Malacañang on Monday introduced new “czars” who would implement the country's strategy in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
Bases and Conversions Development Authority (BCDA) President and CEO Vince Dizon, Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong, Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar, and Health Undersecretary Dr. Leopoldo "Bong" Vega will try to help the country strike a balance between protecting public health and reopening its economy.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said these "Philippine anti-COVID czars" will serve as point persons for key areas of the government's framework to fight the pandemic dubbed as T3 (Test, Track, Treat).
They join the National Task Force on COVID-19 chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. at the forefront of the battle against the coronavirus, Roque said.
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The framework, presented by Secretary Galvez, consists of five phases to address the health crisis--planning, detection of the virus, isolation, treatment, and reintegration.
Roque said Villar was named “isolation czar,” as the Department of Public Works and Highways had been largely involved in the construction of temporary treatment and monitoring facilities nationwide.
Magalong was placed in charge of the country’s contact-tracing efforts, as his work in beefing up Baguio's tracing strategy has been hailed by experts as a model other local government units can follow.
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Vega would be in charge of closely monitoring the country’s critical care capacity, and ensuring there are enough resources in the health system to treat coronavirus patients.
Dizon, also the deputy chief implementer of the country's pandemic response, will serve as the testing czar and will be in charge of expanding the country's COVID-19 detection efforts.
Since the major easing of lockdowns last month, the government has geared its coronavirus response toward economic recovery, even as it continues to fight local transmission of the virus.
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The appointments came as the country continued to see rising infections in the last four months under quarantine, with numbers seeing a spike the past few days.
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