‘Where’s the President?’ trends as super typhoon batters the Philippines

Karding caused floods in Philippines

Typhoon Karding flooded farming villages in Central Luzon. Photo from the Twitter post of Philippine President Bongbong Marcos

The hashtag #NasaanAngPangulo (Where’s the President) has been trending on Twitter over the past two days as Filipino citizens criticized the absence of Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. during the crucial hours when super typhoon Karding (Noru) entered the country.

Karding is so far the strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines this year.

Its peak winds increased from 60 to 160 mph in 24 hours as it transformed from a tropical storm to the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane. This leap was among the fastest 24-hour intensification rates on record for any tropical cyclone.

According to a government briefing on September 26, the typhoon affected 1,208 families or 4,606 individuals in 57 barangays (villages). It also led to the cancellation of several flights and boat trips that left 2,882 passengers stranded.

Marcos arrived in Manila early Sunday morning on September 25 after a six-day state visit to the United States. Karding was expected to make landfall in the afternoon, which prompted government agencies to issue emergency notices and evacuate residents in flood-prone areas.

Marcos was not present in the agency briefings. But at 9 pm, he posted on Twitter his video discussing his visit to the United States. The video drew swift backlash as citizens accused Marcos of being insensitive to the plight of his constituents reeling from the devastating impact of Karding.

BBM (Bongbong Marcos) Vlog 226: New York, New York

Our trip to New York was successful!

From attending the UN General Assembly, to business roundtable meetings and meeting with the Filipino community, I am grateful for the warm welcome to our delegation.

This reaction from a journalist echoes the public sentiment:

Another journalist added on to the criticism:

Marcos has not commented on the viral hashtag, but seemed to take the criticism to heart, because all his recent social media posts have been about the government's disaster response efforts. On Monday morning, he tweeted about the damage caused by Karding:

Harvest season is set to begin in the coming weeks, which makes the latest round of flooding and destruction especially devastating for farmers. Experts predict the food supply in some towns may be threatened as many rice paddies have been flooded.

A peasant advocate group is demanding urgent action to assist farmers:

Meanwhile, “Sierra Madre” also trended on Twitter as experts pointed out that super typhoon Karding weakened after it passed the Sierra Madre mountain range in Luzon, the country’s biggest island.

The hashtag #SalamatSierraMadre is “Thank you Sierra Madre” in the Filipino language.

An academic highlighted the need to protect the Sierra Madre mountain range by rejecting several large-scale projects that threaten to destroy the biodiversity of the mountain.

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