As a government official and Cabinet member, and as a Filipino, it is my duty to announce that yesterday late afternoon, April 8, 2020, I was informed by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine that I am positive for SARS-COV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19.
This has been my second test. The first was on March 13, after a number of my Execom members were exposed to a patient who tested positive for COVID-19. Similar with other Cabinet members, I was tested to ensure that there was no threat to my functioning as Education Secretary, and to protect my fellow Cabinet members and the President. I received the result on March 16; it was negative. With a few close in staff, I stayed in a satellite office to conduct my duties as Secretary of the Department.
Last April 2, I had myself tested again after another Cabinet member announced that he was tested and declared positive. He and I attended an urgent and critical meeting of select Cabinet officials on March 23. My test result, as I said, was positive.
I remain asymptomatic. My body temperature, which is taken three times a day, remains normal.
I am going on isolation. However, like my fellow Cabinet member, I will continue working — virtually attend IATF meetings, preside over the DepEd EXECOM and MANCOM, and make all decisions necessary to keep DepEd in full operation.
I call on all who had physical contact with me to go on precautionary self-quarantine at home. DepEd has coordinated with the DOH for the contact tracing and other necessary interventions following their protocols.
It is my hope and my fervent prayer that we will recover as a nation and that our spirit of bayanihan will pull us through. With God’s grace, we will all heal as one.