By Genalyn Kabiling
The coronavirus pandemic has prompted President Duterte to embrace the modern tool of video conferencing to contact government officials.
On Tuesday, the President met with only a handful of Cabinet members to discuss government’s efforts against the coronavirus spread while video conferencing with other top government officials.
The President’s hybrid meeting with the inter-agency task force on the management of emerging infectious diseases (IATF) was held at the Presidential Security Group (PSG) Compound in Malacañang Park in Manila.
Present at the closed-door meeting were Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, Social Welfare Secretary Rolando Bautista, and Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado.
Sen. Christopher Go, former assistant of the President, also attended the meeting with Duterte.
In photos shared by Go with the media, Duterte and the government officials were seated from each other as part of social distancing measures. A few Cabinet members were wearing face masks during the meeting.
The President was also seen leading a video conference with other government officials during the meeting. He had a laptop on his desk while a large television screen showed the on-screen participants of the meeting.
Another photo showed the President applying hand disinfectant before the start of the meeting.
The latest changes limiting the President’s social interaction came following the sharp increase in the number of coronavirus cases in the country.
The Presidential Security Group (PSG) earlier announced the implementation of stricter security protocols to safeguard President Duterte’s health in the light of the coronavirus emergency.
The stringent social distancing measures include allowing only people who have tested negative for coronavirus disease to be near the President in private functions or meetings. Those who have not been tested shall maintain a distance of at least 6-feet or 2-meters from the President.
The PSG also enforces the no-touch policy on President Duterte. At large events, there will be at least a 10-meter distance between the President and the audience.