Interview with Cong. Teddy Locsin, Cong. Boying Remulla, Atty. Dodo Dulay, Mr. Ed Javier of DZRH for the program Executive Session

Q: Mayroon po tayong live studio guest. Walang iba kung hindi ang ating vice-presidential candidate, si Senator Bongbong Marcos. Good morning Senator Bongbong.

SBBM: Good morning. Good morning sa inyong lahat.

Q: Senator, medyo babatuhan ko na kayo ng tanong dito kasi parang kayo yata ang paborito talaga ni Pnoy. Sinasabi niya na dapat daw basahin niyo daw yata iyung, hindi naman niya sinabi iyung pangalan niyo pero wala namang iba iyun kung hindi kayo. Dapat daw yata basahin niyo iyung kanyang librong, The Aquino Legacy. Para daw malaman ninyo kung ano daw iyung dapat ninyong ipag-apologize. Anong masasabi niyo Senator Bongbong?

SBBM: Edi basahin ko iyugn libro niya. Para aking maunawaan kung ano ba talaga ang kanyang tinutukoy. Again, yes tama ka. Iyung pagkasabi mo, ako ang paborito these days. I don’t know why. Para naman ang atensyon ay binibigay kaya flattering actually in a way. Dahil ang atensyon na binibigay sa akin para akong presidential candidate.

Q: Ganito Senator Bong. Mabaliktad naman kasi lagi ikaw ang laging pinapatudsadahan na dapat kang mag-apologize. From your point of view, should Pnoy also apologize for something?

SBBM: Maybe kung talagang tapat siya na mayroon siyang pagkukulang o pagkakamali bilang pangulo, then he should apologize to those things. All of these things are fine. These are good for discussion and all that. But I think what people are looking for are not about these issues. People are looking for answers to: why is the drug problem in our country getting so bad? Why are prices of commodities so high? Why can’t I get a job? Why are the people in poverty maintains? You’re spending billions and billions and billions, nothing changes. Why is the K to 12 not being implemented properly? Why is there no agricultural policy in this country? These are the questions that people ask. Anong mangyayari sa amin?

Q: Why Bongbong is the Philippines, which was the strongest military power in South East Asia in your father’s time, widely and universally regarded as the weakest country in the world? And why has it happened that recently that what has never happened in Philippine history has begun to happen now that we are losing territory to another country? This never happened before but this is happening now. Can we be enlightened?

Q: On that issue, can this fight over the South China Sea, where the United States is only interested in freedom of navigation and we have no navigation whatsoever. How would you approach that problem? Should we take the side of the United States against China or should we stay in another course? Do you believe in bilateral talks, or in this what I think is useless, going to …

SBBM: Well no. First of all the American interest are clear. They just want to have forward bases here in the pacific and the West Philippine Sea, in the South China Sea. That is their interest. Now, we should not take the American side neither should we take the Chinese side. We should take the Philippines’ side. As most due political problems are, this is a very delicate situation. There are very widely interests and agendas at hand. Kailangan natin laging maalala, ano iyung pinaka maganda para sa Pilipinas? Ngayon, naiipit tayo sa gitna ng dalawang dambuhalang militar. Iyun na ngang napag-usapan natin, iyun ngang military, isang medyo manginig lang iyung isa diyan, madudurog na tayo. Kaya’t kailangan maingat na maingat tayo at isipin natin anong maaari natin gawin para hindi naman tayo masaktan. That’s why I think, we look at the example of Indonesia. They have the same conflicts with China that we have. But they are slowing working them through. Malapit na they will come to some kind of bilateral agreement. The conflict is between the Chinese and the Philippines. This will not be resolved unless China and the Philippines come to an agreement. We cannot come to an agreement if we are not talking to them. Papaano naman?

Q: What about the approach now which is to talk to Chinese the …

SBBM: But the Chinese are not present. We are arguing against no one. We are there in court, arguing against no one. We are misstating our case. I think in that regard, it’s important. We state our case. We say bakit tayo nagagalit, bakit ayaw natin iyung nangyayari. Sabihin natin iyung mga dahilan natin. That’s not a bad forum to do it. But if you will not come to a resolution, kung iyung kabilang party is not, hindi kasama doon sa usapan. So China will continue to do what it wants. You see, maybe it has done some good. You know why? What people haven’t noticed is for the first time in this entire episode between China and the Philippines, ngayon lang natin narinig ang Chinese Ambassador na angsabi, we are open to bilateral talks on the basis of International Law. Before, sinasabi nila 9 dash 9 lang, that’s it. tayo ang nagsasabi, no. Dapat iyung usapan diyan ay ang pinagbabasihin ay UNCLOS, which is the UN Chartered Law Of the Sea. So for the first time, the Chinese have agreed to have bilateral talks on the basis of our conditions and that is under the basis of the International Law. I do not know why we have not taken advantage of this.

Q: Dapat pagsamantalahan na, na ito na iyung pagkakataon na kung doon sa kinaso natin sa Tsina, siguro dapat mayroon din kumbaga, back door negotiation.

Q: Seriously, we have to give minor credit for this. He played hard ball with the Chinese using the American ball which the Americans did not even give him, but he played it. Now the Chinese President says, I want to come back to the Philippines. I guess to talk. I have to give that to …

SBBM: They have never left the table. We started this. We started this confrontational policy towards China. Maybe it was necessary, maybe not. Maybe it’s successful, maybe not. But we started this. Now, let’s end it. How do we end this? Ano ba talaga gusto natin? Have we ever told the Chinese what we want? Do we know what we want? Is there in fact a foreign policy that we are following? We are saying, no ang habol namin ay ganito, ganito. Umpisahan natin simpleng-simple lang. Mga fishermen. Since timely memorial, Chinese and Filipino fishermen would meet up in the middle of the sea, they would have a meal together, they would drink together, and the go back to fish together and there was never a problem until now. So, let’s start with that.

Q: But wait. It happened in the Senate. The biggest threat for Philippine fishery from the law proposed by the Philippine Senate to give the authority of our fishing to the local officials who are now shaking down fishermen. Who is the bigger threat? China or our local government officials on the coast?

SBBM: That is also, although it is an attended issue, I think on the foreign policy front, I really think that you have to deal with China. Kasi kawawa naman iyung ating mga mangingisda. Pabayaan naman natin sila na makapaghanap-buhay man lang. As a small baby step, as a small step we can talk to China. Pag-usapan muna natin iyung mga fishermen namin.

Q: Okay you’re independent stance here reminds people that Inquirer will bring it up again. Reminds me of the Marcoses, who in the confrontation between China and the United States, Ferdinand Marcos decided to go to Beijing.

SBBM: Yes. That was when nagalit iyung mga Amerikano sa father ko noon. Pero kahit papaano naman we want to be a good neighbor. I turn on my radio in Ilocos Norte. What I hear are Chinese stations. I don’t here Ilocano. Maybe 3 Ilocano stations and 5 Chinese stations. Ganoon sila kalapit. On a good day, you can see their ships coming in from China. It is an enormous economy with an enormously very quickly grown military. So why will you confront them on that basis? Hindi ba the best thing that we can do is to settle this problem in South China Sea? And find some ways to engage the Chinese that are not about the West Philippine South China Sea, but is about trade, about exchanges, about inter-governmental relations, about private sector relations. That’s why when I say I’m for bilateral talks with the Chinese, but I’m also for every other possible contact with the Chinese. When I remember, the first contact we made with the Chinese was highly informal. It was nothing something that the DFA sent a letter to when I was foreign minister at that time, saying we would like to come. It wasn’t like that at all. It was from Chinese businessmen when you knew somebody who might now somebody.

Q: Bongbong, it was my father.

SBM: Exactly.

Q: My father is a critic of your father. Yet at that time, 1967, Vietnam War was raging, your father said okay under American we’ll send a presence to Vietnam, but it will not be combat. Still, the Chinese said it’s a presence. At that time, we had a rice shortage. The only who controlled the private business. My father went to China. They talked informally.

SBBM: Your father and my father had a very interesting relationship. As far as I can remember, they have a great respect for each other. No matter what your father wrote na against, criticizing or taking my father to task, he would still regard him and would still discuss important issues.

Q: His dad offered my dad to be defense secretary after my dad’s successful defense … My dad said to your dad, you want me to be defense secretary, number one I cannot march because I have gout. Number two, I will be signing the warrants of arrest of your enemies.

SBBM: These are two clever people.

Q: Pero maiba lang po ako Senator Bong dahil ito nagkaroon lang tayo ng APEC. Nakakatwa po dahil iyung pong pinaka lugar na pinagdausan noong APEC na pinagyabang natin ng ilang taon sinasabi natin, ito po ay ginawa doon sa gusali na ipinatayo noong panahon ng inyong ama. Ano pong masasabi ninyo?

SBBM: Edi syempre very proud kami na mayroon tayong naitayo. Mayroon tayong kagay ng PICC na puede natin ipagmalaki. Kahit isipin ninyo, 21 heads of states, lahat ng buong mundo, lahat ng mata ng buong mundo, na sa atin. Ang ganda ng patakbo noong APEC, hindi nagka problema. No security threat with all that what is happening in Paris. With all that was happening in … Hindi naman tayo naapektuhan. Mayroon din tayong presence dito. Ako, I’m go Philippines! Time to Shine. That was really my approach to it.

Q: Nalimutan ko. Sinong arkitekto ba ng PICC? Pero bago iyan Senator Bong, kailangan po tayong kumita muna po, kaya medyo magbebreak po muna tayo. At ang oras po namin ay alas nueve kwarenta nuebe ng umaga.

SBBM: Malakas ka dito sa Mindanao. Malakas ka sa Cebuano speaking area. Sana makuha ko iyung endorsement mo. So, sabi ko we well help etcetera, etcetera. So sabi ko,sa basis nag pag-uusap namin. Noong nag-announce siya, nagbago lahat. Everything changed.

Q: How is Miriam doing now?

SBBM: She’s seems fine. The last time, she came to the Senate. She sponsored the EDCA Resolution. The resolution that stated the strong sense of the Senate that EDCA is in fact is (achieved?) and should be ratified by the Senate. She made her arguments and she had discussions.

Q: Is she campaigning with you?

SBBM: Not with me as of now because we decided that we would do that probably later on. At the moment, I think she’s doing the college circuit, doing the college tour. She’s very strong there and she says she will work very hard on social media where she is also very strong.

Q: But iyun nga Senator Bong, doon lang medyo nalilito lang ng kaunti iyung mga kababayan natin kung ano ba talagang status noong tandem niyo ni Senator Miriam because ano ba iyan, loose coalition or that you are trying to team up with Mayor Duterte?

SBBM: Hindi. Iyun na nga. By her own definition, it is a loose coalition. I think that is more a product of the way politics has evolved. Kasi ibang-iba itong eleksyon na ito. Iyung party, iyung machinery, parang nabawasan ng husto. Lalo na when I go out to the different localities, pag kinakausap ko iyung mga local officials, kani-kanila talaga. Walang sumusunod na isang buong linya. Very, very rare na makakita ka na halimbawa isang bayan, sasabihin, kaming lahat straight kami- mula mayor hanggang sa konsehal, ay kami lahat ay whataver, itong patido, ito iyung presidente namin, ito iyung bise. Lahat namimili. Pati senador, ganoon. Patawid-tawid sa iba’t-ibang partido. So, that’s a context that we’re trying to put together some kind of campaign. Nakakabago nga ito. In fact, if you look at the senatorial candidates, there is no senatorial line-up that is exclusive to any party. Ibig sabihin, lahat ng partido, may senatorial candidate na nanaggaling sa ibang partido. Either inampon. Iyun ang guest candidate or whatever you want to call it.

Q: Iyung mga senatorial candidates, parang mga GRO. Walang reservation iyan. Available to anyone. On call. There’s nothing wrong that. No, but seriously. Bong when you ran, the election became not the 2016 election only, but in 2022. I think you’re the only, in fact I know you’re the only vice-presidential candidate that has put on issue who will be president in 2022. Because all the others look like, okay mananalo so big deal.

SBBM: Maybe the moment will come, hindi ba? Ang mayroon ngayon, sa tamang panahon. So, we will see what happens but that’s a long way off.

Q: That’s true. It’s a long way off but the way people see it is 2016 elections resolves in a failure again of leadership. We have something to look forward to or not in 2022. That’s really how they look at it.

SBBM: Well maybe. But I’m focusing on my energies and efforts on the 2016 election. National election requires your complete attention and cannot ourselves to be distracted. Iniisip mo what will happen in 12 years from now.

Q: I’m not asking you to concentrate on 2022 but that’s something to see as the fail-safe mechanism. After 6 years are wasted again, clear chance.

Q: At least may aayusin si Sir Bongbong after 6 years.

SBBM: It’s flattering and I thank everyone for such support. Again, talagang marami pang gagawin. There’s a lot to do for the next elections. We’ll concentrate on that for now.

Q: Sir Bongbong basahin muna natin iyung mga texts para kay Sir Bongbong. Ang dami na dito. Umuulan na dito. Sabi ni 7394, sa labanan ng VP, pinakbet Bongbong versus bicol express! Bongbong padin. Galing kay 015, Marcos padin. Galing naman kay 0523, Senator Bongbong good morning. Kung loloobin ng pagkakataon na ikaw ay mahalal na ikalawang pangulo, ano po ang nais ninyong hawakang ahensya o departamento ng ating gobyerno at bakit? Kasi ‘di ba ang vice-president, tradition ‘di binibigyan ng position sa cabinet?

SBBM: If given the choice, pag tinitignan ko ang problema ng bansa, trabaho ang isang pinaka malaking problema. Job generation. DOLE would be a very satisfying route. Hindi lamang sa job generation, kung hindi sa protection ng ating laborers and workers pati na sa pagtulong sa ating OFWs. We are always saying how they are the new heroes, sila ang mga bagong bayani tapos we treat them so shabbily in many ways. Never mind this laglag bala, many, many, many other ways- in the recruitment process, in the training process, kung ano-ano. Kailangan talaga nila ng proteksyon natin. So, I think that there’s a lot that can be done. We think the we have to re-think the role of DOLE and remind ourselves that 90% of employees are in the private sector. That’s why we should see the government as a support para doon. Para ihanda an gating mga work force para naman makapasok sa magandang trabaho.

Q: Kayo lang ata Senator Bong ang unang-una na kandidato at magiging vice-president na pumili ng departamento na napakahirap ang…

SBBM: Isa pa iyun. Hindi siguro ipaglalaban ang mali. Maraming gagawin ang DOLE. We’re talking about the labor forcé here. Kung hindi naman DOLE ay you know of course tayo lahat we go through this agony every day. Travelling around Metro Manila we see that there are problems with our airports, with our ports. I don’t really think that the problems are that impossible to solve. I do not understand why we haven’t done much more. So DOTC might also be.

Q: Given the fact that you want labor, the portfolio of labor, what do you think of the issue or what is your stand on the issue of contractualization?

SBBM: That precisely is one of the main issues because despite that the law is very clear that this is not allowed. There have been many cases brought to court and the courts have always ruled the favor of labor against management. But unfortunately, DOLE still continues to allow this to happen. It is contrary to law and it is very much against the interest of our workers. So, dapat iyan ang unang-unang baguhin natin. The latest version of it is that they have outsourced their human resources department so that the big employers can say we are not their actual employers. Their employers are those outsourced HR departments. Contractualization ang sinasabi. Hindi namin empleyado iyan. Empleyado iyan ng isang kumpanya iyan, kung sino ang naghire, which is also not allowed.

Q: Senator, vice-president, mayroong isang taipan na nagsabi, kapag pinakielaman ng gobyerno iyung sistema ng mga contractualization sa mga mall, pati sa mga sinasabing big employers sa Pilipinas, sasaraduhan na raw lahat ito. Ano tingin mo rito?

SBBM: Well, we have to protect our people. The government does not work for any single corporation. The government works for the interest of the entire populous. It is shrined in law that this protection should be provided to our employees. I cannot see how it can be beneficial to the economy. It is certainly not beneficial to our workers. Again, it is something that is contrary to law. Yet, our DOLE is continuing to allow to happen. This is something that it cannot continue. Kawawa naman masyado ang ating mga workers.

Q: Sabi nga ni Warren Buffet, the only way to get even richer in this world is to make sure your employees are well paid and have regular jobs.

Q: Hindi nabasa ng mga employers sa Pilipinas iyun. Pero bago natin ituloy iyan, Senator Bongbong pasensya na pero kailangan muna namin kumita. Magbebreak po muna tayo. Ang oras natin alas nuebe bente otso ng umaga. 

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