MANILA (2ND UPDATE) - The Presidential Security Group will impose a lockdown of the Malacañang Complex, its chief said Friday, as it sought to protect the government’s seat of power from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Movement of PSG personnel and their families staying at the Palace grounds will be limited starting Saturday, March 28 until Friday, April 10, PSG chief Col. Jesus Durante III said.
“All PSG personnel and their dependents are required to undergo self-quarantine and will just stay in their respective quarters for the duration of the lockdown,” Durante said, noting that the move aims to ensure the good health of President Rodrigo Duterte’s security detail.
The skeletal workforce of the Office of the President meanwhile will still be allowed to physically report for work, he clarified.
“All PSG personnel will be quarantined but sa OP baka selective kundi, hindi tatakbo ang Palasyo (it might be selective among OP personnel or else the Palace won't function),” he told ABS-CBN News in a phone call.
“Essential civilian employees shall still be allowed to enter the Palace area subject to regular screening procedures,” he said.
For meetings, Durante said the PSG recommended that officials hold teleconferences instead after a lawmaker who attended a meeting at the Palace later tested positive for COVID-19.
Durante meanwhile assured the public that Palace grounds were disinfected and that precautionary measures against COVID-19 remained in place.
The PSG earlier barred persons untested for COVID-19 from close contact with President Rodrigo Duterte, requiring them to stay a distance of at least 2 meters away from the chief executive.
The President, along with several cabinet members, had earlier tested negative for the contagious disease. Several lawmakers, however, have contracted the virus.