MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte’s meltdown against Vice President Leni Robredo’s disaster response efforts in light of successive storms that struck the country is uncalled for, a political analyst said Wednesday.
“I think it’s his personal and leadership style but I think it’s uncalled for,” Dr. Francisco Magno, associate political science professor at the De La Salle University (DLSU), told ANC.
“In times of disaster, the government should be inviting all the kind of support and help that is necessary.”
In times of disaster, political affiliations should not even matter, he said.
“That shouldn't be a factor anymore because we have to know the vice president is an elected official. In fact, after an election, they have to work together,” Magno said.
Robredo comes from the opposition Liberal Party, which Duterte has frequently criticized for disapproving his policies such as the government’s response to the COVID-19 crisis and the war on drugs.
In a lengthy, repeated rant during his weekly public address Tuesday, Duterte lashed out at Robredo for allegedly misleading the public over his supposed absence in the government’s response to the successive typhoons.
He said he was attending the ASEAN Summit amid clamor over his public presence in the aftermath of calamities, which sparked the hashtag #NasaanAngPangulo.
This prompted Robredo to hit back at the President, calling his remarks “misogynistic.” She also maintained she made no such statement asking for Duterte’s whereabouts.
For Magno, it is a "standard" that the President should be available during extreme events. It was also not necessary for Duterte to keep tabs on Robredo, he added.
“I don’t think it’s really necessary for him to be looking at what the vice president is doing because I think there are so many sectors, many organizations that are already pitching in, volunteering,” he said.
Magno added, “And the work of the vice president is very limited in a sense that her funding is not that large. It’s kind of an effort to help even in that situation.”
The government’s response to the recent typhoons, he said, only showed the inadequacies in the existing institutional mechanisms.
“It shows therefore inadequacies. It really indicates the need to really reform the system,” Magno said, adding that the government should foster disaster resilience instead of responding to every disaster.
He also saw the need for a national land use and water policy to prevent people from living in areas susceptible to hazards.