By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte has appointed Dr. Leopoldo Vega as new undersecretary of the Department of Health (DOH) amid government’s efforts to contain the spread of the new coronavirus.
Vega is currently the chief of the Southern Philippines Medical Center located in Davao City.
The appointment of the new health official was announced by Presidential
Spokesperson Harry Roque Friday night (June 5).
Earlier, the President spared Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and instead threatened to fire other officials over the delay in the distribution of benefits of health workers who died or fell ill due to the coronavirus.
The President said it was “totally unacceptable” that the death and sickness benefits have not been given to the health workers since the Bayanihan law that provides them was signed last March.
“The power to appoint carries with it a power to dismiss. And since it’s an absolute thing for lack of — total lack — total loss of confidence, I’m removing them because they are not functioning so we are wasting money paying for these idiots,” he said in his public address aired on state television Friday morning.
Duterte said he understands Duque’s problem, telling him “you cannot run your own errands.” He instead asked Duque to form a new team that will hasten the delivery of the benefits for the concerned health workers.
Under the Bayanihan law, the government must provide P100,000 compensation to public and private health workers who get infected with the coronavirus in the line of duty. A compensation of P1 million will be given to those who die fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
The law also stated that all public health workers must be provided with a COVID-19 special risk allowance in addition to the hazard pay granted under the Magna Carta of Public Health Workers.