Davao City—As the country's topmost "frontliner," President Rodrigo Duterte had every right to fly home to this city, his daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said Monday.
"He's the top frontliner as president of our country," said Duterte-Carpio in a live interview on Davao City Disaster Radio.
The President made the trip to Davao Saturday, as Metro Manila eased its lockdown measures to a modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), under which domestic flights remain barred.
It was the first time for the President to return home since the March lockdown, which halted transport and restricting movement in the capital region. He had spent his 75th birthday under quarantine in Malacañang in March.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, who also serves as vice chair of the National Task Force against COVID-19, also defended Duterte, saying the President was exempted from flight restrictions being the highest official of the land.
"I think the President’s flight is one of those exemptions being the highest official of the land. He has the authority to go anywhere he wants and being the chief executive, chief implementor of all the laws of the land he can go wherever he wants as long as health standards and protocol are observed," Año told ANC on Monday.
"So I don’t see anything wrong with the President’s going to Davao."
The President's trip was the first time in two months he had left Malacañang since a strict lockdown was imposed to contain the pandemic. He had spent his 75th birthday under quarantine at the Palace in March.
Duterte will join next week's meeting of government's Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases, Presidential Security Group chief Col. Jesus Durante III said.
Metro Manila, Laguna, and six areas in Central Luzon were placed under MECQ from Saturday, while the cities of Cebu and Mandaue remain on strict lockdown to contain the disease following appeal from local officials.
All other areas in the country are under general community quarantine or GCQ, that would allow almost all industries to operate up to 75 percent except amusement and those with mass gatherings.