December 9, 2022

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong will remain as the country’s contact tracing czar until the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Infectious Emerging Diseases finds a replacement.
Magalong told reporters on Monday he will continue on a holdover capacity to sustain the contact tracing system of the Philippines, especially now that the B117 variant has been detected in the Cordillera, Laguna, and Cebu City.
Magalong has resigned last month after the flak he received from attending a birthday party where health protocols were violated.
The IATF did not accept Magalong’s resignation citing his significant contribution in the country’s Covid-19 response, particularly in empowering the various contact tracing teams.
“Local contact tracing efforts have greatly improved and have become more efficient following the architecture and methodology that Mayor Magalong designed based on his experience,” Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said in a press statement released Jan. 28.
President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed Magalong as the country’s contact tracing czar in July 2020.
He has since been going around the country training contact tracing teams of different local government units focusing on data analysis and cognitive interviewing.
Meanwhile, Magalong, in the Feb. 2 management committee meeting, has directed concerned department heads to delegate a health protocol officer in every event of the city government, beginning with the weekly flag-raising ceremonies where mini programs are usually held and hosted by the different departments.
Magalong said City Hall should take the lead in ensuring that health protocols are being followed.
At present, health protocol officers composed of Public Order and Safety Division personnel are deployed mostly at the public market. – Rimaliza A. Opiña