President Rodrigo Duterte has spent his 75th birthday on Saturday under home quarantine in Malacañang.
Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, Duterte’s former Special Assistant to the President, on Facebook photos showed Duterte having a simple birthday meal of fish, rice and soup at the Bahay Pagbabago inside the Palace grounds.
Duterte unfortunately will not be able to do what he loves doing on his birthdays, eating in his favorite “karinderya”, due to his home isolation in Malacañang.
“Dahil home quarantine si Tatay Digong, di muna sya maka almusal sa paborito nyang karinderya sa Davao! STAY at HOME si Tatay digong sa Birthday nya!” Go said in his Facebook message.
Duterte will be under quarantine until April 7.
“Isa lang wish nya sa birthday nya. Stay at home kayo lahat! manatili sa inyong tahanan! pagpuyo lang! mga kapatid kong pilipino, pwede ba regalo na natin kay tatay digong?” said Go.
According to Presidential Security Group (PSG) commander Col. Jesus Durante III, the President will stay in Malacañang on his birthday. Duterte has turned 75 on March 28.
“So far, he will just stay here” Durante said in Filipino during a phone media interview when asked if Duterte will stay in the Palace or fly home to Davao City.
The President is also unlikely to have any guests on his birthday as members of his family are all in Davao City, he added.
The President has been staying in Manila since he declared a lockdown in Luzon last week. He previously spent his weekends in his home city of Davao where his family lives.
Go said the President has been advised to undergo self-quarantine by his doctor and the PSG for his protection against the coronavirus.
The quarantine advice was given to Duterte after being exposed to some Cabinet members who met with a lawmaker who allegedly tested positive for the coronavirus. The lawmaker, however, turned out to be negative for COVID-19 due to a clerical error made by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM).
The President, however, will continue to focus his attention on the country’s situation and issue orders to concerned government officials, Go said.
Go has said that Duterte does not celebrate his birthday with a big crowd since he served as mayor of Davao City, and has preferred to stay at home.
“To some extent, parang home quarantine ang ginagawa niya palagi sa bawat birthday niya (he undergoes home quarantine during his birthday),” he said.
Earlier, Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said Duterte would continue “steering the ship of state in these perilous times” even on his birthday.
Panelo said that the President was in a “dilemma” whether to celebrate his birthday with his grandkids in Davao City or spend it “dangerously in Manila amongst his people to lead them in the war of survival against the coronavirus, which has placed them, including himself, on the brink of disaster and death.”
“Consistent with his daredevil character and deep filial ties, the President will most likely opt to either being ensconced safely and quietly with his loved ones in his comfort zone or continue with his manning the ramparts against the enemy. Given his dexterity it is unsurprising if he would probably do both with ease,” Panelo said./Stacy Ang