President Rodrigo Duterte skipped his scheduled public address Wednesday night after several members of the Presidential Security Group tested positive for COVID-19.
This is Duterte’s second public address this week that was canceled after his usual Monday night “Talk to the People” also did not push through.
“The Palace confirms that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte will not have a Talk to the People Address tonight, April 7, 2021, in light of the rising number of active COVID-19 cases,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press statement.
“The physical safety of the President remains our utmost concern. In addition, the preparation for the Talk to the People Address entails a number of staff complement and we also take due consideration of their well-being,” he added.
According to Duterte’s former aide, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, some PSG members contracted the virus and this was “dangerous to the President’s security.”
PSG head Col. Jesus Durante III said at least 45 members have tested positive.
“At the least, our PSG personnel who got infected are not directly or closely detailed with the President and are all asymptomatic without experiencing any adverse symptoms. Hence, rest assured that the President is safe and in good health,” Durante said.
“PSG—through its Task Force COVID-19 and our medical staff continue to efficiently and effectively manage our situation ensuring that those who are tested positive complete their quarantine protocols and are properly processed. All health and safety protocols are strictly enforced and implemented to all PSG personnel and their dependents.”
“We have established protocols to contain the spread of the virus and we will continue to enforce it so that the President is kept safe and secured from all forms of threats at all times,” Durante added.
Meanwhile, presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio confirmed leaving for Singapore Tuesday for “personal health management.”
“I am on leave from April 6-10, 2021. I have a travel authority to Singapore from the DILG. The reason is personal health management,” she said in a statement.
“All protocols for return to Davao City including RT-PCR testing and 14-day quarantine have all been pre-arranged,” she added.