Press Release
December 22, 2023



Q: Unahin ko na po sa budget. Isa po sa hot topic sa budget is unprogrammed appropriations, sabi po ni Sen. Pimentel unconstitutional daw po ang idinagdag na P450 billion doon sa unprogrammed appropriations dahil sumobra sa ceiling na supposed P5.7 trillion, your take on that?

SEN. WIN: The way I understand it, yung appropriations, ito ang inaaprubahan lahat ng dapat pagkagastusan. So that's about P5.7 trillion. The unprogrammed since hindi pa alam kung darating ang pondo inilalagay muna sa unprogrammed. The unprogrammed kasi in simple definition--it is contingent, to let's say, there is an additional tax measure that will come in, in the middle of the year then the unprogrammed will come in. But in terms of appropriations, what is appropriated is P5.7 trillion. So that's the way I understand the budgeting.

Q: For you, pwede namang increase ang unprogrammed appropriations at di kailangan isali sa total na P5.7 trillion?

SEN. WIN: Wala pa siyang corresponding income. In other words, wala pang, typically binabangga yan eh. For example, merong revenue na papasok tapos merong paggagastusan so binabangga-bangga yan. But in this case, wala siyang revenue na kabangga so nasa unprogrammed pa siya. Now, over the years, let's say may bagong tax measures na papasok tapos may bagong revenue, dyan lang siya papasok. So that's the way I understand that this unprogrammed is supposed to work.

Q: Former Senator Lacson is saying bad practice, bad precedent daw po ito kasi what can stop lawmakers daw from adding for example daw P1 trillion na unprogrammed sa mga susunod na budget cycle?

SEN. WIN: What's important here is realistic ang unprogrammed. Kagaya ng sinabi ko isa dyan na pinagkukunan ang tax measure. Kung walang bagong tax measure na papasok next year, then there's no point in increasing unprogrammed to an unrealistic figure. So hindi porke't unprogrammed siya walang nakikitang pagkukunan. So, it is also important that there are revenue measures that are being discussed and hopefully that will be appropriated in the year. It has to be realistic as well. So Importante pinag-uusapan, pinagdedebatehan, saan ba ang source nitong unprogrammed. Typically dyan ang nakikita kong typical sources dyan halimbawa nagbenta ng assets ang gobyerno or merong mga revenue measures na papasok.

Q: Are you aware if may unprogrammed sa education sector?

SEN. WIN: Alam ko meron, hindi ko lang alam ngayon pero typically meron. Typically most of the departments will have unprogrammed but I'm not sure kung anong item yun.

Q: Former Sen. Lacson said nung 2022 and 2023 GAA may na-realign na budget to unprogrammed to fund pet projects? Are you aware of that?

SEN. WIN: Kasi ang typical sa budgeting, nagkakaroon ng, for example, during the period of debate, the department will request additional item or projects, we can't increase the budget ceiling, what we can do, what Congress can do is to take another budget and fund that budget so nagkakaroon ng realignment. Sometimes yung realignment pumupunta rin sa unprogrammed. For example, may mga agency, let's say, nag-rerequest na bibili ng mga bagong frigates, battleships, eh ang laking pondo na yun, so ang gagawin ay magbabawas sa isang department, pondohan ang mga barko, yung para naman doon sa department na yun, ilalagay muna sa unprogrammed. So, nagkakaroon ng ganyan din. Ang importante dito pinapa-prioritize yung talagang importante. Because in the long period of debate, ito nakita ko, in my encounters in the debates, may mga agency talagang umaapela na pondohan ang kanilang mga importanteng project. At doon naman nag-iisip ang Kongreso kung saan kukuha kung napondohan yun. So, it's really prioritization pagdating sa pagpopondo ng projects.

Q: Paano kaya maaalis ang fear na yun, kasi although alam po natin before pa na-declare na unconstitutional ang pork barrel, there are fears na ang unprogrammed nagagamit sa pet projects ay in a way for the benefit pa rin ng mga lawmakers?

SEN. WIN: We have to be very strict to adhere to the Supreme Court ruling na walang post enactment. Ibig sabihin kapag na-approve na ang budget wala nang galawan, execution na ng executive side yan hindi na gagalawin ng Kongreso. And after the Supreme Court ruling, wala nang ganyan na practice, na ginagalaw pa ng Kongreso after the approval of budget. And that has been quite, Congress is quite strict on the implementation. Saka kapag na-approve ang budget nasa kamay na ito ng executive side so papayagan ba ng executive side ang tinatawag nating post enactment o hindi. Nasa executive side yan. Yung executive has to be very strict din in terms of not allowing post enactment. Yung Supreme Court ruling naman is very simple lang kapag na-approve na ang budget, Kongreso wala nang kinalaman dyan so ang nag-iimplement na nyan ay ang executive side. So yung executive should be very strict na yung Congress should not encroach in the implementation of the budget.

Q: Makakatulong ba kung mag-rule ang Supreme Court sa unprogrammed appropriations, kung pwede ba o hindi na sumobra ang budget sa ceiling na sinet ng executive?

SEN. WIN: If someone will file a case to clarify this or whether to challenge the unprogrammed funds, then, makakatulong din in a way dahil meron nang final resolution. So depende kung may magpa-file ng case against the unprogrammed funds.


Q: Sir, mag-West Philippine Sea po ako. Si former Justice Carpio said kailangang magpadala na nga raw tayo ng survey ships, gray ships sa Reed Bank, sa Recto Bank with the impending depletion ng Malampaya hindi na raw tayo kailangan magsayang ng oras kailangan nang ma-explore ang Recto Bank. Sir, bakit hindi pa na-eexplore yung Recto Bank and how can we do it now?

SEN. WIN: Before I answer that, let me put a statement that the Filipino people is supporting the 2016 arbitral ruling, wherein we are entitled to our exclusive economic zone. And that's within our rights and the 2016 arbitral ruling also invalidated the so called nine-dash line. In other words, tayo bilang mga Pilipino sinusuportahan natin yan at dapat nating suportahan yan. Having said that, pupunta ako doon sa Reed Bank and I'll talk about oil and gas in that area. Ang Malampaya nasa loob ng nine-dash line yan pero because it was explored before kaya nabuo yang Malampaya. But after the nine-dash line nagkaroon na ng issue sa area. As much as we want to send or put seismic ship, drilling equipment, our government has been very careful in doing that because of China's aggression and blockade of that area. So talagang kumbaga binabalanse lang ng gobyerno ang sitwasyon dyan. Ang importante, this is happening now, we need to open the dialogue once again with China on how to achieve peace and stability in that area, as well as, how we can maximize the resources in our own EEZ. In our EEZ, we have sovereign rights there in exploring our resources. As a small nation and developing nation, we need to explore, so dapat isama rin yan sa dialogue kasi nabasa ko sa news that Minister Wang Yi at si Secretary Manolo has opened the doors for dialogue. Isama rin ang energy security because we are a developing nation.

Q: Kaya ba ang dialogue pa rin sa ngayon or can we follow yung advise ni former Justice Carpio na magpadala na ng gray ships, survey ships now or makipagtulungan po with other countries for the patrol kasi yun daw ang ginawa ng Indonesia at Malaysia, Sir?

SEN. WIN: Kapag nagpadala tayo ng gray ships, there's a big chance na magkakagiyera. Because gray ships Navy na ito. If you notice, we are only sending our civilian ships through the Philippine Coast Guard because our country, tayo, we don't want to escalate the situation. If we send gray ships then that will escalate the situation and there's a likelihood that there will be conflict in that area. So I think we can do this step by step. First, is to talk about energy security in the area. Talk about how we can explore oil and gas within our own exclusive economic zone. Let's put that in the conversation ngayon. Ang conversation kasi more on peace and stability. But let's also put conversation on energy security. Alam ko hindi madali yan, but we need to start that conversation because if we send gray ships right away, likelihood they will also send gray ships and that can really escalate the situation in that area.

Q: Hindi pwedeng survey ships lang kasi walang protection, tama po ba?

SEN. WIN: Well, I think going by the observation natin sa pagpapadala ng relief mission sa Ayungin Shoal, most likely haharangin nila yan. Kung yung maliit nga na barko, hinaharang nila sa Ayungin Shoal, paano pa yung seismic ship haharangin nila yun. Yung gray ships barko de giyera yan, warships na ito, then they will probably send their war ships also. So it will escalate the tension. What we need is have a dialogue, the gates are open again for a dialogue and let's see how far we can go and come up with some ways forward.

Q: But Sir, kaya yun kung dialogue pa rin tapos in a few years yung Malampaya mag-eend na ng commercial operation? Ang hinahabol po kasi baka ma-deplete na ang Malampaya without us exploring the Recto Bank?

SEN. WIN: Well, na-extend na ang contract ng Prime Energy so they are allowed to explore in the area. And since Malampaya is already an existing well and the exploration is only within the Malampaya area, from my understanding wala namang problema to expand Malampaya. I think, what is quite sensitive is exploring other areas within that jurisdiction.


Q: Sir, balikan ko lang ang unprogrammed funds. Para maintindihan ng tao, bakit kayo naglalagay ng unprogrammed funds? What is it exactly for?

SEN. WIN: Typically unprogrammed funds, ito ang mga pondo na papasok pero hindi pa sigurado kung saan manggagaling. For example, tax measures. Sa mga nakita ko in the past, mga tax measures eh. For example, may pinag-uusapan ngayon na mining tax, may pinag-uusapan ngayon na yung sin taxes na tataasan, so yan pwedeng pumasok yan this coming 2024, pwede ring hindi. So in other words, meron na siyang potential source of revenue para pondohan ang some of the projects na di naman as prioritized in the projects in the GAA.

Q: Sir, could you give us some example on this?

SEN. WIN: I don't' have the exact list. Hindi ko lang na-memorize. Like yung mga nakikita kong projects in the past, like for example, road right of way. I remember, I think in 2022 yata pinondohan yan. Ang reason bakit inilagay sa unprogrammed is because hindi rin sure kung yung road right of way mako-complete nila in that particular year. So inilagay muna doon, contingent kung meron din pondo na papasok for that particular program. So from my experience, inilalagay dyan mga projects na di naman napa-prioritize pero sana mapondohan kung meron nang pondong papasok.

Q: And based on experience, nangyayari ba na napopondohan pa ang unprogrammed funds sa dami ng gastusin ng gobyerno?

SEN. WIN: That's a very good question. Depende yan. It really depends, tinanong ko rin yan actually. Depende kung ano, nawala lang ang data ko ngayon. But depende kung may tax measure na papasok for that particular year. It really depends on how fast Congress can act on the measure.

Q: Wala kayong naalala kung napondohan ang unprogrammed fund?

SEN. WIN: I think meron eh. Di ko lang dala mga details. I remember meron din, meron ding mga projects na napopondohan through the unprogrammed funds pero hindi lahat. I don't think it's 100 percent. I'll do some more research, In fact inuumpisahan ko na yang research na yan, historical, wala lang akong hawak ngayon.

Q: Kasi ang hina-hinala ngayon is that unprogrammed funds will be pork barrel, is it possible Sir na ganun nga sya?

SEN. WIN: Sa akin kasi kapag sinabi mong pork barrel, ang definition dyan is post enactment. Ibig sabihin gawa na ang budget tapos nakikialam pa rin ang Kongreso wala nang nangyayaring ganyan at dapat ding maghigpit ang executive side na walang mangyaring ganyan dahil ang implementation ng budget ngayon nasa executive side na. So, importante na hindi na pinakikialaman ng kongreso ang budget after ng enactment. In that definition, wala naman akong nakikitang pork barrel issue.

Q: Hindi pork barrel pero pet projects?

SEN. WIN: Ako, I have to get back to you. Pero from my recollection, walang pet projects na nailalagay sa unprogrammed. Typically departmental projects ang nailalagay dyan. Typically road right of way. I'm trying to remember ano yung mga iba. But I'll get back to you, but sure ako na walang pet projects.

Q: Ang issue this year hindi gaya ng sinabi nyo na ni-realign sya, this year kasi in-add yung P450 billion?

SEN. WIN: From my understanding kasi kagaya nung one time, I handled kasi yung DOTr budget. At marami kasing request ang DOTr. So, ang ginawa ng subcommittee at inirekomenda rin sa plenaryo na ilagay na lang ang ibang proyekto sa unprogrammed kasi hindi naman prioritize. Ang natatandaan ko road right of way. Kasi nangyayari maglalagay tayo ng malaking pera sa road right of way pero hindi naman natutuloy because of the process so sayang lang ang pera so ang inilalagay lang muna sa unprogrammed para kung hindi man mangyari yung expropriations yung road right of way hindi rin tatamaan ang pinakabudget.

Q: Walang irregularity kahit mas tumaas pa sya kesa sa projected 2024 national budget?

SEN. WIN: I have to check, hindi ko lang dala data ko kung ano ang inilagay sa unprogrammed.


Q: May survey na lumabas ngayon, holiday hopes drop pero 92 percent see a much better 2024. In terms of national budget ma-address ba ang hopes ng mga Pilipino na better living in the year 2024?

SEN. WIN: Nakita ko rin kanina na ang poverty incidents drop from 27% to 22% so in other words, poverty incidents starting to recover from the pandemic tumaas kasi yan. Because the people are more hopeful that the 2024 will be back to complete recovery na. May mga issues kasi na hindi pa completely, may mga sectors na hindi pa completely recovered. Like for example ang tourism, napakalayo pa ang ating tourism. The budget is responsive to that aspiration. There are more budget now for agriculture. Meaning, our fisherfolks and farmers will see a lot of support. In fact mula nang naupo si President Marcos nakita ko na halos magti-triple na ang budget ng agriculture. Education continues to get the highest share in terms of budget and on the other side we are also spending on continuation ng Build Build Build programs katulad ng rails and infrastructure. So nakita ko tuloy-tuloy ang pagpapagawa ng mga infrastructure kaya kapag nagawa yan magkakaroon ng mas maraming trabaho at mas mapi-feel ang full recovery natin.


Q: Tama ba ang intindi ko po na pwede naman yung sa Reed bank pwede natin siyang puntahan at i-discover pa?

SEN. WIN: Malampaya ngayon nag-ooperate. Malaya naman tayong makapunta doon. Ako, nakakapunta doon. So in terms of expansion, I don't think there's any problem because the expansion is within that well. I think what is now quite sensitive ay ang other wells na malayo pa sa Malampaya but within the Malampaya area, I understand na wala namang issue because that is an ongoing concern.

Q: The only way na maexplore yung other wells near Malampaya is kailangan muna ng dialogue between our DFA and China's Ministry?

SEN. WIN: May understanding kung gustong magexplore yung other service contracts because Malampaya is not only the service contract in that area, alam ko may mga bagong service contract, may existing service contract, yun ang kailangan magkaroon ng dialogue at mapag-usapang mabuti. Especially in the context of energy security.


Q: We read your statement earlier sa naging decision ng Pasay RTC sa scammers na kinasuhan nyo yung tatlo. Kaya lang the problem nga po hindi naging favorable yung ruling. Given the situation today Sir ang daming scammers and all, ano ang nakikita nyong policy that you need to craft in order to address this issue?

SEN. WIN: I'll go first to that actual case, yung taong gumawa ay nakakulong pa. Tuloy-tuloy ang pagpataw ng kaso sa kanya. Kasi grupo sila. Yung taong direktang involved ay nakakulong pa. Ang hindi na lang nakakulong yung babae na nahuli, subsequently. Ang maganda, yung kaso ay tuloy-tuloy. Hindi naman na-dismiss ang kaso. In-allow lang to post bail. That's number 1. In terms of fighting sa ganitong mga fraud, cybercrime and also mga ganitong panloloko marami ito using cellphones and prepaid simcards. And natuklasan din namin na ang pagreregister ng prepaid sim card napakadali. Di ba doon sa isang hearing unggoy nga nakapagregister. So in other words, if we are not going to be strict in the registration we will still continue to see scammers, spammers, fraudsters victimizing innocent people. So Importante number 1 maghigpit tayo sa sim registration and number 2 is the National ID. Because ang pinaka-basic document is National ID. Unfortunately, 30% pa lang ang nadi-distribute. So yan pala ang isa rin sa nakapasok sa budget ngayon, na by 2024 maitaas natin yan sa 70% ang nai-issue na ID. Kasi ang mahalaga ma-issue ang ID at marerehistro ang prepaid sim cards.

Q: Inaprub na natin ang sim card registration law, tapos ang dami na nating directive sa concerned government agencies, so ano pang kulang?

SEN. WIN: In fact ako nakakakuha pa ako ng spam eh, hanggang ngayon marami pa akong nakukuhang spam., loan or jackpot mga ganyan. So ibig sabihin marami pa ring nakakakuha ng prepaid sim card na gamit ang pekeng pangalan, pekeng identity. We can only solve that issue if we use our national ID. Unfortunately our national ID is not yet fully rolled out. 30% of the national ID card, although there is an electronic version of that card but only 30% has been issued with an actual physical card. So one of the items that we included in the budget is the wrapping up of the printing of national ID.

Q: Sir, do you see the need to Increase the fine for these scammers?

SEN. WIN: We need to amend the law. There is another law that have been talked about in the Senate right now na palalawakin ang sakop ng mga cybercrime. I'll give you a very specific example, yung pagbebenta ng GCash account o nagbebenta ng preregistered prepaid sim cards sa Facebook. Ngayon, by mere posting those, magiging criminal activity na and accessory ka na to a crime. Ngayon kasi kapag pinost mo sasabihin hindi naman akin yan, sa ibang tao lang yan. So by mere posting it will become a crime because nagiging rampant na rin ang pagbebenta ng pre-registered prepaid sim card, preregistered GCash account na nagiging root cause ng money laundering and vehicle for money laundering and other crimes

Q: Kinacraft pa lang?

SEN. WIN: It is already filed in the Senate, hindi ko lang alam ang SB number but it is already filed in the Senate. Parang expanded powers and expanded scope to fight cybercrime. I'll get you the exact SB number.


Q: We declared the Senate recess pero yung POGO committee report nyo remained untouched?

SEN. WIN: It is not because tahimik ngayon ang POGO that means there's no crime happening. If you recall when we inspected that sex den, POGO sex den in Pasay, sinabi ng taga PAOCC na maraming lumilipat sa ibang lugar. A lot of them are going below their radar and operating in small cell. So it's not because everything is quiet, nothing is happening. In fact the other day I was in Mindoro, kausap ko si Cong. Umali and he showed me a video na mga local, mga local na ito, local Chinese kinkidnap at tinotorture. An in fact ganun din ang tanong niya kung ano na ang nangyari sa committee report. So my answer is we will continue to push, it is already filed in the Senate. I will talk to the leadership on how to go about it but we will continue to push. As long as POGO is allowed, we are allowing criminal syndicates to come in to the country and magiging tahanan tayo ng criminal syndicates from China operating here. And there's another cause of concern, I read that parang may nabasa ako na there's an intention to give visa free to Chinese tourist to come here in the Philippines or visa upon entry. That's going to be impossible to do that as long as we have POGO. Eh ngayon ngang may POGO tayong problema nakakapasok sila ng madali. Just imagine giving them visa for free. It's like a license to criminal syndicate to operate here in the Philippines. As long as POGO is here it is impossible to increase tourist coming from China because nahahaluan ng mga criminal syndicates coming to the Philippines.

Q: And also yung fear na may humahalo rin na Chinese spies?

SEN. WIN: Isa pa yun. Yan naman ay on a political front, pwedeng both, maybe criminal syndicates are also spies. But ito very obvious ito and there are a lot of evidence that already point to the fact that criminal syndicates are already here in the Philippines, in our shores.


Q: Ang daming challenges ngayon sa Pilipinas, even sa ating economic side, national security, what is your wish for the country especially sa 2024 mas magiging mahirap daw ang buhay natin according to some experts po?

SEN. WIN: Maraming nagsasabi niyan because the global economy has not fully recovered yet. Although this year it grew by 3 percent, marami kasing challenges, like for example, on the issue in the Middle East with Hamas and Israel. As long as there is that issue there, the whole region is also in a very sensitive state. Merom pa rin tayong Ukraine and Russia which is also creating uncertainty. So as long as we have global uncertainties, hindi lalago ang ekonomiya ng buong mundo dahil maraming nag-aabang na matapos muna ito bago sila mag-invest and China is also experiencing a lot of problems with their property market that's why they are not also growing as fast. Alam naman natin if China hindi lumalaki, buong mundo rin naaapektuhan. So I said that in that context. But here in the Philippines we are quite resilient. In fact we are projected to grow at 5%. Nakita ko mga indicators. Employment rate dropped to 4% which is pre-pandemic level. Poverty level has continued to drop. Our inflation has been dropping also to about 4-5% and our economy remains quite resilient at 5%. So, sinasabi ko lang yan because our economy remains resilient. But we still have a lot of challenges like poverty to solve and I can see that the budget will be focused on addressing poverty and hunger for example yung food stamps ng DSWD will be a prime example and then yung sa education yung classrooms and hiring of teachers we will also be addressing that. So in short, my wish for the country we continue to grow economically, we continue to outgrow our debt kasi malaki pa ang debt natin and we continue to reduce our poverty rates in the country.


Q: Yung sa POGO lang Sir, last week lang pinadeport na yung 200 and the government spend P4 million for that. Sir, this 2024 are you hoping that the president will act on that because I understand binigyan nyo siya ng kopya ng committee report?

SEN. WIN: Kung meron tayong isang bagay na in agreement with China that is POGO dahil ang POGO nakakasira sa bansa sa Lipunan natin, ang gambling naman nakakasira rin sa Lipunan nila. Marami akong nabasa in fact meron mga documentaries lumabas na naman international news item about POGO and how it affects the lives of Chinese because of gambling addiction in China and also money laundering within the region. Because POGO is connected to money laundering, not only in the Philippines but also in the Region. So I am hoping that the President through his executive power will start to wind down and eventually ban POGO. It's causing us not only social harm but yung budget natin kinakain na rin at matrabaho, nakita ko ang video at pictures ng dinedeport napakahirap. Imagine mo 200 na dinedeport nila, marami dun peke ang pangalan, marami doon ay ininterview muna tapos pakain nila. Kasi kahit na dineport natin sila, we have to treat them like human beings with dignity so magastos yan sa atin kaya again wala namang naidudulot sa atin bakit pa natin dapat ipagpatuloy.

Q: Wala pong update from Executive Secretary o sa Malacanang?

SEN. WIN: Wala pang significant update although on the side napag-uusapan pero wala pang significant update.


Q: Sa Reed Bank, you previously headed the Energy Committee, during that time po ba nabuo ang MOU with China and Pilipinas?

SEN. WIN: Yeah pero na-rescind na yan. I think before President Duterte stepped down, they rescinded that MOA. If you recall that MOA was part of a larger agreement when President Duterte went to China. And to trigger that MOA was the establishment of TWG kasi marami ngang legal concern. Example, one of the things that they couldn't resolve is which country will take jurisdiction in terms of law in that particular area. Tayo since that is within our EEZ it is easy to say that it should be our law but China is protesting against that. So there are a lot of legal contest between the two parties that eventually before President Duterte stepped down he rescinded that MOA.

Q: Will it be better to come up with a similar deal or agreement or mechanism para hindi na umabot tulad sa nangyayari sa Ayungin, sa Masinloc kasi relatively mas tahimik doon sa parte ng Recto Bank kumpara sa Bajo de Masinloc and Ayungin?

SEN. WIN: I think going by what I read and the dialogue that will happen between the two foreign affairs agencies, the China Foreign Affairs Agency and the Philippine Foreign Affairs Agency. From what I read, Mr. Wang Yi and Secretary Manalo they resumed dialogue and also planned to continue to talk. And aside from talking and issuing statements, I think it is really important to do backchanneling na masinsinang pag-uusap. Backchanneling is another diplomatic mechanism wherein there are ways forward that can resolve a lot of external comments. So it's important also to intensify as well and resume the backchanneling talks so that they can come up with concrete solution to move forward on the issue of West Philippine Sea without external influence or external pressure.


Q: Sir sa improvement sa unemployment rate sa bansa natin, what does it say about the government's program on addressing this particular issue?

SEN. WIN: Actually, maganda yung nangyayari. For me, it's not the government, It's the private sector, that means private sector is back on its feet. You can see retail, you can see manufacturing. Agriculture is also one that is improving. The private sector is reviving its economic activity. During the budget hearing nga if you remember last October or last August, the government is not spending as fast as it can, ang daming bottlenecks. One of the issues that we slowed down in 3rd quarter is because government is not spending. Yan ang dapat ding ma-address. Andyan na ang budget, andyan na ang pondo, pero dapat bilisan ang paggastos.


Q: Sir, sa West Philippine Sea, ang suggestion nyo mag-back channel talks uli pero sa ngayon may exchange, laging maaanghang na ang salita from Chinese Embassy, sa atin din matatapang din ang statement nina Secretary Teodoro, PCG, DFA, meron bang pangangailangan na magdesignate ng isang tao lang na magsalita on the issue?

SEN. WIN: I think kung ako ang tatanungin it's better to have one singular voice when it comes to the West Philippine Sea. Although pareho naman ang mensahe pero importante din na alam lahat kung ano ang dapat sabihin kesa marami ang nagsasalita. Kaya I would like to see a singular voice that will echo the sentiments and the position of the government. Having said that yung mga lumalabas sa media of course natutuwa ang sarili nating audiences, natutuwa ang mga Chinese, natutuwa tayo bilang Pinoy pero may nareresolba ba? Importante rin ang backchanneling mabuhay yan at matuloy-tuloy because kahit walang impluwensyang nangyayari, nakakapagusap sila nang masinsinan at meron silang pwedeng resolution na may mangyari. Because statements are satisfying the cravings of our audiences but if you read it, there is no solution on how to move forward. But if they do the backchanneling hopefully and optimistically they might find a solution, maybe not on permanent basis but at least to achieve peace and stability in the region. Kasi itong ganitong sitwasyon lahat tayo nagagalit at kapag nagagalit tayo wala tayong nakikitang solusyon. Pero hindi rin maganda yan in the short term and long term, importante rin na makakita tayo ng solusyon, mahirap man pero at least makakuha tayo ng common solution to move forward and achieve peace and stability.

Q: Meron kayong suggestion kung sino o kailangan ba sa DFA manggaling? Kasi merong National Task Force on the WPS.

SEN. WIN: Ito kasi mga soft approaches ito when you say backchanneling. It can be outside of DFA who has good relationship with China, who can have frank discussions and who can deliver the message of our President. So it can be someone outside the DFA but trusted by the President. Like for example in back channeling approach pwedeng pag-usapan in the short term tatlong bagay na kadalasan nagiging dahilan ng galit natin. Number 1, yung relief mission to Ayungin. Pag-usapan na wag nang iharass ang relief mission natin dahil para sa tao naman yan, pagkain at damit ng tropa natin doon. Huwag nang iharass dahil wala namang, ano bang nakukuhang kabutihan ng China sa panghaharass sa ating relief mission. Pangalawa ang pangingisda, yung pangingisda ng fisherman natin doon para sa kabuhayan naman nila yan so hindi naman dapat, hindi naman malakihang pagfishing kundi para sa maliliit na fisherman natin doon. At pangatlo pag usapan din ang pagdami ng Maritime militia ng China in that area. Dahil ang pagdami nila doon nakakaaksidente. If you notice ang dami nang aksidente nangyayari dyan dahil Maritime militia so nakakaaksidente sa atin, nakakaksidente rin sa kanila. My point of the matter, it can be a short term conversation between two countries through backchanneling just to achieve peace and stability and then also later on continue the dialogue on how to achieve lasting solutions. Pero aminado mahirap yun pero at least napapag-usapan na.

Q: Anong qualities ang kailangan ng Pilipinas para pangunahan ang backchanneling?

SEN. WIN: In my idea, someone who is respected by China and has the trust of our President. Someone who understand the attitude of China. And someone who can convince China that these three flash points that can be eliminated by just agreeing with one another. And we can still continue to talk about long term issue for example the arbitral ruling. But by eliminating these three flash points we can actually achieve peace and quiet in that area. And no one will be infringed, walang dehado if we have peace and quiet in that area. Like for example, if China will not harass our fishermen wala naman mawawala sa kanila pero sa atin ang ating fishermen merong kabuhayan. Going back, someone who knows China, China actually listens to and actually respects and most importantly our President also trust him.

Q: Ano ang difference ng backchannel sa normal dialogue ongoing talks that we have now?

SEN. WIN: Ang normal dialogue right now, everything is in front of media. So alam mo kapag nagnenegotiate tapos andyan ang media pagalingan tayo eh. Patigasan tayo. But if you do backchanneling without external pressure, then we can be more frank and more open. And also more personal on that not. And I believe we can also achieve many things by just talking quietly and understanding one another. Iba talaga kapag kaharap ang media, alam naman natin yan, because we are satisfying our own audiences. But iba rin kung tayong dalawa lang, we talk frankly on personal level how to resolve short term flash points.

Q: Mas pribado, hindi ba mapupunta sa bilateral na lang?

SEN. WIN: Backchannel naman within us and China or a specific country. We can do that. That's our right being a sovereign nation. So we are not entering into negotiations, we are just talking. What we need is to eliminate those flash points, the harassment of our fisherman, the harassment of the relief operations, the maritime militia which is cause of accidents. We can eliminate that by just talking and now on a bigger scale, for example, on the arbitral ruling that's ongoing discussion.

Q: Kelan dapat gawin yung backchanneling?

SEN. WIN: Sana kahapon. Kasi nagagalit tayo. Syempre yung banggaan ng banggaan, listening to both sides, wala namang solutions na napepresent. Maybe this is another way of calming down tensions and actually talking and looking for solutions.

Q: Not sending of ships. Ang sabi po pala ni former Justice Carpio magsend na ng survey ships and drill pero accompanied by Philippine Navy, pwede pa ring magresulta sa war?

SEN. WIN: Again, kapag nagpadala tayo ng gray ship that is sending battle ship in the area. There's a risk that they will also send their battle ship. We don't know the situation of Indonesia and other countries. Each country will have their own interests and their relationship with China. Like for example China is building the first fast trail in Indonesia yung kanilang 300 kph fast train that goes to show that Indonesia also has a very close relationship with China. Maybe that is another dimension that we don't have in the Philippines. But sending gray ships is tantamount to sending battle ships and there's a big possibility that tensions will increase rather than decrease.

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