MALACANANG on Sunday denied reports that President Rodrigo Duterte left the country over the weekend.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte remains to be in the country to oversee government’s coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) response efforts.
“There is no truth that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte left the country this weekend,” he said in a statement.
Roque provided no further details about the reports but assured that the Chief Executive is in the Philippines and “closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation in the country”.
Duterte’s last foreign trip was in November 2019 when he attended the 35th Summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in Thailand.
He has been to Thailand three other times — in November 2016 to pay his respects to the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej; in March 2017 for an official visit; and June 2019 for the 34th Asean Summit.
Before that, Duterte also attended Japanese Emperor Naruhito's enthronement rites at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on October 22, 2019 but had to return to Manila on the same day after feeling an "unbearable" lower back pain due to a recent minor motorcycle accident.
Duterte held his last meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) in Davao City on Aug. 10.
In a virtual presser on Saturday, Roque said Duterte will announce the new community quarantine classifications in Metro Manila and four nearby provinces on Monday.
On Aug. 2, Duterte approved the recommendations of the IATF-EID to revert Metro Manila and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal to stricter modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) from Aug. 3 to 18 after the medical community requested a “timeout” due to the rising COVID-19 cases.
Roque, in the same briefing, also said Duterte has decided to place most parts of the country under the least restrictive modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) as the government plans to allow the reopening of more industries for the country’s economic recovery.
He said Nueva Ecija, Batangas and Quezon provinces would be placed under general community quarantine (GCQ) from August 16 to 31, along with the cities of Iloilo, Cebu, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, and Talisay and the municipalities of Minglanilla and Consolacion in Cebu province.
“Ang iba’t ibang lugar po ng Pilipinas ay mapapasailalim po sa modified general community quarantine or MGCQ (The rest of the country will be placed under MGCQ),” Roque said, adding that the President approved the new quarantine classifications on Friday night.
Roque said some provinces, highly urbanized cities, and independent component cities in areas under MGCQ should ensure the “strict enforcement of local action.” PNA