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DOH: Magalong should stay as contact tracing czar

/ 12:59 PM January 29, 2021
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Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) believes that Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong should remain as the country’s contact tracing czar despite public flak over his presence in a party where lapses on Covid-19 health protocols were committed.

 DOH undersecretary and spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire noted on Friday that even presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that President Rodrigo Duterte still trusts Magalong.

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“Kami rin po sa Kagawaran ng Kalusugan (we at the Department of Health), we believe that he should remain to be in that position,” Vergeire said in an online press briefing. 

 Vergeire pointed out that Magalong has contributed a lot in the contact tracing efforts of the government to stem the spread of Covid-19. 

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Maria Rosario Vergeire 1

DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire (INQUIRER.net file photo / Daphne Galvez)

 “Actually ‘yung ating pakikipagtulungan kay Mayor Magalong is on that level na kapag kailangan talaga ay tumatawag tayo sa kanya kasi he can really assist us. Dito po sa Bontoc at buong CAR (Cordillera Administrative Region), siya po ang nagpatakbo ng contact tracing natin for this specific variant,” she said.

 (The coordination we have with Mayor Magalong is on that level, that we can call him whenever we need help because he can really assist us. In Bontoc and in CAR, he was the one who led the contact tracing for the cases of Covid-19 variant.)

 Vergeire was referring to the contact tracing efforts being conducted in CAR following the detection of 12 cases of the more infectious Covid-19 variant in Bontoc, Mountain Province, and another case in La Trinidad, Benguet.

 “We know that the President has that trust [for Magalong], and the Department of Health also trusts Mayor Magalong and we also believe that he should remain in that position,” she further said.

 Roque earlier confirmed that Magalong has resigned as contact tracing czar but his resignation was rejected by Malacañang. 

 Magalong himself has admitted that there were lapses in the observance of health protocols during the party recently held at The Manor at Camp John Hay, which was organized by events host and social media personality Tim Yap.   

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TAGS: Benjamin Magalong, coronavirus Philippines, COVID-19, Department of Health, Maria Rosario Vergeire
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