Magalong confirms Zamora breach of Baguio City health protocols

Published June 7, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Jhon Aldrin Casinas

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong on Sunday (June 7) has confirmed the incident involving San Juan City Mayor Zamora who was accused of allegedly breaching border safety protocols during the latter’s visit to the city recently.

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong (Photo from Benjie Magalong - Public Servant / Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN)
Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong (Photo from Benjie Magalong – Public Servant / Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

In a statement posted on the official Facebook page of the Baguio City Public Information Office, Magalong stressed that no one, regardless of rank and position, is exempted from the health and safety protocols when entering the city’s borders.

“There is utmost need to reassert the policy position of the City Government that no one, regardless of rank and position, is exempted from the established and long-held health and safety protocols when entering the city,” he said.

“This policy is strongly iterated in view of the apparent violation of existing health protocols by a group of visiting officials led by San Juan, Metro Manila Mayor Francis Zamora—ignoring the border control checkpoint at Kennon Road, and proceeding to their place of destination (Baguio Country Club) without their having to undergo the mandatory triage health examination,” he added.

Magalong said the incident has “put Baguio at serious health risk by the simple act of ignoring health and safety protocols.”

What happened

Magalong, who was in Metro Manila at the time, narrated what transpired during the visit of Zamora and his entourage on June 5 as reported to him by Baguio City Police director Col. Allen Rae Co.

According to Magalong, Zamora arrived at the Kennon Road quarantine checkpoint at around 2:30 p.m. on June 5 in a convoy of six vehicles, with uniformed personnel inside.

“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,” he said.

After the incident, checkpoint personnel followed the vehicles enroute to Baguio Country Club. Upon their arrival at the country club, Zamora’s group was asked to present the required medical health clearance, but failed to provide any, Magalong continued.

Since the San Juan City mayor and his group were already at their destination, medical personnel from the City Health Office Service Office were deployed to the country club to set up a triage facility.

“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,” Magalong said.

Blame falls on Zamora’s police escort

The Baguio mayor narrated that Zamora was asleep in his car at the time when the police escort leading his convoy “mindlessly took it on his own to ignore” the border protection measures enforced by the city.

“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,” Magalong said.

“To his credit, Mayor Zamora took the effort to inform me about this incident and apologized for the serious lapse on the part of his police escorting officer,” he added.

Apology

Zamora also on Sunday apologized to Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong and to the people of Baguio after his breach of border safety protocols during his visit to the city recently.

“I would like to extend my sincere apologies to Mayor Benjamin Magalong and the people of Baguio City for the incident that happened last June 5, 2020 on our way to Baguio City,” Zamora said in a statement.

“We had no intention of breaking any checkpoint or quarantine protocols of the LGU (local government unit). I have personally called Mayor Magalong earlier today (Sunday) to convey my apologies and to explain that this was a miscommunication in the checkpoint area,” he added.

Magalong earlier issued a statement regarding the incident, saying Zamora’s group violated the health protocols of the city after “ignoring the border control checkpoint at Kennon Road, and proceeding to their place of destination without their having to undergo the mandatory triage health examination.”

Upon their arrival at the hotel, Zamora said management told them to undergo triage which they all “fully and immediately complied with.”

Zamora explained that the reason for his visit to Baguio was to accompany his wife, Keri, who will be staying at her family’s house there for a few weeks to rest and recover.

The mayor said his wife is a Stage 3 breast cancer patient and is undergoing treatment. Francis and Keri have four children.

“We decided to go to Baguio because her family has an old house there. She was going to stay there for a few weeks to rest and recover,” he said.

 
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