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New York City is the home of close friend, mentor, vocal supporter and campaign donor, Loida Nicolas-Lewis, the Philippine-born millionaire socialite – and a fellow Bicolana – who just recently called for President Rodrigo Duterte to step down and hand over the reigns of government to her Liberal Party sister, Leni: The Three Stooges – Leila, Leni, Loida.

There’s every chance the two ladies got together to exchange Christmas greetings and if they did those optics would almost certainly have been discussed.

In case no one’s noticed the current president of the Philippines doesn’t have a PR machine – nor does he want one.

We won’t tell you what he thinks about photo-ops that sort of political showmanship but here’s a clue, ‘bovine waste’.

By contrast, President Rodrigo Duterte visited the area to check personally on the relief measures, to pledge an immediate PHP50 million for basic food needs and to tell farmers and local residents that he’ll try to find additional money from the budget to help them get back on their feet.

Early estimates by the Department of Agriculture put the cost to agriculture at PHP4 billion, with an expected rice-production loss of 268,355 metric tons.

They may also question as to why precisely Robredo was in the US this Christmas?

Her office had explained that the vacation was planned a year ago – so long before the May 2016 election and its eventual outcome that saw her elected to the vice presidency.

But as the clean-up of Typhoon Nina continues; as the cost in lost crops and buckled buildings is assessed; as the victims of the winds and flood attempt to put their lives back together, many will wonder just how much real assistance the absentee VP was able to afford her region – how much time out of her busy holiday schedule she’d been able to sacrifice.In Pili, Camarines Sur, Duterte declined to provide a photo-op of himself distributing the packs of rice, sardines, corned beef, a blanket and a mosquito net.He wasn’t there to shore-up his image; he was there to let his people know they can count on him.And so, the vice-president-in-name-and-little-else swung her PR machine into top gear to present a very different optic – one of a concerned mother looking out for her children a continent and an ocean away.The Office of the Vice President was suddenly up an operating in the US.

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