MANILA - The hashtag #NasaanAngPangulo (where is the President) trended again as President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday joined a summit of Southeast Asian leaders while typhoon Ulysses lashed Luzon overnight and left at least 1 dead.
Duterte is participating in the 37th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit from Nov. 12 to 15 "via video conference", his office earlier said.
"He will advance Philippine positions on public health emergencies cooperation, regional economic integration, migrant workers’ rights, climate change, disaster risk reduction management, counter-terrorism, and the South China Sea issue," the Office of the President said Wednesday.
The 10-member ASEAN is expected to adopt more than 10 outcome documents on the coronavirus pandemic and community-building efforts, it added.
ASEAN leaders, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand are also expected to sign the world's largest trade pact at the summit on Nov. 15, Indonesian Trade Minister Agus Suparmanto earlier said.
The hashtag #NasaanAngPangulo was trending at around 10 a.m., as some social media users questioned the President's whereabouts.
In late October, the hashtag also trended after Duterte, who was then in his hometown Davao City, skipped a Cabinet-level briefing on super typhoon Rolly.
ULYSSES ROARS ACROSS LUZON
The ASEAN summit opened after Ulysses made landfall 3 times starting on Wednesday night in Quezon province, south of the capital Manila.
The local disaster agency reported a 68-year-old man was found dead on the roof of his house in a coastal community in Camarines Norte province, where 3 more people are missing.
Ulysses, the 21st cyclone to hit the country this year, battered the Philippines still reeling from Rolly, the world's most powerful typhoon this year that killed 25 people and destroyed thousands of homes early in November.
It will leave the Luzon landmass on Thursday afternoon, but not before bringing torrential rains and strong winds as it passes through rice-producing provinces in the world's largest rice importer.
In the capital, residents were mopping up after heavy downpours that flooded roads and homes, said Marcelino Teodoro, mayor of Marikina City, a suburb of metropolitan Manila.
"Many of our residents were soaked overnight. In some areas, floods have reached the second floor and roofs," Teodoro said in a radio interview.
Nearby dams are close to spilling, which could aggravate flooding, the disaster agency said.
Airline flights and mass transit in the capital were suspended while the coast guard stopped port operations. Government work was suspended and financial markets were shut.
The Philippines, an archipelago of more than 7,600 islands, experiences around 20 tropical storms annually.
- With a report from Reuters