' RTVM screenshot
President Rodrigo Duterte lightheartedly complained about the frequency with which his doctors get blood samples from him, presumably to run blood tests.
Duterte even rolled up his sleeves to show the circular tape used to cover the puncture in his arm at the 7th Union Asia Pacific Regional Conference in Pasay City, a conference attended by doctors and health experts.
"As a matter of fact, I acquired Buerger's Disease from smoking that is why my doctor is here. She gets my blood, ah see (shows arm with tape), almost every other day," said Duterte from the podium on Tuesday, April 23.
"I said, 'Doctor, leave me some to survive just a week,'" he joked.
The President brought up his health in the middle of again promising to "kill" drug addicts and drug peddlers to "save" the Philippines from becoming a "narco state," a scenario Duterte likes to highlight in his speeches.
"I still have 3 years to kill all of them then I go to prison, so be it. I get hanged, my pleasure. I'm 74 years old. I do not want to die of TB (tuberculosis), I do not want to die of lung cancer," said Duterte.
Health issues have long hounded Duterte's presidency, given his advanced age and slew of ailments he himself has admitted to having.
On Monday, April 22, Duterte skipped the Belt and Road Forum in Manila because, according to Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo, he was "not feeling well."
Panelo cited Duterte's "punishing schedule and successive campaign sorties" for the Chief Executive's last-minute absence.
Before that, Duterte had also missed at least two campaign rallies for his party, PDP-Laban, also due to health issues.
Back in October 2018, Duterte admitted doctors conducted medical tests to check if a growth found inside his body was cancerous. Days later, Duterte said the tests came out negative for cancer. – 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.