President Rodrigo Duterte will not deliver his scheduled public address on Wednesday night due to rising COVID-19 cases, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said.
In a short statement, Roque said Duterte's Talk to the People, usually held Monday nights, has been moved to next week. Early this week, however, the Palace announced Duterte will instead address the nation on April 7.
“The Palace confirms that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte will not have a Talk to the People Address tonight, April 7, 2021, in light of the rising number of active COVID-19 cases,” Roque said.
“The physical safety of the President remains our utmost concern,” Roque added.
Earlier, Senator Bong Go, a former close aide of the President, said Talk to the People was postponed after many members of the Presidential Security Group tested positive for COVID-19.
Although Go could not state how many of the PSG members contracted the disease, he assured the public that none of them had a direct contact with the President, according to a report by Super Radyo dzBB's Tuesday Niu.
The decision to postpone the Talk to the People was only to ensure that the President will not be exposed to any of the PSG members, the senator said.
He also assured the public that the President is in good health and does not experience any symptom of COVID-19, and that he would be staying in Manila for now.
During Talk to the People, Duterte usually makes important announcements regarding the government's efforts to address COVID-19 pandemic as well as his administration's new policies. He has also used it to blast his critics.
The President’s last public appearance was last March 29 when he personally received one million doses of Sinovac's COVID-19 vaccine, the first batch that was paid for by the government that was delivered to the country.
He delivered his regular Talk to the People later on that day.
Prior to March 29, the President celebrated his 76th birthday in his Davao City home last March 28. —Llanesca T. Panti and Erwin Colcol/KBK/LDF, GMA News