Martin Andanar: Welcome to our second Happy Hour for the year with Senator Bongbong Marcos. Ito po’y talagang hinihintay natin. Tatlong beses tayong naunsiyame pero ngayon natuloy na. Finally. If there’s one thing in common between your ‘sister’ Grace Poe and you, yun yun. Hindi natutuloy. Pero ngayon natuloy na. *laughter ensues* We’ll just put a bit of structure, senator, since we’re broadcasting and streamcasting on different platforms. We’d like to put a bit of structure to this ‘Happy Hour.’ We will give you time to discuss your platform of government and then a word to describe your rival candidates and also the presidential candidates. And then we’ll start with our questions para makatanong kayong lahat, even our netizens. The questions will be centered around the (Marcos) family, and then unfinished business, etc. I’ll try to manage the time since we have until around 3 o’ clock. Ma’am’ Luchi are you going to interview the senator for Reaksyon?
Luci Cruz-Valdez: I would really love to have him but for reasons unfathomable to me...
BBM: “No, no, it’s just scheduling. My schedule has just become so terribly full. So we scheduled things after this event that I cannot not do.”
LCV: “You’re moving up in the surveys so fast. You’re now second only to Chiz Escudero. Your ratings have improved considerably. To what do you attribute that?
BBM: I suppose people accept the message I’m bringing to them. Aside from talking about the solutions to the problems people face, sinasabi ko naman na ang talagang dapat unahin natin ay yung pagkakaisa muli ng sambayanang Pilipino dahil nakikita naman natin ang nangyari sa nakaraang ilang taon pinaghihiwalay tayo dahil sa pulitika. Dapat matigil na iyan. Siguro kapag panahon ng kampanya, panahon ng halalan, understandable yun. That’s going to happen. But once that’s finished, we should have governments that seek to unify the country rather than polarize it.
LCV: The idea of reconciliation actually began during the EDSA Revolution. It’s been something the country has been hoping for ever since your father was exiled. Is this something you think still haunts the name of your family?
BBM: Again, as you yourself said, there seems to be support certainly in the countryside. I think it is because we are trying to look for a way to solve the problem but the recognition also that these problems can only be solved if every sector of society is part of the solution. We cannot expect just the government to do it; we cannot expect just the citizenry to do it; the private sector; certain agencies. We really have to come together. The problems are quite profound. The problems are quite deep, have been allowed to fester, really for very many years. So, these things aren’t going to be solved just with a click of the fingers. But we have to remake government and that starts with the attitude behind the leadership of how they choose to conduct themselves while in office. I think it’s that recognition that drives the support that I’m getting. It is good to know that we have tapped into an understanding of that necessity of unity.
LCV: You know sir, your family has said that you have moved on, but many times the administration said there is no moving on until there is some proper reckoning of everything’s that been done including, hidden wealth for example, which your family has refused to recognize. What do you say to these allegations?
BBM: These are 30-year-old cases, allegations, discussions. The phrase ‘move on’ has never been used by my family. We just continue to look at the problems that people face and try to find solutions for them. That’s what we’re here for. That is what public service is supposed to be about. And we see ourselves us public servants and that is what we concern ourselves with.
MA: Mr. Senator, we would like to remind the audience, mga netizens sa news.5.com.ph, you can ask your questions. Our colleague Rob will ask the questions for us. Let’s just put a bit of structure for the Happy Hour, allow the Senator to talk about his platform of government first. But before that, si Raffy kasi, si Raffy Tulfo, he has a radio show and he has to go. That’s why we’ll allow him to ask a question and then we’ll proceed with the platform.
Raffy Tulfo: A couple of questions, Senator. But before that, I just want to let you know that my radio program conducted a survey for presidentiables recently and you topped that survey.
RT: Vice president.
BBM: Well, thank you. Oh, good. That’s always a good result.
RT: My question is, you are saying that you are willing to submit yourself to a DNA test if only to help Senator Grace Poe and to end speculations that you two are blood relatives. Why are you not doing it yet and what’s stopping you from doing it?
BBM: First of all, that was said in jest, but people don’t seem to realize that. It was because media kept asking “will you subject yourself to a DNA test?” They had asked it and asked it and asked it. And I kept answering seriously and I said it won’t help her situation one way or the other. So, I finally said yeah, sure. I’m not hiding anything. I could have a DNA test. But I look upon this whole story of us being siblings as a joke and I treat it that way so. Kayo naman, hindi kayo mabiro eh.
RT: Seryoso ba talaga ang partnership niyo ni Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago? Kasi lately we haven’t seen a lot of her or heard about her. Hindi po siya nagcacampaign at hindi ko nakikita kayo magkasama. So mayroon kasi mga nagsasabi na baka nagamit lang ho si Senadora dahil nung hindi po nagmaterialize and partnership niyo ni Digong (Duterte), eh lumutang ‘tong Senadora para masabi lamang na mayroon kayong ka-tandem.
BBM: Hindi. Kung kilala mo si Senadora Miriam, hindi mo pwedeng gawin sa kanya yun. Hindi papayag yun sa ganyang klaseng pagtrato. At ang naging dahilan kung ang naging pag basehan ng aming pagka tandem ay napaka simple. Kami sa panahon namin sa senado, nag-aagree kami sa mga approach kung paano ayusin ang mga problema at in many, many legislative issues that came up during the time, during this senate, it has been very clear that we agree on an ideological basis on many things. And that’s why it was a very natural and very easy partnership.
LCV: Doon na tayo sa platforms. Ang napag-uusapan kasi ngayon yung BBL. Kahapon, dinismiss na ng House yung possibility talaga na mareresolve pa or mapapasa pa yung batas sa termino ni PNoy. Ano ho ang reaksyon ninyo diyan? At sinisisi po nila ang Senado dahil kahit na po sila ay paandarin nila iyan, sa Senado daw po malamang hindi iyan papasa.
BBM: Sa Senado natigil ang aming pag deliberate doon sa substitute bill. Ang naging problema ay yung quorom sa House. It’s not a question of blaming, pointing of fingers one way or the other, sinubukan talaga naming matapos. Hanggang sa ngayon palagay ko babalik-balikan pa rin namin, pero talaga ang nangyari diyan delayed kasi ang pagbigay ng Palasyo doon sa draft BBL sa Kongreso. Tapos nangyari pa yung Mamasapano. So bale yung delay ng Palasyo eight months. Dapat Abril nila binigay sa amin. Sinasabi sa amin “Abril darating sa inyo, simulan mo na.” Ang nangyari dumating sa amin end of September. So that’s an eight-month delay. Tapos, nung Enero nang sumunod, nagkaroon ng Mamasapano, hindi naman pwedeng i-bale wala yung nangyari. Kaya sabi namin tiyak kung anuman ang magiging finding sa Mamasapano kung maaari nating isama sa BBL para hindi na maulit yung Mamasapano. Kaya kailangan malaman muna kung ano yung nangyari, ano yung mga pagkakamali, kung ano yung pagkukulang, ano yung misunderstanding, miscoordination, paano natin patibayin ang proseso para hindi na mangyari ulit. So we had to wait for the two months until matapos yung Mamasapano hearings. So total, that’s close to one year. Kaya napunta rito hanggang nagmomove na tayo sa campaign period. That’s really the problem that happened.
LCV: So papaano niyo itutuloy yun, sir? Or will it be a new bill altogether in the new administration? Are you going to start from scratch? Will you continue with this peace process even if it’s just with the MILF?
BBM: That is an extremely important point. And I have to credit Chairman Iqbal of the MILF where he stated a couple of days ago, sinasabi niya na kahit ano pa ang mangyari sa BBL, ipagpapatuloy ang peace process and I am with him one hundred percent there. Kahit anong mangyari sa BBL, ang proseso ng kapayapaan sa Muslim Mindanao ay kailangan nating ipagpatuloy dahil marami tayong nais gawin bilang nasa pamahalaan sa Mindanao specifically. Hindi natin magagawa iyan kung patuloy pa rin ang laban sa Muslim Mindanao. Kailangan natin makahanap ng solusyon nang sa ganon ay lahat ng ating nais gawin. We always talk about Mindanao as a land of promise, of great potential. We cannot take advantage of that promise, of that potential until there is peace. Hindi mag-iinvest ang mga tao. Hindi nila mapapasok ang mga tao. Hindi nila magaga ang mga economic activity. And here’s another extremely important point: Nakatutok sa atin ang ISIS. Alam naman nating kung ano yung ISIS sa Middle East, kung ano yung kanilang ginagawa. They are spreading terror throughout the region. Gusto nila dalhin dito. Madali makapasok ang ISIS. Dadalhin nila ang karahasan na dinadala nila sa iba’t-ibang lugar – sa Syria, sa Libya, sa Iraq. Gusto nila dalhin dito sa Pilipinas. Ngunit, kung tayo’y may magandang pagtrato sa isa’t-isa. Hindi lamang ang MILF, kundi sa lahat ng mga Muslim. At maganda ang partnership natin sa kanila bilang mamamayang Pilipino at nauunawaan nila na pareho sila sa lahat ng mamamayang Pilipino. They have the same opportunities. They have the same hopes. They have the same possibilities as any other Filipino citizen. If we can achieve that, mahirap makapasok yung ISIS sa atin. Kaya tama yung kahit anong mangyari sa BBL, kahit matapos kahit hindi, kailangan na kailangan na ipagpatuloy ang proseso ng kapayapaan.
Ed Lingao: Sir, do you see the need to renegotiate the CAB or FAB? Or do you go on with the re-filing of the revised BBL?
BBM: I suppose it is a done deal. Napirmahan na yung agreement na iyan. Now, I do not know if the MILF would want to come back to the table to renegotiate. Maybe if they’re open to that, we should look at all the details because there were many details that were not taken into account before the comprehensive agreement were signed. Napasok ngayon yung mga detalyeng hindi masyadong napag usapan ng mabuti. Napasok ngayon sa draft BBL at binigay sa amin. And that is the reason why it did not succeed. Because all of those elements, all of those parts, number one, the unconstitutionality. Secondly, was the lack of inclusiveness amongst the Muslim community. We need to have them all. But if they are agreeable to go back to the table, we also have to take into account that the MNLF is holding two treaties with the government: the Tripoli agreement, the Jakarta agreement of ’96. In the BBL, walang lugar yun eh. Hindi na pinag-usapan yun eh. Kaya naman ang MNLF nag uprising sila sa Zamboanga. Sinasabi nila, “Pinagsakripisyuhan namin ito. Marami kaming nakuha sa gobyerno. We compromised with the government. What happened to all of that? Iba-bale wala na lang,” So, all of those elements still have to be included in any kind of peace process and they will all have to be included in any kind of peace agreement. So, perhaps if the MILF is no longer willing to go back to the table, to the negotiating table, we can just add some of the extra features we feel are needed to include all of the sectors of the country. Ang naging problema, hindi kinausap ang MNLF, hindi kinausap ang mga sultanate ang mga royal houses. Hindi nakausap pati ang local government, pati mga business community. Ang Kristiyano, mga Lumad, hindi nakausap. All of those people, all of those groups have to be included in the peace process. This peace process cannot succeed without their understanding of what we’re trying to do an without their support.
LCV: So, babaguhin niyo, sir? Kasi in effect as it stands now, it was basically drafted without MILF.
BBM: In the substitute bill that I filed, we tried to do that. And I think we’ve remedied those, shall we say, shortomings in the original draft BBL. However, that throws a complication. They’re not necessarily in line or stritly in line withwhat was signed in the framework agreement. So that’s the grey area now that we have to deal with.
EL: Sir, regarding the MNLF, Muslimin Sema supports the BBL. Also Abulkhair Alonto supports the BBL. They both belong to factions in the MNLF. Nur Misuari, as early as 2001, was ousted as chairman of the MNLF. So, it depends I suppose on which faction of the MNLF you’re talking about.
BBM: The MNLF agreed and in fact, during the hearings, we invited all the factions to come in. We had one hearing in the Senate just for the MNLF. And everybody who has a position, has a name, or even has an intention to lead the MNLF, came. And yes, of course, they are supportive of the peace process. They are very much part of it. And they were the first to come to the negotiating table with the government back in the 70s. Of course they are in agreement with the peace process. They know we cannot continue fighting. We know this situation cannot continue. But they had suggestions how to include the MNLF in the process. Dahil kung titingnan niyo yung draft BBL, walang papel ang MNLF in any way at all. Ika nga nila, “Hawak namin, may Tripoli Agreement kami, may Jakarta Agreement kami. Anong nangyari dito?” Have we abrogated those agreements? That is why (MNLF) Chairman Nur Misuari felt that he had to make a move to highlight what he felt was these agreements (BBL) were ignoring the MNLF’s agreements with the government.: the MILF reiterated again this morning on our radio program through Mohagher Iqbal saying that they don’t want a watered-down BBL, lalo na yung mga Bangsamoro command na inalis yun; when in fact they were saying na this is what the MILF and the government peace panel talked about. Wala naman sa Kongreso ‘to, then suddenly Congress changed it. We don’t want that pero they were also saying when we asked them “Are you going back? Are you going to wage war?” (They said) “No.” Ang sabi nila medyo komplikado, sir. What do you think?
BBM: I’m hanging all my hopes on that, on the statement that “No, we will continue with the peace process.” And that again, I cannot be more emphatic with the way that I agree with that idea. So, I think that we will continue the peace process. The peace process includes, I suppose, all of the elements. Now, the misunderstanding seems to be, and this is something that we ran into the hearings and during the intensive deliberations, was that the MILF has taken the position that we (MILF) already talked to the President, we (MILF) came into an agreement with the President, Tapos na iyan. This is not an international treaty. An international treaty is within the ambit of the national government. But even then, it’s ratified by the Senate. Nevertheless, here we are now with a signed agreement with this administration. But we still have to enact it into law and the law goes through the legislature. And it is not the same as an international treaty. It is an organic law where we are providing autonomies and extra powers to a certain area of our country. But again, the problems arose because the way the elements that our peace panel agreed to would essentialy separate the autonomous region from the rest of the Philippines. In fact, one of the suggestions when we first got the BBL, sinasabi nga namin gawin na lang natin amendments sa ARMM Law. Baguhin na lang natin yung ARMM Law. Yung kailangan ibago, yun na lang ang gawin natin. Because the ARMM Law is already accepted. It’s been tested in court, we have been using the organic law for the ARMM para maayos naman. Mayroon tayong yung tinatawag ko na additional features na gustong idagdag, idagdag natin.
Erwin Tulfo: But what Mohagher Iqbal was saying sa amin ni Martin (Andanar) na “No, we don’t like a BBL like the ARMM because iba yung pinag-usapan. We don’t want the laws that are patterned after the ARMM. We want a different BBL that will run Mindanao, that substate.
BBM: I understand. I understand that that has been exactly the position taken. But it is not as if we will take away the ARMM. The ARMM was a product between the government and the MNLF. The BBL is a product of negotiations between the government and the MILF. And I think there is a political element there, palagay ko I’m guessing the MILF says “We don’t want to be a part of that agreement. We have our own agreement.” But again, the question arises: what do we do with those agreements now that we’ve had with the MNLF? And even the orginal Tripoli Agreement has elements of an international agreement because a foreign government was part of the agreement. Gaddafi signed the Tripoli Agreement.
LCV: I guess the challenge talaga, sir, is papaano pagbubuklud buklurin yung mga nag-aaway away na mga Muslim? Sabi nga ng iba tayo, okay kausap. Yung hindi Muslim, yung gobyerno, noh? Ang problema nasa kanila. Sila ang factionalized.
BBM: Actually, kapag naguusap ko yung mga kaibigan natin sa MILF, kaibigan natin sa MNLF, sinasabi ko para mas madali ang trabaho ng gobyerno, bakit hindi kayo mag-usap at come up with a common position?
LCV: Is that really realistic? Is that something really doable? Let’s be frank.
BBM: Look, if Iran and the United States can come to an agreement, how can we not come to an agreement with our own Filipino citizens? We have to try. We cannot not try.
MA: May panukala si Mayor Duterte ay magkaroon ng sariling substate ang Tausug, yung Maguindanaoan, yung Maranao...
BBM: Yun yung naging solusyon nung Tripoli Agreement, kung maalala ninyo. Regions 9 and 12 ang ginawang autonomous regions. Hinati pa yung isa. And that is because along tribal lines yun. Ito ang naging isang problema is that MILF is Maguindanao tribe. The MNLF is Tausug. They have their own issues with each other. That is why i was trying to explain when you’re talking about the rights of the Bangsamoro. There has never been a Bangsamoro. There has never been a political, tribal, what they’re doing is new. Wala pa tayong nabuo na Bangsamoro per se. Kung titingnan natin ang kasaysayan ng Muslim sa Pilipinas, ay nandiyan ang mga tribu. And they’re the main tribes we recognize. That is why that is the original solution. And I think Chairman Nur Misuari wants to go back to the Tripoli Agreement, but I don’t know if we can still do that. Circumstances have intervened. But again, we still have to respect those agreements.
MA: Two more questions on the BBL and then we can move forward para sa iba pang platform ni Senator Bongbong Marcos. Mayroon pa bang mga questions about BBL? Okay, no more? That’s it.
Atty. Mel Sta. Maria: Ang tanong ko naman po ay tungkol doon sa agresibong pagkilos ng Tsina. Nung kasagsagan po ng hearing doon sa mga international tribunal, namungkahi niyo na bakit hindi tayo makipag-usap sa Tsina? So my question is, sa mga kilos ng Tsina do you honestly believe that they will listen to us? Kahit na anuman po ang gawin natin, kahit na nagpasaring na ang Amerika, nagpadaan na sila ng barko, patuloy pa rin ang paglaki ng airport nila doon. Mayroon na nga pong mga bakasyunista doon eh. So do you really honestly believe by ourselves that China will really listen to us?
BBM: Are we satisfied with the condition that we have now? Are we willing to live with this? No, we’re not. We do not like what’s happening. We have to come to some kind of agreement. Ang talaga diyan is papaano naman ang gagawin natin? Basta pababayaan na lang natin? Eh sinasabi nga natin na pumapasok na kayo (Tsina) sa teritoryo namin. And what do we do? We’ll sit back and watch? No. We have to go and engage them and tell them “Look, we’re not agreeable to what you’re doing. We are friends, we are close neighbours. We have to find a way to resolve this issue.
LCV: So you agree with the government in bringing it to an international tribunal?
BBM: Yes. As it was explained to me by one of the China experts in the DFA. It is good that we can make our case in the arbitration in the United Nations para masabi natin ito an gating pag-iisip., ito ang aming pananaw diyan. And that is what we’re doing. But you have to understand, you’re not going to win anything in the international tribunal because wala kang katapat. If you’re in a court case and wala kang kaharap, you cannot win. You will just be able to expose, ipalabas ninyo ang inyong kaso. Pero hindi ka naman nilalaban so walang mananalo, matatalo. Ang kailangan ay tingnan natin, ano ang puno’t dulo nitong lahat? Ang puno’t dulo nitong lahat ay kailangan: umupo ang Chinese delegation, umupo ang Philippine delegation, pumirma ng agreement na ganito ang gagawin natin. Hindi tayo aabot doon kung hindi natin kinakausap ang mga Chinese. At ang lagi kong pinapaalala, dapat hindi lamang government to government, hindi lamang diplomasya sa DFA at sa foreign ministry nila, kung hindi sa lahat ng iba’t-ibang paraan. May mga sports delegation, cultural, business, lahat subukan natin. Let me remind everyone that the beginnings of a diplomatic relationship of China and the United States started with ping pong. Naging kaibigan lang yung Olympic ping pong ng Amerika doon sa Chinese, pumayag ngayon si Mao (Tse Tung) na magpadala ng delegation. Ang sumunod Panda. You never know where the solution is going to come. So you have to try everything. Because I think we’re agreed that we’re dissatisfied, that we feel that this situation is correct or even legal for that matter.
MA: If we subscribe to the bilateral talks with China, baka naman magtampo ang mga Amerikano?
BBM: The Americans are not my concern. My concern is the Philippines. Kung ano yung dapat sa Pilipinas. I keep bringing this up. Yung sa original, sinasabi ng China yung nine-dash line yun lang ang aming kinikilala. A few months ago, the Chinese ambassador to the Philippines made a very significant statement wherein he said we are willing to have talks on the basis of international law. That is the very first time that China has ever said that. Tayo, lagi nating sinasabi ang claim naming pinagbabasehan UNCLOS. Ang pinagbabasehan niyang international law. Kaya’t buo ang loob namin sabihin na tama kami sa isyung ito. Ngunit, ang China sinasabi nila na hindi, eto yung amin. Pero nagbago. We can still seize that opportunity and say “Yung binitawan niyong salita ‘on the basis of international law’, let’s go ahead and do that.” Again, we should at least try.
LCV: Do you think the EDCA has escalated the tension? Our entering into that?
BBM: No, I think it’s just part of that geopolitical cut and thrust between the United States and (China). Nasangkot lang tayo.
LCV: So this won’t pose any real danger to us? You think?
BBM: I don’t think so. But there is a danger: we’re a small country in the middle of these enormous powers. Magkamali lang tayo ng apak, masasaktan tayo. Pagka mag-away iyang dalawa na iyan, durog tayo. Nasa gitna tayo. Kaya’t kailangan nating laging isipin, hindi ko inaalala kung anong isipin ng Washington DC. Hindi ko inaalala ang iniisip ng Beijing. Ang dapat lagi nating isipin kung ano ang interest ng Pilipinas. Ano ang makakabuti sa Pilipinas na hindi naman tayo masabak sa gyera. Hindi natin kailangan kumampi dito. Ang kinakampihan ko lang ang Pilipinas. It is not a mutually exclusive relationship that I can only be friends with China, I can only be friends with the United States. That’s a very simplistic view of diplomacy. Quite the contrary, you have to be very interested in having good neighbours all around the world. Not enemies, not those we have issues with.
ET: Sir, itong Spratlys, as far as I can remember, I’ve been hearing it from my dad back in the 70s, panahon rin ng father niyo nung siya’y nasa Malakanyang. Problema na ho yung Spratlys na ‘to. Would you happen to know, or may idea kayo or recollection how did your dad handle this?
BBM: If you remember, it was he who put together the concept of an archipelagic country. Kasama yung internal waters. Kasi kung gagawin mo yung tinatawag na baseline, susundan mo lang ang shore ng bawat isla. Ang concept ng archipelagic ay hindi. Maraming island, yung gitna yung dagat diyan kasama sa teritoryo ng archipelagic nation. And because of that, we’ve already created a municipality para sabihin because we’re administering that area. That came from the decision between the Netherlands and the United States on some of the islands in the south pinagbasehan kung sino ang may-ari, kung sino ang nag administer, political structure, may tao doon na nagseserbisyo sa taumbayan. On that basis we already put those claims; we’ve already put those necessary elements. That’s where we stood. I think it was this new policy of I suppose you can call it belligerence towards China. That started the conflict. But whatever it is, nandiyan na tayo. How do we resolve it? How do we fix it? And I cannot see how you can possibly fix this problem or at least begin to resolve this problem kung hindi mo kausap ang Tsina. Ang suggestion ko ay simple lang: start with small steps. Kung maalala ninyo, ang mga mangingisda na Chinese at mga fisher na Pilipino, noon nangingisda sila tapos magsasama sila. Kakain sila magkasama. Magiinuman sila tapos pagka panahon ulit, walang problema. Ngayon hindi na nating maaaring gawin yun. Let’s go back to that plan. Small steps. Sabihin natin, oh China, ganito gawin natin: yung mga fisherman natin, ibalik na lang natin. Huwag na natin sila guluhin. Pabayaan natin sila nung kanilang ginagawa noon. Pabayain natin na maulit yun, international waters yun. So let’s allow that to happen. I also would like to say that we had the same kind of conflict with Indonesia when our baselines were overlapping. I just heard in the committee of foreign relations yesterday and we just approved at the committee level an agreement between Indonesia and the Philippines on delimitation. In other words, drinawing natin, eto Pilipinas ito, eto Indonesia. So, it can be done. Mayroong procedure. May prosesong maaari nating gamitin. Nagamit na natin. Naging tagumpay. Mayroon na nga tayong agreement sa Indonesia. Yun na din ang gawin natin sa, hindi lang sa Tsina, maraming mga ASEAN states kasama diyan sa problema, sa isyu.
LCV: Portfolio naman, sir. VP. Anong pipiliin niyo? Anong i-hahandle ninyo?
BBM: Lagi na ngang natatatanong sa akin iyan. Iniisip ko ng mabuti. Pipiliin ko siguro ang DOLE. Because madaming problema sa labor, hindi laman sa OFW, kung hindi dito. Yung kakulangan sa trabaho isa sa pinakamalaking problemang hinaharap natin. When I go out and I talk to people, that’s always at the top three na pinag-uusapan. “Wala kaming trabaho kaya napipilitan kaming mag-OFW.” And beyond that is the OFW. Look at the maltreatment they are receiving. Furthermore, the protections that are granted by law to our workers in the Philippines are sometimes not being observed. We hear about ‘555’, ‘endo’, all of these. There’s no security of tenure, security of employment. All of these issues, I believe kakaunti lang ang gagawin natin. We can do many, many things with just an improvement in our system of government. For example, I mentioned that the security of tenure of workers. Ngayon, nawawala iyan. Workers have no security that they will still have a job. One month down the road, two months down the road, that’s the problem. In the Labor Code it is very clear those protections should be given to our workers. So that’s one problem that needs to be fixed. What do we do to create jobs? The first thing that must be done is to improve our public investment in infrastructure. We have the lowest rate of expenditure on our infrastructure development of all Asian countries. And it shows. That is why we have ten million people abroad working because they cannot find work here in the Philippines. So, the infrastructure development should be more geared towards increasing economic activity. There is a phrase that has been used and I think it is appropriate: ‘business-driven infrastructure.’ Not politically-driven infrastructure, but business-driven infrastructure. What does that mean? That simply means that we want to grow the economy. We will identify which sectors we will focus on and we will see what the needs of those sectors are. Look, for example, very simple, we often talk about tourism. We want foreign visitors to reach 10 million in one year. Nakapako tayo ngayon sa four-and-a-half-million dahil hindi kaya ng airport. So, build the structures so that the airport can handle, or have another airport, whatever. But find a solution and invest in that solution so that we can increase our capability. The tourism, no matter how well we’re doing, hindi na aakyat iyang numero na iyan kung hindi maayos ang facilities sa pagpasok ng turista. Nakita natin doon sa mga container ports, delay, delay. Why? The facilities are not sufficient. We have the slowest internet in the region. Our connectivity is very poor. We all know how important the internet is to business now. We are the second slowest internet in the whole world. Who is the slowest? Ito ang nakakahiya. The slowest is Afghanistan. There’s a war in Afghanistan, so that’s perfectly understandable. Our power problem. Hanggang ngayon, hindi talaga natin binibigyan ng magandang solusyon.
LCV: Can you influence that if your portfolio is labor and you’re just vice president?
BBM: Because you will identify precisely how the labor market can be helped. And as that, you will put forward a plan. This is what we need. We are serious about increasing jobs, creating jobs in the Philippines. These are things we need to do. Hindi ganun ka simple. Papasok ka even sa education, sa DepEd at saka sa TESDA dahil training. 90 percent of workers are in the private sector. So, the job I think of government to train our workforce to be prepared to take on those jobs. We ask the private sector, in the next five years, “Ano ang magiging pangangailangan niyo? What will you need?” We will need engineers. We will need financial managers. Okay. So we’ll start training people. So we’re ready to take on those jobs and help the economic activity increase. And that’s something, again, that can be done in a new policy without any new law. It is just this determination and commitment that we will create these new jobs. Now, on the side of the OFWs, we have to do more for them. We always talk about “Sila ang ating bagong bayani” tapos mayroong laglag-bala. Tapos mayroon yung binubuksan yung kanilang balikbayan box na wala naming problema. Hindi natin sila tinatrato ng mabuti. And then when they are in need of assistance abroad, hindi natin sila masyadong matulungan. Even in the recruitment process, marami pa ding nakakalusot na ilegal. Marami pang human trafficking na nangyayari. That is the job of the Labor Department and we should clamp down on all of that. But, again, ito ay papasok sa DFA. Kasi nung 2011, hinati ang budget ng DFA ng kalahati. So, ano ang magagawa ng ating mga diplomat kapag nangangailangan ng tulong isang Philippine national, wala naman silang pondo mag-hire ng lawyer tulungan man lang in any way. So, we’ve tied our own hands. We have to recognize that this has to be a plan. That’s why I talk about unity, I talk about cooperation. No single sector in government, or in society for that matter, can fix these problems. It has to be a joint effort. It has to be a concerted effort. We have to have a plan that everybody is part of. And until we do that, we’ll just be reacting to ‘pag may pumutok dito, aayusin natin, kapag may gulo dito, aayusin natin. We’re not moving the country forward. We’re just reacting to circumstances as they happen.
ET: Sir, lahat po ng plano na iyan, that’s good to know and maganda po pakinggan. The problem is, papaano if you win as a vice president, pero hindi mo naman kaalyado ang president. Usually in our country, spare tire ka kung aantayin mo mamatay ang pangulo, kudeta, otherwise, you don’t have a voice.
BBM: One of our most recognized political analysts said, I’m talking about manong Ernie Maceda, he said “Ay iyang mga vice? Ang trabaho lang niyan ay mag-antay ng heart attack.” So it’s natural to think that. Tingnan natin, si Mayor Digong, kaibigan na kaibigan ko iyan. Matagal na, so I won’t have a problem working with him. Sen. Miriam, of course we agree on most things. Of course, that will not be a problem. Jojo Binay hails from the north. We’re natural allies. Mar Roxas is the cousin of my wife, also my friend. And Sen. Grace is my sister, so no problem. *laugher ensues* But seriously, they ask, “What will be the first thing you do?” The first thing you do if you’re elected vice president is to report to the president. Okay, Mr. President, andito na tayo. Anong gagawin natin? Anong plano? Anong gusto mong gawin ko? You have to create that partnership. Ang pangalawang pangulo sa Pilipinas ay nakakaiba sa ibang bansa dahil doon sa ibang lugar, bloc voting. Sabay. Kapag binoto mo ang presidente, kasama na yung vice niya doon, to assure uniformity, continuity in policy. In fact, it’s an odd situation here in the Philippines. But because the vice president is elected separately, and the Constitution only says that they are allowed to be a part of the cabinet should the president choose to do so, then it is up to the vice president to define his role. But it is an office upon itself. It is not derivative of the president, of Malacañang. You can do what you feel that needs to be done. And so, wala akong balak sabihing mag-aantay lang ako na may masamang mangyari sa pangulo. Wala namang kakwenta-kwenta yun. Hindi tayo hinalal para gawin iyan. Gagawin ko ang lahat, of course. Ngayon, hindi naman siguro mahirap basta you are willing and you are sincere that you want to create a partnership with the president, with the administration whatever their partisan politics may have been in the elections. I think that you can still do something.
ET: Eh, sir, yung mga pwestong binibigay walang katurya-turya. Simula kay Ramos, binigyan si erap ng Task Force, Task Force. Tapos itong si Binay, binigyan ng Housing. Parang wala masyadong papel. Very small responsibility.
BBM: I disagree. I think you can make of it what you want. Like for example, I have a bit of a knowledge in the housing problem, of the housing situation. Hindi siya maliit na bagay. We have five-and-a-half-million shortfall na tirahan para sa ating mga tao. That is not a small problem. That is something that really needs attention. So malaking bagay yun. Isipin mo: kung bigay sa iyo, sabihin Housing. Pagka naayos mo yung problemang yun, napakalaking tulong sa tao iyan. It’s really what you make of it. I think you have to start establishing a partnership with the president, with the people around him, who he’ll work with, try to find your role. Of course you don’t do it unilaterally; you have to talk to everyone. Ano ang pwede kong gawin? Ano ang maitutulong ko? Sa isip ko ganito ang dapat gawin. Ano ang sa palagay ninyo? All of that, it has to be cooperative. That’s why I’m talking about unity. When I go around, I talk about pagkakaisa. Because it doesn’t work unless you are unified, you are cooperating, you are working together.
MA: Sir, yung executive producer naming, kinukulit na ako at humihingi naman ng one-liner mo doon sa mga vice presidential candidates, mga makakatunggali niyo po. Uunahin natin sino? Si Leni Robredo.
BBM: Si Leni Robredo? Baguhan. I don’t know very much about her. I knew her husband quite well. Kasi local government ako eh. DILG si Jesse Robredo. So we did many things together. There are still things that Secretary Robredo began, hanggang ngayon tinatrabaho pa naming ngayon. But his wife, the congresswoman, I do not know at all. And she’s only been in congress for two-and-a-half years, so mahirap mag-decide kung ano ba talaga ang kahulugan yung panahon niya sa gobyerno.
MA: Gringo Honasan.
MA: Senator Trillanes.
BBM: Ganun din. Matapang. Mga sundalo iyan. Naging rebelede pa. They’re very brave and very committed to their cause.
MA: Alan Peter Cayetano.
BBM: He’s my partymate. Is it one word? Can I expound? We have suddenly found ourselves in this situation. We’re running for the same position. But we have had dealings with each other. I cannot see any of those running for vice president as enemies. I cannot. People would like for us to say terrible things to each other, pero tingin ko sa kanila we’re all trying our best and trying to help.
MA: Chiz Escudero.
BBM: Inaanak. Hindi ninyo alam ito. Ninong ako sa una niyang kasal. I am his ninong. Kaya ang tawag niya sa akin ‘ex-future ninong.
LCV: Sir, totoo ho bang ayaw ng inyong ina na tumakbo kayo sa pagka-bise. Ang gusto daw niya ay presidency.
BBM: Hindi naman na ayaw sa bise. Gusto niya sa presidente. Nanay ko yun eh. Syempre, gusto niya yung pinakataas ang pasukan ko. Alam mo naman.
LCV: How did you argue your way out of her wishes?
BBM: I didn’t have to. But not only my mother, many people when I go around, “Akala namin na tatakbo ka for president. Sabi ko #SaTamangPanahon.
LCV: But how does she feel about that, you’re running for VP?
BBM: Now that the decision has been made and we’re well along on that road...
LCV: Kasi ang balita ay nagtampo siya eh.
BBM: Hindi ganun ang mother ko. Of course she would like for me to run for president because she thinks I can win for president. That’s natural for a mother. But I do not feel that that is what lies ahead of me. That’s destiny telling me what to do and so I ran for the vice presidential position.
Chuchay Fernandez: I’m supposed to ask you about labor markets kaya lang she mentioned Imelda. I just wanted to ask a follow-up question. Isn’t your mother, in wishing you to aspire for the highest position, isn’t she bothered that people might throw at you the same issues they keep bringing up against your father i.e. some abuses attended his administration?
BBM: No. If you’re in politics, I suppose she’s one of the most experienced politicians in the country today, alam mo naman na ganun ang mangyayari. Na kahit sino ka, basta tumakbo ka may kalaban ka. Ang kalaban mo, sisihin ka. It’s part of the political process. Of course she would prefer na walang ganun - na hindi maganda ang salita sa kanyang anak. Pero naiintindihan naman niya na iyan ang proseso ng pulitika. It’s not something that’s a surprise. It’s not something that we’re afraid of. But we accept that that’s part of politics. And besides, as I’ve said, she’s been telling me to run for president since I was three years old. None of this is really surprising.
CF: Pero kayo sir. Do you acknowledge that some abuses happened during your father’s term? You run for barangay captain, somebody will have criticism. You run for any elective position, mayroong diyan magsasabi “Magaling iyan. May problema iyan. Huwag niyong iboboto iyan. Ako na lang ang iboto ninyo.” So, yes, I’ve accepted that that’s going to happen and I fully expect it.
CF: Last question na lang on that one. Do you acknowledge that your father acknowledged some of these abuses, that he sanctioned them?
BBM: No. There was no policy to abuse anyone. If there were abuses, it did not emanate from any order of him. That I can be confident about.
LCV: How do you face these issues that are brought up against your family? Particularly against the 20-year “dictatorship?
BBM: People ask questions, you answer them as best as you can. I also have a distinct advantage. I know the truth and that is something that guides me in figuring out what these issues truly are. 1986 was 30 years ago. None of these questions are new. And I find when I’m going around, ang tao hindi iyan ang pinag-uusapan. Ang tinatanong: Anong gagawin? Ang tataas ng presyo ng bilihin? Wala kaming trabaho. Madami pa rin ang mahirap. Walang eskwelahan dito. Wala kaming ospital dito. Ano ang pwede niyong gawin para tulungan kami? Yung pension naming hindi pa nababayad. Yung mga ganun ang tinatanong sa akin. And so, that’s what I concentrate on. These are the things concerning ordinary Filipinos every single day.
EL: I’m sure you’ve come across this question before because you’re running for the vice presidency. I’d like some clarity on your family’s finances. Your family, meaning the former president, Mrs. Marcos, your siblings. I ask that because looking at your SALN and your mother’s SALN in 2012, it was at 922 million (pesos). Yours is, depending on the calculation, is at 437 (million pesos). But the Supreme Court in 2003 calculated your father’s and your mother’s income at no more than 16 million in 1965 to 1986.
BBM: Okay, I do not have detailed knowledge of my mother’s SALN because I have never actually seen it. But I guess it will be her people who can answer that. In my case, it’s very clear. That’s why I put it in my SALN. Wala namang naging problema. It is the most thorough; it is the well-prepared SALN of anyone you’ve ever seen. So, it speaks for itself.
EL: I don’t have anything against the SALNs to begin with. What I’m asking about are the supposed Marcos accounts. The PCGG claims to have recovered 4 billion dollars from the Marcoses in the last 30 years. That includes 762 million dollars from the Swiss accounts. But looking at the history of the Swiss accounts, you, your mother and your sisters were co-petitioners claiming ownership over those Swiss accounts that amounts to 33 billion pesos. So where could that have come from?
BBM: These are legal questions that the lawyers have been arguing. Again, these are decided cases. So, whatever that the court has decided, we follow. So, again, these are decided cases. Kung ano ang sinabi ng korte, yun yun. As a matter of fact, all of these issues, all of these court cases, we are no longer represented in them. We are no longer parties to those cases. So we are not involved anymore.
EL: Because the case of the Swiss accounts has already been decided for the government. It’s already been confiscated by the government.
BBM: Again, as I have said, the court has decided. There’s not much more we can add to that.
EL: But what I mean is that you and your family were laying claim to those accounts, meaning that you and your family were saying that “that belonged to us.” And that amounts to 33 billion pesos or 762 million dollars. When you’re in court you try and gain as much advantage as possible. I would have to ask my lawyer why they did that. I was not part of the legal team. I am not a lawyer myself. So, what legal strategies they chose to adopt, is something I still would have them explain to me to be able to answer that.
EL: Last question. Sir, of course you’ve filed your SALN. Your mother has filed her SALN. These are hegemons. I would like to ask if there are any other Marcos moneys out there that have not been declared. I’d like to get it from you.
BBM: I cannot imagine how that is. It’s been 30 years. You cannot really continue to just go on in the face of all these court cases, in the face of all these actions. Palagay ko wala nang pupuntahan itong mga kaso. What information we have right now is it. If there’s any more information out there.
MA: Sir, mayroon pong question from a netizen: “Itanong mo nga si Senador Bongbong kung siya nga ba talaga si Senador Bongbong?
BBM: Dahil may urban legend na nung nasa eskwelahan daw ako, napaaway ako at doon sa away na yun pinatay ako. Ngayon, yung magulang ko, imbes na ilibing lang ako, naghanap sila ng kamukha ko, ka-edad ko, ka-hitsura ko, lahat, at yun ang hinarap sa tao at ito yung Bongbong. Yung tunay, patay na. So, hindi na ako yung tunay. Ako na yung kapalit. Ngayon, ang tanong ko: bakit nila gagawin yun? *laughter ensues* Alam naman ng mga tao iyan. Kung halungkatin niyo mga picture namin nung bata pa kami, nandiyan, pare-pareho pa rin hitsura namin.
LCV: Sir, paano niyo sinasalag ang mga akusasyon na ang panahon ni Marcos diyan nagsimula ang korupsyon, diyan nagsimula ang hidden wealth. Hindi kasi nawawala yung mga akusasyong yun.
BBM: Ang mga akusasyong iyan ay galing naman sa mga katunggali namin sa pulitika. Hindi nakakapagtaka. You know, history will judge. And I know history will judge on the basis of fact, rather on propaganda or on politics. So, let us allow the historians in the next few years in the cold light of day to look at what really happened and where the corruption lay, where it was more rampant, where was it less, where was it better, and I think history will judge the time fairly.
ET: Sir, how do you feel nay ungt atay niyo at si Senator Aquino, mahigpit yung pagiging magkatunggali ng daddy niyo at ni Senator Aquino. Na hanggang ngayon mukhang hindi makaget-over kahit na yung presidente na masama pa rin ang loob, na parang one time he said like ‘’Anybody as vice president but Bongbong Marcos,’’ What can you say about that, sir?
BBM: Well clearly, that’s his opinion. It’s, again, not a surprise kasi marami na siyang sinabing mga ganyan. Tungkol naman sa aking ama at kay Senator Ninoy Aquino, again, in politics, mayroon kang kasama, mayroong kangh indi, so I guess sila hindi. That’s the specifics of that. Again, that’s allowed in Political Science.
ET: Nag-uusap ba kayo ni Mr. President, Senator? Anong pinag-uusapan niyo? In personal?
BBM: Oo. Wala nagtatanong lang siya: ‘’Brad, anong gagawinnatin?’’, ‘’Brad, ganito…’’, ‘’Brad, ganyan…’’ Mag-brad sila eh.
MSM: Sir, tanong ko lang po about sa labor. Ano po sa tingin niyo yung realistic na poverty threshold para sa Pilipinas? Kasi ngayon, sabi ng PSA, mga 10-11 thousand, na para sa akin, mukhang hindi yata tama yon. At pangalawa, nakikinig sa atin ang madlang ngayon. Ano ang masasabi niyo sa kanila, na paano niyo itataas ang minimum wage?
BBM: I don’t think putting up the minimum wage is the solution. I think it’s creating more jobs, good jobs and decent jobs. Putting up the minimum wage is not dictated by the market. It is a social move rather than an economic move. So if you are going to solve the problem in the long-term without bankrupting the government, you have to create jobs and there is a better way to do it than that. Because if you have public investment, if you have public infrastructure developments, there is a multiplier effect. Increase in the minimum wage has no multiplier effect. Yun lang, dinagdagan mo lang ng limang piso, yun lang yun, limang piso lang yun. Ang public investment, kapag gumastos ka ng limang piso, may multiplier effect yun parangisang daang piso ang nagamit mo. So I don’t focus on the minimum wage, simply because I don’t think that’s the solution.
MSM: Kasi naman po, ang punto ng ating mga mamamayan, madadagdagan ang ulam nila kung dadagdagan yun ng sampung piso. Kasi stomach na nila yun. Kasi kung iyon ang gagawin niyo, baka medyotumagal-tagal pa. Eh siyempre yung ating mga kababayan, iyan na rin yung hinahangad nila. Baga eh, pagkatapos ng isang buwan, sana ay may mai-save naman sila.
BBM: Eh di ba yung kasabihan ng China na ‘’You give a man a fish, he eats for one day. You teach them how to fish, they eat for the rest for their lives.” You want them to eat for the rest of their lives, not just for one day. Not just ten pesos and then what next? Dapat bigyan natin ng pagkakataon sila na magkaroon ng disentengtrabaho para masuportahan nila angpamilya nila, mapag-aral nila yung mga anak nila - that is what you’re going for. You’re not going for just this, a piecemeal solution. You need to change the system. You cannot just react to- ang gagawin mo doon parang lahat ng nakita mo bibigyan mo ng limang piso, ito naghihirap bigyan mo ng limang piso, nothing will change. Nothing will change in this situation. However if we change the system, you make it more open, you provide better opportunities for people, then they will not have to worry about the extra 10 pesos because they’re making a decent amount to support their families and themselves.
LCV: So this OFW-driven labor market, that started again under the administration of your father.
BBM: It was a temporary situation…
LCV: It has become a policy, so much so that we glorify them as the heroes - which they are.
BBM: Yes, they are. Because they provide 20 percent of our economy.
LCV: That’s right. But if you were to think of the portfolio, would you be moving away from the OFW-driven labor policy?
BBM: I think the long term aspiration is to bring them all back. There is a social cause to having their families separated. There is a social cause to that and I think, it is also a lost opportunity for us because all their hardwork, all their skills, all their talent, should be applied to the development of the Philippines. Dapat dito sila at tumutulong yung ginagawa nila, yung tinatrabaho nila, yung pinag tyatyagaan nila para makatulong dito sa ating bansa. Now, not to say that the 24 Billion, 25 Billion remittances is nothing but I think we would be better served if we were to provide the employment to our people. But again, if you remember, that was a temporary response to the 1973 oil crisis. Tumaas ang presyo ng langis, nagkaroon ng pera ang lahat ng mga oil suppliers and yung pera na yun, gumastos sila ng malaki para mag infrastructure sa kanilang bansa. And sabi ng...this is a grand opportunity. So, yun ang ating ginawa. Lumapit tayo…we were very heavily involved with the Middle East. Again, the idea was not to export our labor, but to take advantage of the situation. We can still continue to do that. And in principle, I have nothing against having OFW’s but I think we would be doing a better job if we are able to provide jobs here in the Philippines rather than forcing people to go away from their loved ones. I read an interesting study that was made on the management level of Filipinos traveling abroad, I mean working abroad, at the management level, at the skilled level. And one of the conclusions that they arrived at was to say that most Filipinos working abroad are willing to take 50 percent cut in pay if they could work in the Philippines doing the same job. That is an indicative of how much they are sacrificing. So that’s something that we have to take...these social issues we have to take into account. It’s not just dollars and pesos. It’s not just centavos and pesos. There are other things that impact on the lives of our people.
MA: Ito pa rin po ang Happy Hour. Live tayo sa Radyo 5, Aksyon TV, Interaksyon.com at alamnatin Senator na isa po kayo sa mga vice presidential candidates na napakadaming followers online ano. So hihingirin tayo..We’ll give about 2 questions, Rob, from our netizens. Habang hinahanapn i Rob yung questions, Bloomberg muna tayo.
Bloomberg Philippines: Hi. We just like to ask, what is your take on Political Dynasties and do you agree on the movement to reduce the number of family members who could run for office? And our second question would be, we’re not sure if you’re in good terms with President Aquino but his term will finish on June, what was he able to do correctly and in your opinion, what could he have done better and that you could change?
BBM: Second, since that’s the one fresh in my mind. The second question first. I think the only, on the plus side, is the anti-corruption drive that he started. The problem was the application of what I call selective justice where politics entered into the Anti-Corruption drive. That’s why it’s not so successful. I’m afraid that we fall very far short again in infrastructure development. We fall very short in creating a strong middle class, in helping the SME’s, our agricultural policy is non-existent. We are entering ASEAN Integration and we are not prepared by any means. Our foreign policy is something that I also do not agree with. Yes, those are the areas that I think we have fallen behind on and that the next administration is going to have to come back and put a great deal of focus if we are going to improve the situation.
LCV: Political Dynasty.
BBM: Political Dynasty is mandated by law, so that’s something that we have to do. In fact, I can say that the only Anti-Dynasty provision that has ever been included in law is the SK Reform Bill that we wrote and was recently signed into law. And in that SK Reform Bill, dahil isa sa sinasabi na ‘eh hindi naman kami tatakbo diyan dahil kalaban namin yan - anak ng Mayor, anak ng Barangay Captain, di mo naman pwedeng kalabanin iyan.’ So ginawanamin, hindimaaaringtumakboang pang SK kung mayroong elected official doonsa constituency nayun. Halimbawa, Barangay Captain, hindi pwede, mayor ng bayan na yun, hindi pwede, governor ng probinsya, hindi rin pwede. So that is the pinaka mabagsik na Anti-Dynasty Law that has a…
LCV: Do you think that’s just the start? Do you intend to make the law more strict?
BBM: Well that is only for the SK.
LCV: So do you see yourself applying the same law, for example, in Congress where fully more than three-fourths of the Congress may belong to that?
BBM: We know the realities in Congress and I think somebody made the calculation about how many people - individuals would be precluded from running in office if none of these relatives…
LCV: Mauubos sila.
BBM: Mauubos talaga sila. So I suppose it’s not surprising that they haven’t really supported it.
MA: We have 2 questions from our netizens and then one more from Bloomberg.
MA: From the netizens, what if manalo si Duterte as President, ikaw naman as VP? May balita kasi na handang mag declare ng Martial Law si Duterte. Kung hindi magkasundo yung Malacañang at Kongreso, are you willing to support him if that happens?
BBM: Depends on the reason for doing it. If there is a war, you have to declare Martial Law. Kapag ginera tayo, kapag may nangyari, kailangan. That’s really what we would have to run to.
LCV: Kunwari drug lord. Galit kasi si Duterte sa mga drug lord eh. So kunwari nakita niya na aba, talagang matindi ‘tong mga sindikatong ito ah. Mag ma-Martial Law na ako. Will you support?
BBM: Palagay ko, kung tatanungin niyo sa akin, sapat ang batas. Hindi kailangang mag-Martial Law. Sapat ang batas, kailanga nlang ng implementasyon ng batas. Ang isang natutunan ko sa panahon ko sa House of Representatives at tsaka sa Senado, kumpleto naman tayo sa batas. Ang problema natin, implementasyon. Kaya gusto kong bumalik sa Executive dahil i-implement natin nang mabuti yung magagandang batas na naisulat na sa ngayon ay hindi naman inimplement.
NETIZENS: Last one, Senator. Ano po ang reaksyon niyo sa pag veto ni President Noynoy sa SSS Pension Hike?
BBM: Well siyempre, nakakalungkot yun dahil hindi ko talaga nauunawaan. Yung SSS, hindi nanaman natuloy. Yung Standardization Law. I was in the Senate the other day. Mukhang hindi nagkasundo na naman sa Bicam ang House at ang Senado. So yung pension, yung SSS, lahat iyan, ay nakakapagtaka na hindi man lang napagbigyan dahil malaki nga ang matutulong nito. Halimbawa, yung sa SSS…
LCV: Malulugi raw yung sa SSS.
BBM: Malulugi kasi hindi magandaang patakbo ng SSS. Kung ang koleksyon mo sa SSS, 35 percent, talagang kahit na anong programa, hindi mo kayang suportahan. Kailangan ayusin nila yung patakbo diyan. Noon naman hindi ganyan eh. Seventy (70) plus percent ang koleksyon niyan noon eh kaya’t yung mga ganyang klaseng pagdagdag na dalawang (2) libo, kakayanin nila. Their investments have not been doing very well. The money has not been doing a good job. If they were doing a better job, they would easily be able to give that money to the retirees or pensioners. The other thing that you have to remember, ngayon ko lang nakita na ginagalaw ng gobyerno ang SSS. Hindi pera ng gobyerno yan. Hindi yanpera ng gobyerno. Yang SSS, ibinayad iyan pang insurance para sa mga nagtatrabaho. Pag retire nila, mayroon silang makukuha. So you know, it should be…
LCV: What do you mean ginagalaw? Paanong ginagalaw?
BBM: Because now, they’re deciding how much to give. These are not money of the government.
LCV: Yes, I know. But where do they use the money? Because they invest it, that’s for sure.
BBM: They invest it because it’s like any retirement fund.
LCV: Yes, that’s right. So when you say ginagalaw pala ng gobyerno, saan nila ginagamit?
BBM: Ay hindi ko alam. Bakit nagkaka-ganyan yung management nila and why now is the government veto-ing what is an effort that comes from the people whose money it is. Pera namin - ako, nagtrabaho ako na ng buong buhay ko. Naka-ipon ako sa SSS. O, sinasabi ko, dagdagan niyo yung pagbigay sa amin doon sa pera na inipon ko, nilagay ko dun sa pondo ninyo. And the government will say no, you can’t do that. But that’s my money.
LCV: But did you look into it when you were studying the Bill? Didn’t you see, yun nga yung sinasabi. Wala bang nakakita na malulugi ito by 2027 if we proceed with this 2000?
BBM: I don’t think so. I disagree. Again, if the management of the SSS did a better job in terms of collections, if they did a better job in terms of investments, they could afford it. Kalimutan na mun anatin yung investments dahil you know, that’s something that changes. Collection na lang. That’s 35 percent. No organization that only collect 35 percent of its receivables is ever going to succeed. Ask any businessmen. Yung utang sayo, 35 percent langy ung nakokolekta mo, eh wala talagang mangyayari sa organization mo. Malulug italaga iyan eventually.
MA: From Bloomberg, sir.
Bloomberg Philippines: Good afternoon, Senator. Senator, coming from the issue on addressing the corruption, you mentioned you were unhappy about how the Aquino administration handled corruption by selective justice. The Transparency International just released their corruption perception index wherein we slipped down again from the rankings. How would you handle this differently? For example, you support the call for death penalty as penalty for plunder.
BBM: Again, I don’t think that’s the solution. The solution is that anyone who is found to be involved in any kind of corrupt practices should be investigated in cases filed against him, and if the investigation worked, then the results of investigation worked, but it should not have the political color. If you’re from my political party, we will not try you. If you’re from the political. If you’re my kalaban, then we will come after you. And even if you didn’t do anything wrong, we will invent something so that we can make a case against you and unfortunately, we are beginning to sense that this is what’s happening.
Bloomberg Philippines: So Senator, you’re saying that it should be without political colors, so would that be for example, the current cases of the PCCG against the Marcoses, for example. Would you allow that to continue even if you’re in office already?
BBM: Any anti-corruption drive is necessary. Corruption is a corrosive element not only in government but in all of society, in all of our economy. There’s corruption even in the private sector. All of that is undesirable. It has an enormously very bad effect on any kind of economic activity, on any kind of governance. So anything that you can do to improve it, you must do. And it’s not something that we will ever achieve a hundred percent success but it is something that we have to try to achieve. We have to always work towards the ideal, and that is something that we are not doing. We are using...it seems to be the anti-corruption drive is being used for other purposes rather than to find, for political purposes for that matter, rather than to find those who really have been found to be stealing from the government.
LCV: Sir, stand lang on certain issues: CCT, will you continue with that?
BBM: I think we should. I think the phrase that people use is level:up. So imbes na yung CCT lang is ganun, make it cash for work, cash for studies, cash for building, cash for, you know, involved..’
LCV: This is in effect, cash for school.
BBM: For school. No, so gawin natin.
LCV: Ah, so dadagdagan pa?.
MA: Cash pa more.’
LCV: But isn’t that giving fish of..
BBM: Exactly, other activities. What we want to avoid is a direct transfer payment. Again, that has been shown in study after study, over maybe the last hundred years, not to be effective. You just give money. Then you have a welfare state where people don’t work, they just wait for their hand-out every week.
LCV: But the CCT as it is now, ok kadoon?
BM: I think, we have to, as I said, since we’re spending so much of money on it and unfortunately, the poverty level doesn’t seem to have improved, the literacy level has not improved, mortality levels have not...
LCV: Nag-improve naman daw. Marami na daw ngayon ang less out-of-school…
BBM: Considering that we’re spending in the last year 65 billion, we would like to have a bigger effect and I think the way to do it is to level-up and involve it in more, more, benefits- cash for study, cash for work, cash for investment, whatever. Basta damihan na natin. Damihan na natin.
LCV: What about your father’s burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani? Is that something you will push?
BBM: Well, the position of the family just has not changed from the very start. It is his right as a soldier, a decorated soldier and a veteran to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. It is his right as a president, the longest serving president, to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. So we feel that this is his right. Circumstances…we’ll see if we will continue to hold that position, I don’t see ourselves changing. But you know, we, of course, take note of the situation: political and otherwise, so we’ll see. We’ll see where it will take us.
LCV: Gloria. PGMA arrest. What is your stand on that? Moving forward. Are you willing to give her the bail?
BBM: Hindi ba sinabi na sa UN na it is a human rights violation? The way that she’s being detained? So I think we should understand that. We should say that we recognize that. I do believe, I was not an ally of GMA in her time as president. But I think this is already a cruel and unusual punishment. Lahat ng kasama niya sa kaso, hindi lamang hindi na nakakulong, kung hind itapos na yung kaso, na-acquit na, siya na lang ang naiwan. So I don’t know if this is a legal, if this is something that again, may bahid ng pulitika. Hindi naman siya tatakas eh. What are we worried about? She is not going to escape. She is not going to run anyway. She is not well. So what is the harm, I do not see the harm in her going home.
ET: So I have three more questions sir and we need your reactions, a quick one. First is what can you, say, in your case, about this phrase ‘’Like father, like son.’’? Are you like your father?
BBM: I realized before that it’s hard to answer because I don’t really, I can’t make the comparison from as myself. Well, physically, people say that I have the same voice, the same mannerisms. So in that regard, yes. But beyond that…it’s funny because when I was younger, everybody said I look like my mother. As I grew older, people, normal people say that I look like my father. I don’t know how that happened. Maybe it’s the hair?
MA: Baka fake kayo sir. Baka nga fake kayo?
BBM: Baka nga. Baka dinadaan lang sa plastic surgery.
ET: So yung kaso ni Corona, Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy, Bong Revilla, so kanina sinasabi mo na this administration is only looking into one way, ika nga.
LCV: Selective justice.
ET: Selective. So do you believe na itong mga ito or mayroon ba kayong doubts na yung mga cases na sinampa laban sa mga ito ay medyo kwestyonable? Kela Corona, Enrile, Jinggoy, lahat ng sumabit sa PDAF?
BBM: Hindi mo maiwasan na maisip yun eh. Dahil kung titingnan niyo yung mga nabanggit mo, sila Chief Justice Corona, Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, Senator Revilla, Senator Estrada-Jinggoy, lahat sila sa oposisyon. They are declared opposition by this administration. So parang ganun na lahat ng nangyayari. Marami namang mga pangyayari na nakikita natin, pino proteksyunan naman yung mga kaalyado, so it’s very hard not to come to that conclusion.
ET: So how do you feel that you, your mom, your sisters, everyday, nakikita niyo na your father, hindi pa mailibing-libing sa Libingan ng mga Bayani nanabanggit niyo narin kanina. How painful is it seeing your dad, just there, na hindi ibinibigay sakanya yung rightful place sa Libingan ng mga Bayani because nakipag laban siya. Sa Libingan ng mga Bayani, may mga sarhento, mga corporal, mga namataysa Death March, but then again, may decent burial. Pero itong tao na ito, naging pangulo ng republika na naging hero din naman… how do you feel every day that passes by na hindi na ilalagay sahimlayan ang iyong ama?
BBM: Siyempre, bilang isang anak nakakalungkot ‘yon. At hindi mo talaga maiiwasan na malungkot na ganoon yung naging pangyayari, na pati ba naman ‘yon ay sinasama dito sa pulitika na wala naman na sa lugar dahil ito ay na sa ating kultura at ating tradisyon nakinikilala ang mga lider natin, that’s one. Syempre malungkot, but you know we live in the real world, we just have to deal with it.
MA: So we have one more question and then we will wrap up our happy hour.
Interviewer: So I just wanted to check, do you think the legacy of your father, whatever it may be...
BBM: Whatever be.
Interviewer: Whatever your dad’s legacy is, do you think it’s helping or hurting your current campaign?
BBM: Helping, helping, helping.
Interviewer: How so?
BBM: How so? I go at somewhere and they say na because your father did this, we’re still nakikinabang. Because of the bahay at lupa na ibinigay niyo sa amin, hindi na kami iskwater, hanggang ngayon doon kami nakatira. Everywhere I go. I’ve been to Isabela, because of the dam, hanggang ngayon ang ganda ng ani namin. Everywhere I go, so yes, it’s really helping. And I even hear things like hindi kon apa salamatan yung tatay mo, ikaw na lang yung papasalamatan ko.
LCV: Do you think, if you win, that’s going to be a vindication?
BBM: I don’t know about vindication, I don’t think people will always talk about that...
LCV: It’s a nice word.
BBM: You know why I have tough time with it? Because my father, he is his true record. Not the record that his enemies would like to put forward but his real record is his real record. Whatever I do will not change that record. So if I’m a very, very, very good senator, for example, and he was not a good president, he will still not be a good president. But if I’m a very very bad senator, then he is a good president, he is still a good president. So my father does not need me to vindicate his record. His record stands forwhat it is and people should judge it for what it is. But let’s look for the real record. Not the propaganda record. Not the political, not the record put forward by his political opponents. But what really happened. Numbers: let’s look at the numbers. How was the life back then? Let’s look at the economic indicators at that time that he was still the president, and the economic indicators now. Those were quantifiable measures.
EL: So are you referring to the economic data when he assumed power or when he left?
BBM: During. It’s really during. The things improved, did they get worse? Did they get better? Did they improve? There are several measures that are objective measures that we can use.
MA: Thank you so much, Senator Bongbong Marcos.
LCV: Thank you Senator.
BBM: Thank you so much for the very happy hour.