MANILA - The interior department said Monday it would ask 10 mayors to explain their alleged absence while this year's strongest storm ravaged their areas.
Of 1,047 local chief executives in disaster-hit areas, 10 were "unaccounted [for]" as erstwhile super typhoon Rolly (international name: GONI) churned across Luzon over the weekend, said Interior Secretary Eduardo Año.
"Ninety-nine percent po [ng mayors] ay nasa kanilang mga lugar para mag-supervise," he said in a televised Cabinet meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte. "Iyong 10 na wala ay na-identify na namin at ito ay aking pagpapaliwanagin."
(Ninety-nine percent were in their areas to supervise. We have identified the 10 who were not and I will ask them to explain.)
Malacañang and the disaster council earlier said Duterte was absent from public eye over the weekend because local governments were "functioning."
Catanduanes and nearby Albay province on the most populous island of Luzon bore the brunt of Rolly which was packing maximum sustained wind speeds of 225 kilometers per hour when it slammed into the east coast on Sunday.
Ferocious winds and torrential rain toppled power lines, triggered flooding and sparked landslides that engulfed houses as Rolly swept across the southern part of Luzon.
It lost intensity as it skirted the sprawling capital of Manila and headed out to the South China Sea.
Around 400,000 people fled their homes ahead of the typhoon and most of them remain in evacuation centers as authorities scramble to restore power and telecommunications services in the hardest-hit areas.
Across the areas in Rolly's path, more than 20,000 houses were destroyed and around 55,500 partially damaged, Civil Defense said in a statement. Farmland was also damaged.
Clean-up efforts were under way with residents removing sodden furniture and other belongings from their houses as they shovelled out mud and debris after heavy rains inundated towns.
"The flood took only minutes to rise -- not hours, but minutes," Alona Espino in Batangas city, south of Manila, told AFP.
"We never experienced flood raging so fast."
The Philippines is hit by an average of 20 storms and typhoons every year, which typically wipe out harvests, homes and infrastructure, keeping millions of people perennially poor.
Its deadliest on record was super typhoon Yolanda (international name: HAIYAN), which unleashed giant waves on the central city of Tacloban and left more than 7,300 people dead or missing in 2013. - With a report from Agence France-Presse