MANILA, Philippines – Despite the security risk, President Rodrigo Duterte took a commercial flight back to Davao City on Thursday night, July 7.
Reporters were told he took Philippine Airlines Flight PR1825 at 9 pm on Thursday. He arrived in Davao City at around 11 pm.
In the photos, Duterte can be seen shaking hands with other PAL passengers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 2. He is also seen seated inside the PAL plane in what appears to be a Premium Economy seat.
Duterte said in his first Cabinet meeting that he plans to take commercial flights to and from Davao City, his hometown. Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella has said these flights are likely to be shouldered by the Philippine government.
Philippine presidents typically travel in specially-assigned military planes due to security concerns. It's obvious these concerns were considered judging from the large security entourage accompanying Duterte as he entered the airport.
Jets and choppers under the 250th Presidential Airlift Wing of the Philippine Air Force are the usual modes of transportation for Philippine presidents, according to an explainer in the official Malacañang website. For domestic trips, a short-range jet airliner dubbed "Kalayaan One" is used.
A supposed threat from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) was reported to Davao City acting mayor Paolo Duterte just a few days before Duterte flew to Davao City.
The Philippine president is in Davao City to attend an event with Muslim leaders from all over Mindanao on Friday, July 8.
He has said he will spend some days of the week in Davao City to rest and some days in Manila for work.
On the campaign trail, Duterte said his good friend, religious leader Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, was willing to lend him his private jet for his flights to Davao City but it is not clear if this plan is pushing through. – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.