Roque plea to netizens: Stop asking ‘Nasaan ang Pangulo?’
People should stop asking where the President is during calamities because he always knows what is happening in the country, Malacañang said Friday after the hashtag #NasaanAngPangulo again became a top trending topic on Twitter, this time during the onslaught of Typhoon “Ulysses” (international name: Vamco) across Luzon.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte was always aware of the situation and had been directing government agencies to do what they can to help Filipinos affected by the typhoon.
“People should not ask where the President is because the President is always on top of the situation. In this time of technology, he gets to know what is happening in the different areas of the country,” Roque said at a press briefing.
Pinoys’ welfare on his mind
“The President is not missing. He is always with us, he is always thinking of the welfare of our countrymen,” he added.
Roque also tried to dispel the perception that that Mr. Duterte was trivializing the plight of Filipinos affected by the typhoon when the 75-year-old leader said he wanted to join them for a swim but was not allowed by the Presidential Security Group.
Roque claimed that the political opposition was behind the trending hashtag #NasaanAngPangulo and asked it to stop that kind of online activity.
The hashtag earlier trended at the height of Typhoon “Rolly” (Goni), which mainly struck the Bicol region on All Saints’ Day, when Mr. Duterte did not make a public address until the typhoon had passed.
No presence required
“Only those who really dislike the President is saying that. The real message of the President is, ‘I am one with the victims of this typhoon,’” Roque said.
As to why Mr. Duterte was not present at the meeting of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council on Friday, the Palace official explained that the President’s presence was not necessary since the Cabinet members who make up the council were his alter egos.
“He does not need to preside over the meeting because as you can see, all agencies, all departments are functioning and fulfilling their duties even if the President is not physically in the room,” Roque said.
Mr. Duterte was also busy with his online participation in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit on Thursday, the day Metro Manila and the affected provinces bore the brunt of Ulysses’ damage, he said.
“The President also has to fulfill his role as chief architect of foreign policy,” he added.
Mr. Duterte made a public address later on Thursday, assuring Filipinos affected by the calamity that the government “would not leave anybody behind.”
Malacañang also released that day a two-minute video showing the President on a chopper conducting an aerial inspection of the flooded areas.
The video came complete with a theme song—a reworked version of Freddie Aguilar’s “Ipaglalaban Ko (I will fight for it).” The song—now titled “Para sa Tunay na Pagbabago” (For Genuine Change)—has also been a recurring soundtrack of the President’s late-night briefings on the government’s pandemic response.
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