MARAWI CITY (MindaNews / 08 June) — If President Rodrigo Duterte had arrived at Campo Ranao here at 1:30 p.m. Thursday as scheduled, the world would have known what happened and what he said only at 6 p.m. when the embargo on story release shall have been lifted.
The embargo was among the guidelines issued for journalists covering the event: “strictly no live broadcast; no social media posting, radio and TV news feed before and during the event;” and “embargo story for release / airing until 6 p.m. today”
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana announced to troops assembled and the media that Duterte’s trip was cancelled due to “foul weather.”
Duterte was supposed to have been presented over a hundred firearms recovered from the Maute Group before giving a pep talk to his troops on Day 17 of the clashes between government forces and the terrorist group.
Lorenzana told the troops that the President wanted to visit Marawi “but because of foul weather hindi pwede i-risk ang kaligtasan ni Presidente (we cannot risk the safety of the President) with this kind of weather.”
He was accompanied by Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza and National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Jr.
The Defense Secretary said Duterte was “not continuing his trip here” but would go to Cagayan de Oro (from Davao City) to “visit some troops who were wounded.”
Dureza dismissed allegations the Presidential visit was cancelled due to security threats. He told MindaNews in a text message at 4:22 p.m. from Cagayan de Oro that the President wasn’t able to take off immediately from Davao City because of the bad weather and that he had just landed in Laguindingan airport.
In Marawi, reporters covering the Presidential visit were not allowed to enter Campo Ranao in their vehicles. Reporters were ferried to the camp from the neighboring Provincial Capitol on board KM trucks of the military.
After Lorenzana, Esperon and Dureza boarded the helicopters for Cagayan de Oro, a reporter on board a military truck bound for the Capitol asked if the embargo for story release had been lifted since the President did not arrive. Several reporters were seen immediately sending their advisories and stories by phone. (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)