‘Strictly family’ 76th birthday for Duterte

Edith Regalado - The Philippine Star
�Strictly family� 76th birthday for Duterte
The President returned here, his hometown, Thursday night and was expected to stay till this weekend.
STAR / File

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Strictly family. No politicians, no businessmen and not even friends are allowed to see President Duterte as he celebrates his 76th birthday today.

A source close to the President told The STAR that he has nothing on his official schedule and is likely to refrain from seeing friends or political allies who wish to greet him on his natal day.

“Strictly family. And very limited (are) those who will be allowed to mingle with him on his birthday,” the same source said.

The President returned here, his hometown, Thursday night and was expected to stay till this weekend.

Unlike before when a few friends were welcome to celebrate with him, Duterte will have his birthday dinner only with family.

The source said the COVID-19 pandemic also limits his interactions with other people.

So, even if Duterte’s birthday falls on a Sunday – which is also Palm Sunday – there will be no fanfare.

Still, Duterte will be kept abreast on the latest developments in the pandemic front, particularly the spike in COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila and other high-risk areas.

One activity on his previous birthdays was visiting the children’s cancer ward at the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC). But even that would be unlikely, given the COVID-19 situation.

On Monday, Duterte is expected to return to Manila for the arrival of one million Sinovac vaccines from China.

It would be the first batch of Sinovac jabs purchased by the Philippine government since the previous batches were donations from China.

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