(Eagle News) — President Rodrigo Duterte is still in his hometown in Davao City and has not yet returned to Malacanang as a precautionary measure because of the high number of COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila, his spokesperson Harry Roque said.
He said that some members of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) and other employees in Malacanang have tested positive for COVID-19. Because of this, the PSG decided that it is safer for the President to stay in Davao City, Roque explained.
As of Friday, Aug. 28, the country has a total of 209,554 COVID-19 infections, and 71,745 of these are active cases.
Most of the active cases are in Metro Manila. On Friday, the Philippine capital reported 2,097 new cases, which is more than half of the 3,999 new cases reported for the whole country for that day.
Roque has repeatedly assured the public that the President is in good health amid speculations being spread that he could have a serious illness after he had mentioned in a previous televised address that his doctors had advised him not to drink anymore, and not to eat too much fat because of his Barrett’s disease.
“Matagal na kami sa gobyerno, magpa-retire na lang, bakit pa namin pagsayangan? Kakaunting panahon na lang ang naiwan so walang — walang — walang ganang — wala nang ganang kumain. May pera ka naman, hindi ka na makakain kay sabi ng doktor huwag kang kumain ng taba kasi mamatay ka. Ikaw Duterte, huwag ka nang uminom kasi ‘yang Barrett mo nearing stage one ka sa cancer,” the President said in his Aug. 24 meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) in Davao City.
Critics then used his statement to speculate on his health condition, with some even pressing the Supreme Court again to require the release of the President’s medical records.
“Barrett’s esophagus is a condition in which the flat pink lining of the swallowing tube that connects the mouth to the stomach (esophagus) becomes damaged by acid reflux, which causes the lining to thicken and become red,” according to Mayoclinic.org.
“Barrett’s esophagus is associated with an increased risk of developing esophageal cancer. Although the risk of developing esophageal cancer is small, it’s important to have regular checkups with careful imaging and extensive biopsies of the esophagus to check for precancerous cells (dysplasia). If precancerous cells are discovered, they can be treated to prevent esophageal cancer,” it explained.
Roque said that there is nothing to worry about the President’s health condition.
“He (President Duterte) is a lawyer; he knows his obligation. He took an oath as a lawyer and as president to uphold the laws of the land and the Constitution. And the Constitution only says, if there is a serious illness, there is an obligation to reveal to the public the details of his health condition,” Roque said.
(Eagle News Service)