MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte remains “safe” and “in good health” even after many of his security aides have tested positive for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), Presidential Security Group (PSG) commander Brig. Gen. Jesus Durante III said on Wednesday.
“At the least, our PSG personnel who got infected are not directly or closely detailed with the President and are all asymptomatic without experiencing any adverse symptom. Hence, rest assured that the President is safe and in good health,” Durante said in a press statement.
He gave the assurance after over 100 PSG personnel have contracted Covid-19.
Durante, in an interview with state-run PTV-4, said a total of 126 PSG members have been infected with Covid-19.
To date, there are 45 active Covid-19 cases in the PSG, he added.
Durante said most of the infected security personnel are those manning the gates within the Malacañang compound and exposed daily to the people.
He said the PSG personnel’s exposure to Covid-19 is “inevitable” because they “protect our VIPs [and] guard the PSG compound, the residence and the whole Malacañang Complex 24/7.”
“As the number of Covid-19 cases continues to rise in our country, the Presidential Security Group is not spared from the virus as our personnel continue to perform our mandate during presidential engagements and routine security operations,” he said.
Durante said the PSG would only recommend the resumption of Duterte’s activities, once Covid-19 cases in Metro Manila subside.
“We will not take the risk,” he said. “We will minimize all possible exposure that might jeopardize our President’s safety.”
Durante said PSG’s established protocols will continue to be enforced to make sure that Duterte is “kept safe and secured from all forms of threats at all times.”
He said the PSG Task Force Covid-19 and its medical staff continue to manage the situation by ensuring that Duterte’s security aides who tested positive for Covid-19 follow quarantine protocols.
“Likewise, all health and safety protocols are strictly enforced and implemented to all PSG personnel and their dependents. Despite the challenges posed by the virus, PSG continues to perform its mandate,” he said.
Duterte was supposed to hold his weekly public address on Wednesday night but decided to move it to next week due to the spike in Covid-19 cases, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.
Duterte is currently at Malacañan Palace in Manila. (PNA)