Baguio City

Baguio to ban film shoots after Arjo Atayde tests positive for COVID-19

Frank Cimatu

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Baguio to ban film shoots after Arjo Atayde tests positive for COVID-19
The actor, who had been filming ‘Hey Joe,’ leaves Baguio for Manila ahead of the results of a RT-PCR test that confirmed he had COVID-19

Baguio City will halt all film productions in the city after a movie actor tested positive for COVID-19 while filming here for almost two months.  

Mayor Benjamin 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.  

“I know their intentions are good. They want to promote the city. But they have commitments they need to deliver,” Magalong said on Wednesday, August 18.  

He was referring to movie star Arjo Atayde, who left Baguio for Manila with his assistant even before he could get his RT-PCR test confirming that he had COVID-19, along with nine of his crew.  

The actor had been filming a new movie titled Hey Joe in the city for almost two months. With the departure of Atayde, the 100-plus crew have been made to isolate in one of the city’s hotels.  

Magalong said Atayde promised to create their own bubble so that they would not infect residents.  

But the mayor said some of the movie crew had been leaving for Manila during their shooting and were not following the health protocols imposed by the city.

Magalong said Atayde’s hasty exit was dangerous because he might be infecting other people without their knowledge.  

Atayde earlier filmed the series Bagman, also in Baguio, during the lockdown.  

In a statement on August 18, Atayde’s production company Feelmaking Productions, Inc said the actor was “suffering from high fever, headaches, and difficulty in breathing.”

They said he was rushed “straight to a hospital in Manila” on August 17 because he had pre-existing medical conditions.

According to Feelmaking, the Atayde family has reached out to Magalong and said they will “comply with [their] commitments to the City.”

Delta variant in Baguio

Magalong, who is also country’s contact tracing czar, is also set on containing the entry into the city of the more transmissible Delta variant, which was detected by the National Genome Center in one of the residents. 

The female resident was said to have recovered from COVID-19 in early August, but the city has identified 142 of her primary contacts as well as the secondary contacts. The city is now coordinating with these contacts even as the new cases have spiked.  

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. –

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