HEY, Arjo! Lights! Camera! Cut!
Following ten positive COVID-19 test results among a group of a movie production currently filming in the city of Baguio, Mayor Benjamin Magalong has ordered an investigation into the crew for violations of health and safety protocols.
Magalong also halted all film productions in the city after a movie actor tested positive for COVID-19 while filming here for almost two months.
Mayor Magalong said that they would stop entertaining movie productions in the city especially after the Delta variant of COVID-19 was detected here as early as July.
This after Arjo Atayde, who was filming “Hey, Joe” in the city was said to have hastily left the city after contracting COVID-19. Atayde and his crew were given a permit to stay in the city and film since last month on the condition that none of its members go in and out of the city during shooting, and comply with health protocols while in the city.
“However, we found out that there were instances where crew members go home and come back to the city without passing through our triage so they are not tested,” Magalong said.
Arjo Atayde was said to have been brought to a hospital in Manila after leaving Baguio with an assistant last Tuesday. He asked for forgiveness, but last Thursday, he was singing a different tune, saying he did not escape Baguio.
The production company of Arjo, Feelmaking Productions Inc., issued a statement regarding its sudden decision to rush the actor to a Manila hospital.
“It was the mutual decision of Feelmaking Productions Inc., Arjo’s parents and doctors to rush the actor, who has a pre-existing medical condition, straight to a hospital in Manila on August 17,” the statement said. Arjo was said to be suffering from high fever, headaches and difficulty in breathing when he was whisked away to Manila.
“We have provided assistance for nine others who tested positive for COVID-19 but are asymptomatic and are currently in quarantine. We have likewise coordinated with the local officials for necessary safety protocols,” it added.
The group also initially committed to comply with monthly COVID-19 testing as part of the conditions for the provision of their permit to stay and film, but have failed to comply with the commitment.
Atayde meanwhile has left the group without notifying the appropriate authorities, with the mayor saying that he is making attempts to reach out to Atayde in order to coordinate appropriate action for the group.
The members that tested positive other than Atayde have meanwhile been isolated, and the remaining crew members have been quarantined and are under monitoring.
Magalong said that the city will ensure stricter monitoring of protocols for future groups that come to the city for similar purposes in order to prevent a repeat of the incident.
Atayde earlier filmed the series Bagman, also in Baguio, during the lockdown.
Magalong got into an earlier showbiz controversy when he was seen in the “superspreader” birthday party of Tim Yap at Camp John Hay last January.