MANILA -- President Rodrigo Duterte opted not to appear in public during the onslaught of this year's strongest storm because the government is "functioning," Malacañang and the disaster council said Monday, following criticism.
The system for addressing disasters is "in place" and mayors leading this were "all accounted [for]", said National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) Executive Director Ricardo Jalad.
"Functioning naman iyong ating mga local government units. There is no lapse of local governance," he told reporters. "There's also no break down of law and order."
(Our local government units are functioning.)
"Dapat hindi mangamba ang ating mga kababayan bakit hindi nila nakikita si Presidente because he has that luxury. The government is functioning from the local government unit up to the national level," added the official.
(Our compatriots need not worry that they do not see the President because he has that luxury.)
All agencies were on "red alert" during erstwhile super typhoon Rolly's onslaught and Cabinet secretaries even held a press briefing on Sunday, said Duterte's spokesman Harry Roque
"Gumagana po ang gobyerno," he said.
(The government is functioning.)
Sunday's briefing took place after Rolly made the first 2 of its 4 landfalls.
Duterte was in his hometown Davao City and did not attend Sunday's briefing. The hashtag #NasaanAngPangulo (where is the President?) trended after his no-show.
The President will visit areas hardest hit by Rolly and fly back to Manila later Monday, said Malacañang.