Quezon City congressional aspirant and actor Arjo Atayde and nine other members of his film crew have tested positive for COVID-19 while shooting in Baguio City.

It was reported that Arjo, who is known as the boyfriend of actress and TV host Maine Mendoza and a congressional aspirant in Quezon City’s first district, was reportedly rushed to a hospital in Manila.

According to an  August 18 statement by Atayde’s production house Feelmaking Productions, the actor tested positive on August 16, after experiencing high fever, headaches, and difficulty breathing.

Atayde had been in Baguio City for almost two months, filming the movie Hey Joe.

It was reported that Atayde’s production house, along with his doctors and parents, decided to rush him to the hospital on August 17 as he had “a pre-existing medical condition.”

Atayde’s family has reached out to Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong, according to the production company. “We assure him and the people of Baguio that we will comply with our commitments to the City,” the statement said.

After Atayde tested positive, Magalong said that they would stop film productions in the city.

Magalong earlier told media that Atayde left Baguio ahead of getting the results of the RT-PCR test that confirmed he had COVID-19.

This prompted Mayor Magalong to order an investigation into their suspected health protocol violations.

After donating several patrol vehicles to Quezon City, ABS-CBN actor Arjo Atayde indicated he was planning to join the 2022 congressional race in Quezon City’s District 1.
It will not be an easy battle for the actor, however, because he will be up against incumbent Rep. Anthony Peter “Onyx” Crisologo.

Bu Atayde‘s strength will be that he will run under the administration party of Mayor Joy Belmonte.

Last June 29, the city government, on its Facebook page post, thanked Atayde for the donation of service vehicles that were distributed to barangays NS Amoranto, Manresa, Paang Bundok, St. Peter, Sto. Cristo, Maharlika, San Antonio, San Jose and Vasra. 

It shared photos of the turnover ceremony, led by Belmonte and the other local officials, at the Quezon Memorial Circle.

On the other hand, Crisologo, on July 5, donated a brand-new aerial ladder fire truck to the Bureau of Fire Protection in Barangay Masambong. 

According to the source, the actor would be donating more vehicles for the other villages in District 1.

He said vehicles would cost P1 million each.

Atayde, the boyfriend of celebrity star Maine Mendoza, has a slogan of “Aksyon Agad.”

Actress Aiko Melendez earlier said Atayde would run for Congress, but Atayde’s mother, veteran actress Sylvia Sanchez, told Melendez that her son would not run against her.

Melendez would run for a congressional seat in District 5 against the brother of actor-Rep. Alfred Vargas, Councilor Patrick Michael Vargas; Councilor Allan Butch Francisco; former congresswoman Annie Susano; Councilor Karl Castelo, and one Rose Lee, “a super rich” businesswoman

According to Mayor Magalong, Arjo’s crew was given permission to shoot, but they were told to stay in a bubble and were not permitted to leave the city throughout their filming.

“They were already in the city since last month before the implementation of enhanced community quarantine in the National Capital Region,” Magalong said in a statement.

Magalong, however, claimed that several crew members had gone home and returned to the city without going through the triage.

The mayor added that the group also failed to meet the required monthly testing they committed to.

“For some reason, Mr. Atayde left his group yesterday (Aug 16) without informing us, although I’m trying to reach out to him to instruct him on what to do with his group left in the city,” Magalong said.

For nearly two months, the actor had been filming a new film called “Hey Joe” in the city. With Atayde’s departure, the crew of over 100 has been ordered to isolate in one of the city’s hotels.

Feelmaking Productions, Inc. has already released a statement on the issue, confirming that Arjo has indeed tested positive for COVID-19 and was already “rush[ed]” to the hospital on the agreement of the production house, the doctors and the actor’s parents.

Meanwhile, Magalong said that Baguio City would no longer host film production crew, particularly after the Delta version of COVID-19 was discovered in the city as early as July.