Ambush Interview of President Aquino, November 8, 2010

Q: Sir, may mga US officials daw po dito na requesting na hindi na dapat i-review iyong VFA and that this might be connected to the travel advisories, mayroon bang…
PRESIDENT AQUINO: I don’t recall. Well, I don’t remember meeting any US officials telling us what to do with our business, ‘di ba?  We have I think expressed our concerns to Ambassador Thomas.  I think it’s the first time we met on one or two other occasions and it is more in the concept of refining the VFA Treaty, ‘di ba?  Time naman to review it and see if it meets all of the objectives by both parties.
Iyong sa terror alert medyo,
I understand that there were several communications within our government and the US Government and the main topic on the agenda had to deal with the VFA review process itself.  Well, reviewing the VFA to be more precise rather than any terrorist alert.  So, one has to wonder in this opportunity is why they did not share intelligence with the day are supposed to have possessed with their allies. So, on those meetings it was they didn’t make a point of highlighting any potential terrorist threats on our country.  Mostly, if not entirely po iyong sa VFA.
Q: Sir, the former US President is visiting Manila and he’s not heeding the advice of his own government regarding the travel advisory to the Philippines.  Can you see this as a vote of confidence in our ability to protect others as well as our own citizens?
PRESIDENT AQUINO: I would assume that that would be a vote of confidence.  The former President has a secret service details assigned to him who would object if there was a realistic and imminent terrorist threat.  And siguro, we have been really fine tuning our processes.  I think, you’re all witnesses to a fact that especially in the most sensational cases our security services have been during our job, iyong if we have not been able to prevent all, we have managed to effect arrest and file cases on so many instances just to highlight the bar operations bomb blast, the suspects in the Mindanao bus bombing incident and even iyong car jacking and so on and so forth, ano?  Even in the fist six cases of extra legal killings or suspected extra legal killings or suspected extra legal killings…
The Secretary of Justice has informed me that we have filed cases on not less than five of the six already. And, siyempre we have to go through the process but we are highly confident that we will be securing convictions.
Q: Sir, may ina-arrange pong meeting between US former President?
PRESIDENT AQUINO: There is no such meeting at this time.  I’m preparing for APEC and you know the volatility of the international financial market especially the instability of exchange rates affecting the entire global community—subject matter now for the G20 discussions in Korea which will be followed up and further expounded upon sa APEC.
So, I have two days of work left here. I’m going to Cebu for the launching of a ship—the inauguration of a hotel which will help our tourism campaign then in the afternoon I have to study for all the APEC discussions.  So, medyo talaga press for time this week even iyong local na mga political concerns natin.  There are so many that are asking for appointments before I leave  and medyo we are really hard press to accommodate all of them.
Q: Off mic.
PRESIDENT AQUINO: Cebu is Wednesday, if I’m not mistaken.
Q: Sir, may measures ba kayong ipo-propose during the APEC para ma-stabilize iyong currency?
PRESIDENT AQUINO: Well, kasi it has to deal with the biggest economy in the world which is America.  There’ll be an exchange of idea as we will be proposing.  Sana, there’ll be a framework where we address this particular issue. Now, iyong actual details were still threshing it out of measures that we would want to propose and we are not sure if—baka despite… to get a consensus rather that to make a pronouncement already.
Q: Sir, pupunta pa ba tayo sa Korean Festival?
PRESIDENT AQUINO: I think we are roughly in the band ano pero iyong…is tolerable within the system.  Iyong issue has more to deal with volatility—iyong rapid swings in either direction.  That is what you would want sana to mitigate but of course, this is a global phenomenon and this is not because something inherently wrong for instance, in the Philippines, but it is a worldwide problem and that really dampens dib a iyong business enthusiasm when you cannot factor in all of these factors which are variable by nature.  Iyong volatility again, I have to emphasize is the major issue.  Iyong rapid fluctuations niya and that is not yet happening in our country and hopefully it will not happen.
Q: Sir, do you think may bilateral meetings sa APEC?
PRESIDENT AQUINO: Indonesia, I think is one of them. Papua New Guinea is another. Nakalimutan ko pa iyong major.  China, I think we’re asking for.  We were asked, e. There are three countries that have asked for bilateral with us.  We are asking for bilateral with China, America, Russia. I’m sorry I forgot the other two.
Q: Sir, do you think that other travelers including foreign governments should take the cue from the former President Clinton that the Philippines is a safe country to visit at this time?
PRESIDENT AQUINO: I think they should, ano, but at the same time let us just emphasize what our security services have already been stating.  Iyong—in media it was said there were imminent threats, ano? And unfortunately, when we started checking with all of the embassies, iyong it seem there was one source, referred it to a country that’s part of the Commonwealth Group of Nations who felt duty bound to forewarn in the exercise of extreme conservatisms siguro and forewarn their students as is their citizens and they in turn disseminate the information.  I mean, in intelligence, you will always be getting wrong reports—unverified reports.  In this particular case, the report that we got even points to parang discrepancy between what Islamic Jihadis would do versus iyong planned operations.  So, even at the plausibility aspect we find it difficult to believe it.  So, problema na nga nito and I will urge again especially our allies let us be careful and finish the analysis of all the raw data before issuing all of these advisories.  Ang masakit ngayon parang continuing in certain… I would even ask the people to read for instance, the Australian advisory.  Halos templatish na…government has adopted the posture of being extremely cautious whenever the citizens might be exposed to threats and to err on the side of caution.  Ang problema lang, side of caution lang napapahamak lang tayo dito.
Q: (inaudible)
PRESIDENT AQUINO: I followed it up. Out point person kasi  is the head of the PMS, Julia Abad and I asked her what is the status  para  to flow from the preliminary discussions. And I understand, ongoing pa iyong discussion setting—the agendas, the setting venues, setting personalities. So, I am hoping to have a report by the  time I  get back from Japan and sana we can move on  with the dialogue to the next stage—iyong most formal. Iyong the last time we went, if I can  make a recall, they said that  they  have to go back to the brethren, members of the CBCP, and get the consensus of precisely of what they would want to discuss, so they can speak as  the CBCP and not as individual missions.
Q: Sir, do you have a stand on the RH Bill because I understand  last time they said, you haven’t read it?
PRESIDENT AQUINO: I haven’t changed my position; that is the only thing I can support. If it follows the responsible parenthood   platform that we are advocating, they are supportive.  If it goes beyond that, then I will have to study how far beyond does it go. If it is doesn’t meet with the  criteria of informing our citizens   as to the responsibilities, their options, and hindi ba, parang really have,…active entity  that reminds  citizens  of their responsibilities. I will work on that.
Q: …with the  IMF courtesy call, what issues were raised? Humingi  po ba tayo ng some kind of assistance and in  what …
PRESIDENT AQUINO: I think, the highlight of the Deputy Managing  Director’s point was, we were not a client anymore on the same token  that we were in the past. The discussion entered on the volatility again on the foreign exchange markets and the need to have a framework, whereby this volatility is tempered. So, we discussed  the possibilities that the G-20 will produce it. Mukhang hindi pa ganoon ka-ready, hopefully, to be further expounded   sa APEC. And APEC will be, hopefully best case scenario, will propose that  for a merge  to be adopted  by everybody. Just to make sure nga  na, siyempre we discussed what are the basics there, you have the developed countries, were they are just recovering and gains from  their market  are not  as good as the merging markets like us? So, there is a massive inflow to countries and  dito, parang magiging lecturer na ako. Basta bottom line nga doon, there will be more activity in our portion of globe. Parang you have two tears, you have the developed, you have the developing or merging markets. So, it is managing the inflows versus the ability to utilize these inflows constructively and on a global prospective  rather than, hindi ba may pressure to look  all of this as a local concern? But handling it  as a local concern  might bring about. The situation like degraded…wherein everybody was working, not in cons of anybody else, naging  destructive, nag-let to deflation. I am not saying that it will happen now. But, if there will be that pressure to go that root kapag individual ang  perspective. That is why the needs of all these meetings to work in concert globally