Following questions about his whereabouts while parts of the country were experiencing the wrath of Typhoon “Rolly,” Malacañang confirmed on Monday that President Duterte will be conducting an aerial inspection of the areas devastated by the typhoon and will address the nation about the recent calamity.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said President Duterte will be leaving Davao City on Monday and will be conducting the aerial inspection en route to Manila.
“It’s confirmed that PRRD will be flying from Davao to Manila today,” he said Monday noon.
“En route to Manila, he will be conducting an aerial inspection in Bicolandia and Calabarzon,” he added.
Roque said that secretaries of relevant agencies were already scheduled to undergo PCR test as a preparatory measure to meet the President for his public address.
“We were all informed in the Cabinet na kinakailangan mag-PCR test (that we have to undergo PCR test). [This is] preparatory, usually, to meeting the President,” he said.
Roque likewise assured the public that even if President Duterte was in Davao City when “Rolly” was battering parts of Bicol region and Southern Tagalog, the entire government was on red alert.
“Bagama’t ang Pangulo po ay nasa Davao, lahat po ng ahensiya ng gobyerno nasa red alert (Even though the President was in Davao, all government agencies were on red alert),” he said in his Monday presser.
“Kami po ay nag-press briefing dito sa Camp Aguinaldo ng araw ng Linggo at gumagana po ang gobyerno (We held a press briefing here at Camp Aguinaldo on Sunday and the government is functioning),” he added.
Filipinos online were looking for the President while “Rolly” was wreaking havoc on several areas in the country, particularly the Bicol Region. Netizens also questioned the government’s “late” public briefing on the typhoon.
However, in his press briefing on Monday, Roque defended the government’s Sunday press conference about the typhoon, saying “Rolly” only made landfall on the same day.
“Ang tanong po, bakit lang kahapon? Kasi kahapon naman po pumasok ang bagyo (So the question was why was the briefing held only yesterday? It’s because the typhoon only entered the country yesterday),” he said.
“Araw ng Linggo naman yun pero maski araw ng linggo, nandito lahat ng kalihim para iparating ang kahandaan ng gobyerno sa pagbibigay ng tulong doon sa mga nasalanta (It was a Sunday but even so, all department secretaries were here to report on the government’s preparedness to extend assistance to those affected by the typhoon),” he added.
The Palace official also said that the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) was giving regular briefings on the government’s preparations even before the typhoon entered the Philippine area of responsibility.