PSG chief explains why his troops are first to receive COVID-19 vaccine

Published December 28, 2020, 5:42 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

Faced with the “war” against coronavirus, Presidential Security Group (PSG) chief Brig. Gen. Jesus Durante III announced they have taken a “courageous step” to provide vaccines to its personnel to ensure President Duterte’s health and safety.

(PIXABAY / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Durante confirmed that PSG troopers providing close-in security to the President have been given vaccine shots against the new coronavirus disease.  He explained the vaccination drive was done “not for personal agenda” but in line with the group’s mission to protect the President. 

“PSG is the primary unit of the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) that is mandated to protect the nation’s highest leader. With the current pandemic, PSG needs to ensure that they are not themselves threat to the President’s health and safety. As such the PSG administered COVID-19 vaccine to its personnel performing close-in security operations to the President,” Durante said in a statement. 

“COVID-19 is a first in history, and the whole world is hopeful in developing and obtaining the perfect vaccine. PSG’s decision to take the risk is a courageous step that greatly supports its mandate. We did it not for personal agenda but on a greater pursuit that is even way beyond our mission of protecting our President,” he added.

Durante also said the PSG’s main task is to ensure the country has “a healthy President serving our fellow Filipinos every day.” “National security imposes the protection of the President being the Commander in-Chief from all forms of threat, especially COVID-19, in order to preserve the stability of our nation,” he said.

In getting the COVID vaccines for its personnel,  Durante said the PSG has exhausted means to carry out its mission of protecting the President. “We are in a state of war, a war against COVID 19. War compels us to survive as what we are now doing in this pandemic. As such, PSG exploits all means in order to deliver its mandate as what is highly expected of them by the Filipino people,’ he said.

The Armed Forces earlier admitted that the PSG troopers were the first from its ranks to receive COVID vaccines as part of its mission. The same revelation was reportedly made by Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año Monday.

President Duterte, in a televised address over the weekend, revealed that some soldiers were inoculated with coronavirus vaccines to ensure their health amid the pandemic. 

In a later interview over DZRH, Durante said the COVID vaccination of the PSG personnel started around two months ago. He said it was an “independent move” by the PSG, adding he no longer asked permission from the President on the matter.

So far, Durante said they have not seen any adverse effect of the vaccines on the PSG troopers. No one also tested positive for coronavirus so far, he added.

Durante however declined to identify the vaccine given to the PSG personnel. 

“I take responsibility for that action. Our mandate, our mission is to protect the President including his health,” he said.

 
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