Press Release
February 20, 2020

Win transcript Pandesal Forum

Philippine High School for Sports (PHSS)

SEN WIN: Noong Nakita natin yung SEA games last year, mayaman, mahirap, kung ano man estado sa buhay nag sama sama tayo supporting our country and our athletes so that's what we want to bring to our country.

Q: Are we going to be good in Tokyo Olympics?

SEN WIN: We're joining, we're hoping for the best of course the challenge is really high, we're hoping for the best because Nakita ko in the last 30 years, 4 lang na medals yung napanalunan natin sa Olympics. - No Gold in the last years so this is a big challenge to us, we want to be very competitive, so ang mandato ngayon ng Philippine high School for Sports at an early age te-train na natin siya para maging siya at magkaroon tayo ng mas maganda tsansa magkaroon ng medals in the Olympics.

Q: This is Junior High School and Senior--

SEN WIN: Hindi siya grade school--

Q: There is a documentary in China, they get grade 1 students and they look at the physical if they could be basketball or gymnastics or something--

SEN WIN: Definitely, this is only the beginning but yung other government institutions natin, Philippine Sporting Commission, PSC will still do their job in scouting at an early age, so meron tayong palarong Pambansa, meron tayong scouting provinces earlier dadalhin na dito sa High School for Sports.

Power outages

Q: Power, some companies are worried that were not prepared for the hot summer what is your assessment of the power situation of the Philippines and we heard there will be rotating brownouts already?

SEN WIN: I'll wear my other hat naman as Chairman of the Energy Committee, right now sufficient ang supply ng kureynte natin until summer season, until May, ibig-sabihin meron tayong reserves. Ang nagiging problema, kung nagkakaroon ng mga breakdown yung mga planta. If you recall last year, almost pitong planta yung sabay-sabay na nag breakdown. So ang challenge ngayon is to make sure that the plants run smoothly all the way to summer because by summer nag pe-peak yung demand and dahil lahat gumagamit ng aircon, demand goes up as high as 20 to 30%. So we have to make sure that plants will not fail us during the summer. Right now, we will be conducting another hearing on the power situation for the summer. Pag walang masisirang planta, we have sufficient supply for sure yan but pag may nasirang planta, what are the contingency measures? we want to conduct a hearing. So we want to make sure that we have contingent measures para tuloy-tuloy yung supply ng kuryente natin.

Covid Virus

Q: Covid virus, what are your suggestions to the government to prevent it from coming here? How do we do it and your comments on the lifting of the travel ban for OFWs for certain countries and cities and your suggestions?

SEN WIN: Based on the news report we see, the number of new patients in China is already decreasing, everyday, merong bago, pero the number, the rate, pababa na siya. Experts are saying, by end of this month we will see some normalization, when we say normalization, tuloy-tuloy na yung pababa noong patients with virus.

Q: If that's the case may chance na whole world hopefully will go back to normal?

SEN WIN: The experts are saying, by the end of this month to early March we will see significant decrease to almost zero patients being admitted with Covid-19 virus. In the Philippines, makikita natin sa ating bansa na yung PUI bumababa na rin yung bilang. So in other words, we contained the spread of the virus and at the same time we have managed to treat the virus. So yung mga tao under PUI, lumalabas sila at naco-contain natin yung pagdami.

Q: So how do you assess PRRD and DOH measures in these past few weeks about this issue?

SEN WIN: I've said this many times this is a type of potential epidemic and potential pandemic that should relayed to the experts, we're not doctors eh, we have to rely on the experts and DOH, being the experts, should have conducted early assessment of the disease. In fact ang aking assessment, masyado na tayo naging late noong nag-impose tayo ng travel ban because we have to first cut off the potential sources of the virus and masyado na tayong late when the DOH recommended the travel ban dapat earlier pa dahil ang Philippines marami tayong, not only tourists but also our OFWs and we have to make sure that the spread of the virus will not come to our shores dahil pag pumasok dito yan, mas mahirap ang tracking. If you remember in the Senate hearing, to track one plane load of people which is almost 200 passengers, it will take us weeks, one plane load lang yan. So kung maraming maa-affect ng virus, ibig-sabihin marami tayong itra-track, mas mahirap i-track yan. So the initial goal should have been prevention, wag pumasok yan sa ating bansa. That's why we need medical experts to recommend and to be proactive din.

In this case my assessment is, we were a little late in terms of imposing a travel ban and the DOH should have recommended the President that we should already impose travel ban so that we could've cut off the potential carrier of the virus earlier on.

Moving forward, nakikita rin natin na itong mga ganitong virus nagiging madalas sa buong mundo, we have SARS, we have MERs we have H1N1 and now we have Covid. We need to put up a facility na mag-aaral neto at meron nang ready, set process kung mangayari ito. We need to put up a center for disease and preventionóI plan to file a bill on that, meron tayong RIPM, Reasearch for Tropical medicines but wala pa tayong facility, wala pa tayong group that handles disease prevention. Moving forward, since madalas nangyayari ito, we need to have a facility na merong specialization to treat infectious disease, may process na sila para mabilis ang pag responde. I think we have to be proactive in this sense.

ABS-CBN franchise

Q: ABS-CBN franchise? With all the legalities of the Gag order, how do you see this?

SEN WIN: The OSG cannot prevent the Senate from conducting hearings in aid of legislation. So we need to conduct a hearing and on Monday magkakaroon tayo ng hearing nun. Dito natin paguuspan number one, meron bang violation sa franchise? Number two, kung yung mga allegations are with basis. We have to remember na ang Kongreso ang nagbigay ng franchise and a franchise is a privilege that the people of the Philippines gave to the operator and were not only talking about ABS but all the franchisees; utilities, NGCP, MERALCO, GMA-7, lahat to may franchise na binigbigay ng taong bayan. Ngayon, doon sa franchise merong nakasulat doon, mga obligations, ngayon trabaho ng Kongreso at Senado na tignan kung yung obligation nagampanan o hindi. Trabaho din ng Kongreso at Senado tignan kung may violation doon sa franchise. So that will happen on Monday, I will be there, a lot of the Senators will be there, were also interested whether the obligations under franchise are being fulfilled and or being violated. Importante na makita natin yan so that we will have a full-view kung ano ba yung situation right now.

Q: Sir, in relation to the ABS-CBN issue we know from the Senator sino-sino po ang iimbitahan, are you going to invite the Lopez? Who will be invited to talk?

SEN WIN: As a general rule, everyone is invited to shed light to the franchise. Lahat, kung ikaw ay merong information tungkol lets say sa violations of the franchise o hindi man na-vioalate yung franchise pwede kang imbitahan doon. So right now wala pang guest list na lumalabas but definitely yung mga taong pwede magbigay linaw tungkol sa prangkisa ng ABS maiimbitahan. NTC ang maiimbitihan diyan, NTC because they are the one regulating the franchise.

Q: What will be the focus of the hearing?

SEN WIN: The focus will be number one, obligations of the franchise, meron obligations yan eh yung mga franchise kasi nga privilege yan, binigyan ka ng taong bayan mag-operate, may obligation ka. Number two, there are allegations, for example, foreign ownership, violations of transfers of ownerships, titignan din yan because these are things pertaining to the franchise.

Q: Is there a violation? Parang nauuna ang Senate regarding this matter?

SEN WIN: Wala naman, wala naman prohibition kung sino mauuna. There is nothing in the rule or in the law, 'o mauna kayo or mauna kami', walang ganun. In fact may times na nagkakasabay pa nga eh. So if you remember yung Covid virus nagkasabay yun. Prerogative na yun ng Senado o ng Kongreso but typically meron tayong inter-parliament courtesy kung mauna ka, hindi na ginagawa ng isa.

NGCP

Q: You mentioned franchise of companies, NGCP, what is the status?

SEN WIN: Ang NGCP, operator yan ng transmission line natin at isa lang yan from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. It delivers electricity to all our homes. So mahalaga yang infrastructure na yan. So just like ABS-CBN, NGCP was given a franchise to operate and in that franchise may obligation. Ngayon gusto ko lang bigyan diin na yung transmission line, importante yan at may national security issue kasi kung pinatay ang ating transmission lines, lahat tayo walang kuryente. So under the franchise, mahigpit na sinabi doon na dapat compliant siya o dapat sumusunod siya constitution natin when it comes to ownership and when it comes to management so doon sa hearing lumalabas na in the past may mga foreigners na nasa management which is not in line with constitution and which is a direct violation of the constitution. That is the initial finding, now we are getting more documents to investigate further.

Q: When is your next hearing?

SEN WIN: We are now collating information so we will have another hearing, one or two weeks from now-- before summer comes so I just want to stress, na itong transmission line mahalga yan, at sa constitution, mahalaga ang isang public utlitiy kaya dapat nasa kamay ng ating mga kababayan, nasa kamay nating lahat yan para masigurado natin na tayo ay may control at tayo ang nag o-ooperate ng imprastruktura na yun. Pinaka mahalaga dito dapat protektado ang sekuridad ang ating bansa.

Q: What is the reaction of NGCP and DOE to your questions?

SEN WIN: We are now urging the DOE to conduct their own audit. Importante kasi may audit, importante ang imprastruktura may check and balance. Sinasabi ng NGCP maganda yung patakbo nila pero wala naman nag che-check kung talagang maganda ang patakbo nila so DOE dapat ang mag check if maganda talaga ang kanilang patakbo. Right now nag babangaan sila, they don't agree that DOE should come and audit, which I don't agree. Government should audit to make sure that our national security is always protected and dito nagkakaroon ng problema. That is why we also want to stress to NGCP that they should allow government, to DOE, to the National Security Council, and even ERC to allow them to inspect and to assure the public. Hindi naman tayo experts, it has to be DOE who has engineers to inspect all of those.

PSALM debt

Q: PSALM 95 million unpaid debts to be passed on to consumers?

SEN WIN: There is no provision in the law na ipapasa pa nila yung utang sa consumers dahil ang whole role ng PSALM is mag benta at mag benta at gamitin yung nalikom nap era para bayaran yung mga utang na natitira.

Q: Ang worry ng apo is kapag natapos na yung kanilang contract by 2026, gobyerno po ang mag-tatakeover, is it possible na papasa nila sa conusmers yung possible rate hikes?

SEN WIN: It's not possible na ipapasa nila sa consumers pero ang mangyayari diyan, iaabsorb ng national government, it will now be part of our national bet, so ang challenge diyan ay makolekta yung binenta nila. Ibig-sabihin kung nagbenta ka dapat siguraduhin mo rin na alam mo na babayaran ka. Having said that, im not very familiar with the details, I know the concept of PSALM dahil ang PSALM ginawa yan noong nag privatize tayo ng mga planta but im not updated with the situation with PSALM right now, titgnan natin.

Murang Kuryente Act

Q: Papano magmumura ang kuryente under your Chairmanship?

SEN WIN: We passed the Murang Kuryente Act, kung titignan natin sa electricity bill natin may Universal Charges doon, yung universal charges doon ay mababawasan na. ang matitipid ng ating mga consumers almost 90 centavos, almost 1 peso per kWh so ibig sabihin kung ikaw ay kumukunsumo an average of 200 kWh per month makakatipid ka ng close to 200 pesos in terms of your electricity bill.

Q: when do you plan to see this implemented?

SEN WIN: we're now pushing the DOF to come up with the IRR dahil ang sabi natin itong yung kauna-unahang batas na talagang makakakita ng bawas ng kuryente natin by as much as 1 peso per kWh. So 200 pesos yan sa mga ordinaryong mga consumers. Na approve yan noong December at IRR na ang ginagawa but now pushing the DOF para lumabas na yung IRR at maimplement na. pag titignan natin yung bill natin doon sa Universal Charges, 4 centavos na lang ngayon at mawawala pa yan.

We can only grow as a country if we have cheap electricity, right now were one step below Japan in terms of expensive electricity, second ang Philippines. Kung mas mura ang electricity dito mag e-expand ka, mas marami kang makukuhang employees, our economy will grow. Electricity is important but cheaper electricity is important to grow our economy.

Q: When is the target date?

SEN WIN: We're pushing them to come up with the IRR by February.

VFA

Q: are you optimistic even without VFA we will improve? Some say without it we will become stronger?

SEN WIN: Right now what we need to develop is the ability to fight terrorism, para sakin this is a more realistic danger in our country. Ang Abu Sayyaf andiyan pa rin, ISIS is still alive in the Middle East and looking for a new home in Asia and alam na nila yung ating weaknesses kaya hindi malayo baka maulit ulit yung Marawi sa ating bansa and we need to prevent this, not only curb, kasi ang nangyari sa Marawi kinurb nung andiyan na, we also have to prevent it through intelligence gathering. Mas mura ang intelligence gathering kesa mag bakbakan sa battlefront. In other words we have to develop also our intelligence capability.

Q: Russian ambassador is happy because of the abrogation of the VFA, because even Russia will not be concerned about us, it will make us friends with everyone, do you agree?

SEN WIN: the abrogation of the VFA also gives us good opportunity, if ever ma abrogate ito meron tayong 180 days pa tayo, if ever ma abrogate, it gives us good opportunity to negotiate on fairer terms. Apparently there are terms there that are not fair to us, if ever we move forwar whether its USA or Australia, Japan whoever, then it gives us a good opportunity to renegotiate with fairer terms for our country and use those fairer terms as a basis for other agreements.

Q: Majority of the Filipinos have the fear of the uknown, we are mostly exposed to America that has been with us for many years, we are so afraid of China, Russia, how do you propose can this concept erased from the consciousness of the Filipinos? How can we overcome this?

SEN WIN: My view on global politics, especially geopolitical set-up here in our country is, the Philippines has been quite flexible when it comes to relationships, we've never been an aggressor in that sense and we've been balancing our relationship with many countries and the primary reason for that balance is really purely economic and we cannot claim that we are a rich country yet. We are forging relationships purely to gain economic assistance or gain economic support from different countries, so having said that even when I visited many Philippine embassies all over the world, ang usapan namin is always economic and second OFWs. It's never been about military, it's never been about strengthening military ties, it's purely economic and purely OFW. So having said that, the focus should be on those two aspects but we also have to make sure to cover and protect the Filipino interests in this region. It's a very difficult question to answer with one answer, it's a balancing act, our country has been playing for a very long time and we should continue that balancing act.

Q: In small measures how can we maintain this balancing act with different super powers?

SEN WIN: What we have to make sure is to put our interest first, meaning what do we gain from relationships and the most basic here is economic gain and trade, can we sell more? Can we get more investments? We should be the first on the agenda because we gain from that. And second, OFWs being a global citizen, we have 10 million OFWs, that is also a very important aspect that we should always maintain in other nations. So these two are very important. We have to balance on the relationships of other countries, for example China, US and Russia, these are countries with very different dynamics their gain and their losses are very different from us. So we have to thread carefully whether we want to participate in their interest but in short our interest should come in first, what we gain as a country, that should be primordial.

POGOs

Q: Shutdown the POGOs here because its damaging the Chinese economy, money flowing illegally. China had a good operation with Cambodia to shutdown gaming company there, my first question is, what will the Senate to do solve a lot of issues about the POGOs and do you have any advice from the Chinese government to cooperate with Philippines to suspend all the POGOs here?

SEN WIN: I'll divide the question into two fronts, number one is economic and number two is social. In the economic front, there some economic gain in the POGOs because they pay franchise tax to PAGCOR, the Chinese who are working here they eat here, they open their stores here, they go to our hospitals, they use our facilities so there are some trickle effect in terms of economic gain. So how much is that is yet to be quantified but we have to make sure that these operators are also paying the right taxes because we can only take advantage of the economic gain if we pay the right taxes and that's also now a question mark because I know for a fact during one of our hearings that some of the POGO operators are not paying the right taxes. Number two on the social front, indeed we see a lot of issues when it comes to criminality and this is where I am very disturbed, the Chinese syndicates are also coming here with the POGO, the case in point there is the prostitution that is happening, also the kidnapping of fellow Chinese POGO workers and these types of crimes can only be perpetuated by the syndicates. So meaning those syndicates already came here to our shores. In fact, in one of our hearings, there are about 600 fugitives. People with criminal records from China are coming in our shores so there are syndicates operating here. My fear is the syndicates will start with prostitution and then venture into human trafficking and also human trafficking of our fellow Filipino citizens. So to move forward, if China is saying that this is illegal and they will now say these type of businesses has no gain to China, then the country should work together to see to it that these type of business will also not flourish on our shores because if taxes are not being paid and crime is being perpetuated and the host country is saying there is no benefit to us then there is no benefit to anyone.

So my point of the matter, both countries should now talk about this issue and see what is the gain from both, because what we want is for both countries to gain but it seems to me right now the gain is very small but the social concern is getting higher and higher. Incidence of crime are getting higher, incidence of trafficking and prostitution is getting higher. So at the end of the day no one is gaining, the only people who are gaining are the criminal syndicates, the criminal who is operating because they are operate under the radar. So it's about time to review of course people are saying, real estate are going up but these are just temporary short-term gain. In the long-run, what we want is everyone to gain, China gains we gain, the population gains but right now as we speak criminalities are going up and this is not good for our society.

Paris

Q: Is it true you proposed in Paris?

SEN WIN: Fake news, walang proposal at walang engagement it's just one of those katuwaan na pictures lang, alam mo naman ang mga pictures very playful and katuwaan lang.

Q: If you propose will you promise to tell the media?

SEN WIN: It's very hard to hide from the media, in the age of social media mabilis ang social media but definitely light moment, that playful moment we just took pictures, wala pang ganun serious moment.

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