Duterte to skip traditional Independence Day rites on June 12

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Presidential candidate Rodrigo "Digong" Duterte holds the national flag during election campaigning for May 2016 national elections in Malabon, Metro Manila
President Rodrigo Duterte will skip the traditional Independence Day rites in Luneta on June 12 this year, but will instead stay in Davao City.

The rites in Luneta will be represented by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.

At the ceremony in Luneta, a taped message of the President will instead be played, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said.

“Ang problema po talaga pag andiyan ang Presidente dadami po ang taong lalapit sa kaniya. Hindi po maiiwasan ‘yan (The problem is if the President attends, we cannot avoid people coming near him.),” Roque said in a Palace press briefing.

The Presidential Security Group (PSG) bars close contact with Duterte due to COVID-19 fears.

Last year, the President marked Independence Day in a military camp in Malabang, Lanao del Sur.

For this year, Medialdea will lead the flag-raising and wreath-laying ceremony on behalf of the President, Roque said.

“Matapos po ang seremonya ipe-play po ang address ng Pangulo natin (After the ceremony the President’s address for the June 12 Independence Day will be played),” Roque said.

Roque earlier said the government’s inter-agency task force on COVID-19 response will only allow a maximum of 10 people to join the Independence Day rites.

The Philippines on Friday will mark its 122nd Independence Day.

Malacañang earlier declared it as a regular holiday./Stacy Ang

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