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Baguio Mayor Magalong quits as contact tracing czar. Malacañang rejects resignation

By PhilSTAR L!fe Published Jan 28, 2021 11:15 pm Updated Jan 29, 2021 12:52 am

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong sent his resignation as the country's COVID-19 contact tracing czar after attending a party where minimum health protocols were violated. 

This news was confirmed by Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, who said that the mayor's resignation was rejected. "Mayor Magalong's resignation, however, has not been accepted. He continues to enjoy the trust and confidence of the leadership of the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19."

In his letter to chief implementer of the National Task Force Against COVID-19 Sec. Carlito Galvez Jr., he admitted that "several lapses in protocol were committed" during the party.

"I should have done an immediate spot correction of the errors that I witnessed during that time. Much as I have given my best to discharge my duties for the Task Force, this incident has been a reminder that a higher standard is always expected of me," he added.

Magalong also stated that it "pains" him to see his family and constituents "in anguish," but the Mayor is "committed hold [himself] accountable and do what is necessary to rectify this misstep."

Meanwhile, Galvez defends Magalong and gives his "full support," saying that the attendance to the controversial party "does not speak of Mayor Magalong's true character nor define him as a public servant."

"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."

A few days ago, photos and videos during Tim Yap's birthday party circulated online showed the guests defying minimum health protocols as they appeared to have not observed social distancing and were not wearing face masks and face shields. When the news came out, Mayor Magalong gave the establishment 72 hours to "explain why it should not be sanctioned over celebrity party protocol breach."

As it turns out, the party, which was held in a hotel in Baguio City last Jan. 17, was also attended by Mayor Magalong and his wife, as well as KC Concepcion, JM Rodriguez.

Yap said that the goal of the party was to promote local tourism, and the arts, crafts and culture of Baguio. He also cleared that the guests took RT-PCR tests before the event.

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