Manila: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte flew from the capital, Manila, which remains on lockdown, to his hometown in Davao City on Saturday in a trip his spokesman said was partly for official reasons.
The 75-year-old leader went home "for a visit after more than two months of not being able to see his family," said Jesus Durante, head of Duterte's security group. He will be back in Manila for the next meeting of the task force on the coronavirus, Durante told reporters.
Duterte is also in Davao to check on the region of Mindanao, which is part of his responsibilities, presidential spokesman Harry Roque told local radio DZBB, saying he knew the trip could become an issue. He didn't elaborate on the duties the leader is undertaking in Mindanao. Roque reiterated the public should avoid visiting relatives and other non-essential travel during quarantine.
The capital region and other provinces were placed under a strict stay-at-home order in mid-March, with some restrictions lifted starting Saturday. In Metro Manila, which hosts the presidential palace, non-essential movement remains prohibited until May 31, especially for people aged 60 and above and those below 21, as well as those with pre-existing health issues, according to guidelines.
Before Duterte flew out of Manila, the police leadership was seeking his clearance to file a criminal case against the capital's top cop Debold Sinas, Roque said on Friday. Sinas allegedly violated lockdown rules after he was photographed holding a birthday party with his subordinates, which fired up criticism on social media.