MANILA – Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong has quit his concurrent post as the country’s contact tracing czar, Malacañang announced on Friday.
“We confirm that Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong tendered his resignation as the government’s Tracing Czar,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press statement.
Magalong’s resignation came following his recent admission that he attended the birthday celebration of celebrity Tim Yap held at the Manor Hotel at Camp John Hay in Baguio City on Jan. 17.
He also decided to quit his post as the national contact tracing czar even after Malacañang said Thursday the Baguio City mayor continues to enjoy President Rodrigo Duterte’s trust.
Roque said Magalong’s resignation had been rejected, as the National Task Force (NTF) Against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) believed in the local official’s competence to lead the contact tracing efforts in the country.
“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,” he said.
As contact tracing czar, Magalong is tasked to focus on advancing skills training for contact tracers.
Magalong was under fire after he confirmed Wednesday that he and his wife attended Yap’s birthday bash.
He also admitted that health protocols were violated during the birthday party.
In a separate statement, NTF Against Covid-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said the Jan. 17 incident “does not speak of Mayor Magalong’s true character nor define him as a public servant.”
Galvez said Magalong still has the support of the task force.
“As we face the challenges brought about by the health crisis, Mayor Magalong’s role as contact tracing czar is crucial as we scale up our Covid-19 response and mitigation efforts. In the meantime, we would like to commend and thank Mayor Magalong for the outstanding work he has done as contact tracing czar and a member of the Task Force,” he said. (PNA)