Duterte's SONA may be held in Malacañang if any guest in Batasan tested positive for COVID-19 - Andanar
The Office of the President is considering to hold President Rodrigo Duterte's State of the Nation Address in Malacañang if anyone from the expected attendees will be tested positive for coronavirus disease, an official said on Friday.
Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar, in a radio interview, said all those who will go to the Batasan Pambansa in Quezon City for Duterte's SONA on July 27 will undergo RT-PCR test.
"But before the SONA takes place, swabbing will take place and based on this swabbing, we will know if (the SONA) will push through at the Lower House. If the number of cases of (coronavirus disease) increases or if there is anyone who will be positive from the guests, the Office of the President, as well as the PSG (Presidential Security Group), will decide if we will take option B, which will be done here in Malacañang," he said.
He said if the SONA will be held in Malacañang only few people can attend.
"Of course, there's the Senate President, the Speaker of the House, the President, then the Executive Secretary and the selected congressmen and senators," Andanar said.
Earlier, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said only 50 lawmakers both from the Senate and the House of Representatives and 15 Cabinet officials as well as the members of the Presidential Security Group will be allowed to be present at the House of Representatives when the President delivers his fifth SONA on Monday.
Meanwhile, Andanar said he underwent COVID-19 test after his contact with one of his staff who tested positive for coronavirus.
He said he will know the result within 48 or 72 hours.
"Hopefully, it's negative because many of us have contact (with the person)," he said.
He said the COVID-19 patient is an employee of the Office of the Global Media and Public Affairs, an office under PCOO.
Andanar said as of 9:00 a.m. Friday, PCOO has recorded three COVID-19 cases - one died while the two are still active cases.
He also noted that in other offices under the PCOO, such as the APO Production Unit, there is one active COVID-19 case; Philippine Information Agency, two active cases; PTV4, one active case; and Radio Television Malacañang, two active cases.
"We placed under lockdown many offices under the Presidential Communications Operations Office. That's why I cannot overstate the importance of SONA, that the health protocol should be followed," he said. Celerina Monte/DMS