MANILA – Malacañang wished that President Rodrigo R. Duterte would continue to have “good health” and live a “long life” ahead of his birthday, especially at this time when the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) plagues the country.
In a press statement issued Friday, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the Palace joins the entire nation in praying for the good health and well-being of the President who turns 75 on Saturday.
“Long life! We pray that the Almighty continue to give you enough good health and divine guidance as you safely navigate our people through the rampaging waves of this treacherous ocean of a dreadful disease. God bless,” Panelo said.
Duterte will celebrate his birthday at the height of the government’s battle against the Covid-19 pandemic.
He usually spends his birthday without fanfare and merely opts to have a simple celebration with his family at his residence in Davao City.
Panelo said Duterte might celebrate his birthday at Malacañan Palace in Manila, helping Filipinos to survive amid the health crisis that places everyone “on the brink of disaster and death.”
He, however, floated the possibility that Duterte could still fly to Davao City to enjoy the “simple joy of playing with his grandchildren.”
“Consistent with his daredevil character and deep filial ties, the President will most likely opt to either being ensconced safely and quietly with his loved ones in his comfort zone or continue with his manning the ramparts against the enemy. Given his dexterity, it is unsurprising if he would probably do both with ease,” Panelo said.
He added that while it seems difficult to greet Duterte a “hearty Happy Birthday” due to the “foreboding and grim circumstances,” the Palace still acknowledges Duterte’s birth as a “gift from the Almighty.”
“We take therefore this occasion to thank God for giving life to this maverick of a President, and for lending us his time and his indefatigable spirit to serve and protect the people with his unorthodox ways and selfless brand of public service that puts to risk his life, honor, and the presidency,” Panelo said.
Duterte earlier said he would stay in Manila while the entire Luzon is under enhanced community lockdown, a move considered to be effective in arresting the spread of Covid-19, which has so far infected 803 people in the country.
Panelo expressed confidence that Duterte and his administration would be successful in addressing the Covid-19 pandemic in the country, considering that the latter has been characterized by his “unwavering war against drugs, criminality, corruption, rebellion, and terrorism.”
He also noted that Duterte’s mettle as a leader had already been tested by “powerful typhoons, rampaging floods, thundering earthquakes, and terrifying volcano eruptions that wreak havoc and destruction to the towns and cities, as well as to edges of the archipelago.” (IA/PNA)