Duterte sarcastically urges critics of his All Souls’ Day break to kill relatives so they do visits too
MANILA, Philippines — As President Rodrigo Duterte’s reason for not being in Metro Manila during Super Typhoon Rolly’s onslaught — visiting his parents tomb on All Souls’ Day — did not sit well with critics, he gave them a sarcastic advice: Kill one of your relatives so you can visit someone during the All Souls’ Day.
During his late night briefing on Thursday, Duterte again addressed the issue of him being allegedly absent from public eye as Rolly barreled through Bicol Region and Southern Luzon — claiming that he still knew what was happening on the ground despite being far from the area.
“Ulitin ko lang sa mga tao na hindi alam, ay umuwi ako ng probisnya sa Davao, kasi Araw ng Patay, ‘yon ‘yong araw na kasagsagan na dumaan ang bagyo. Eh gusto ng iba na nandito talaga ako pagdating ng bagyo. Gusto nila salubungin ko ‘yong bagyo. Mga… they want me to commit suicide also?” he asked.
(I will repeat this for those who don’t know, I went home to Davao because it is All Souls’ Day, which is also the day when the typhoon moved along the landmass. But others want me to be there when the typhoon comes. They want me to face the typhoon. Do they want me to commit suicide also?)
“But I also had an accurate view of the destruction brought about by the typhoon. Umuwi ako kasi patay na ang nanay ko pati ang tatay ko. So, kayong nagmamadali […] wala kayong mapuntahan kung hindi magreklamo, magpatay kayo ng isang kamag-anak ninyo para pagdating ng All Souls’ Day nandoon ka rin sa letcheng sementeryo,” he added.
(But I also had an accurate view of the destruction brought about by the typhoon. I went home because my parents are already dead. So those in a hurry for me to go home, if you cannot do anything during All Souls’ Day but to complain, try killing one of your relatives so by All Souls’ Day you are in a cemetery.)
Duterte was criticized for being absent from high level government briefings on the response to Rolly, with cabinet secretaries presiding over the meetings.
Due to his absence, the hashtag #NasaanAngPangulo trended on Twitter along with discussions on Rolly and Super Typhoon Yolanda, which wreaked havoc in Eastern Visayas in 2013.
Duterte then visited Albay and Catanduanes on Monday, after Rolly left the Luzon landmass.
“The following day, kinabukasan mga alas tres, nagtouchdown na ako, tuloy na ako from the Naia airport deretso na ako sa Bicol, Guinobatan (Albay), naglanding ako do’n, kinausap ko ‘yong mga tao,” he explained.
(The following day, around three in the afternoon, I already touched down, from the airport I immediately proceeded to Guinobatan in Albay, I landed there and talked to the people.)
“That’s a tradition and of course an obligation for Filipinos. Gano’n tayo eh, tayo lang naman (That’s how we are, we like to celebrate) […] even in Christmas there’s no celebration, those of you who have been in the United States, they don’t celebrate,” he added.
While a lot of people slammed Duterte’s absence from briefings, cabinet officials and his supporters have defended the President, saying that he is monitoring the situation and does not need to be physically present for the government to function.
Rolly, the world’s strongest cyclone for 2020, made landfall several times over Bicol Region, heavily affecting the provinces of Camarines Sur, Albay, and Catanduanes.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) estimates that the damage brought by Rolly is now at P11 billion, while 25 individuals died due to the typhoon.
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