Duterte marks 75th birthday under quarantine

Graphics by Hershey Claire B. Zaspa

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte marks his 75th birthday Saturday, March 28, while on self-quarantine.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the President has been advised by his doctors and the Presidential Security Group (PSG) to go on self-quarantine because of his exposure to some government officials who may have also been exposed to a confirmed coronavirus disease (Covid-19) patient.

“He will continue with his work while on quarantine. His only birthday wish is for our countrymen to stay home and the total eradication of the coronavirus,” Panelo said.

Amid the public health crisis, Panelo greeted the President, “The nation’s prayers for your good health and well being go to you Mr. President on this day of your birth. 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.”

The PSG has also placed its compound within the Malacañang complex under a two-week lockdown effective 12 a.m. Saturday and ordered all personnel and their dependents to go on self-quarantine.

This will ensure that no PSG personnel will pose a threat to Duterte’s health. The PSG has the sole mandate of protecting the President.

Duterte has declared a state of public health emergency and state of calamity to allow government to tap calamity and quick response funds to address the rising cases of Covid-19 in the country.

A new law that the Senate and the House of Representatives passed during separate special sessions on March 23 further declared a state of national emergency arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, or Republic Act 11469, also grants the President special powers to realign funds under the 2020 budget to address the Covid-19 outbreak in the country.

Among others, the law empowers the President to realign funds towards a P200-billion social amelioration program that will give 18 million low-income families a monthly subsidy of P5,000 to P8,000 each for two months.

Duterte also has the legal authority to direct the operation of some privately owned facilities to be used as temporary hospitals, accommodation facilities for healthcare and other frontline workers, or relief distribution centers, among others.

The law further gives Duterte the power to deal with local government officials who do not adhere to the quarantine rules set by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

As of Friday, March 27, the Department of Health has confirmed 803 cases of Covid-19 in the country. Fifty-four patients had died while 31 have recovered.

Globally, the World Health Organization said the infection has killed 23,335 individuals as of March 27. A total of 509,164 confirmed cases have been reported.

Covid-19 is a respiratory disease caused by the highly infectious novel coronavirus, known officially as Sars-CoV-2. The first case was reported in Wuhan City in China. The disease has since spread worldwide. (MVI/SunStar Philippines)


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