MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte will be spending the Holy Week in Manila to monitor the developments in the fight against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic in the country, Malacañang said on Wednesday.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Duterte was supposed to fly to Davao City on Tuesday to join his family in celebrating the 16th birthday of his younger daughter, Veronica, on April 10.
Duterte, however, canceled his trip to Davao and decided to stay at Malacañan’s Bahay Pagbabago, his official residence in Manila, to keep an eye on the government’s response to the Covid-19 outbreak, Panelo said.
“At tuluy-tuloy po ang kaniyang pag-monitor sa mga kaganapan dito sa ating pakikibaka sa coronavirus (He continues to monitor the developments in the government’s battle against the coronavirus),” he said in a virtual presser aired on state-run PTV-4.
Last year, Duterte spent the Holy Week in his hometown in Davao City.
Panelo said the President would be in Manila this week “unless there will be changes.”
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles announced on Tuesday that Duterte has extended the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon until April 30 to stop the further transmission of Covid-19 in the country.
The Philippines has so far reported 3,660 Covid-19 infections, with 163 deaths and 73 recoveries.
Panelo said Duterte has been having “sleepless nights” due to the Covid-19 pandemic but is still in good condition.
“He (Duterte) is actually fit and healthy. But kagaya nga ng sinasabi niya, hindi siya makatulog ng wasto sapagkat iniisip niya ang problema ng ating bayan (But like he said, he could not sleep well because he is thinking about the country’s problems),” he said.
Duterte, whose self-quarantine ended on April 7, is in a “safe place,” Panelo said, adding that the presidential security aides are doing their best to make sure that Duterte is Covid-19 free.
He likewise noted that Duterte continues to give directives to concerned government agencies to ensure the effective and successful fight against Covid-19.
“Tumatanggap siya ng halos 1,000 mensahe (He receives almost 1,000 messages related to Covid-19),” Panelo said. “Dito lang po siya sa Maynila upang madaliang matugunan ang anumang suliranin na ipapaabot sa kanya (He will be in Manila so he could immediately address any problem that reaches him).”
Protection vs. Covid-19
As the entire nation observes Holy Week, Duterte called on his fellow Filipinos to follow the strict observance of home quarantine to contain Covid-19, Panelo said.
“At kung maaari po ay magtulungan po tayo sa isa’t isa at magbigay po tayo ng proteksyon sa bawat isa (If possible, let us help and protect one another against Covid-19),” he said.
Panelo said Duterte’s only desire is to end the outbreak in the country and that he hopes that Filipinos’ lives would return to normal after the health crisis.
“Pinapanalangin po ni Presidente Duterte na sana po tayong lahat ay makaahon dito sa ating malaking problema at maibalik tayo sa normal na buhay sa araw-araw (President Duterte is praying that we would all overcome this huge problem so we could resume our normal daily lives),” he said. (PNA)