Duterte doing everything he can to steer PH past virus — Palace

Published July 12, 2020, 10:03 AM

by Genalyn Kabiling

President Duterte is doing everything he can to steer the country past the coronavirus pandemic, a Palace official said.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque (OPS / MANILA BULLETIN)

Even though his health is not exactly 100 percent,  presidential spokesman Harry Roque has assured the public the President continues to perform his duties, particularly in mitigating the impact of the pandemic on the people. The President recognizes people’s hardship arising from the health emergency, Roque added.

“Naiintindihan ng Presidente ang paghihirap ng lahat dahil sa COVID-19 pero tiwala po kami na ang sambayanan naman po ay talagang alam na ginagawa ng Presidente ang lahat ng kaniyang magagawa para po maibsan ang kahirapan natin sa panahon ng COVID-19 (The President understands the suffering of all because of COVID-19 but we also trust the nation really knows the President is doing everything to ease the hardship during the period of COVID-19),” Roque said.

The government has gradually relaxed the lockdowns across the country to revive the economy and restore the livelihood of the people. The reopening of economy will be coupled by expanded testing, tracing, and treatment efforts to curb the spread of the outbreak, according to Malacanang. A decision on the country’s new quarantine status beyond July 16 is expected to be announced this week.

Roque had earlier said Duterte remains 88 percent healthy given his old age.

“Well, like any other 75-year-old, para naman pong nasa 88 po ang physical health ng ating Presidente  (Well like any other 75-year-old, the President’s physical health is around 88),” Roque said when asked to rate the President’s health condition between one and 100 percent.

Roque said the President has planned trips somewhere in Mindanao this week but he declined to disclose the details for security reasons. Duterte has been staying in Davao City since the past week.

“Siya po ay nasa Mindanao ngayon, doon po siya nag-o-opisina at may mga planong biyahe po (He is in Mindanao now. He will be working there and there are planned visits),” he said.

The President did not physically attend the commissioning ceremony of BRP Jose Rizal in Zambales last Friday and instead sent a video message to mark the special session.

Duterte’s public engagements have been significantly reduced as his security team has tightly guarded his health as a precaution against the disease.

The Presidential Security Group (PSG) has implemented stricter protocols that limits Duterte’s social interaction, including coronavirus testing for people who will hold a meeting with him. The PSG also enforces the no-touch policy on Duterte, placing a six to 10-meter distance from other people.

Duterte has admitted suffering from ailments, including back pains and migraines after a motorcycle accident, and Buerger’s disease or the inflammation of blood vessels caused by his past smoking habit.