Palace assures Duterte will update Filipinos on result of medical checkup

Robie de Guzman   •   October 23, 2019   •   485

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte will update Filipinos on the result of his medical consultation regarding his aching spine that forced him to cut short his Japan trip, Malacañang said on Wednesday.

Duterte is scheduled to see a neurologist within the day after he complained of ‘unbearable’ pain in his spinal column near the pelvic, which was attributed to his fall during a motorcycle ride last week.

“His consultation with a doctor is aimed at determining the medical condition of his body, as well as finding out whether his previous spinal injury from a past motorcycle accident has been aggravated by his recent fall,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.

“The President shall inform our countrymen on the result of his medical consultation,” he added.

Last Oct. 16, Duterte fell off his motorcycle inside Malacañang Complex that resulted in light bruises and slight scratches to his elbow and knee.

The minor accident did not prevent the 74-year old president from fulfilling his public engagements, including his attendance to the enthronement ceremony for Japanese Emperor Naruhito in Tokyo, Japan on Tuesday.

In photos posted on Facebook by Senator Bong Go, Duterte was seen holding onto a cane as he prepared for his attendance to the enthronement ceremony. In another photo, he was seen resting his head on the cane while Go, his former aide, looked at the camera.

After the ceremony, Duterte opted to skip the Emperor’s banquet to return home due to back pain. His daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, was asked to attend the event on his behalf.

The president arrived at the Villamor Airbase in Pasay City around 10:41 p.m. Tuesday.

From there, he went to Taguig City to attend the wake of former Senate President Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr. at the Heritage Memorial Park.

While travelling towards Pimentel’s wake, the president appeared in Go’s Facebook live and assured the public he is okay despite feeling an unbearable pain around his belt area.

“Magandang gabi po sa inyo, mga kababayan ko, mga Pilipino. Alam mo, about four days ago, sumpemplang ako sa motor. Pag nagmomotor ka once or twice sa buhay mo, makatikim ka talaga ng semplang. Lahat ng mga nagmomotor sumesemplang. Kagaya sa akin, ang ano lang, parang hindi ko matiis… yung sa belt banda, mga three inches medyo masakit,” he said.

Duterte previously revealed he suffered from back pains due to an earlier motorcycle accident.

He also admitted to having a chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disease which causes a weakness in muscles responsible for breathing and moving parts of the body, and Buerger’s disease which was associated with smoking during his youth.

Malacañang, however, maintained that the public need not be apprehensive about the President’s health. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Duterte fires OCD Deputy Administrator Kristoffer James Purisima

Marje Pelayo   •   May 22, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has dismissed Kristoffer James Purisima as deputy administrator assistant secretary of the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD).

According to Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque, the President decided to remove Purisima from office due to “loss of trust and confidence.”

Roque could not tell, however, under what circumstance prompted the President to fire Purisima.

Wala na po akong ibang impormasyon (I don’t have additional information) other than he was terminated due to loss of trust and confidence,” Roque confirmed.

The OCD is the government’s main unit responsible for disaster preparedness and response in times of calamity.

Prior to his position in OCD, Purisima served as spokesperson of Task Force Bangon Marawi. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

Palace contradicts DOH; clarifies PH still in first wave

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 21, 2020

Malacañang on Thursday (May 21) clarified that the Philippines is still experiencing the first wave of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), contrary to the statement of Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III.

The Palace apologized for the confusion and worry brought by Duque’s statement and said there were varying interpretations of the data.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque insisted that the country is still in the first wave of the COVID-19 infection.

“Nagpapatuloy po ang first wave. Katunayan, nagpatuloy ito sa buwan ng Pebrero na may kaunti kasi na na-report at lumobo sa buwan ng March. Patuloy pong lumobo iyan hanggang sa buwan ng Mayo, kung saan nakikita natin ngayon na bumababa na (The first wave continues. In fact, it continued from February, with few reports, and ballooned in March. It continues to increase until May, where we can see there is a decline),” he said.

Roque also said Duque did not go through the protocol to inform President Rodrigo Duterte regarding the interpretation of the second wave.

READ: Duque: Philippines now on second wave of COVID-19 cases

However, the Palace official said the varying of opinions is not of importance and the government, including the public, should focus on how to prevent a second wave of COVID-19 infections.

“Ang importante maiwasan po ang pagbalik ng malawakang numero ng magkakasakit sa COVID-19. Nagkakaisa po ang gobyerno na gagawin ang lahat ng hakbang upang maiwasan ang second wave (What’s important is, we prevent another increase in the number of COVID-19 cases. The government is united in doing everything to prevent a second wave),” Roque said. –AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte warns of return to strict quarantine restrictions if COVID-19 crisis worsens

Marje Pelayo   •   May 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte reminds the public to heed government protocols for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis even after community quarantine has been relaxed. 

On May 16, Metro Manila shifted to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) from enhanced community quarantine to help revive the Philippines’ crippled economy. 

But President Duterte stressed that such relaxation in restrictions doesn’t mean the country is free of COVID-19 and warned that the government might again tighten restrictions if situations get worse. 

“Remember this, the loosening of the restrictions does not mean [we’re COVID-free],” he said. 

“If the contamination will be as fast as before, and it will continue to infect yung nakalabas na (people who are allowed to go out), then we’ll have to just go back to original program,” he added. 

Meanwhile, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque denied allegations that the government is not ready or has no policy for the conduct of COVID-19 mass testing. 

Roque stressed that the government in fact is now preparing to hit the target of 30,000 a day testing capacity by the end of May. 

“From the very beginning, we have had a systematic targeted testing at sa tingin po natin ang sinusunod natin ay benchmark recognized internationally specifically by the WHO,” the Palace Spokesperson said in defense against against critics who are questioning the government’s advice of letting private companies shoulder COVID-19 testing for their respective workers who are returning to work. 

Roque added that the government is targeting to test around 1.5% to 2% of the more than 100 million Filipinos for COVID-19 infection and clarified on what is referred to as ‘mass testing.’

“Ang tawag po dapat ay expanded targeted testing,” he said. 

READ: Phl conducting ‘expanded’ targeted testing, not mass testing vs COVID-19 – DOH

“Wala pong bansa sa buong mundo na ang lahat ng mga mamamayan nito (ay tine-test) kaya nga po mali ang terminong mass testing,” he concluded. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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