Magalong: Leachon’s relief ‘a big loss’ in PH fight vs coronavirus

Rambo Talabong
Magalong: Leachon’s relief  ‘a big loss’ in PH fight vs coronavirus


Mayor Benjamin Magalong says Dr Tony Leachon was one of his advisers in plotting the widely praised coronavirus response of Baguio City

MANILA, Philippines – The relief of health reform advocate Tony Leachon as an adviser to the the Philippine’s National Task Force (NTF) COVID-19 is “a big loss” in the country’s battle against the novel coronavirus, Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong said on Sunday, June 20.

“Dr Leachon’s exit from the COVID-19 fight scene is a big loss to our offense and defense against the unseen enemy.  His expertise and services are invaluable as the country remains in the throes of the contagion,” Magalong said in a statement.

Why the loss? Magalong disclosed that he had Leachon as a “personal adviser” for Baguio City’s response against the coronavirus, which has been widely praised, even by the national government.

“He is very objective, selfless  and remarkably professional. I believe we both are passionate in communicating the truth to the public. I truly lament Dr Leachon’s  departure” Magalong said.

Who let Leachon go? On June 13, Leachon criticized the Department of Health’s response to the virus, saying on Twitter and Facebook that it “lost focus in everything.” A few days later on June 17, Leachon disclosed that he had been asked to resign over the critical posts.

In a statement on June 17 evening, NTF chief implementor Carlito Galvez said Leachon was sacked because his posts “jeopardized” the government’s messaging. He added that President Rodrigo Duterte himself, who has been criticized for his muddled speeches under the pandemic, was vexed by Leachon’s posts. –

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Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.