President Duterte has not traveled abroad and actually remains in the country overseeing the government’s pandemic response, Malacañang said Sunday.
“There is no truth that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte left the country this weekend,” Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said.
“The Chief Executive is in the Philippines and closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation in the country,” he added.
The President is scheduled to meet with several cabinet members, who also serve as Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Infectious Diseases (IATF) in Davao City on Monday, August 17. Duterte is expected to deliver a public address to announce the quarantine classification of Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal, according to the Palace.
The National Capital Region and four nearby provinces have been placed under more restrictive modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) from general community quarantine (GCQ) from August 4 to August 18 after a timeout appeal from the medical community.
The President earlier said he would want to place the country under strict lockdown to stem the coronavirus outbreak but admitted the government no longer has funds for financial aid for affected sectors. He said the people should be allowed to resume their livelihood as the government scaled up testing, tracing and treatment efforts to limit the spread of the disease.
Duterte has been staying in his home city of Davao since early August. His last public address held in Davao City was last August 10.
As of August 15, the country has recorded 157,918 cases of coronavirus with 2,600 deaths.