Magalong: San Juan Mayor Zamora broke Baguio’s COVID-19 protocols
MANILA, Philippines — Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong on Sunday confirmed that the convoy of San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora breached the city’s coronavirus disease (COVID-19) protocols when his vehicle sped past a quarantine checkpoint and quickly proceeded to a country club.
In a statement, Magalong said Zamora, and his entourage of six vehicles first arrived at the Kennon Road checkpoint Friday afternoon.
“When his group was flagged down for inspection, the driver of the lead vehicle just slowed down a bit, and merely told the checkpoint personnel that he was part of a convoy, pointing out the vehicles tailing his police car, then forthwith sped off with the Mayor’s entourage in tow,” Magalong said.
Checkpoint personnel then informed the city’s traffic police, which followed Zamora’s entourage to the Baguio Country Club.
Upon arrival, Zamora’s group was then asked to present the required medical clearances but did not present any. The group was then asked to undergo a triage examination, Magalong added.
“Considering that they were already at their destination, medical personnel from the City Health Service Office were dispatched to Baguio Country Club to set up the triage facility, purposely to ensure that containment and isolation, if needed, were done,” Magalong said.
“From this narration of facts, it can be reasonably sensed that Baguio’s health and safety protocols have been violated and the regulatory mechanism of quarantine check and triage examination at the Naguillan facility was not followed,” he added.
But Magalong said Zamora already extended his apology for the “serious lapse.”
“He profusely expressed deep regrets that while asleep in his car at the time, the PNP escort leading his convoy mindlessly took it on his own to ignore what has long been a standard border protection measure prescribed not only in his but our own city,” the Baguio City mayor said.
“It is clear that the San Juan City-based police officer who served as lead escort of his City Mayor’s convoy has committed a serious breach of standing quarantine protocols,” he added.
Subsequent complaints have already been filed and have reached Philippine National Police Deputy Chief for Administration Police General Camilo Cascolan, according to Magalong.
“I am confident that appropriate steps are forthcoming for this breach of health quarantine protocols, even more so in ensuring that absolutely no one, with or without rank, be allowed to transgress safety measures put in place to keep everyone out of harm,” he said.
Before Zamora was publicly named, the Baguio City local government unit issued a reminder that visitors, those including “very important persons,” to strictly follow the health protocols imposed and submit to strict border rules.
Zamora apologized on Sunday night to both Magalong and the “people of Baguio City” for the breach of quarantine protocols, though he insisted it was unintentional.
“I have personally called Mayor Magalong earlier today to convey my apologies and to explain that this was a miscommunication in the checkpoint area,” Zamora said in a statement.
“As we arrived in our hotel, the management informed us that we would have to undergo a triage which we all fully and immediately complied with,” he added.
Zamora went on to allege that the Baguio getaway was primarily a medical trip, saying his wife, a breast cancer patient, was advised by her doctor to take a “needed rest” in conjunction with her treatment.
“We decided to go to Baguio because her family has an old house there,” the mayor said. “She was going to stay there a few weeks to rest and recover.”
Zamora added he had only planned to be in Baguio until Sunday when his wife’s sister was set to come into the city.
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