Duterte makes first appearance in 5 days
After a five-day absence from the public, President Rodrigo Duterte made his first public appearance Saturday saying he was tired and needed the rest.
"My state of health is what you see is what you get," the 72-year old leader, the oldest in the history of the Philippines, was quoted by local media. "I do not need anybody to ask me where I'm going."
His remarks were made in an address during the 50th founding anniversary of the Agusan del Norte province.
Duterte, who was known for going incognito while mayor of Davao City, said he "went on a trip somewhere" during his absence.
"I cannot divulge it. I had to go there incognito," said Duterte. "I traveled like a private citizen so that I can go where I had to go."
Several lawmakers questioned Duterte's health after he skipped Independence Day celebrations Monday and was absent in the days to follow. They contend the president's health is a matter of public interest and national security.
Duterte urged residents of Mindanao to stay vigilant and help the government fight terrorism and criminality.
A siege of Marawi by the Maute group broke out in late May and prompted Duterte to declare martial law on the entire island of Mindanao-a move that has led to the deaths of at least 310 people.
"I ask for your continued vigilance as we express essential measure for the safety of our people and for the restoration of public order in communities affected by terrorism," the president was quoted by GMA News. "I also ask you for your participation in our fight against all forms of corruption, criminality and all," he added.
Duterte also urged Muslims not to believe in Maute's ideology of killing non-Muslims.
"You rise to become the symbol of unity and cooperation in the region," Duterte said.