Amid Rolly's onslaught, netizens ask: Where's Duterte?

Christian Deiparine - Philstar.com
Amid Rolly's onslaught, netizens ask: Where's Duterte?
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte glances at the old printed photo of his family as he visits the resting place of his parents, Vicente Duterte, the former governor of then undivided Davao Province, and Soledad Duterte, one of Davao’s respected civic leaders, at the Roman Catholic Cemetery in Davao City on October 28, 2020.
Presidential Photo / Arman Baylon

MANILA, Philippines — What is considered as the world's strongest storm this 2020 has hit the Philippines, and with it has also left citizens asking where the country's leader is amid the ongoing crisis. 

Then Super Typhoon Rolly (international name Goni) made two landfalls in Catanduanes and Albay on Sunday morning, with its strength of 225 kph peak winds and gust of up to 310 kph. 

Cabinet secretaries and disaster management officials had held a briefing at 10 a.m., hours after Rolly's landfalls, where President Rodrigo Duterte was noticeably nowhere to be seen. 

By the evening of October 31, social media users especially on Twitter had been asking where the President is, along with the hashtag "#NasaanAngPangulo" a trending conversation on the platform.

Sought for comment, his spokesman Harry Roque said Duterte is apparently in Davao, where he is said to be monitoring the situation. 

"Ang scheduled na pagbalik niya ay sa Tuesday pero siya ay nakatutok at nag-utos sa atin na mag-conduct ng ganitong press briefing," he said, responding to whether Duterte would visit areas hit by the super typhoon.

(He is set to return to Manila by Tuesday but he is monitoring and he ordered for us to conduct this press briefing.)

When pressed on why Duterte did not preside over the briefing, Roque said the president could not make it back to Manila due to the weather condition. 

In the past, however, the Philippine leader has been able to hold his weekly public address on the coronavirus crisis from his hometown, with other officials who could not fly then to the province joining him via teleconference. Roque added that while Duterte is possible to make an address, he could not say exactly when.

The president, in one public address back in August, had also remarked that a leader is someone who "would always stay where the crisis is."

"You shouldn't wander off if the country is facing a problem," Duterte said in Filipino.

State weather bureau PAGASA by Sunday noon said Rolly has weakened into typhoon status, but warned that severe flooding is still imminent in various areas. 

The said Twitter hashtag continues to be a trending topic, generating over 30,000 tweets along with other conversations related to Typhoon Rolly, which is now off the coast of Camarines Sur. 

In the same briefing, officials said some 96,543 families or 346,993 individuals are estimated to have been evacuated due to the typhoon. 

Twelve regions across the country, including Metro Manila where Signal No. 4 was raised, were also identified as the most affected areas. 

Disaster officials had said that over 19 million to 31 million could be possibly affected by Rolly. And with a new tropical storm named "Siony" (international name Atsani) entering the country with Rolly still inside, it seems as if the worst could be far from over.

RELATED: Tropical storm 'Siony' enters Philippines with 'Rolly' still in the country

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As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: November 18, 2020 - 4:45pm

Follow this thread for updates on tropical cyclone Rolly (international name: Goni).

November 18, 2020 - 4:45pm

Australia provides an additional P28.52 million to support Filipino communities affected by tropical cyclone Rolly in the Bicol Region.

This will help the government provide food, repair damaged homes and support emergency medical teams in the region. Australia's latest commitment will directly assist 23,345 people, including 2,990 women and girls.

"This support is even more critical following Typhoon Ulysses that caused further hardship for the people in the Bicol Region. Australia stands with the Philippines in this time of need," Australian Ambassador Steven Robinson says.

November 9, 2020 - 5:49pm

President Rodrigo Duterte may place the regions of CALABARZON, MIMAROPA, and Bicol under state of calamity because of the impact of typhoon "Rolly," Malacañang says.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council has approved a recommendation to place the three Luzon regions under state of calamity to fast-track the recovery of the typhoon-ravaged areas.

"Most likely, but let us wait for the document that will come from the Office of the President," presidential spokesman Harry Roque said at a press briefing when asked if Duterte would adopt the recommendation of the council. — Alexis Romero

November 2, 2020 - 7:26pm

The provincial board has placed Camarines Sur under state of calamity following the onslaught of Typhoon Rolly.

In a resolution released Monday, the local government cited strong winds and torrential rains, as well as the extensive flooding and other damages brought about by the typhoon.

November 2, 2020 - 5:25pm

At 3 p.m., Tropical Storm Rolly was located 225 kilometers west of Iba, Zambales.

The cyclone bears maximum sustained winds of 65 kph and gusts of up to 80 kph. It is moving north northwestward at 15 kph.

November 2, 2020 - 3:00pm

Vice President Leni Robredo posts photos of the first signs of devastation brought about by Typhoon Rolly in Camarines Sur.

Robredo says she left Manila before dawn on Monday to visit the typhoon-hit province.

The vice president will also be visiting Albay and Catanduanes.

Left Manila before dawn today. Just arrived CamSur and these were the first signs of devastation we saw. Will be going around Albay and Catanduanes, as well.

Posted by Leni Gerona Robredo on Sunday, 1 November 2020
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