COVID-19 task force adviser removed for ‘preempting info, jeopardizing communication’ | Inquirer News

COVID-19 task force adviser removed for ‘preempting info, jeopardizing communication’

/ 10:30 PM June 17, 2020

MANILA, Philippines—An official of the National Task Force (NTF) on COVID-19, who had recently aired frustration over the Department of Health’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, was removed from his post for allegedly preempting the release of information and refusing to heed advice to keep his criticism of other officials within the task force.

Dr. Tony Leachon was stripped of his position as special adviser to the NTF because he “jeopardized the communication efforts” of the government on COVID-19 response, according to a statement issued by Carlito Galvez Jr., NTF chief implementer.

Galvez, in a statement released on Wednesday (June 17), said Leachon’s “preemptive release of some information prior to official announcement and adaptation” caused “unwarranted misunderstanding” between the NTF and another body handling COVID-19 response, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).


“He has been cautioned but remained deaf to collegial advice,” Galvez said.


“Constructive criticism among colleagues is most welcome to assure improvement but this should have been done internally to maintain unity of effort,” he said.

Galvez said the NTF had to let go of Leachon because the NTF and IATF are “collegial bodies that have to work in synch with each other.”

“These times also call for compassion and understanding for each and everyone and where unity of effort should run complementary,” he said.

“We cannot afford to be divisive in this fight,” Galvez said.

Earlier in the day, Leachon announced that he was no longer an adviser for the NTF, which leads the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said he had “lots of good memories” but had to “move on.”


“I have my full respect for Secretary Charlie Galvez and we will remain as good friends,” he said.

Just over the weekend, Leachon publicly aired his criticism of the DOH leadership over data management.

“Forgive me, I think the lead agency has lost focus in everything. Risk communication, priorities, data management and execution of all plans,” he said on Twitter.

He also recently said in a media interview that Health Secretary Francisco Duque III should “step up.”

Leachon, in an interview with CNN Philippines shortly after announcing his departure from NTF, said he believed that what he said earlier about Duque was a “constructive comment.”

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“Time and again, I was asked not to speak on my independent views that I think would be helpful for the country. I think that is where that started,” he said.

Edited by TSB

For more news about the novel coronavirus click here.
What you need to know about Coronavirus.
For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

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TAGS: Coronavirus, coronavirus Philippines, COVID-19, Government, Health, pandemic, response, task force

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