FOLLOWING the circulation of Baguio Mayor Benjamin Magalong’s claim that his resignation as contact tracing czar in the country was “irrevocable,” the mayor has come out claiming that he did not say his resignation as irrevocable and also claimed that the declaration was the work of a “traitor.”
During the weekly flag raising ceremony at the city hall, Magalong clarified that the “irrevocable” statement was never made by him, and that once-close friends have taken to social media to besmirch his reputation.
“People who I trusted are actually my enemies, unleashing the social media warriors making a lot of speculations without verifying the facts, coming with intriguing comments, destroying the reputation of someone willing to sacrifice everything for the sake of good governance,” said Magalong.
Magalong, who was prompted to tender his resignation following backlash over attending a celebrity’s birthday party where health protocols were caught on camera being ignored, defended his presence at the party as an act of gratitude towards celebrity Tim Yap.
“I got hit left and right, the incident became something sensational, they started posting own speculations all over social media, over the news, there was a lot of misinterpretation, showing the Mayor socializing that in fact the truth of the matter is I was there just to express our heartfelt thanks to someone who is helping Baguio,” said Magalong.
Magalong also clarified that his resignation was only as contact tracing chief and that he was not stepping down as the mayor of Baguio.
Meanwhile, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque claims that the President has nothing but good words to say about the mayor, and that he wants Magalong to stay on as contact tracing chief.
National Task Force Against COVID-19 chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. has also spoken out about the incident, defending Magalong and claiming that the lapses were not indicative of the mayor’s “true character,” adding that Magalong has aided the task force and the country significantly.
Magalong is the latest public official to be caught in violation of health and safety protocols, with Roque, Police Chief Debold Sinas, Senator Koko Pimentel, and former spokesman Salvador Panelo having previously faced health and safety protocol breaches.
Meanwhile, other city mayors in the country have expressed their support to Mayor Magalong being the Focal Mayor for Anti-Criminality and Illegal Drugs of the League of Cities of the Philippines.
A statement of support was sent to Mayor Magalong by Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia, LCP National President, lauding Magalong’s leadership as the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Contact Tracing Czar by formulating a comprehensive and systematic contact tracing approach.
The LCP president stated that Magalong’s contact tracing approach empowers various local governments using Baguio City’s innovative ICT solutions.
“Under his clear direction as the city mayor, Baguio City has managed to reduce their COVID-19 transmissions consistently. The city was allowed to gradually re-open its local economy while still following health protocols,” Leonardia said in his letter adding this was lauded nationwide as best practice.
The letter added that the LCP is aware of Mayor Magalong’s recent involvement in a social gathering wherein lapses in protocols were observed, but considered Magalong’s admission after the event of his and his wife’s lapses as an act of humility and integrity. “We commend his strong commitment to accountability and justice that serves as a beacon of hope to his fellow city mayors and other public servants,” the letter said.. (with a report from Jessa Samidan)