As quarantine measures eased in Metro Manila, President Rodrigo Duterte flew back to his hometown of Davao City for what his security aides said will be a quick visit.
"He is in Davao for a visit after more than two months of not being able to see his family," said Presidential Security Group commander Colonel Jesus Durante III on Saturday, May 16.
Duterte was allowed to fly back home at a time of restrictions on inter-island travel and ban on domestic flights while a modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) is in force in Metro Manila starting May 16.
However, the just-released omnibus guidelines on community quarantine state that "government officials and government frontline personnel" are allowed to move "across areas placed under any form of community quarantine."
The Chief Executive is supposed to fly back to Manila for the next Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) meeting which is held weekly.
This is the first time Duterte has returned to his home in two months, after the PSG enforced a lockdown in Malacañang amid the coronavirus pandemic which hit Metro Manila hardest out of all the country's regions.
In many public addresses, Duterte complained about not being able to fly home. He had said that his own daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, had forbid him from returning.
"Hindi na nga ako makauwi sa Davao. Birthday ng apo ko, birthday ng partner ko, birthday ng anak ko, hindi ako makauwi. Bakit? Hindi ako pinapayagan ng mayor doon na makapunta," Duterte said ruefully on April 16.
(I can't go home to Davao. It was the birthday of my grandchild, birthday of my partner, birthday of my child, but I can't go home. Why? Because the mayor does not allow me.)
Mayor Duterte confirmed that she issued an executive order restricting the arrival of planes from Manila. (READ: Sara Duterte warns of spike in coronavirus cases as Davao City goes into GCQ)
"Not just his plane, there were many. We issued an EO to control entry of people come in from Manila," she told Rappler.
Duterte has spoken much about his homesickness and wish to leave the Malacañang complex.
"Ako mismo naiinip na. Nagmumura na ako. Every time I wake up, kakain ako breakfast, nagdadaldal na ako sa – ito, ‘yung ano bang klaseng buhay ang inabot natin dito sa mundong ito ngayon," he said on April 16.
(I myself, I'm getting restless. I'm cursing. Every time I wake up, I eat breakfast, then I rant about – this, what kind of life we have to put up with in this world today.)
A month from the day he uttered those words, Metro Manila transitioned to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) from ECQ, the strictest form of community quarantine. MECQ is supposed to last from May 16 to May 31.
Davao City, meanwhile, began its first day under general community quarantine (GCQ) on May 16. – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.