MANILA – The Presidential Security Group (PSG) will stay on “high-alert” status over the health and safety of President Rodrigo R. Duterte despite the easing of quarantine restrictions in Metro Manila.

In a statement on Wednesday, PSG commander Col. Jesus Durante III said all health and safety protocols would continue to be enforced within the Palace and other areas frequented by the President.

“With the implementation of the general community quarantine (GCQ) in the National Capital Region, the Presidential Security Group will still maintain all safety protocols and measures currently enforced inside the PSG Compound and the whole Malacañang Complex,” Durante said.

He said all screening procedures initially established would still be in effect, such as the “mandatory rapid antibody detection testing and disinfection of engagement areas.”

On top of this, Durante said there would be other existing health security protocols, such as the “no invitation, no entry” policy that is imposed on all visitors and guests.

He said events with the possible attendance of Duterte would only be restricted to small group private meetings while engagements that require large crowd gatherings would be discouraged.

“PSG will never let its guard down. It shall remain on high-alert status until the environment is safe for the President,” Durante said, assuring that the group would continue to provide the utmost protection for the President “not only during this Covid-19 crisis but at all times.”

He also appealed to the public to remain steadfast and obedient in following all quarantine guidelines.

Last month, Durante reassured those who have contracted or are suspected of being carriers of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cannot go near the President.

He noted that Duterte had no exposure to one of his security aides who had tested positive for Covid-19 but has already recovered.

About 160 PSG personnel tested positive after undergoing rapid antibody tests since March. They underwent the 14-day mandatory quarantine and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests.

After the RT-PCR tests, Durante said only one of the 160 PSG troops was confirmed to have acquired Covid-19.

“This lone personnel has long recovered from the virus,” he said in a statement on May 20.

Metro Manila, Pangasinan, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Central Visayas, Zamboanga City, Davao City, Albay, Cebu City, and Mandaue City are under GCQ until June 15.

The rest of the country is under modified GCQ, the last quarantine classification before the shift to new normal.

 Duterte, who is currently in Davao City, is expected to return to Manila “much earlier,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in an interview over DZRH.

He was initially scheduled to hold a meeting with members of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) in Davao City on Thursday.

On Wednesday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte postponed his June 11 meeting and would instead meet with the IATF-EID members in Manila on June 15. (PNA)

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