COVID Task Force rejects Magalong’s resignation

By NTF Against COVID-19

MANILA, Jan. 29 — National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. has refused to accept the resignation of Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong as contact tracing czar amidst the issue surrounding the birthday party of a celebrity host held on January 17 in Baguio City.

“Alam niyo napakasakit sa amin no’ng pinasa nga niya (Mayor Magalong) ‘yong kaniyang resignation paper pero hindi po namin matatanggap dahil kasi napakalaki po ng ginawa ni Mayor Magalong sa amin (NTF),” Galvez said in a presscon held during a Coordinated Team to Defeat Covid (CODE) Team visit in Manila on Friday.

Magalong’s resignation was likewise rejected by President Rodrigo Duterte, as he continues to have the full trust of the chief executive, according to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

“Hayaan na po natin na umusad ang proseso. Buo po ang tiwala ng Presidente kay mayor Magalong, buo po ang kanyang respeto kay Mayor Magalong and when he says that the law will be implemented, trust that Mayor Magalong will implement the law,” Roque said.

Magalong and his wife were among those who attended Yap’s party. In an interview, the mayor himself admitted that there were guests who violated health protocols during the social event.

The testing czar said that authorities are now investigating the incident and appropriate charges will be filed against those who have breached health guidelines.

Galvez further vouched for Magalong’s honor and integrity, emphasizing his invaluable contributions in the task force’s implementation of the Prevent-Detect-Isolate-Treat-Reintegrate (PDITR) Strategy at the height of the health crisis.

“He is very professional and we can vouch for his honor and integrity. Malaking kawalan sa amin yun kasi apat ang haligi ng ating PDITR at isa po talaga yung contact tracing,” the vaccine czar said as he asked the media and public to give Magalong the benefit of the doubt.

In a statement released to media, Galvez said: “We believe that the incident does not speak of Mayor Magalong’s true character nor define him as a public servant. We would like to express our full support to Mayor Magalong.”

“Having served the Philippine National Police for decades as an officer and eventually becoming a public official, Mayor Magalong has demonstrated that he is a man of honor, decency and commitment. Even President Rodrigo Duterte has vouched for his integrity,” he added.

Magalong was appointed as the nation’s tracing czar in July 2020 after introducing innovative approaches such as the “contact tracing e-system” which enabled the city to effectively contain the spread of the disease.

These approaches were lauded by the national government and eventually adopted by LGUs throughout the country. (NTF Against COVID-19)