Incumbent Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) for a second term on Tuesday, October 5.
The Baguio mayor first entered the political arena in 2019 and succeeded the term of Mauricio Domogan, who served as mayor for a total of six terms (1992-2001 and 2010-2019). He defeated eight other candidates, mostly veteran politicians in the city.
Magalong, who ran as an independent in 2019, is running under the Nationalist People’s Coalition in the upcoming election.
Among Magalong’s banner projects were the “aggressive regreening and beautification movement” in Baguio City, which included converting forested land identified as protected zones into eco-parks to provide green areas for residents.
In his first State of the City Address in 2020, Magalong took pride in Baguio City receiving various national and international awards, citing developments such as the Irisan dumpsite being turned into a working compost facility.
Prior to politics, Magalong served and held various positions in the Philippine National Police for 38 years. He joined the Special Action Force and headed the Operations Battalion from 1997 to 2001, worked at the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in 2006, and later became the director of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.
He is also known as the police general who led the high-profile investigation into the Mamasapano clash in 2015. He retired from police service in 2016.
The police director turned politician also currently serves as the national contact tracing czar of the government’s COVID-19 pandemic response.
Earlier this year, Magalong faced intense backlash for gracing Tim Yap’s birthday party in Baguio City that violated protocols on social distancing and wearing of masks. Netizens called out Magalong after photos surfaced of his wife posing with actress KC Concepcion, not wearing a mask.
The Baguio chief executive admitted his lapses, apologized to the public, and filed his resignation as contact tracing czar.
While Baguio locals and netizens slammed such an irresponsible act, Malacañang did not accept the resignation and kept Magalong in the position. – Rappler.com
Paul Soriano is a Luzon-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship.