Harry Roque

Roque defends late Rolly briefing: ‘Kasi kahapon naman po pumasok ‘yung bagyo’

Pia Ranada

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Roque defends late Rolly briefing: ‘Kasi kahapon naman po pumasok ‘yung bagyo’
'Sa totoo lang po, araw ng Linggo po 'yun,' says Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, in his attempt to defend the controversial timing of the first Malacañang-led briefing on Super Typhoon Rolly

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque defended on Monday, November 2, the delayed timing of the national government’s first high-level briefing on Super Typhoon Rolly (Goni), the world’s strongest tropical cyclone to make landfall this year.

Roque even said the government should be appreciated for holding a briefing on a Sunday.

By the time the briefing began at around 10 am on Sunday, Rolly had already made landfall twice as a super typhoon – in Bato, Catanduanes at 4:50 am, then in Tiwi, Albay, at 7:20 am.

Well, dahil inaasahan natin ‘yung landfall kahapon ‘no at saka, sa totoo lang po, araw ng Linggo po ‘yun, pero maski araw ng Linggo nandito po lahat ng kalihim para nga po iparating ang kahandaan ng gobyerno sa pagbibigay ng tulong doon sa mga nasalanta,” he said from the national disaster council headquarters in Quezon City.

(Well, because we expected the landfall yesterday and, truth be told, that was a Sunday, but even if it was a Sunday, all the Cabinet members were here to relay the government’s preparedness in providing assistance to those affected.)

Ang tanong po, bakit lang kahapon? Kasi kahapon naman po pumasok ‘yung bagyo ‘no,” he added later on. (Why only yesterday? Because the storm entered only yesterday.)

Roque defends late Rolly briefing: ‘Kasi kahapon naman po pumasok ‘yung bagyo’

Rolly had entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) as a severe tropical storm then quickly strengthened into a typhoon on Thursday, October 29, or 3 days before Roque’s press briefing.

The day after Rolly entered PAR, state weather bureau PAGASA already warned that it would become a super typhoon and advised Filipinos to prepare.

Duterte spokesman tried to further defend the timing of the Sunday briefing by saying that, in the days leading to Rolly’s landfall, PAGASA and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) were already giving their own public updates and press conferences.

Notably missing from the Malacañang-led briefings on Sunday and Monday was President Rodrigo Duterte, who was in Davao City as of writing and during the onslaught of Rolly.

His absence caused hashtag #NasaanAngPangulo (#WhereIsThePresident) trend on Twitter Sunday.

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#NasaanAngPangulo: Duterte missing from 1st high-level briefing on Rolly

#NasaanAngPangulo: Duterte missing from 1st high-level briefing on Rolly

Duterte’s critics contrasted him with his predecessor, Benigno Aquino III, who – though blasted for his overall response to Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in November 2013 – had at least briefed the public through a televised speech the night before Yolanda made landfall.

As of Monday morning, Rolly has weakened into a tropical storm. It has killed at least 10 people. The agriculture department reported that some P1.1 billion worth of rice, corn, and other crops were damaged, affecting 20,000 farmers. – Rappler.com

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is Rappler’s Community Lead, in charge of linking our journalism with communities for impact.