(From L-R) National COVID-19 task force chief implementer Carlito Galvez, Jr.; BCDA President Vince Dizon, Baguio Mayor Benjamin Magalong, Public Works Secretary Mark Villar, and Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega. (Photo courtesy by CNN PH)

MANILA – Three more officials will help in leading the government’s battle against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in the country.

This after the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) on Tuesday (July 14) adopted the designations of the individual components of the national strategy against Covid-19.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque confirmed this development in a statement on Wednesday (July 15).

According to Roque, Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong was assigned to oversee the government’s tracing efforts; Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar will be in charge of isolation; and Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega will be in charge of treatment.

Last May, Roque announced that Bases Conversion and Development Authority president and CEO Vince Dizon will serve as the country’s chief coordinator of the government’s Trace, Treat, and Test (T3) program. However, Dizon now handles testing only.

“All four shall be under National Task Force for Coronavirus Disease 2019 chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr.,” he said.

In a virtual Palace briefing on Tuesday, Roque said all four czars will determine what actions need to be done to improve the government’s current Covid-19 response.

“Kung halimbawang may pagkukulang, matutukoy agad kung saan (If there are lapses in government response, these will be immediately identified). It will be accountable — all will be accountable for the Covid response,” he said.

Last month, President Rodrigo Duterte appointed Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) chief Leopoldo Vega as Department of Health (DOH) undersecretary.

Vega is currently head of a new unit called Hospital One Incident Command.

He was appointed to the DOH after President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to fire officials over the delay in the compensation of health care workers infected with Covid-19.

Earlier, Vega denied speculations that he would replace DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III.

Under Magalong’s leadership, Baguio City was earlier recognized by the National Task Force Covid-19 as a model local government unit for managing to keep its Covid-19 cases low.

Villar has facilitated the putting up of more facilities to house Covid-19 patients.

Meanwhile, Roque said the IATF-EID also approved the strategic communications roadmap of the NTF Task Group on Strategic Communications. (PNA)

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