Tracking Duterte 24/7/365
Long hours, numerous meetings, frequents trips and countless engagements come with the President’s job. In his first year in office, President Duterte had a total of 753 public appearances and averaged two events a day.
Despite that, the chief executive managed to find a life-work balance that had him enjoying some private time.
In his 52 weeks as President, Mr. Duterte spent 14 weekends without any scheduled public event, had 13 working weekends and observed a one-day weekend 25 times.
He also had fewer public activities from January to June this year, compared to his first six months in office in 2016.
From a total of 430 public appearances from June 30 to December last year, his activities dwindled to only 323 activities in the last six months. The notable decline was shown in April, when he attended 74 events; in May, when he attended 55, and last June, when he joined 34 events.
During the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit in Lima, Peru, in November, the President missed the gala dinner for Apec leaders as well as the traditional class picture. In a message to his Peruvian hosts, Mr. Duterte said he was sick at the time.
Later, in a forum, he told a group of business executives that he was not really sick at the time. Being absent was just an excuse to avoid an “awkward situation” with former US President Barack Obama. Mr. Duterte had earlier described Obama as a “son of a whore.”
President Duterte also missed several events during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summit meeting in Laos in September due to a “bad headache.”
Toward the end of June, the President was out of the public eye for almost a week, sparking speculations about his health. Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella, addressing concerns about Mr. Duterte’s absence, said the President was “very busy” and was “on top of the situation” despite having made no public appearance from June 21 until June 26.
“He’s just taking some time off to rejuvenate … He’s just tired. Like I said, he has been on the road for about 23 days,” Abella said.
The 72-year-old President is known to have back problems and migraines due to nerve damage after a motorcycle accident. He also admitted to having Barrett’s esophagus, which affects his throat, as well as Buerger’s disease, which can cause blockages in the blood vessels.
After disappearing for six days, Mr. Duterte appeared in a nationally televised address on June 27 at Malacañang’s Eid al-Fitr celebration marking the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan.
The President was also out of the public eye from June 12—
when he skipped Independence Day celebrations—until June 16. During the New Year’s Eve break, he was also absent from the public for six consecutive days.
‘The bulk of President Duterte’s public appearances was during his foreign trips as well as visits to the military and police camps. In his first 100 days, Mr. Duterte had visited at least 27 military installations and police camps.
He is also considered the country’s most traveled President in his first year in office. He made a total of 21 trips abroad, including state visits, official visits, working visits and attendance in summits.
He was the first Philippine President to visit all the Asean countries in his first year.
The total distance covered by Mr. Duterte in his year’s worth of foreign travels was 124,792 kilometers.
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Inquirer Research Sources: rtvm.gov.ph, Inquirer Archives