Typhoon Rolly, dubbed as the world’s strongest tropical cyclone for 2020, first hit Bicol region on Sunday, November 1. Not only this alarmed the netizens, but also that President Rodrigo Duterte being missing-in-action in the first public briefing hours after the typhoon entered the country.
The Sunday public briefing on typhoon Rolly, scheduled and took place more than 5 hours after the landfall in Catanduanes, transpired with no presence of the president. Various government officials part of the government’s disaster council spoke of their preparations in the said public briefing post-typhoon landfall.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque moderated the briefing which aired live from National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) in Quezon City.
The same top officials from the government’s pandemic response team, the National Task Force COVID-19, composed the NDRRMC, with Department of National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana as head of NTF as well as the NDRRMC and Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año as vice chair of NTF and also of NDRRMC.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, Social Welfare Undersecretary Felicisimo Budiongan, NDRRMC Executive Director Ricardo Jalad, Interior Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, and PNP police chief general Camilo Cascolan were also among those who attended the NDRRMC briefing.
In the Laging Handa briefing on October 31, Senator Bong Go said that the president is currently in Mindanao and is monitoring the situation. Further, Go affirmed that both him and the president continues to monitor the NDRRMC along with its preparation for the immediate assistance to areas affected by the strongest typhoon.
The latest photo of the president that the Presidential Communications Operations Office posted was Duterte’s October 28 visit to his parents resting place.
Duterte has yet to go visit the survivors of typhoon Quinta and survey and report on the damage, and he did not return to Manila despite early anticipation of typhoon Rolly’s strength and possible damage.
Memes along with the #NasaanAngPangulo shot to Twitter top trends.
Along with #NasaanAngPangulo, the issue on Manila Bay dolomite once again has trended.
Netizens yet again jabbed at the dolomite white sand project of the government. Criticism arose among netizens saying that the allocated funds for white sand dolomite beach project could have helped Filipinos in need during the pandemic were now “sinking” in the waters, especially with the onslaught of typhoon Rolly.
About six days ago, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said 10% of the dolomite in Manila Bay has been swept to sea by the heavy rains. The black sand is also being washed in, covering the artificial white sand. The DENR said they will put dolomite sand in the water so that instead of the regular black sand, the artificial white sand will be washed onto the beach. #KapitLangDolomite became a trending topic last week.
The DENR said the Manila Bay 500-meter beach nourishment project cost only P 28 million against reports saying it had spent P 389 million. The P389-million budget, the Environment agency clarified, is for the Manila Bay rehabilitation. There were 3,500 tons shipped to Manila Bay from Alcoy, Cebu, but the total order would have been 10,500 tons.
Information dissemination on typhoon
NDRRMC Executive Director Jalad appealed to the media to spread word about the strength and risk of Typhoon Rolly towards many communities as possible. He further added that many far-flung communities only have radios as source of information.
Netizens quickly tagged the ABS-CBN Regional Network Group, noting that the regional stations could have helped disseminate information regarding Typhoon Rolly to remote areas in the country, with ABS-CBN having had the largest broadcast network in the country. ABS-CBN shut down their regional networks and aired their last on August 28 after Congress denied their franchise.
As of 8am, #RollyPH has weakened from super typhoon to typhoon category. Residents should remain vigilant as catastrophic violent winds and intense to torrential rainfall particularly in the areas of Western portion of CamSur, Marinduque, central and portion of Quezon, Laguna, eastern portion of Batangas, and Cavite.
DOST PAGASA further reported that the center of typhoon Rolly will move towards Marinduque-Southern Quezon this afternoon and will pass over Batangas-Cavite by late-afternoon through evening. Between 5:00 ton 8:00 pm, typhoon Rolly is located around 70km south of Metro Manila.