President Rodrigo Duterte wants to personally welcome Filipinos returning from China, particularly Hubei province which is stricken with the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), a Malacañang official said Wednesday.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles told reporters during a press briefing that Duterte “wants to be there” when the first batch of Filipinos repatriated from China arrives on Saturday.
The more than 40 Filipinos who are set to arrive at the Clark International Airport in Pampanga will immediately be transported to the Fort Magsaysay Drug Rehabilitation Center in Nueva Ecija to undergo the mandatory 14-day quarantine.
However, it remains unclear if Duterte will be allowed to visit as groups tasked to secure the president’s safety are still discussing the issue.
“He’d like to be there on Saturday but tingnan muna natin sa PMS (Presidential Management Staff) at sa PSG (Presidential Security Group),” he said.
He added that the chief executive has directed Health Secretary Francisco Duque III to go to the quarantine site and to personally supervise the reception of Filipino repatriates.
“Naka-protective gear siya, he will just supervise and manage the transportation and ensure that maganda yung pagreceive sa mga kababayan nating mga Pilipino,” he said.
Nograles, meanwhile, allayed the fears of communities surrounding the facility, assuring that the government has prepared the highest level of quarantine measures to prevent their exposure to the virus.
“All quarantine measures will be at its highest level there. All our medical health workers who go in and out of that facility will undergo such extensive quarantine medical protocol so that’s probably going to be the safest place in terms of quarantine protocols and procedures,” he said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)