By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
The Presidential Security Group (PSG) maintained that the Malacañang compound will not be locked down despite reports of Cabinet members being exposed to patients who tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
In a statement, the PSG said it will disinfect and decontaminate the areas frequented by President Duterte instead of closing down the entire compound.
“The Presidential Security Group (PSG) will not actually implement [a] lockdown of Malacañan Palace. Our measure is more on precautionary and preventive one against COVID-19, through disinfection and decontamination, especially in areas frequently used by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte,” they said Thursday.
The PSG added that work inside Malacañang will continue despite the disinfection and decontamination, which will follow a schedule.
“This is also for the welfare of all the employees, to make them feel at ease and safe while working. Employees will temporarily vacate their offices as we conduct disinfection and shall resume work after an hour,” the PSG said.
“This will be done on a scheduled basis to ensure not just the safety of our President but also all of those working behind him in the seat of our government, to continuously serve the Filipino people.”
President Duterte was reported to have undergone testing for COVID-19, despite not showing symptoms, because of his regular engagement with Cabinet members.
Cabinet members including Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade and Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez opted to go on self-quarantine after being exposed to a patient who tested positive for the virus. Education Secretary Leonor Briones was also advised to go on quarantine because of her interactions with her colleagues in the Cabinet.
Earlier, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar reminded employees that work-from-home arrangements in accordance with the guidelines released by the Department of Labor and Employment and the Civil Service Commission may be considered.
He also appealed to the public to be “understanding and cooperative” in taking the necessary precautions and in following safety protocols.