Magalong's statement on San Juan City Mayor's Quarantine Protocol breach
There is utmost need to re-assert 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. I reiterate this as an uncompromising measure for everyone, whether public or private status, to comply with the city's border control checkpoints upon entry in Baguio boundaries, to ensure that no one is put to undue health risk while in the city.
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.
These were the facts of the unfortunate incident that has drawn much comment in the social media. As reported to me (at that time I was in Metro Manila on an official business matter) by PNP Baguio city director Allen Rae Co, Mayor Zamora of San Juan, Metro Manila, arrived at the Kennon Road quarantine checkpoint at around 2:30 PM of June 5, 2020, on board a convoy of 6 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.
Accordingly, checkpoint personnel radioed the BCPO traffic operations center about the incident and followed the Zamora vehicles enroute to the Baguio Country Club. Upon arrival, the group was asked for the required medical health clearance, but since none was presented, was politely told to undergo triage examination. Considering that they were already at their destination, medical personnel from the City Health Service Office were dispatched to BCC to set up the triage facility, purposely to ensure that containment and isolation, if needed, were done.
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.
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 profusely expressed deep regrets that while asleep in his car at the time, the PNP escort leading his convoy mindlessly took it on his own to ignore what has long been a standard border protection measure prescribed not only in his but our own 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. While in Metro Manila at that time, I gave stern instructions to my office staff and the city health authorities to see to it that the visiting Mayor's group, including himself, go through triage examination, for containment purposes should anyone be tested positive of the virus. Quick action on the part of the CHSO led to the installation of the triage at the former's facility to ensure that the procedure will be conducted and to minimize the movement of said persons before they were properly checked.
Subsequent complaints have also been lodged with concerned police officials, namely no less than the PNP Deputy Chief for Administration Police General Camilo "Picoy" Cascolan, the San Juan City Police City Director Jimmy Santos, and even our Baguio PNP city director Col. Allen Rae Co, to call their collective attention on this incident that put Baguio at serious health risk by the simple act of ignoring health and safety protocols.
I am confident that appropriate steps are forthcoming for this breach of health quarantine protocols, even more so in ensuring that absolutely no one, with or without rank, be allowed to transgress safety measures put in place to keep everyone out of harm.
Let this incident --- of avoidable mistakes and lapses in judgment --- serve to make us even steadfast to keep Baguio at zero or less health risk as possible.
- BENJAMIN B. MAGALONG, Baguio City Mayor
June 7, 2020
#BenjaminMagalong #Baguio #SanJuan
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