'Tinamaan lahat': COVID-19 surge affecting Duterte's schedule

Published January 18, 2022, 6:01 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

The current surge in daily coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases has begun to affect the official duties of President Duterte.

(Photos from Malacañang/ Unsplash)

This was confirmed Tuesday, Jan. 18 by Cabinet Secretary and Acting Presidential Spokesperson Karlo Nograles after the President mentioned in his late night public briefing that nearly all employees in Malacañang have been afflicted with COVID-19.

“Well right now, siyempre binabantayan natin iyong schedule ni Pangulo (of course we’re watching the President’s schedule) subject also to the situation on the ground,” Nograles said in a virtual press conference.

“At dahil nabanggit nga niya kagabi na marami na rin ‘no sa mga workforce namin o ni Pangulo sa Malacañang at sa Office of the President ay nagkaroon ng either COVID or forced mag-quarantine dahil na-expose at close contact so sinusunod namin ang lahat ng mga protocols ‘no (And based on what he said last night that a lot of people from the President’s workforce in Malacañang and the Office of the President have either contracted COVID-19 or forced to undergo quarantine after being exposed as a close contact, we have been following all the protocols),” he said.

In the pre-recorded “Talk to the People” episode that aired late Monday night, Jan. 17, Duterte casually mentioned how most of his staff have fallen ill to COVID-19.

“Ang opisina ko (In my office), I — I do not use the word — ang Malacañang is almost sarado kasi naka-positive lahat (almost closed because everybody is positive). I think… Ito, ito, wala nang mga taga-Protocol, tinamaan lahat (the Protocol people are gone, they were all stricken),” the President said.

The Philippines is currently grappling with a ferocious new surge in COVID-19 cases that’s supposedly being fueled by the Omicron variant.

“So dahil nga doon, of course medyo naapektuhan din ‘no ang schedule ng Pangulo (because of that, of course the President’s schedule has been affected) because that’s the reality on the ground,” Nograles said.

The latest Talk to the People public briefing was conspicuously held in Davao City and not in Malacañang.

Nograles said they’ve been following Memorandum No.94, which provides for the minimum percentage of the workforce that should physically appear in government offices given the current alert level. Despite this, he said that government still makes sure that public service “won’t suffer”.

“So we’re just following the protocols for everyone’s safety pero mabuti dito (but the good thing here) is most if not all of the workforce naman are fully vaccinated,” Nograles said.