MANILA – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said Monday one of its undersecretaries, Joji Aragon, passed away due to COVID-19.
In a statement, DOLE confirmed that Aragon—head of the agency’s advocacy, productivity and legislative cluster—had a cardiac arrest on Sunday morning. She was 58.
In December, Aragon went on leave from the department for a kidney operation, according to Rolly Francia, director of the DOLE’s information service.
The procedure was a success but Aragon later developed COVID-19 symptoms, Francia said.
The Labor official was eventually intubated and was supposed to undergo tracheostomy last week.
Francia said Aragon’s driver also tested positive for COVID-19 but has since recovered.
Aragon was cremated on Sunday.
A necrological service will be held at the DOLE headquarters in Intramuros on Thursday or Friday.
Meanwhile, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III directed all department employees who joined the Feast of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo last Saturday to undergo self-quarantine for a week before returning to work.
Bello said the order was aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19 in DOLE offices.
Despite the threat of COVID-19, some 400,000 people attended religious activities in Quiapo Church and its vicinity since Friday, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno said.
An infectious disease specialist also urged devotees who flocked to Quiapo Church for the feast to go into self-quarantine and avoid roaming public places.