#NasaanAngPangulo? Palace says gov’t working even if Duterte was in Davao
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Monday dismissed claims that President Rodrigo Duterte was missing in action during the onslaught of super typhoon Rolly in the Bicol region, prompting critics to revive a Twitter hashtag long associated with his predecessor.
Speaking during a televised briefing, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that although the President was out-of-sight during the Cabinet-level typhoon briefing at the NDRRMC on Sunday, he is working from Davao, while all government agencies were on “red alert” to respond to the brunt of the typhoon, said to be the world’s strongest tropical cyclone this year.
“Bagamat ang Pangulo po ay nasa Davao, lahat po ng ahensya ng gobyerno ay nasa red alert… Kami po ay nag press briefing dito sa Camp Aguinaldo ng araw ng Linggo at gumagana po ang gobyerno,” said Roque.
(Although the President was in Davao, all government agencies were on red alert… We had a press briefing here at Camp Aguinaldo on a Sunday, and the government is working.)
Duterte’s conspicuous absence had prompted critics to bring back to life the #NasaanAngPangulo topic on Twitter. The hashtag was first used to refer to former President Benigno Aquino III following his nonappearance in some events deemed crucial during his term.
This time around, netizens lashed at Duterte, as a picture of him sleeping on his bed with a mosquito net made the rounds of social media.
Asked why the government only held the briefing on Typhoon Rolly Sunday, Roque said it was because its landfall was only expected at the time.
“Well, dahil inaasahan po nga natin ang landfall kahapon ano. At sa totoo lang po, araw ng Linggo naman yun pero maski araw ng Linggo po nandito po ang lahat ng kalihim para iparating ang kahandaan ng gobyerno sa pagbibigay [impormasyon] sa mga nasalanta,” Roque said.
(It’s because we were expecting the landfall at the time yesterday. In fact, it was a Sunday but despite that, all Cabinet officials are here to report the government’s readiness to those affected by the typhoon.)
“So ang tanong po bakit lang kahapon, kasi kahapon naman po pumasok ang bagyo ano at bago po yan ay patuloy naman po ang briefing na ginagawa ng NDRRMC [ National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council]. Ako po ay nakatutok sa mga briefing na ginagawa ni Usec. [Ricardo] Jalad para sa kahandaan bago pa tumama ang bagyo,” he added.
(The question on why it was only held yesterday, it’s because the typhoon only entered yesterday. But even prior to that, briefings held by the NDRRMC were continuous. I was monitoring all briefings on readiness held by Usec. Jalad even before the typhoon arrived.)
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