Special Envoy to China Mon Tulfo believes there’s no basis for the criticism that President Rodrigo Duterte was missing in action when Typhoon Rolly battered Luzon between October 31 and November 1.
In his November 7 Manila Times column, Tulfo said Duterte was able to monitor the situation while he was in Davao City thanks to technology. He noted that the President immediately flew to Bicol on November 2 to personally meet residents and local officials affected by the typhoon.
“We can accuse the President of many things — womanizing, foul-mouth, hot temper — but we can never accuse him of having no empathy for the disadvantaged and the downtrodden. That’s the reason why — in case the yellowtards don’t know it — Mr. Duterte had a 91 percent approval rating recently, two years before the end of his term,” Tulfo said.
In contrast to Duterte, Tulfo recalled former President Benigno Aquino III never flew to Tacloban after it was battered by Typhoon Yolanda in 2013. The city, which was the ground zero of the strongest typhoon recorded on earth in recent year, is the bailiwick of former First Lady Imelda Marcos.
Tulfo said Aquino left then-Interior Secretary Mar Roxas to handle the situation in Tacloban.
“Roxas, in a talk with then Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez, articulated Noynoy’s feelings toward Yolanda’s victims when he told the latter: ‘Remember you are a Romualdez and the President is an Aquino. If you don’t follow the rules, you’re on your own,’” he recalled.
If more proof of Duterte’s empathy is needed, Tulfo said the President had visited Tacloban to bring aid after Yolanda hit, and also flew to Marawi City after the siege ended in 2017.
“Digong walks his talk when it comes to micromanaging the situation in calamity areas,” he said.