Press Secretary Jess Dureza at FOCAP (July 25 ’08)

Press Secretary Jess Dureza briefed FOCAP about GMA’s SONA days before she delivered it. He was also asked about the ongoing peace process, GMA’s reaction to the low survey ratings, why GMA is unpopular, government’s change of stand on Myanmar (GMA had earlier said she would find it hard to lobby for the Asean charter unless the humanitarian situation in Myanmar improved), and Joey Salceda’s role in the GMA administration, among other things.
Again, these are the raw notes and not meant for publication or quotation because it might contain some factual errors (in numbers, for example, or missing “do” or “not” words). But these would give readers the general drift of Dureza’s take on GMA and her administration. The words in parentheses are questions.

(how often does she dive, proficiency) at every given opportunity where she is she goes diving…maybe she finds more peace and solace down there, among the fish and corals. no sws survey results there (does she hand over power when she does that) she’s within phil territory…
(on security…afp putting out feelers again to npa, any feedback) no change in govt policy, no talks with cpp-npa-ndf. that policy has not changed. any ceasefire arrangement will have to be done through negotiations. no ongoing negotiations. so policy remains the same (feelers being put out) govt is not sending any feelers. we have already a framework to address this. there is mil operation to dismantle armed…soft approach, amnesty. enhanced rebel returnee program that we call a social integration program…to avail of benefits from govt and start reintegrating…social programs on ground, asked lgus to take lead in delivering basic services….some not so ideological but missed opportunities for equity. there’s a whole scope of …for govt and negotiation is not one of them right now.(there maybe concerns of infiltration of sona rallies) always sop whether sona or not to address security concerns and we are confident afp and security forces are adequately addressing this (serious threat) not any that have come to my level. i don’t about the level of the security people (sparrow unit) i’d rather that you ask them, the security sector. (eastern mindanao..it seems that you are losing the war there according to the communists….npa attacks every other day, putting some major projects in danger) we are not losing the war, we’re winning the war. (npa can do anything they want) not true, if you look at the incident, these are sporadic incidents in areas where you have only 3, 4 policemen and cafgus. if you want a propaganda line if i were npa…there’s even consolidation of the forces of govt to address this…(they’re not doing small types of attacks, battalion size type of attacks) have you seen an npa operation with 500…(why send more soldiers to mindanao) movements of troops to augment areas where there is a need. there must be a necessity for it, either preventive or punitive. (pres operating under unfavorable envt) political envt. (econ) econ yes. (why surviving when other former pres did not) because she had in place the basic fundamentals ever since. done reforms at time when unpopular. vat and evat. now she’s getting the payback. while we are now in turbulent times due to global events we cannot mitigate, now the resources to address short and long term. pol envt not of her own doing totally. events that have come across borders but she’s grapping with it and hopefully those who do it negatively will find in due time she’s prepared for this and weather the storm and the ship of state will not sink like the princess of the stars. even her popularity suffers, and it’s not surprising, shes determined, she’s focused, she doesn’t waver. and that’s something we need at times like these. not somebody who will just abandon ship like somebody we know. (how deal with unpopularity) of course everybody wants to be popular, but to her, popularity may take the sides if she knows she’s doing the right thing. okay we’re removing vat from fuel, it’s going to be popular, but she’s steady and holding on because she knows that’s what we need. going to have effects…erode peso dollar rate, international concerns. not just matter of being popular, important matter of…and hold on…it’s not sinking, it gives more adrenalin flow to me. i know it’s going to be a lot of work, came at a time when things are not so well…i think there’s work to be done…gives me more challenge because i know she’s doing well but it’s not being communicated properly. doing a lot of things but the speculation is still different. (how affects her) don’t know because when she’s with us she shows real focus and steadfast adherence to what she’s been doing (affected temper) that’s how she is. she is detailed, she leaves the performance to the members of cabinet but detailed in asking you how you performed. so she manages but she also looks at some details. but she’s a very good…first time to closely work with her on close quarters…and she’s a different person from what she is perceived to be. that’s my personal view…from my heart, i feel that she does not deserve this kind of perception. (in what way different) look at sws surveys, she’s unpopular from findings. if you watch her how she works, you know her focus, advocacies…but not too many get opportunity that i have…she gets seven hours of sleep she told us. it’s energy management…covers time management…she’s prayerful…but not the prayer that you ask…for help but it’s more according to her getting your mind empty and sitting there in solace…she does regular exercises. she’s very careful about her diet, although sometimes she indulges she says. and the right vitamins and supplements…ascorbic acid, some supplements, and the right diet, exercises…(she has early morning mass) she does. 8, 8:30 a.m. not a member of lakas. so i don’t indulge too much in the political side. i’ve been congressman before…npc at the time. ran as independent, when member of house, have to be member of some coalition party…member but not active bec when i left congress in 1995 retired from my political life part of me (possibility of adopting candidate outside party) not competent to talk about it (giving up popularity just to do the right thing…) she’s not really saying…every person would like to be popular, not consciously to throw it away. she does the right thing, but consequence is sometimes she’s perceived to be not popular…(subsidies are moves to be popular) she’s not doing the subsidies to be popular. she’s addressing a need at the moment (not solving the problem long term) you’re the only one saying. we’re not saying this is a long term solution. these are stop gap measures for the moment that we have these challenges brought about by global factors (fundamentals in place in agri) yes. we do not have problem of rice supply…(we’re importing) only 10% of total national need. 90% is produced locally. we are self-sufficient to extent of 90%, working on it hoping that by 2010 we will close the gap..indication that we have food security, even in the temporary glitch that was felt worldwide..we had our own glitch but able to normalize situation. it’s not an issue of supply, issue of price. no supply problem as far as food security is concern. it’s price issue.
(jpepa) don’t know. give me opportunity to inform myself and later on i can give you my take on it. (gma said confident senate will ratify asean charter…general anticipation before forthcoming asean summit in thailand…now phils is more difficult point…think senate will ratify before summit despite strong concern for situation in myanmar) we really hope the senate will ratify it on time but it is within the total competence and prerogative of senate to act on it, one way or other, according to their own pace, their own time. leave entirely to senate. with our good intentions that it can be passed in due time. ratified in due time.
(gma said early on charter would have hard time passed in senate unless humanitarian situation in myanmar would improve) my take there is at some point in time she used it for her advocacy in myanmar. but she cannot sandbag her position. no change of position but transitioning from advocacy of more reforms and moving towards move to ratify. she sees asean as proper forum to move for these reforms that she feels strongly about. you don’t get stuck with advocacies. i see her as advocating for some of these reforms for myanmar at a certain point in time but she has to move on and go to strategic milestone of ratifying it. maybe use of sandbag was not appropriate so let’s remove that. sona is merely a report card of what she has done. and these things are verifiable on the ground. number of roads, amounts, number of kilometers, irrigation, how many of hectares of land planted (acknowledge local govt officials or small children) she has to give credit where credit is due, whether politician or unsung hero somewhere…she will be citing roads and bridges and projects and names. she will be talking about what i’ve told you about, reforms she started early on, how she’s grappling with present challenges brought about by issues, sticking to reform agenda because she knows she’s not doing it pansamantala or for the moment…opening of naia3…think there’s mention of that. at the end of the day it is her that does it…may mga nagko-collate. but you know she tinkers with that computer…that sona is there, she had prepared for it, she even rehearsed, but we know that before she moves from palace going to congress, not sure if she had changed parts at the last moment or not. always work in progress for her. maybe details..it has been formatted…but knowing her…even if you had advanced copy, have to check during delivery…if there is opportunity she will put new things there. wardrobe…watch her. but she will probably…wear something that will give a message. about our local talents…fabrics…anthony is executing some apparel to be worn, has craftmanship and local use of something that if you bring outside can be very very expensive. (how long sona speech) maybe 40 minutes…why reprimand salceda when he doesn’t speak for her. that’s his personal view. since he’s not part of official family…(adviser) decline to say that he is. advises his own self. we listen to joey salceda of course but he cannot say that he speaks for the pres (presl adviser) he’s not. he’s governor of albay. (getting govt out of business…govt has stakes in meralco, etc) have to get myself abreast on this particular. but know the paradigm is private business is way forward. govt should not be in areas where business can do a better job. on specifics, not so familiar. govt should go only in areas where others are taking care of that particular area…(smuggling) something left to agencies to handle. always careful against…(sometimes gives impression to micromanage…) it was very necessary at her point in time (advocacy…which she abandoned midstream…there is no consistency in reaction) because your expectation is different from what she had in mind (went to immigration to make sure charges are filed) in the case of enrile these are addressed by the agencies. (but not by her, she did it before so people are expecting some big person like enrile pres would step in) that was not my take. my take is that these are properly handled by agencies concerned, it was a work in progress (subic no big name she went in) is there already a finding that enrile is involved in smuggling? signal was she directed pagc to look into it. problem is hidden in inside pages. there was an order for villar to look at it. (she went to subic, strong signal she sent) expect her to fly to cagayan when subject of inquiry whether smuggling or not. still being addressed. the problem is you expect so much from pres and when something goes wrong you expect her to be responsible. sometimes she is viewed as somebody who is going to handle it and if she doesn’t do it, if she handles it, she’s micromanaging it. flipflop…give me a good example (she’s known as a flipflopping pres…she was saying there will be no holiday…(even though pres giving away billions of pesos of tax money) excuse me she’s giving it away where it is needed. see what media does? it’s like saying the bible says there is no god and it’s there. but it does not finish, the fool said. archbishop quevedo…he’s not going to resign as archbishop of cotabato. (why is govt afraid of church) who’s afraid of the church? the church is not supposed to be feared, something to partner with, in advocacies. (what’s the pres going to tell congress on revenue enhancement side) she thanked congress for reform agenda that supported her, on evat, etc (perception that what we have now is not nearly enough) don’t think there’s something that says we have to increase more revenues. something about mindanao, positive devts in nego (no charter change or federalism) no. (need to amend charter to accommodate milf) open because amendments to constitution will come on specific provisions specially on final peace agreements. not reached that stage yet. (milf agrees) oh yes if necessary but we are not yet done with final peace agreement. governance issue something that will be discussed. but we are not yet there. masyadong adelantado but sometimes it buys to many that are not looking at it in a close manner. messaging which sometimes can disrupt. personally we can sign agreement but implementation will come after her already. reality check. but we cannot prevent others who have very naughty minds to use it. that’s their privilege (gma asking church ) pres made clear her position. she has her own policy, everybody now goes to congress. she tells bishops to go there and dialogue with congress. with all of these inputs, will be done by congress. not her. (communion , etc) don’t know. the bishops and religious will have their own advocacies and how to about it. her line is congress is now the proper forum, bring it there, they will make the policies. not new. new bec there is a bill pending. (when she feels strongly she pushes for it and also congress) as to intensity i have not gauged it yet (doesn’t seem to be expressing kind of strong position regarding this) message go to congress, dialogue with them directly. sparingly uses certification bec it shortcuts the process. had it in agenda immediately, not go through the normal period required, so it’s used sparingly (ten years in congress nothing urgent ) don’t know how she views it, i have not asked. she has not talked to me about it.(no way can a bill postponing armm elections…he will no longer file the bill to postpone) there’s a bill in the house…don’t know about migz, volunteered to author a counterpart (not giving up) bill in congress now, that’s going to go through the process. hope i’ve been candid enough for you, i don’t sandbag…do cautionary…know you will handle it in manner appropriate, speak for govt speak for her so leave to your good judgment whether you want to embarrass me to my boss, or in public…(joey salceda) he doesn’t speak for the palace…maybe some of what he’s saying is adopted by the palace, we have an econ team that is working for the pres. he’s not part of the official econ team.he is invited when his inputs are needed, but not all of his inputs. noah’s ark..not a gov’t policy…let’s diabuse our minds about it. that’s why unfair to palace and to econ managers (so why let him talk) we need inputs from everybody and he gives us good input but not all of the inputs. (comment on fsgo) what do you expect?! are you surprised? i’m not; they’re entitled to their own assessments, everybody entitled to our own assessments…

(how often does she dive, proficiency) at every given opportunity where she is she go4s diving…maybe she finds more peace and solace down there, among the fish and corals. no sws survey results there (does she hand over power when she does that) she’s within phil territory…
(on security…afp putting out feelers again to npa, any feedback) no change in govt policy, no talks with cpp-npa-ndf. that policy has not changed. any ceasefire arrangement will have to be done through negotiations. no ongoing negotiations. so policy remains the same (feelers being put out) govt is not sending any feelers. we have already a framework to address this. there is mil operation to dismantle armed…soft approach, amnesty. enhanced rebel returnee program that we call a social integration program…to avail of benefits from govt and start reintegrating…social programs on ground, asked lgus to take lead in delivering basic services….some not so ideological but missed opportunities for equity. there’s a whole scope of …for govt and negotiation is not one of them right now.(there maybe concerns of infiltration of sona rallies) always sop whether sona or not to address security concerns and we are confident afp and security forces are adequately addressing this (serious threat) not any that have come to my level. i don’t about the level of the security people (sparrow unit) i’d rather that you ask them, the security sector. (eastern mindanao..it seems that you are losing the war there according to the communists….npa attacks every other day, putting some major projects in danger) we are not losing the war, we’re winning the war. (npa can do anything they want) not true, if you look at the incident, these are sporadic incidents in areas where you have only 3, 4 policemen and cafgus. if you want a propaganda line if i were npa…there’s even consolidation of the forces of govt to address this…(they’re not doing small types of attacks, battalion size type of attacks) have you seen an npa operation with 500…(why send more soldiers to mindanao) movements of troops to augment areas where there is a need. there must be a necessity for it, either preventive or punitive. (pres operating under unfavorable envt) political envt. (econ) econ yes. (why surviving when other former pres did not) because she had in place the basic fundamentals ever since. done reforms at time when unpopular. vat and evat. now she’s getting the payback. while we are now in turbulent times due to global events we cannot mitigate, now the resources to address short and long term. pol envt not of her own doing totally. events that have come across borders but she’s grapping with it and hopefully those who do it negatively will find in due time she’s prepared for this and weather the storm and the ship of state will not sink like the princess of the stars. even her popularity suffers, and it’s not surprising, shes determined, she’s focused, she doesn’t waver. and that’s something we need at times like these. not somebody who will just abandon ship like somebody we know. (how deal with unpopularity) of course everybody wants to be popular, but to her, popularity may take the sides if she knows she’s doing the right thing. okay we’re removing vat from fuel, it’s going to be popular, but she’s steady and holding on because she knows that’s what we need. going to have effects…erode peso dollar rate, international concerns. not just matter of being popular, important matter of…and hold on…it’s not sinking, it gives more adrenalin flow to me. i know it’s going to be a lot of work, came at a time when things are not so well…i think there’s work to be done…gives me more challenge because i know she’s doing well but it’s not being communicated properly. doing a lot of things but the speculation is still different. (how affects her) don’t know because when she’s with us she shows real focus and steadfast adherence to what she’s been doing (affected temper) that’s how she is. she is detailed, she leaves the performance to the members of cabinet but detailed in asking you how you performed. so she manages but she also looks at some details. but she’s a very good…first time to closely work with her on close quarters…and she’s a different person from what she is perceived to be. that’s my personal view…from my heart, i feel that she does not deserve this kind of perception. (in what way different) look at sws surveys, she’s unpopular from findings. if you watch her how she works, you know her focus, advocacies…but not too many get opportunity that i have…she gets seven hours of sleep she told us. it’s energy management…covers time management…she’s prayerful…but not the prayer that you ask…for help but it’s more according to her getting your mind empty and sitting there in solace…she does regular exercises. she’s very careful about her diet, although sometimes she indulges she says. and the right vitamins and supplements…ascorbic acid, some supplements, and the right diet, exercises…(she has early morning mass) she does. 8, 8:30 a.m. not a member of lakas. so i don’t indulge too much in the political side. i’ve been congressman before…npc at the time. ran as independent, when member of house, have to be member of some coalition party…member but not active bec when i left congress in 1995 retired from my political life part of me (possibility of adopting candidate outside party) not competent to talk about it (giving up popularity just to do the right thing…) she’s not really saying…every person would like to be popular, not consciously to throw it away. she does the right thing, but consequence is sometimes she’s perceived to be not popular…(subsidies are moves to be popular) she’s not doing the subsidies to be popular. she’s addressing a need at the moment (not solving the problem long term) you’re the only one saying. we’re not saying this is a long term solution. these are stop gap measures for the moment that we have these challenges brought about by global factors (fundamentals in place in agri) yes. we do not have problem of rice supply…(we’re importing) only 10% of total national need. 90% is produced locally. we are self-sufficient to extent of 90%, working on it hoping that by 2010 we will close the gap..indication that we have food security, even in the temporary glitch that was felt worldwide..we had our own glitch but able to normalize situation. it’s not an issue of supply, issue of price. no supply problem as far as food security is concern. it’s price issue.
(jpepa) don’t know. give me opportunity to inform myself and later on i can give you my take on it. (gma said confident senate will ratify asean charter…general anticipation before forthcoming asean summit in thailand…now phils is more difficult point…think senate will ratify before summit despite strong concern for situation in myanmar) we really hope the senate will ratify it on time but it is within the total competence and prerogative of senate to act on it, one way or other, according to their own pace, their own time. leave entirely to senate. with our good intentions that it can be passed in due time. ratified in due time.
(gma said early on charter would have hard time passed in senate unless humanitarian situation in myanmar would improve) my take there is at some point in time she used it for her advocacy in myanmar. but she cannot sandbag her position. no change of position but transitioning from advocacy of more reforms and moving towards move to ratify. she sees asean as proper forum to move for these reforms that she feels strongly about. you don’t get stuck with advocacies. i see her as advocating for some of these reforms for myanmar at a certain point in time but she has to move on and go to strategic milestone of ratifying it. maybe use of sandbag was not appropriate so let’s remove that. sona is merely a report card of what she has done. and these things are verifiable on the ground. number of roads, amounts, number of kilometers, irrigation, how many of hectares of land planted (acknowledge local govt officials or small children) she has to give credit where credit is due, whether politician or unsung hero somewhere…she will be citing roads and bridges and projects and names. she will be talking about what i’ve told you about, reforms she started early on, how she’s grappling with present challenges brought about by issues, sticking to reform agenda because she knows she’s not doing it pansamantala or for the moment…opening of naia3…think there’s mention of that. at the end of the day it is her that does it…may mga nagko-collate. but you know she tinkers with that computer…that sona is there, she had prepared for it, she even rehearsed, but we know that before she moves from palace going to congress, not sure if she had changed parts at the last moment or not. always work in progress for her. maybe details..it has been formatted…but knowing her…even if you had advanced copy, have to check during delivery…if there is opportunity she will put new things there. wardrobe…watch her. but she will probably…wear something that will give a message. about our local talents…fabrics…anthony is executing some apparel to be worn, has craftmanship and local use of something that if you bring outside can be very very expensive. (how long sona speech) maybe 40 minutes…why reprimand salceda when he doesn’t speak for her. that’s his personal view. since he’s not part of official family…(adviser) decline to say that he is. advises his own self. we listen to joey salceda of course but he cannot say that he speaks for the pres (presl adviser) he’s not. he’s governor of albay. (getting govt out of business…govt has stakes in meralco, etc) have to get myself abreast on this particular. but know the paradigm is private business is way forward. govt should not be in areas where business can do a better job. on specifics, not so familiar. govt should go only in areas where others are taking care of that particular area…(smuggling) something left to agencies to handle. always careful against…(sometimes gives impression to micromanage…) it was very necessary at her point in time (advocacy…which she abandoned midstream…there is no consistency in reaction) because your expectation is different from what she had in mind (went to immigration to make sure charges are filed) in the case of enrile these are addressed by the agencies. (but not by her, she did it before so people are expecting some big person like enrile pres would step in) that was not my take. my take is that these are properly handled by agencies concerned, it was a work in progress (subic no big name she went in) is there already a finding that enrile is involved in smuggling? signal was she directed pagc to look into it. problem is hidden in inside pages. there was an order for villar to look at it. (she went to subic, strong signal she sent) expect her to fly to cagayan when subject of inquiry whether smuggling or not. still being addressed. the problem is you expect so much from pres and when something goes wrong you expect her to be responsible. sometimes she is viewed as somebody who is going to handle it and if she doesn’t do it, if she handles it, she’s micromanaging it. flipflop…give me a good example (she’s known as a flipflopping pres…she was saying there will be no holiday…(even though pres giving away billions of pesos of tax money) excuse me she’s giving it away where it is needed. see what media does? it’s like saying the bible says there is no god and it’s there. but it does not finish, the fool said. archbishop quevedo…he’s not going to resign as archbishop of cotabato. (why is govt afraid of church) who’s afraid of the church? the church is not supposed to be feared, something to partner with, in advocacies. (what’s the pres going to tell congress on revenue enhancement side) she thanked congress for reform agenda that supported her, on evat, etc (perception that what we have now is not nearly enough) don’t think there’s something that says we have to increase more revenues. something about mindanao, positive devts in nego (no charter change or federalism) no. (need to amend charter to accommodate milf) open because amendments to constitution will come on specific provisions specially on final peace agreements. not reached that stage yet. (milf agrees) oh yes if necessary but we are not yet done with final peace agreement. governance issue something that will be discussed. but we are not yet there. masyadong adelantado but sometimes it buys to many that are not looking at it in a close manner. messaging which sometimes can disrupt. personally we can sign agreement but implementation will come after her already. reality check. but we cannot prevent others who have very naughty minds to use it. that’s their privilege (gma asking church ) pres made clear her position. she has her own policy, everybody now goes to congress. she tells bishops to go there and dialogue with congress. with all of these inputs, will be done by congress. not her. (communion , etc) don’t know. the bishops and religious will have their own advocacies and how to about it. her line is congress is now the proper forum, bring it there, they will make the policies. not new. new bec there is a bill pending. (when she feels strongly she pushes for it and also congress) as to intensity i have not gauged it yet (doesn’t seem to be expressing kind of strong position regarding this) message go to congress, dialogue with them directly. sparingly uses certification bec it shortcuts the process. had it in agenda immediately, not go through the normal period required, so it’s used sparingly (ten years in congress nothing urgent ) don’t know how she views it, i have not asked. she has not talked to me about it.(no way can a bill postponing armm elections…he will no longer file the bill to postpone) there’s a bill in the house…don’t know about migz, volunteered to author a counterpart (not giving up) bill in congress now, that’s going to go through the process. hope i’ve been candid enough for you, i don’t sandbag…do cautionary…know you will handle it in manner appropriate, speak for govt speak for her so leave to your good judgment whether you want to embarrass me to my boss, or in public…he doesn’t speak for the palace…maybe some of what he’s saying is adopted by the palace, we have an econ team that is working for the pres. he’s not part of the official econ team.he is invited when his inputs are needed, but not all of his inputs. noah’s ark..not a gov’t policy…let’s diabuse our minds about it. that’s why unfair to palace and to econ managers (so why let him talk) we need inputs from everybody and he gives us good input but not all of the inputs. (comment on fsgo) what do you expect?! are you surprised? i’m not; they’re entitled to their own assessments, everybody entitled to our own assessments. ..di ka nagbibigay sa nagpapalimos…(like limos) it’s not…

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