The almost-three hour delay of the airing of President Rodrigo Duterte’s national address prompted some local news organizations to release updates pointing out how late it was compared to the announced schedule of the telecast.
Radio Television Malacañang (RTVM), the office assigned to provide daily broadcast coverage of the president’s activities, streamed a Facebook Live of it that started playing at 12:59 p.m.
The broadcast, which included a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases, played for an hour and six minutes, based on RTVM’s Facebook page.
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte meets with several Cabinet members on the latest updates regarding the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) situation in the Philippines and the measures being done by the government in mitigating the effects of the health crisis that include the easing of restrictions in many areas across the country to allow economic recovery.The President announces several updates such as the temporary suspension of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) System Line 3 operations in Metro Manila, increase in bus augmentation to service the commuting public, and the lifting of suspension for non-essential travel by Filipinos, including exit travel restrictions and the conditions that shall be enforced for outbound Filipino travelers. He reiterates to his ‘kababayans’ that the fight against COVID-19 is not yet over and that minimum health standards such as social distancing, frequent hand washing and wearing of face masks must still be practiced to avoid contracting the virus.#HealAsOne#2020DuterteVision#DuterteLegacy#ComfortableLifeForAll#PartnerForChange
Posted by Radio Television Malacañang – RTVM on Tuesday, July 7, 2020
While the address was aired almost at 1 a.m., a picture of Duterte’s meeting was uploaded by presidential spokesperson Harry Roque the day before, at 8:58 p.m.
It was captioned as: “PRRD addressing the nation now.”
Duterte’s national addresses are usually edited by his team and then televised late at night.
While he is no longer mandated to give weekly reports in relation to the government’s efforts on combating the public health crisis under the expired Bayanihan to Heal As One Act, the Philippines is still under a state of calamity due to the COVID-19.
The status was made official through Duterte’s Proclamation No. 929 signed on March 16 and is expected to last for six months unless lifted or extended.
Duterte has been regularly addressing the public on COVID-19 matters since February. During which, he updates Filipinos about the status of how the government is responding to the pandemic. It also includes his remarks on other non-health matters such as the anti-terror law.
Last night, at least five news organizations noted the almost three-hour-long delay of his latest anticipated broadcast.
Inquirer.net shared two tweets relaying Roque’s response to its reporter in a text message.
“JUST IN: President Duterte’s taped speech to be aired ‘anytime now’, his spokesman Harry Roque says,” the news outlet tweeted at 11:35 p.m.
At 11:43 p.m., it added the following: “In a text message, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque says President Duterte’s televised address to be aired ‘anytime now’: ‘Yes, sandali na lang.'”
By 12:07 a.m., Inquirer.net noted that “two hours have passed since the supposed time of the airing” of Duterte’s address.
It released another update on 12:23 a.m. which said: “President Duterte’s televised address, which was initially scheduled to be aired 10 pm July 7, has not yet been aired until now.”
ABS-CBN News, meanwhile, replied to a post featuring pictures of the meeting that was uploaded to their account on 11:10 p.m. It announced that the president was “expected to address the public tonight.”
At 12:22 a.m., the news organization tweeted: “It’s past midnight Wednesday and the Palace has yet to air President Duterte’s public address. The President’s speech was scheduled for Tuesday night.”
The Philippine STAR on 12:37 a.m. released a tweet with a “JUST IN” social media card and announced: “President Duterte’s address to the nation has yet to air as of 12:35AM on Wednesday, July 8, 2020. It was originally scheduled to air last night.”
Its digital counterpart, Philstar.com, also took note of the hours-long delay on its Twitter account.
“It is 12 a.m. on July 8. The Palace was expected to air a pre-recorded address by the president last night,” it tweeted at 12:01 a.m.
At 12:11 a.m., the online news outfit said that it would “call it a night” to let its editorial staff “rest.”
The news outlet’s second tweet earned laudatory remarks from some Filipinos who claimed that one’s health should be prioritized especially in times of pandemic.
“Indeed, no one is worth sacrificing the health of your workers for!” a Twitter user said.
Rappler also noted the delay and added that it would broadcast the taped address “when it becomes available in the morning.”
“NEWS UPDATE: As of 12:40 AM, there has been no word from the Palace regarding President Duterte’s broadcast. Rappler will rebroadcast Duterte’s address when it becomes available in the morning,” it tweeted at 12:42 a.m.
Prior to this, Rappler reporter Ralf Rivas replied to the tweet of Philstar.com and tagged the social media page of his online news outfit in jest.
— Ralf Rivas (@RalfRivas) July 7, 2020
Rappler reporter-on-leave, Paterno Esmaquel II later tweeted that the news outfit will also no longer wait for the national address.
Esmaquel later lauded Philstar.com’s move and urged others to follow as well.
— Paterno Esmaquel II (@paterno_II) July 7, 2020
Other reporters, including some members of the Malacañang Press Corps, proceeded with the coverage.
— Joseph Morong 🇵🇭 (@Joseph_Morong) July 7, 2020
gais samahan nyo naman ako. char lang haha got yah fam, matulog na kayo. kahit ako na lang ang may eyebag, joke lang haha
— Joseph Morong 🇵🇭 (@Joseph_Morong) July 7, 2020
This is not the first time that Duterte’s late airing of taped addresses has caught attention.
The Philippine media have earlier pointed out the habitual late airing of Duterte’s addresses.
Last March, some Filipinos expressed their frustration when the president’s March 30 speech was broadcasted seven hours past the promised time.
It was supposed to be aired on 4 p.m. but it was only made available to the public “at around 11 p.m.”
On May 1, the Palace released an explanation stating that Duterte has a different body clock even when he was the mayor of Davao City.
“Ang presidente po, alam nating lahat, mula’t sapol pa ito nung naging alkade ng Davao City, ang kanya pong time clock ay kakaiba kesa sa atin… Ang president nagtatrabaho sa gabi hanggang umaabot ng alas-6, alas-7 (ng umaga) at saka lang po siya natutulog,” then-presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.
“Madaling sabi kakaiba po ang patakaran ng katawan ng presidente at kaya nga karaniwan ‘pag siya ay humaharap sa bayan ay gabi na, sapagkat nagsisimula po siyang magtrabaho pagising niya ng mga bandang alas-12, saka lang po siya… pagkatapos siyang mag-almusal ng halos pananghalian na eh, magsisimula na ang kanyang tungkulin hanggang abutan na siya ng madaling araw sa kakatrabaho,” Panelo added.
He further said that there was nothing wrong with the late airing of Duterte’s speeches because a replay of it would be available the following morning.