MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte will not address the public this week, his spokesman said on Wednesday, as COVID-19 infections continue to surge.
Duterte's weekly "Talk the People" usually airs on Monday night. But his spokesman Harry Roque said his speech this week might be moved to Wednesday.
However, Roque said the public address would not push through. "Next week na," he said in a text message.
(It will be next week.)
Roque later said Duterte skipped his speech "in light of the rising number of active COVID-19 cases."
"The physical safety of the President remains our utmost concern," Roque said in a statement. "In addition, the preparation for the Talk to the People Address entails a number of staff complement and we also take due consideration of their well-being."
Some members of the President's security team tested positive for COVID-19, said his former longtime aide, Sen. Christopher Go.
"Delikado sa security ng Pangulo," he told ABS-CBN News.
(The President's security is at risk.)
Duterte is in Manila and "there is nothing to worry about", said Go.
Presidential Security Group Commander Colonel Jesus Durante III did not respond to ABS-CBN News' request for comment.
Duterte last year admitted that some members of the PSG took unauthorized COVID-19 shots from Chinese state firm Sinopharm.
Roque has said Duterte had yet to get vaccinated. Duterte prefers the Sinopharm vaccine, which is not yet cleared for emergency use in the Philippines.
The President's weekly speech tackles the COVID-19 pandemic and a wide range of issues.
Duterte last delivered his "Talk the People" on March 29. He celebrated his 76th birthday the day before.
The celebration made headlines with a photo showing Duterte blowing a lit candle on top of a plate of rice, prompting critics to accuse him of pretending to be poor.
A viral video during the event also showed Duterte appearing to try to grope his female house helper. Roque said there was "no malice" in the President's gesture.