Ambush interview of President Aquino in the Heroes Hall, October 21, 2010

PRESIDENT AQUINO: (start of recording)…but I’m still talking to Gen. Bacalzo right after this  to (unclear) suspected objects of attention by terrorist groups so that we ensure the safety and security of our people.
Q: (inaudible)
PRESIDENT AQUINO: We’re still validating some of these, and there are already operations ongoing against all of these threats. But again, like what happened in Mindanao, you can harden for instance, the cities, the main centers of population. But if you want to harden the entire breadth and length of all of the highways, that seems to be an impossible thing. So, we will come up with other methods whereby we will enhance the security of our populace.

Q: May priority areas ba tayo …
PRESIDENT AQUINO: That’s been ongoing already.
Q: (inaudible)
PRESIDENT AQUINO: No, no, iyong hardening also. But iyon na nga. You harden somewhere, you might lessen the precautions elsewhere. So, it’s an ongoing campaign to make sure that the intelligence that we generate is provided to the operating units in a timely manner so that we are able to prevent as much as possible, and, at the very least, go after all of these perpetrators. I’m going to take this opportunity to condole with all of those who died in the minibus bombing incident.
Q: (inaudible)
PRESIDENT AQUINO: The one in Mindanao and the one in the PSE, I think. At this point, there are no indicators that the same (interrupted)
Q: (inaudible)
PRESIDENT AQUINO: That bus company is also exploring the angle of extortion. Parang these particular buses are subject to a lot of extortion attempts. So, we will not rule that out. Iyong I will not direct them to focus on one particular angle. The only direction is to solve and arrest and put behind bars all of the perpetrators.
Q: Iyong sa peace talks with the CPP-NPA, hindi ba you have already formed the panel?
PRESIDENT AQUINO: We are forming. I understand that the Chief Negotiator met a little difficulty. In all honestly, there are not many people who are very enthusiastic about being part of the body. But we have gotten a very competent individual. Can I just wait before until I swear him into office before I tell you who it is?
Q: (inaudible)
PRESIDENT AQUINO: Ganoon ba? I was in Isabela kasi.
Q: Iyong directive ninyo specifically for that …
PRESIDENT AQUINO: We want to start the negotiating process with the end in view of terminating it as soon as possible. I understand that they’ve been doing some preparatory work already—at least two of the members of the negotiating panel. I have yet to be apprised of what they have unearthed during their preliminary discussions with their counterparts.
Q: May isyu regarding doon sa nagga-gather kasi iyong Japanese Government ng bones ng mga soldiers during the war. But apparently, may lumalabas na some of the bones that were shipped to Japan ay mga Filipino talaga. Nagkakaroon ng concern  regarding this, especially may mga areas na nanawalan ng bones… iyong mga Mangyans and Ibalois. So, nakarating na ba sa inyo ang issue na iyan, and ano ang directive?
PRESIDENT AQUINO: I got it from someone here. But to be honest with you, since last week, we have been very busy preparing for the storm. And even si Gov. Manny and I were talking yesterday, and unfortunately, that was not yet one of the topics. I neglected to ask him about it. Iyong Mangyans will be from his province. So, I’ll have to inquire about that. I don’t have any data whatsoever officially. I haven’t received the complaint from the Japanese Embassy about it officially. I’m waiting for the DFA to tell me about it. We will look into it as soon as possible. But as you know, there are medyo several pressing concerns right now.
Q: Regarding sa Vietnam trip, aside from the ASEAN Meeting, sinu-sino ang possible na ma-meet ninyo sa mga bilateral talks?
PRESIDENT AQUINO: Marami nang bilateral talks na nangyari. The Secretary of National Defense was just telling me that he met with several, amongst them Sec. Gates of America. It’s a five-page report. I’m sorry I did not memorize all of the details. And our other secretaries have been meeting with their counterparts …. My function there will primarily be ASEAN, then iyong bilaterals with Vietnam with regards to several agreements that we, hopefully, we’ll be able to sign by the time we get to Vietnam. And it’s also the state visit.

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