PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar
MANILA – The entire skeletal workforce of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) will undergo testing for coronavirus disease (Covid-19), PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar bared Sunday.
Andanar made this statement after the total number of Covid-19 cases among employees of PCOO Proper and its attached agencies jumped to 25.
As of 2:10 p.m. Sunday, PCOO Proper has 19 active cases, of which one is a fatality; Apo Production Unit has one active case and one death; Presidential Information Agency and Radio-Television Malacañang have two cases each; and PTV-4 has one case.
“Our office immediately conducted testing and contact tracing of primary and secondary contacts of the patient among our staff to minimize the transmission of the virus. From thereon, we have intensified our testing and contact tracing to include all of our skeleton workforce in order to ensure everyone’s safety,” he said.
Andanar assured that the PCOO will continue to support the family of employees who have been infected by Covid-19 and ensure the safety its other personnel.
“We will continue to support our colleagues and pray for their speedy recovery,” he said.
He said the agency has also formed a Covid-19 Response Team to coordinate all of the office’s efforts on contact tracing, testing, monitoring and isolation/quarantine.
The team will be comprised of select Covid-19 Warriors from every office within PCOO, who will serve as point persons for all of the Covid-19 related efforts of PCOO, he added.
New RTVM team
According to Andanar, the RTVM will be placed under a two-week lockdown after two of its personnel tested positive for the virus.
PCOO is also conducting contact tracing and testing for those who had close contact with the said personnel, he said.
He said a “different” team composed of individuals who had no contact with the infected personnel will be deployed to provide coverage for the fifth state of the nation address (SONA) of President Rodrigo Duterte.
A contingency plan is also being put into place, he added.
The PCOO also prepared three separate Zoom viewing rooms for Cabinet officials, local chief executives, Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) officials, and Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who cannot be physically present during the address.
He also assured that the delivery of essential and timely information to the Filipino public will continue despite the increase in cases among PCOO employees.
Since work at Malacañan’s New Executive Building (NEB) remains suspended, he said the PCOO will adopt a work-from -home arrangement to fulfill its obligation of information dissemination amid the prevailing pandemic.
Duterte is expected to deliver his second to the last SONA in Batasang Pambansa Complex in Quezon City.
In case one of those invited to attend the annual event tests positive for Covid-19, Andanar said Duterte might deliver his SONA at Malacañan in Manila instead.
All attendees will be required to undergo reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) before being allowed entry inside Batasang Pambansa. (PNA)