MANILA — Former President and House Senior Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is going on a 7-day medical and wellness leave after she tested positive for COVID-19.
Arroyo's office released a statement on her leave on Tuesday, noting that she has already sought House Speaker Martin Romualdez for the said leave.
"She intends, however, to join the sessions of Congress via Zoom while she is out of the country. She will travel to France and Singapore. She has been certified by her personal physician as no longer infectious, but she could not attend the SONA because the President’s presence required a negative PCR test for all attending the SONA, whereas she tested positive on PCR two days before the SONA," the statement from Arroyo's office read.
Meanwhile, the former President said she was impressed by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s first State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday.
“It is appropriately comprehensive and provides a blueprint for a medium-term action plan that can be completed with the full cooperation of Congress and the continued support of the Filipino nation," Arroyo said.
“The President outlined 19 priority bills that will impact greatly on the people’s aspirations to return to the growth path and sustain the progress. It is the job of the 19th Congress to begin to implement the legislative task with focus, determination and momentum. I urge my fellow legislators to stay united and dedicated in support of the President’s legislative agenda," she added.
Arroyo also said that she has already filed 3 of the 19 bills Marcos asked to prioritize, including bills to create the Department of Water Resources and the Philippine Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and to make the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) mandatory for senior high school students.
Arroyo's office noted that Vice President Sara Duterte had made the return of mandatory ROTC a priority last May, soon after she accepted Marcos' invitation to lead the Department of Education (DepEd).
Arroyo is a leader of the Lakas-CMD party, which served as her vehicle during her presidency from 2001 to 2010. Its current chair is Duterte.