THE Presidential Security Group (PSG) yesterday said it would implement a “no-touch” policy between President Duterte and the public as part of preventive measures to ensure the safety and health of Chief Executive amid the local transmission of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country and the declaration of a Public Health Emergency.
PSG Commander Col. Jesus Durante III said personalities who are expected to get near the President, even in meetings and events that he would attend, would be thoroughly screened and undergo tests for any illness related to COVID-19.
Durante said these would apply even to the personnel and staff of the Palace, politicians, and dignitaries.
For large crowd gatherings, especially outside Malacanang where the President is the guest of honor and speaker, the PSG would assess the situation and advise if the event could proceed or “be cancelled not only for his (Duterte’s) safety but also for the attendees.”
“All established health protocols and preventive measures are continuously in effect to all PSG personnel and the whole Malacañang Complex. The PSG, together with members of OP EMC (OP EMC), are observing these preventive measures, based on the guidelines set forth by DOH (Department of Health),” Durate said.
Durante on Sunday convened the members of the PSG to assess the situation and come up with new guidelines and protocol following the confirmed local transmission of the COVID-19.
Malacanang, after the first confirmed cases of the virus in the country, had adopted some precautionary measures like the wearing of surgical masks by PSG members, temporary barring of tours at the Malacanang Museum, and the use of thermal scans along with alcohol and sanitizers before entering any of the offices at the Malacanang complex.
Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo, concurrent presidential spokesman, said it is unlikely at the moment that the Malacanang complex would be locked down since it is not considered a crowded area.
Panelo also said the President will follow the advice of the PSG about the “no touch” and “large crowd gatherings” policy since it is for his own health and safety.
He, however, is not aware of any changes in the schedules of the President, including his possible visit to Boracay to help promote local tourism.
Tourism Undersecretary Benito Bengzon had said in a briefing in Malacanang that the President’s planned trip to Boracay, tentatively set March 12, is still being finalized.