MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte was not wearing a medical plaster but a white wristband as a “symbol of peace” Malacañang said on Tuesday.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo allayed concerns that Duterte was wearing a protective dressing commonly used to protect limbs with broken bones.
During the inauguration of the Sangley Airport Development Project in Cavite City, Duterte was seen wearing what appeared like a white wristband raising suspicions he was hurt or injured.
“No, it’s not a medical plaster. Eh parang ano iyan, parang kay Erap, iyong mga wristband. Hindi ba si Erap mayroong white (It’s like Erap’s wristband. Didn’t Erap wear a white one)?” Panelo said in a Palace briefing, referring to former President and Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada.
He reiterated that Duterte would reveal to the public the state of his health in case of serious illness as required under Section 12 of Article 7 of the 1987 Constitution.
“The President will tell us if he is not feeling well. He tells us … wala ngang tinatago ‘di ba? Lahat sinasabi niya sa atin (he doesn’t hide anything, right? He tells us everything),” he said.
He said Duterte wore the white wristband because he was pro-peace and “doesn’t want to shed blood.”
“Ang unang nakita ko kaagad doon noong makita ko iyong white is symbol of peace. Hindi ba gusto niya palagi magkaroon ng kapayapaan dito sa ating bansa (What I first thought of when I saw white is symbol of peace. Doesn’t he always want there to be peace in our country),” he said.
He pointed out that Duterte would always go “out of his way” to talk peace with communist rebels.
Earlier this month, Duterte expressed optimism that his administration would be able to achieve long-lasting peace “much earlier” than expected.
He made this remark noticing that many members of the Communist Party of the Philippines’ (CPP) armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), are surrendering and seeking reintegration into the society.
“With the rate that the NPAs are surrendering, mukhang I think we’d be able to realize peace much earlier,” Duterte said in a speech on February 6.
Previously, Duterte also hinted that he might give in to the demands of the communist movement in a bid to realize peace in the country but did not elaborate on their specific demands for possible revival of peace talks.
On Nov. 23, 2017, Duterte signed Proclamation 360 to formally scrap the formal peace talks with CPP’s political wing, the National Democratic Front (NDF), due to continued attacks launched by the NPA rebels against the government forces and civilians.
He then signed Proclamation 374, branding the CPP-NPA as a terror group on Dec. 5, 2017.
The CPP-NPA has also been tagged as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. (PNA)