At least 10 employees of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) main office in Manila tested positive for COVID-19, PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar said on Saturday.
On the other hand, Andanar said the plan for PCOO’s coverage for President Rodrigo Duterte’s Fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, July 27, will still proceed.
“Although this instance is an evident impediment for the PCOO and RTVM (Radio Television-Malacanang), we will continue to carry on in fulfilling our mandate to the Filipino people as we continue to ensure our personnel’s safety towards beating COVID-19 and healing as one nation,” Andanar said in a statement.
Also, he announced that he tested negative for COVID-19. He got himself tested on Thursday, July 23.
“However, I regret to confirm that, as of 6 a.m. today, a total of ten (10) of our personnel in the main office tested positive. We are relaying our hopes and prayers for their speedy recovery from the virus,” Andanar said.
“We would like to assure the family of those who have been infected by COVID-19, as well as the general public, that the PCOO is doing all the health and medical protocols prescribed by the government, especially the intensified contact tracing and testing, as part of our due diligence to prevent further transmissions among those who have been in contact with them,” he added.
Andanar said the government is also fulfilling its duty to extend any assistance and support it can provide to affected PCOO personnel and their families.
“As office disinfection will continue to be carried out at the New Executive Building (NEB), we are extending the physical work suspension until further notice in order to ensure our personnel’s safety against the virus,” he said.
“Rest assured that the delivery of essential and timely information to the Filipino public will remain unhampered and unchanged as we have adopted a work-from-home arrangement. All programs and briefings done at NEB will be undertaken remotely and/or virtually,” he added.
“With regard to the 5th State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Monday, July 27, 2020, our coverage will proceed as planned,” Andanar said.
“The Radio Television-Malacañang (RTVM) will continue on their coverage plan with the deployment of a different team that is not among those who have been in contact with its two COVID-19 positive personnel. Precautionary measures, such as testing, will be conducted for the SONA assigned team in order to ensure the safety of President Duterte and the rest of the audience at the Batasang Pambansa,” he said.
Earlier this week, the PCOO suspended work to give way for proper disinfection of the New Executive Building (NEB) inside Malacañang Complex and contact tracing as well as swab testing among frontline personnel.
Aside from the PCOO main office, the NEB also houses the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson, the press briefing room, the Office of the Chief Presidential Legal Counsel and the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office./Stacy Ang