President Rodrigo Duterte said the weather was among the reasons why he failed to visit quake-hit areas in Davao del Sur last week.
“If the weather will not allow it, which I — it — a low ceiling cloud, paano ko maglipad? ‘Di diretso ka sa bukid (How will I fly? I’ll go straight to the farm),” Duterte said in a media interview in Malacañang.
Duterte said sometimes, he only forced the pilot to take off despite bad weather because he wanted to spend the weekend in his hometown in Davao City.
“You know, itong (this) helicopter man is visual. But sometimes I force them to take off especially if I want to go home. And I do not want to rest on any other place,” Duterte said.
He, however, admitted that it was hard to navigate the helicopter especially on a particularly cloudy day.
“But sometimes, if you cannot really see your way in and out of where you are going, and then if they say that it’s not good to fly there this time — it’s all — so it’s all clouds,” he said.
Asked if it was just the weather and not his health condition to blame for his absence in last week’s event, Duterte reiterated that it was normal for senior citizens to experience illness as they aged.
“Masama ang loob ko, ma’am, hindi ang pakiramdam (I am disappointed, but I don’t feel ill),” Duterte said.
“Well, I said, I’m — I’m 74. Most of our Cabinet members are also at my age. ‘Pag natumba ako, tumba lahat ‘yan. Sigurado ‘yan. Hindi lang ako (If I fall, they also fall. That’s for sure. Not just me),” he added.
Duterte suffers from back problems, migraines and Buerger’s disease, an inflammation of small- and medium-sized blood vessels. (PNA)