text: Benjamin Magalong 012721 Benjamin Magalong 012721

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong on Tuesday reiterated that his resignation as contact tracing czar was irrevocable.

In a television interview, Magalong said he would meet with Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., the chief implementer of the government's response against COVID-19, and deputy chief implementer Secretary Vince Dizon to discuss the matter.

"I'm due to meet with Secretary Galvez this week together with Secretary Vince and again I would like to reiterate that my resignation is irrevocable. I will continue to help in the contact tracing," Magalong told ANC.

Magalong, however, admitted that if President Rodrigo Duterte would order him to stay in his post as contact tracing czar, he is obliged to follow the Chief Executive's order.

Still, he is hoping that the issue will no longer reach Duterte.

"It is a situation that no one can refuse if the President tells you to stay and perform your job. I cannot refuse the President. Pero hindi naman na siguro aabot 'yan kay Presidente, sa dami ng problema ng Presidente. Siguro at the level ni Secretary Galvez, makapagdesisyon na," he said.

At present, Magalong said he is leading in the contact tracing efforts in Bontoc and La Trinidad.

"I continue to perform my job as contact tracing lead, in fact mina-manage pa rin namin 'yung situation doon sa Bontoc and La Trinidad and I just met with Asec. France Laxamana yesterday of DOH and we are due to meet with her team on Wednesday para nga turuan namin ng aming analytical tools, especially on the aspect of link analysis," Magalong said.

Last week, presidential spokesman Harry Roque announced that Magalong had quit from his post. The National Task Force against COVID-19, however, did not accept his resignation.

Magalong's move came after the controversial birthday party of event organizer Tim Yap at the Manor Hotel in Baguio City. The event, which was attended by Magalong and his wife, drew flak from netizens.

The mayor had admitted that health protocols were violated during Yap's party. 

Accountable

Magalong said he was accountable for his personal actions, noting that he should have reminded the attendees during the event to observe health protocols.

"I'm not denying that I [failed] to perform my job... I should have reminded people, I should have cautioned people to wear their masks but you know, hindi ko nagawa 'yun..." Magalong said.

Asked if the controversy is being used against him, Magalong said, "It's part of the politics. Some people just simply cannot move on and they keep on... even if you do something right, they will always look at the negative side of things."

The investigation on the issue is already finished and the city government is now assessing what needs to be improved on its protocols so the matter will not happen again, Magalong said.

"Tapos na, actually what we're doing now is we're looking at our processes, investigation is now focused on processes, kung papaano pa namin ma-improve lalo and how to cascade it with other businesses," he said.

Yap and other guests already paid the fines, worth P1,500 each, for their violations. — RSJ, GMA News

This article Magalong: Resignation irrevocable but will stay on if Duterte says so was originally published in GMA News Online.

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