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Duterte SONA preparations hit by virus infection of 25 media staff

27 July 2020

By The SUN

Andanar announced the contamination within his office a day before the President's 5th SONA

A total of 25 Covid-19 infections has hit the Presidential Communications Operations Office and its attached agencies.

Of these, 19 were directly under PCOO, President Rodrigo Duterte’s media operations office headed by Secretary Martin Andanar, who confirmed the news today, Jul 26.

The Philippine News Agency reported separately that there was one fatality among the 19 cases, but did not give details.
PNA further reported that government printer Apo Production Unit has one case and one death, Presidential Information Agency and Radio Television-Malacanang have two cases each, and PTV-4 has one.

Two personnel of Radio Television-Malacañang are also infected, said Secretary Martin Andanar, head of the Presidential Communications Operations Office.

Andanar made the disclosure on the eve of Duterte’s fifth State of the Nation Address tomorrow.
“We regret to inform everyone that, as of 2:10 pm of July 26, 2020, we have 19 Covid-19 active cases among our personnel who were infected while performing their duties to the public,” Andanar said in a statement sent to media organizations.

He said some of the infected personnel were involved in the production of communication materials as well as TV and radio programs that support Malacañang’s daily briefings.

The PCOO has its offices in the New Executive Building at the Malacañang compound on Jose P. Laurel St., San Miguel, Manila.

He said the PCOO immediately conducted testing and contact tracing of primary and secondary contacts of the infected personnel among the office staff to minimize the transmission of the virus.

The entire skeleton workforce of his office will also undergo testing.

“From thereon, we have intensified our testing and contact tracing to include all of our skeleton workforce in order to ensure everyone’s safety,” Andanar said.
He said the PCOO continues to assist and support the families of infected staff as it ensures the safety of all of its personnel against the virus.

Andanar said a Covid-19 Response Team has also been formed to coordinate all his office’s contact tracing, testing, monitoring, and isolation/quarantine efforts.

He assure the Filipino public that the delivery of essential and timely information to them Filipino public will continue despite the contagion.


Work has been suspended at the New Executive Building due to the contagion and employees of the media affairs office have adopted a work-from-home arrangement, Andanar said.

Radio TV-Malacañang will also be under a two-week lockdown, and contact-tracing and testing of close contacts of the infected personnel is under way, Andanar also said.
For the SONA tomorrow, RTVM will be deploying a different team composed of individuals who had no contact with the infected personnel, he said, adding that a contingency plan is also being put into place.

Andanar said the PCOO prepared three separate Zoom viewing rooms for Cabinet officials, local chief executives, Sangguniang Kabataan officials and overseas Filipino workers.

“These virtual viewing rooms will cater to select individuals who cannot be physically present during the address,” he said.

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