The total number of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases among employees of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Proper and its attached agencies has climbed to 23.
In his Viber message to Palace reporters on Sunday, PCOO Assistant Secretary JV Arcena confirmed that the PCOO Proper has 17 confirmed cases with one death.
In an interview over DZBB on Sunday morning, PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar bared that there are also Covid-19 cases in PCOO’s attached agencies including PTV-4, Radio Television Malacañang (RTVM), Apo Production Unit, and the Philippine Information Agency (PIA).
As of 12 noon on Sunday, the PIA has two Covid-19 cases, RTVM with two, Apo has one case and one death, and PTV with one case.
Andanar said the PCOO has activated its Covid-19 Warrior Mechanism which assigns individuals in charge of contact tracing and coordinating with hospitals.
“Lahat-lahat ng aspeto para ito ay mapigil iyong pagkalat ng Covid-19 (All these aspects are so that we can stop the spread of Covid-19),” he said.
Other PCOO-attached agencies like the News and Information Bureau, Bureau of Broadcast Service, Bureau of Communication Services, National Printing Office and IBC-13 had no reports of coronavirus infections.
Meanwhile, he said Malacañan’s New Executive Building (NEB) will continue to be on a “semi-lockdown” on Monday (July 27) where only those involved in technical operations will be allowed to continue operations.
“Mayroon po tayong mga pinapasok lang sa technical side. Pero lahat ng mga ito ay dadaan sa swabbing (We will allow employees in the technical side. But all of them will have to undergo swabbing),” he said.
While most offices will remain closed, he said there will be two areas dedicated for media workers covering the fifth state of the nation address (SONA) of President Rodrigo Duterte.
“Mayroon po kaming sine-set up ngayong araw na ito na tent, kumportable naman, may TV, may aircon, lahat. Tapos doon sa loob ng New Executive Building ay mayroon ding press working area (We are setting up tents today, they’re comfortable, there will be a TV, aircon, everything. Then inside the New Executive Building, there will also be a press working area),” he said.
He said that after the fifth SONA, the PCOO will hold productions virtually in the next two weeks.
“Pagkatapos nitong state of the nation address, iyong ilang mga ahensiya na talagang involved doon sa araw-araw na production ay puro virtual press na, virtual production lahat, kahit na dalawang linggo, kasi talagang nakakabahala, biglang tumaas (After this state of the nation address, some agencies involved in day to day production will be done virtually, even for two weeks, because it’s alarming that cases are rising),” he said.
Last Saturday, Andanar guaranteed that his office is following strict health protocols to protect his subordinates from catching Covid-19.
He extended his hope and prayers for the speedy recovery of his staff who had tested positive for the disease.
All Covid-19 infected PCOO staff would receive assistance from the government, he assured. (PNA)