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Benjamin Magalong: From Police Major General to Baguio City Mayor

Benjamin Magalong is a retired Police Major General and the incumbent Mayor of Baguio City.

Police Major General Benjamin Magalong (ret), the incumbent Mayor of Baguio City.
Police Major General Benjamin Magalong (ret), the incumbent Mayor of Baguio City.
  • Benjamin "Benjie" Banez Magalong (born December 15, 1960) is a retired Police Director or Police Major General of the Philippine National Police.
  • Magalong had previously served as the Regional Director of PRO-Cordillera and Director of the CIDG, DIDM, and was designated as The Acting Deputy CPNP for Operations.
  • He is known for having led the PNP Inquiry and investigation of the botched 2015 Mamasapano Incident, which resulted in the death of 44 SAF troopers.
  • In his 38-year career in the PNP, Magalong earned himself 166 military and PNP achievement and merit medals for his law enforcement and combat accomplishments.
  • Magalong is a Presidential Lingkod Bayan awardee and an Outstanding citizen of Baguio awardee.
  • Magalong is the incumbent Mayor of the City of Baguio.
  • He is married to Arlene Saneo and they have three children.

Benjamin "Benjie" Banez Magalong was born in Baguio City on December 15, 1960, to Severiano Magalong Sr. and Fortunata Banez of San Carlos City, Pangasinan. He spent his elementary days at Saint Louis University Laboratory Elementary School. He finished high school at what was then-Saint Louis Boys' High School (now Saint Louis University Laboratory High School).

Although his roots originated from the province of Pangasinan, Benjamin Magalong is considered a Baguio Boy.

Throughout his career, both in the Police and the Military, he worked silently, yet produces positive and significant results.

Police Major General (PMGEN) Benjamin Magalong Police and Military Career

Benjamin Magalong prepared himself academically to occupy various positions of responsibility. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) in 1982 belonging to Sandigan Class.

Benjamin "Benjie" Banez Magalong, Director or Police Major General of the Philippine National Police
Benjamin "Benjie" Banez Magalong, Director or Police Major General of the Philippine National Police

Magalong completed various Law Enforcement Courses, both local and abroad. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy. He also completed the Counter-Terrorists Operation Course in Louisiana, USA, and the Senior Crisis Management Course in Washington, DC not to mention the numerous tactical and operational courses he complete while in the Police service. He is a parachutist, a scuba diver, a boxer, and a member of the PNP Shooting Team.

Magalong specialized in Intelligence, Investigation, Operations and Training, Counter-Terrorism, Crisis Negotiations, Anti-drug and Antimoney Laundering Operations and Command Management and was assigned to operational and administrative duties in different units of the PC/INP and PNP.

He spent most of his assignments in the Cordillera Region and Mindanao. He is well known as a SAF trooper having spent a significant number of years with the Special Action Force.

PMGEN Benjamin Magalong dances with the gangsa | ctto
PMGEN Benjamin Magalong dances with the gangsa ctto

In 2007, he was detailed with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency as its Chief of Staff and after a few months, he was designated as Regional Director of the Metro Manila Regional Office.

He occupied various positions of command responsibility in the PNP, namely:

  • Regional Director of PRO-Cordillera
  • Director of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Management
  • Director of the Directorate for Investigation and Detection Management
  • And before his retirement, he was designated as The Acting Deputy CPNP for Operations.

Director Magalong was once the Chairman of the TWG of the PNP Transformation Program or "Patrol Plan 2030", is well known for paving genuine transformation programs in all offices that he commanded, physically and internally, earning him the respect of many of his peers and subordinates.

Director Magalong was lauded for his uncompromising integrity. In the PNP ranks, he is respected for being an advocate of honesty and truth unmindful of the risks these bring to his career and personal life.

Police Director Benjamin Magalong led the 6-man Board of Inquiry who looked into the circumstances surrounding the death of 44 SAF troopers in Mamasapano, Maguindanao. | Elmer Navarro Manuel, Tribune
Police Director Benjamin Magalong led the 6-man Board of Inquiry who looked into the circumstances surrounding the death of 44 SAF troopers in Mamasapano, Maguindanao. Elmer Navarro Manuel, Tribune

Heading the Board of Inquiry for the Mamasapano case was probably the most crucial of all the positions he was entrusted with. A veteran journalist, before the start of the investigation, asked him how he will ensure an honest and fair investigation.

Benjie Magalong replied that the members of the board were no longer thinking of their careers and ambitions. True enough, despite the many controversial issues surrounding the case, he never wavered as he stood his ground, stayed impartial, and remained steadfast throughout the investigation.

As such, the report of the Board of Inquiry which he headed was then hailed by the media and other non-government institutions as "remarkable" and "fair" and concluded that the "public was served the rightful truth".

PNP Director Benjamin Magalong retires after 38 years in service

After reaching the mandatory retirement age of 56, PNP Director Magalong retired on December 15, 2016, from the Philippine National Police, as the Deputy Chief of Operations.

P/Dir. Benjamin B. Magalong, Baguio's son, is considered one of the best officers the PNP has ever had. | Harley Palangchao
P/Dir. Benjamin B. Magalong, Baguio's son, is considered one of the best officers the PNP has ever had. Harley Palangchao

In the span of 38 years and 8 months, he received more than 166 Military and PNP achievement and merit Medals for his combat and law enforcement accomplishments, among which, are the Distinguished Conduct Star, the Distinguished Service Star, the PNP Gold Cross, and 15 Outstanding Achievement Medals.

He was awarded Junior Field Officer of the Year in 1993, Staff Officer of the Year in 1995, Senior Field Officer for 1999 and 2000, Lingkod Bayan Award Semi-Finalist in the Search for Outstanding Public Officials and Employees by the Civil Service Commission.

In 2013, Magalong was conferred the Presidential Lingkod Bayan Award for his peacekeeping initiatives in Kalinga and Abra; GIS-based crime mapping system; PNP 2030 patrol initiatives; human resource development program; and environmental advocacy, among others.

In August 2014 during the 113th Police Service Anniversary, he received the Individual Achievement Award for Criminal Investigation.

During the celebration of the city's founding anniversary on September 1, 2017, Gen. Magalong was awarded the Outstanding Citizen of Baguio City in the field of Public Service, along with Dr. Joanne Jularbal Balderas and Dr. Dionisio R. Claridad Jr.

Among his decorations include:

  • Medalya ng Kabayanihan (PNP Distinguished Conduct Medal)
  • Medalya ng Katapatan sa Paglilingkod (PNP Distinguished Service Medal)
  • Medalya ng Katangitanging Gawa (PNP Outstanding Achievement Medal)
  • Medalya ng Kagitingan (PNP Medal of Valor)
  • Medalya ng Katapangan (PNP Bravery Medal)
  • Medalya ng Pambihirang Paglilingkod (PNP Special Service Medal)
  • Medalya ng Paglilingkod (PNP Service Medal)
  • Medalya ng Kasanayan (PNP Efficiency Medal)
  • Medalya ng Paglilingkod sa Luzon (PNP Luzon Campaign Medal)
  • Medalya ng Pagtulong sa Nasalanta (PNP Disaster Relief and Rehabilitation Operations Campaign Medal)
  • Medalya ng Papuri (PNP Commendation Medal)
  • Medalya ng Mabuting Asal (PNP Good Conduct Medal)
  • Medalya ng Paglaban sa Manliligalig (PNP Anti-dissidence Campaign Medal)
  • Bronze Cross Medal
  • Military Merit Medal
  • Wounded Personnel Medal
  • Silver Wing Medal
  • Military Commendation Medal
  • Military Civic Action Medal
  • Presidential Lingkod Bayan Award
  • Outstanding Citizen of Baguio City

Since his retirement, Magalong has served as Senior Vice President for Operations of Steel Asia, one of the largest steel manufacturers in Asia until November 1, 2018. On January 5, 2018, President Duterte appointed him to serve as a director of the Philippine National Oil Company or PNOC, to serve the unexpired term of Bruce Concepcion until June 30, 2018.

Benjie Magalong as a public servant

Mayor Benjie Magalong is just a newly elected mayor of Baguio City. He was elected in 2019, where he won against veteran politicians in the country's Summer Capital. He is known throughout the Philippines as the "Contact Tracing Czar" of the COVID-19 Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF).

Retired Police Major General Benjamin Magalong accompanied by his wife filed a bid for mayor of Baguio on October 17, 2018. | Benjamin Magalong
Retired Police Major General Benjamin Magalong accompanied by his wife filed a bid for mayor of Baguio on October 17, 2018. Benjamin Magalong

There is no denying that Magalong has done a lot in the PNP for 38 years. It is unforgivable - but as the Mayor of Baguio City?

"I am not a politician, but you have seen me work. I deliver results, bounded by personal core values that I never let go in any work I do," Mayor Benjie said in an interview when he was still running in 2019. This principle came out of all his achievements in his short time as Mayor of Baguio.

Newly-elected Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong was sworn in by Judge Mia Joy Cawed at Baguio City Hall on June 30, 2019. | RMC-PIA-CAR
Newly-elected Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong was sworn in by Judge Mia Joy Cawed at Baguio City Hall on June 30, 2019. RMC-PIA-CAR

Mayor Magalong acted quickly. There was a big clean-up drive when he became mayor - not only of garbage in dumps and on the road but also in businesses with wrong permits. He focused on repairing Burnham Park to bring it back to its former glory. He reviewed the comprehensive master plan for the Baguio City Market. Mayor Benjie was instrumental in Baguio City's rehabilitation plan at the beginning of 2020, and he has many plans for the city.

All of this should be done by the elected mayors - but what is truly amazing is Mayor Benjie's contributions to the COVID-19 efforts of the Philippines. The COVID response of Baguio City under the leadership of Mayor Magalong is undeniable. Just in the 3rd week of March, the city immediately has contact-tracing teams. He used his military experience to make the contact-trace of COVID exposure effective. To his great accomplishment, he was appointed as the Contact Tracing Czar of the IATF, so that he could share his strategy throughout the Philippines.

All this happened while he was fulfilling his role as mayor of Baguio City.


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