princesa, or even the southern point of Palawan, kanila na yan. Nine dash line. Imposible. Unang-una, it is illogical, kaya ako ay naiinis, nagagalit, kasama ng ating mga kababayan, na makikita po natin ang mga tagapagsalita ng Tsina na nagsasabing kanila yan. Paano naging kanila yan? Nuong panahon pa nung ating mga ninuno, panahon pa ni Lapu-Lapu, eh hindi Chinese naman ang nagsu-swimming diyan, Pilipino po ang nagsu-swimming diyan. Pilipino po ang nangingisda diyan. At siguro, ating mga kapitbahay, katulad ng Malaysia, Indonesia, at Vietnam. Wala pong masyadong maraming Tsino diyan na gumagamit ng dagat na yan nung panahon ng ating mga ninuno. Kaya ako po ay lalong naiinis pag nakikinig po ako sa mga tagapagsalita ng mga mainland China, lalo na sa kanilang mga foreign ministers, na kanila daw itong lugar na ito. And that is why, whether we like it or not, and I know some colleagues of mine are not in favor of EDCA sites, but I personally, I am in favor of these EDCA sites. And we need it to protect our territorial integrity and sovereignty.

Q: Yung creating ng Presidential Water Resource Management Office and yet there is a pending bill in the 19th Congress of the creation of the Department of Water Resources.

SP Zubiri: We have nine pending bills in the Senate. The first, I am the principal author, Senate Bill No 87, and eight other senators also filed it, the need for the creation of the Department of Water. Tingnan mo, papunta na tayong El Niño.

Q: Kaya nga. Di ba nag announce na ang Pagasa?

SP Zubiri: It is globally recognized that this year, 2023 to 2024, we will have an extended hot weather phenomenon called El Niño. Ako po ay natatakot para sa ating mga magsasaka. Ang El Niño po ay magbibigay ng napaka-grabeng pinsala sa ating mga magsasaka, at sa ating mga produkto na galling sa sector ng agrikultura. We really have to focus now on water conservation, and water management. What is unique in our country is marami tayong tubig. We are surrounded by water. Pag umuulan, bumabaha, but we have no way of managing the water. Wala po tayong efficient way of maintaining our water resources. Alam mo sa Estados Unidos at sa Europa, pati na rin sa New Zealand, wala naman po silang malalakas na ulan doon, pero meron silang snow. During the winter season, puno po ng yelo itong mga bansang ito. Ang ginagawa po nila, pag dating po ng spring, melted po lahat yan. Hindi po nila pinapa run-off yan papunta ng dagat. Kino-collect po nila yan. Nagkakaroon po sila ng dam, nagkakaroon po sila ng water encatchment project, small, medium and large encatchment projects, para sa ganoon ay mananatili po ang tubig nila for the next winter season. At yan po ang ginagamit nila para sa mga bahay, para sa mga agrikultura. They use it for agricultural irrigation, and mind you, lahat sila, may irrigated facilities sa kanilang mga lugar. Tayo dito sa ating bansa? Ano ang ating pinaka magandang sistema para sa ating irrigation? Would you want to know what is the best way for irrigation in the Philippines? Prayer. Halos lahat ng magsasaka natin, nagdadasal, sana umulan para mabasa po ang ating mga taniman at makainom ng kaunting tubig. Wala po tayong irrigation facility dahil saan po sila magta-tap ng irrigation facility, walang water encatchment project. Hindi naman pwedeng ground water, mauubos yung ground water natin. Lalo na yun sa El Niño, kawawang-kawawa ang ating magsasaka. So, I agree. We should set up a department of water management resources, and also, I support the President's executive order, the creation of this office.

Q: In the meantime, na wala pa yung Department of Water Resources.

SP Zubiri: Ang problema kasi namin, kaya hindi nakaka-abante itong ating panukala under Sec. Diokno and Sec. Pangandaman, they are pushing for right-sizing and efficiency of government service. So, parang nagiging masungit yung mukha nila pag pinag-uusapan natin, gagawa tayo ng bagong departamento.

Q: Pero may isa pa akong input sa iyo, ayaw daw ng DPWH kasi mapupunta daw... mga kongresman, ayaw mabigay yung (unclear) sa ano...

SP Zubiri: Yun na. Nabasa mo na yung mata ko. Hindi, kidding aside, ang akin lang diyan is, for example, we also need the Department of Disaster Management, DDM, tingnan ninyo ang nangyari doon sa oil spill, kawawang-kawawa sila. If we had the Department of Disaster Management, both natural calamities and man-made calamities can be addressed efficiently by that department. One-stop-shop na lang.

Q: What happened to that bill?

SP Zubiri: It is still pending under the Committee of Senator Jinggoy... Defense ba nakalagay? Parang nasa Defense. Kakausapin ko siya. You know, the Senate President is only as good as his team. I am only as good as the team. Kasi, siyempre, lahat po sila ay may chairmanships, sila po ang magso-sponsor sa floor, kaya itong Monday, ang pakiusap ko kay Majority Leader Joel Villanueva, magco-caucus po kami. We have an all-member caucus on Monday, right after session starts, para madiscuss po natin ang priorities for the next one month of session. Isang buwan na lang, about four weeks before we go on sine die. So, kailangan nating iprioritize yung mga measures. At saka pakiusap ko sa kanila, kung pwede, pag na-schedule na po yan for debate, handa na rin po ang mga senators na makipag debate. Hindi na po natin ide-delay pa para marami po tayong panukalang maipapasa. But I am only as good as my team.

Q: (Unclear) ...the Maharlika bill?

SP Zubiri: Yes, the Maharlika bill is set on track, kausap ko si Sen. Mark Villar kahapon, he told me that he will that he will be ready for marathon deliberations and interpellations by May 15. So, by May 15, and then hopefully may two weeks po tayo niyan, dalawang linggo ng debate, at ipapasa po natin hopefully by the last week of May, para sa ganoon, before the first week of June, bago mag sine die, nag bicam na po sila, at meron na po tayong ratified version.

Q: Yang Maharlika bill is supposed to provide the funds for those investors, eh hindi naman tayo ready sa mga infra natin, ang airport natin hindi nga natin ma-ano...

SP Zubiri: It is a step towards the right direction. Pero there is no pill, one pill fix all, or one pill saves all, or one pill cures all. Wala pong ganoon. But, in fairness to the President, he is trying his best. Nakikita naman ninyo si Presidente ngayon mukhang haggard na haggard, pagod na pagod, eh biro mo araw-araw may problema siya, kailangan natin siyang tulungan. Let us all pitch in to help him. Including all the other agencies of government. Hindi na po pwedeng mediocre service, yan ang sinasabi ko na sige, punch-in lang tayo, papasok, kumain ng lunch, kumain ng meryenda, alas singko ng hapon, punch-out. Kailangan talaga nating gumalaw. Kung may problema nang nakikita po tayo sa ating mga ahensiya na pwede nating pagandahin pa ang serbisyo sa ating mga kababayan. We have to work as a team. If we want to be like New Zealand, if we want to be like Europe, or even just Singapore, mga kapitbahay natin, or even just Vietnam, kailangan nating lahat tumulong para sa kagandahan ng ating ekonomiya at kagandahan ng ating bansa.

Q: Sir, balikan ko lang po yung Legislative Wage Hike. Paano po ang specifics, graduated scheme noon? Can you walk us through how you exactly imagine the graduated scheme?

SENATE PRESIDENT JUAN MIGUEL "MIGZ" ZUBIRI: We have not discussed it. Right now, my bill is across the board but I am open to amendments to the bill. Alam mo, Legislation is part negotiation and compromise. Kasi, if you're fixed on your stand, wala kang mapapasa. Gusto ni Sen. Jinggoy [Estrada], dapat mayroon tayong graduated stand on MSMEs kasi may mga, paano nga iyon, micro, small and medium enterprises? The DTI categorizes micro, small and medium enterprises so the law can be channeled that way if there would be amendments to the law that would basically make it graduated for SMMEs. For the larger corporations which have P100 million in assets and income, yan ibang grado, ibang level ang ating Legislative Wage Hike niyan. We're open to that. As the principal author of the Legislative Wage Hike bill, we're open to graduated legislative wage hike for SMMEs. Lower ang hike doon sa mga SMMEs.

Q: Sir, binabanggit po ninyo kanina na nahihinaan po kayo sa Wage Board. Do you think panahon na para i-abolish sila o palitan po?

SP ZUBIRI: No, the Wage Boards do have a function. In fairness, the Wage Boards do have a function. But, we have to review the triggers to call for a wage hike. Right now, they will meet when necessary, when they want to meet. Parang ang dating sa akin, nagme-meeting lang sila kung may petitions, not only petitions but also a dire need for an increase such as high inflation rates. Maybe we can come up with inflation rates that will trigger that. Kung may inflation rates na over 7 percent, dapat automatic meeting na po ang mga Wage Boards para kapag tumaas ang presyo ng gasolina by this much, or food prices by this much, automatic, mag-meeting na po ang Regional Wage Boards. Right now kasi, parang hindi... nababasa ninyo lang - next week, they will meet. Or "next month they will meet". Or they will never meet at all. Ang kawawa diyan ang ating mga kababayang manggagawa that are waiting - parang waiting from manna from heaven - na madagdagan ang kanilang mga sweldo.

As representatives of the people, both the House of Representatives and the Senate, we had to take action. Yung pangungulit, yung magagalit na lang sa kanila, ang daming beses na namin sila pinagalitan, siguro si Sen. Tulfo lang, ilang beses na niya minumura yung Regional Wage Boards pero wala pa ring nangyayari. I think its high time to take this opportunity to help our workers. Give them a decent living wage. What is a P100 increase? What is a P150 increase? That's not much for billionaires. Hindi ko na babanggitin yung mga bilyonaryo, baka tawagan pa ako mamaya. Ang importante diyan, ay talagang mararamdaman. Wala po ito sa kanila, sa mga may ari ng kumpanya na ito pero malaking bagay po ito para sa ating mga manggagawa.

I bet you 100% na once we pass a slight increase of their wages that will make an impact on their lives, we will have higher productivity. We will have less depression in our labor sector and happier families. Babalik din sa kanila yun. Nagku-kuwentuhan kami ng mga kaibigan ko kagabi, sabi nila, ibabalik rin naman sa ekonomiya iyon e, diba. Hindi naman nila itatago. If they are P150 more a day, they will use that for consumption. They'll buy more food from San Miguel Corporation. They'll buy more rice from farmers. They'll buy more fuel for the transport sector. It will go back to the economy. We'll have a better life index or happiness index for our people. I think it's time to share. We really have to share.

Q: Tutuksuhin ko lang si SP. Sabi ninyo may 14th month pay pa yung company ninyo?

SP ZUBIRI: 15. This year I gave them a 15th (month pay). Mine is a medium enterprise, I am not a major corporation, so I am a medium enterprise but I can still afford to give a 15th-month pay this year.

Q: Kaya pala kahit Senate employees ganansiya rin. Napulaan ka doon, diba?

SP ZUBIRI: Alam mo, kung kaya ko gawin yan sa buong Pilipinas, gagawin ko. Kasi sabi nila, bakit Senado lang? Presidente lang naman ako ng Senado, hindi naman ako Presidente ng bansa. Na-bash tuloy ako ng katakot takot. Pero ang sagot ko diyan, if I had the opportunity, do it now. I'm walking the talk. This legislated wage hike is the answer to all the bashers that said, "Why not all?" 'Di ba? Sana all.

So, we are going to do it now because you deserve it. The Filipino laborers deserve better.

And buti nga sa NCR, as I said, P517. Sa probinsyan namin, P320. Tapos minsan, half-day pay pa, minsan P150 lang, minsan P200. They're abusing the Labor Law. Araw-araw, 'pag bayad sa kanila, pinapapirma sa payslip, hindi nila nababasa, no read, no write minsan 'yong mga agricultural workers, nakalagay doon half-day. So, 'pag nagfa-file na sila ang complaint sa kanilang employer, pinapalabas doon 'yong mga pay slip, eh half-day lang sila nagtrabaho. Though walang katotohanan 'yon, buong araw silang nagtrabaho. And they were paid half-day wages and they have no legal remedy kasi pinapapirma na sila.

Kaya, it's about time to take care of our laborers, all over, in each sector. MSMEs, big corporations and agriculture laborers. I think the agriculture laborers are the poorest of the poor, kaya ang daming insurgency ang nangyayari sa probinsya dahil sa pang-aapi sa kanila. We have to help also our agriculture laborers.

Q: Hi, Sir. Mav Gonzales from GMA. Sir, ang wage boards kasi sir ang mandate po nila nasa minimum wage earners. Do you think it's possible to legislate a wage board for medium-income earners? Because 'di ba hindi naman ganoon kalaki 'yong sahod nila but we bear the brunt of the taxes --

SP ZUBIRI: Actually, that's another thing that we're studying. We're also going to study that, on the middle-income earners. Uunahin namin itong legislation for private sector minimum wage earners and we're looking at the possibility of middle-income earners. That will cover nurses, that will cover reporters, that will cover middle-class, middle-income families na talagang - alam mo, sila tang unang-una gustong mag-abroad. Kasi skilled sila, eh. They have skills, they have education, sila ang unang naga-apply sa Canada, sa US, sa Britain, sa New Zealand - English-speaking, magaling mag-Ingles - sila ang unang naga-apply. Sabi ko nga, eh, kung walang prohibition 'yong passport na magtrabaho sa ibang bansa, marami sa ating mga kababayan nag-abroad na. Marami.

Kaya, sabi ko, gawan natin ng paraan, and I told my staff to also look into that. If we can also increase the income of our middle-income earners.

Q: Good morning po, Senator. Sabi po kanina ni Sec. Benny Laguesma, hindi po pwede ang legislated wage...'Pag itinaas na daw po ang sweldo kasi, maraming maapektuhan --

SP ZUBIRI: Well, a comment on that, a comment to Sec. Laguesma: Ako, hindi naniniwala na maraming maapektuhan. Hihingin ko lang siguro sa hearing namin sa May 10, ilalabas ko po ang findings ng iba't ibang studies on incomes of the top 1,000 corporations. Mayroong hindi ganoon kalaki ang kanilang income, pero bilyon-bilyon pa rin, hundreds of millions pa rin ang kanilang income. So, if you ask me on affordability, can they afford it? I think the top corporations can afford. They can afford to share. We can make adjustments to the micro, small and medium enterprises.

I appeal to the Secretary, I understand his position na kailangan may balanse sa labor may balanse sa management at pagmamay-ari ng mga kumpanyang ito, but I have yet to hear from the Secretary his appeal to the regional wage boards to increase rates. I have not yet heard - have not yet read - everyday, nanonood ako ng news --

Q: Parang motu propio, hindi ba?

SP ZUBIRI: Oo, sabihin niya, na panahon ngayon na magmeeting kayo at pag-usapan ang pagtaas ng sweldo ng ating mga manggagawa.

Q: Even without wage hike petitions.

SP ZUBIRI: I have yet to hear from Sec. Benny Laguesma, my dear friend. And when I ask him that on May 10, kung bakit hindi pa kayo nananawagan sa regional wage boards na magmeeting na tungkol sa napakamahal na bilihin ngayon at high inflation rates, wala pa, eh. So, ang akin dyan, wala naman pong, walang prohibition ang Congress sa legislated wage hike. Wala, there's no prohibition, it's not in the Constitution that stops us. It is within our powers and ambits of the legislative branch to be able to pass legislated wage hikes. It has been done several times in the past, seven times through Congress, and many times during the stint of then-President Ferdinand Marcos, Sr.

So, binanggit ko kanina, ito po ay parang federal minimum wage. So, sa ibang bansa , sa Estados Unidos, iyan po ang minimum wage na binibigay ng estado. Kung gusto niyong dagdagan, bahala na kayo. Tulad ko po, kung madadagdagan under legislated wage hike ang sweldo nating mga trabahante, I will still go over and above.

Q: Ano ang minimum wage sa company mo? Binibigay mo ba 'yong minimum wage?

SP ZUBIRI: We give about P30 above the minimum as additional allowance. It's up to you, it's up to the private business owner. Ang akin lang, let's set a standard, ito na. Kasi kung hihintayin po natin umabot ng P600 'yan, baka 10 years pa 'yan. At 10 years from now, napakamahal na ng bilihin, baka mawalan na tayo ng trabahante dito.

Q: Yung P150 amenable ba kayo to lower it or adjust it for MSMEs?

SP ZUBIRI: Yes, I'm amenable to adjust it lower for MSMEs graduated po gawin natin.

Q: Paano ang magiging consideration?

SP ZUBIRI: Well, we will discuss during the hearings. We will come up with a technical working group and we also get the Philippine Statistics office (PSA) involve. Kase importante yan, PSA will provide us of course with the basic data of wages all over the Philippines from Region I to XVII. So, let me share to you a P150 wage hike is about P3,300 at 22 working days a month. P3,300 ang dagdag sweldo ng ating minimum wage earners. If you have 1,000 employees that is P3.3 million a month additional. So, if you have 1,000 employees that is P3.3 million a month additional or P39.6 million a year. Now if a company earns billions a year can't they not afford to make that little drop in the bucket sacrifice for their workers 'diba? First of all, if you have 1,000 employees I don't think you're making only P10 million a year, that is not micro anymore that is already a large business corporation so they can afford, then can afford.

Q: Any incentive in return to those companies who will

SP ZUBIRI: We brought down corporate income tax. The CREATE law. Dati 30 percent ibinaba natin ng 25 percent. Last time, puro pro-business yun. Lahat ng pinasa natin pro-business and MSMEs pala, 20 percent na lang income tax ng MSMEs, so malakign incentive nap o yan, huwag naman masyadong maging greedy, share naman natin yan sa ating mga mnaggagawa.

Let me repeat that a sa mga nanonood, facebook live and all, meron n apo tayong mga binigay sa nakaraang kongreso, in the 18th Congress, napakaraming benepisyo sa mga korporasyon, ano po iyan? Ibinaba po natin ang income tax ng bawat corporation from 30 percent to 25 percent at MSMEs from 30 percent to 20 percent. Ang laki ng bagsak ng income tax na kailangan bayaran. So, ang pakiusap lang naman naming sa kanila share naman po natin ito sa ating mga manggagawa, yan ang pakiusap po namin and I think that's a good incentive we brought down the income tax and then I tell you pa. I refused, kase meron increase dapat sa dividends tax, gagawin sana nila na 15 percent from 10 percent. Hindi po kami pumayag ni Sen. Ralph Recto at mga senador na galawin yun, so it's an incentive also because the owners now of big corporations will still be able to get their dividends and pay only 10 percent dividends tax.

Q: Na approve na into law yan?

SP ZUBIRI: Oo. It's always been 10 percent ang gusto ng Department of Finance (DOF) nun ni Sec. Dominguez gawing 15 to 20 percent diba? Parang binigyan mo sila ng incentive tapos babawiin sa dividends mo. Ang sabi ko hindi naman incentive yun, kawawa din yung mga may-ari ng kumpanya. So, hindi po kami pumayag sa suggestion sa TRAIN law (not CREATE law) kase CREATE is the fiscal incentives eh, yugn TRAIN law yan. Hindi kami pumayag na babaan yung dividends tax. So malaking incentives yan para sa mga kumpaya they'll get more earnings and dividends. So, let's share with the workers. Time to share, share is biblical word, Let us share with our brethren.

Q: On the proposed bill about the Senior citizens and you said that its going to be prioritized?

SP ZUBIRI: We'll give it a priority. Alam mo maraming senior citizens naman, this is not prejudice to makukuha nilang retirement pay and monthly retirement compensation and pension, pero kung gusto po magtrabaho ng mga senior citizens hayaan natin silang mag-trabaho, kase sa ibang bansa, Japan, galing po kami ng Japan, ka-meetign po naming si Prime minister, alam mo yung mga taxi driver naming matatanda. 'Yung driver ng van naming 75 years old, yung nagwawalis doon sa hotel ay 60s, 70s, may edad na, in other words, they continue to employ able-bodied senior citizens. Parang dito kase pag senior citizen medyo matanda ka na hindi ka na pwede. In other words hindi ka na tinatanggap ng mga kumpanya. So sinusuportahan ko po ang panukala ni Sen. Joel Villanueva na ating majority floor leader, na magbigay ng incentives sa mga kumpanya na mag e-employ ng over 60 years old na senior citizen.

Q: (inaudible)

SP ZUBIRI: My point being is not because they are retired it means that they are retirable. Meron naman po silang kakayahan, still productive. Marami diyan magagaling pa, pwedeng pang maging accountant. Pwede pang maging skilled in (Itchu: Yung mga cabinet members nga seniors na eh) Nung last administration lalo na. Magagaling naman sila diba so okay naman. I will support that, we will support that. Will be part of the discussion on Monday.

Q: The idea is if it is going to be part of the priority measure (inaudible)

SP ZUBIRI: Hindi pa kase mag-hehearing pa yata sila. So, it's a Senate priority, it is not a priority of the LEDAC. It's a priority of the Senate.

Q: It is still languishing in the committee of Sen. Imee Marcos.

SP ZUBIRI: Okay we'll have to appeal to our colleagues. So that is why we need to have a caucus first hour Monday afternoon.

Q: Meron resolution Senate Minority Leader Koko (Pimentel) he wants an investigation on the delayed delivery of National ID.

SP ZUBIRI: Another cause for concern yan. We have to get to the bottom of this bakit delayed po ang yung national IDs natin. I don't want guess the answer for the delay. I'll look into that, but if there is ahearing to be conducted then I will attend and we will get ot the bottom of thei as to why natatagalan.

Q: Ano yung nakikita ninyong impact with this delay?

SP ZUBIRI: Actually maraming licenses na delayed. Tulad nung nabanggit mo kanina. LTO papel na lang ang ibinibigay nila. Papel, napakahirap na kumuha ng ID sa LTO and of course now with the Philippine ID system, it a requirement by law and the law has to implemented that all I can say. There is a law on the Philippine ID system, the agency concern should double time their efforts to make sure that it is done within the ambit of the law and done as quickly as possible. Also same with the SIM registration, yung 90-day extension dapat wala na pong extension pagkatapos niyan. Ang natutuwa lang dyan sa mga extension nay an ay yung mga scammers. Pag na extend ng na extend, scam ng scam pa rin sila, so thank you.

Q: On the result of PBBM's trip to US

SP ZUBIRI: So far so good. I came out with a statement bring home the bacon sir. Ibig pong sabihin niyan ay sana sa mga meeting po ninyo pwede niyong pagusapan ang ating credible defense posture. Paano naman natin matutulungan ang ating mga treaty ally kung wala naman tayong barko at puro bangka lang ang dala natin.So, we're thankful that President Biden, already committed several ships, several planes and equipment for our Philippine defense officials and defense establishments.

Also, we like to congratulate the President bringing more trade missions and trade investment opportunities in the Philippines. Meron yata silang pinirmahan na emotorcycles and recently meron po tayong ipinasok electric vehicles na galing sa California.

But I've said this even with my discussion with ambassador We have to put the industry, that sector, front and center sa manufacturing natin. Imagine kung dito na gagawin lahat yan yan ang importante. Yung Lexus hindi pa, pero yung EVT (Envirotech Vehicles, Inc.) dito sila gagawa. Their going to build about 10,000 electric buses, electric trucks, electric forklifts and heavy equipment. Dito gagawin sa clark. So, imagine it would be built here. So, the way of the future ladies and gentlemen is electric vehicles and we are hoping na for another time we can discuss that further pero at least it will open new opportunities, because of our law. EVIDA (Electric Vehicle Industry Development Act), That's my law together with Sen. (Win) Gatchalian and Sen. (Ralph) Recto.

Thank you very much ladies and gentlemen. We're going to have a very productive week, in the next few weeks before the sine die break. Rest assured the Senate is ready to answer and work for all these pending legislation and sabi ko nga ang daming nag tatanong sa akin bakit hindi ako sumama kay Presidente itong trip na ito, dahil official trip and we are meeting the president of the United States. Sabi ko dapat may mga bantay bahay. Andyan naman po si Speaker.

Q:Sino kasama sa Senate?

SP ZUBIRI: Wala po. Wala pong nang hingi ng travel authority for that. So, so far bantay bahay po tayo we have a lot of work in the part of the Senate and we will continue to work for the Filipino people para po gumanda ang buhay ng ating mga kababayan. Kaya priority number one namin itong legislative wage hike. Para mabigyan po ng konting pahinga at makahinga ng maayos ang ating mga mangagawa.

Q: Pwede ba sa 1st regular session yung legislated wage hike?

SP ZUBIRI: We're going to try to pass it hopefully before the break. We will try, we will try.

Q: Nag hearing na ba kayo sa Senate?

SP ZUBIRI: May 10 po next week. So maraming maraming salamat po sa inyong lahat.

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