Duterte makes first public appearance at Agusan del Norte founding anniversary

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President Rodrigo Duterte makes his first public appearance on Saturday where he visited the 401st Brigade in Bancasi, Butuan. Earlier in the day, Duterte was in Agusan del Norte for its 50th founding anniversary. PHOTO COURTESY OF BRIGADIER GENERAL RESTITUTO PADILLA

After a five-day hiatus, President Rodrigo Duterte made his first public appearance on Saturday when he visited Agusan del Norte.

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Duterte graced the 50th founding anniversary of the province at the University of Cabadbaran where he delivered a speech at around 4:30 p.m.

The President then proceeded to Barangay (village) Bancasi, Butuan City to meet troops of the 4th Infantry Division.

The 72-year-old president was last seen in public at Villamor Air Base in Pasay City, where he honored 8 of the 13 Marines who died in the ongoing Marawi City siege.

He failed to lead the 119th Independence Day rites in Rizal Park on June 12 and has not been seen attending any public events since that time.

As calls for an explanation to Duterte’s week-long absence mounted, Malacanang issued a statement, saying the “brutal schedule” of the president, especially with the outbreak of conflict in Marawi City, forced him to rest and “rejuvenate”.

Speculations on his health were denied promptly by the Palace. CATHERINE S. VALENTE

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