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Petiks mode! Duterte to stay in Manila while Tugade, Bello face Ompong’s wrath

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President Rodrigo Duterte plans to stay in Manila as Typhoon Ompong barrels through northern Luzon this weekend.

In a press briefing Thursday (September 13) after leading a command conference at Camp Aguinaldo, Duterte said he ordered Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade and Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III to go to Cagayan and Isabela, respectively, to monitor the effects of Typhoon Ompong.

The two provinces are among the areas which PAGASA forecasts to be the most badly hit by the typhoon.

Asked where he will be during Typhoon Ompong’s onslaught, Duterte said: “Dito lang ako — around. I cannot go there. I have so many things to do.”

Pressed on whether he will stay in Manila or Davao, the President replied: “Maybe but I’ll see.”

Duterte said among the things he is monitoring is the supposed weakening of the New People’s Army (NPA) after fighters in Surigao allegedly abandoned the rebel group.

He added that it was only fitting that he send Tugade and Bello to Northern Luzon since they hail from the provinces they are going to.

“Tama nga sila, sabi nila I would need a face there. But I cannot be everywhere and anywhere,” Duterte said.

PAGASA has raised storm signal number 1 in 37 areas across Luzon and Visayas due to Typhoon Ompong.

As of 4 p.m., the typhoon was located 575 kilometers east northeast of Virac, Catanduanes packing maximum sustained winds of 205 kilometers per hour and gustiness of up to 255 kilometers per hour.