Malacañang on Thursday reminded visitors who wish to meet with President Rodrigo Duterte to present a negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) before they are allowed inside the Palace.
“Visitors and guests who wish to meet the President inside the Palace or attend a Palace engagement where the President is present must show a negative RT-PCR test result,” said Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, acting presidential spokesperson.
He said visitors and guests must undergo antigen testing inside the Palace as part of their second screening.
“This forms part of the Palace health and safety protocol,” he added.
RT-PCR tests are still considered the gold standard in detecting the virus that causes Covid-19, according to the Department of Health (DOH).
Other diagnostic tests used in other countries are the saliva test and the antigen test.
As a safety measure, Duterte’s close-in security previously encouraged holding “virtual” meetings for guests who have failed to show a negative RT-PCR test or have acquired or are exposed to Covid-19.
Nograles made this clarification after Duterte, in a speech during the signing of the PHP5.024 trillion national budget for 2022, apologized to Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III for a supposed “ruckus” in the Palace.
“Senate President Vicente Sotto, nandito po kayo (are you here now)? I would like to apologize for the ruckus. Hindi naman kasalanan (It’s not their fault) — they are very strict. Well, that is — trabaho nila ‘yan (it’s their job) so if there are lapses, I apologize to you publicly,” he said.
Duterte did not elaborate on the ruckus that took place in the Palace.