President Duterte scheduled to return to Malacanang for IATF meeting later – Roque

(File photo) President Rodrigo Roa Duterte holds a meeting with members of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) at the Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang on May 11, 2020. ACE MORANDANTE/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO


(Eagle News) – President Rodrigo Duterte is set to return to Malacanang today, Monday, May 18, after returning home to Davao City on Saturday, May 16, with the easing of quarantine restrictions in Luzon.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque confirmed that the President will return in time for the Inter-Agency Task Force meeting later.

But he said that Duterte still worked even while in Davao City and, in fact, still haven’t seen his grandchildren.

Duterte is still exercising precautionary measures since he is considered among the elderly sector with comorbidities vulnerable to COVID-19, he said.

Even if there is initial word that Duterte will return to the Palace later, it is still not certain if he would make a public address later tonight.

Pagbalik niya mamaya din. Di ko lang alam kung matutuloy ang pag-public address mamaya,” Roque said in a virtual presser, Monday, May 18.

The Palace spokesperson noted that President Duterte had stayed for 67 days in Malacanang, the longest that he ever stayed in Manila, because of the COVID-19 lockdown measures.

He said that the President also assessed “the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) situation in Mindanao.”

“COVID-19 has affected not just one part of the country but the entire Philippines. As a father of the nation, President Duterte — considering his age and comorbidities — is a hands-on working Chief Executive who spent his weekend to check how this global health scare impacted the lives of people on the ground, especially those living outside Metro Manila and Luzon,” Roque said in an earlier statement.

“Rest assured that he will be back in Malacañang in time for the next IATF briefing.”

Those under ECQ are Cebu City and Mandaue City.

Metro Manila, Laguna, and five Central Luzon provinces (Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, and Zambales) shifted into Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) since Saturday, May 16, while the rest of the country were placed under General Community Quarantine.

But Roque said that because of the rampant violations in physical distancing and other health protocols, the country may see a rise in infections in the coming days.

If this happens, he said that the MECQ areas will go back to being under Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ).

(Eagle News Service)