President Rodrigo Duterte can still perform his duties “well” as the country’s chief executive despite his health problems, Malacañang said.

“If you will notice, kahit na ganyan siya, may nararamdaman, ‘yung kanyang schedule, ganoon pa rin, hindi naman nababago eh (If you will notice, his schedule does not change, despite his health issues). And he not only does survive, he does it well,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in an interview with dzIQ.

Panelo made the comment two days Duterte admitted that his ailments are taking a toll on his health.

On the sidelines of his visit to slain soldiers in Eastern Samar, Duterte told GMA News that he was not in the best of his health, given his age.

“Lahat ng sakit, nandito na sa akin kasi matanda na ako (I have health issues since I’m already old. Kung sabihin mo, ‘okay ka ba, Presidente (If you will ask me, are you okay, Mr. President)? Are you in the best of health?’ Of course not,” the 74-year-old President was quoted as saying.

“I am old. Life has begun to take its toll on my health. At kung sabihin mong may sakit ako, meron (If you will ask me if I have an ailment, yes). You name it, I have it. Para wala na lang debate (I’ll admit it to end speculations),” he added.

The Chief Executive on October 22 learned that he has muscle spasms, which was triggered by his October 16 minor motorcycle accident at the Presidential Security Group’s compound in Manila.

On October 5, Duterte also revealed that he has myasthenia gravis, a chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disease that weakens skeletal muscles responsible for breathing and moving parts of the body.

Apart from the muscle ailment, the President previously admitted that he is suffering from Barrett’s esophagus, a potentially serious complication of gastroesophageal reflux disease, and Buerger’s disease, a rare disease of the arteries and veins in the arms and legs.

Duterte is also battling with chronic back pains and migraines.

The President also informed the public in October 2018 that the supposed “growth” found in his digestive tract tested negative for cancer.

Work continues

The public’s renewed concerns over Duterte’s health surfaced anew when Panelo initially announced on November 11 that he would go on a three-day leave from November 12 to 14. The Palace official clarified on the same day that the President would not take a respite and would just work from the comfort of his home in Davao City.

Panelo said it was normal for the President to deal with health problems, since he is already 74 years old.

Duterte, nevertheless, would continue fulfilling his mandate to serve the public, despite the status of his health, his spokesman said.

“Kung ano ang sakit ng matatanda sa edad niya (Whatever ailment an elderly has), ordinarily he has that,” Panelo said.

“Trabaho pa rin. Hindi ba sabi niya, ‘Kahit na ano, basta gagawin ko ang trabaho ko kahit na anong mangyari sa akin (But he will continue working. He said, ‘I’ll perform my duties, whatever happens to me),” he added.

Duterte is expected to return to Malacañan Palace in Manila because of his “very busy” schedule starting Monday.

Panelo said the President is also scheduled to join his fellow Southeast Asian leaders in a commemorative summit with Shout Korean President Moon Jae-in on November 25 to 27 in Busan. (PNA)
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