Duterte to lead Philippines pandemic response from Davao as lockdowns ease

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 01 2020 01:38 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte updates the nation on the government's efforts in addressing the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang on May 28, 2020. Ace Morandante, Presidential Photo

MANILA- President Rodrigo Duterte will lead the government's pandemic response from his hometown Davao City this week, Malacañang said Monday as the country transitioned to more relaxed community quarantines.

Select members of the government's inter-agency task force on COVID-19 response (IATF) will fly to Davao City to meet with the President on Thursday, Palace spokesman Harry Roque said.

The 75-year-old leader will also address the public from his hometown on the same day, Roque added.

"Ngayong siya po ay nasa Mindanao hindi lang naman po siya nag-reunion tinitingnan din po niya ano ang nangyayari diyan sa Mindanao," Roque said in a Palace press briefing.

(He is not only in Mindanao to reunite with hs family. He will also check the situation there.)

"In fact, magkakaroon siya ng official functions sa Davao kasama na po ang pag-uulat sa bayan at ang pagmimeeting niya sa ilang miyembro ng IATF. Magaganap po 'yan sa Davao," he added.

(He will have official functions in Davao including his report to the nation and a meeting with some members of the IATF.)

The President went home to Davao City over the weekend, the second time he did so since the lockdowns started in March.

Duterte first returned to his hometown on May 16. He spent his​ 75th birthday under quarantine at the Palace in March.

Metro Manila, Pangasinan province, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Central Visayas, Davao City, and Zamboanga City on Monday transitioned to a general community quarantine or GCQ as the government sought to revive its economy hurt by the COVID-19 crisis.

The rest of the country will meanwhile shift to a modified GCQ, the transition point to the "new normal."

The easing of restrictions came as confirmed COVID-19 cases surpassed the 18,000-mark.