MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday said in jest that he would prefer typhoons be named like “Leni” as he expressed displeasure over the use of “Usman,” the tropical depression that claimed hundreds of lives in the Bicol region, because it refers to a Maranao brother.
“Yung bagyo ‘wag niyo pangalanan na Usman, si Randy Usman, Maranao ‘yan, brother ko ‘yan in the Maranao side,” Duterte said in a command conference in Pili, Camarines Sur, eliciting laughter from his audience
“Bernadette, ganun, Leonora. Mga Leni, ganun. I should not take her name in vain,” he added, drawing more laughter from those present in the televised meeting.
“Leni” is the nickname of Vice President Ma. Leonor Robredo, who hails from Camarines Sur.
He later said he would prioritize giving aid to Bicol because of Robredo, whom he described as beautiful.
“You know the reason that I gave you priority in the projects is that you have a very beautiful Vice President here… Leni. Tell her she’s really beautiful,” he said.
Robredo was formerly the housing czar of the government but later resigned after she was asked to stop attending Cabinet meetings due to “irreconcilable differences.”
In his message to Cabinet officials, politicians and disaster officials, he lamented why the country has suffered so much from the wrath of typhoons when many government officials have attended climate change conferences.
“Ang problema, dami ako finire tao for attending climate change, and we are at the losing end of the shit, sige pa rin patay, sige pa rin collapse. Better help ourselves than listen to those idiots in Europe,” he said.
He reiterated he wanted to create a separate department for disaster response.
“I plan of making his (Usec. Ricardo Jalad of NDRRMC) agency a regular department solely to meet the challenge, so kanya lahat ‘yan, iyo na lahat pati pagpigil sa bagyo, lagay ka blower diyan,” he said.