Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III was elected as chairperson of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Regional Committee for the Western Pacific.
Duque was elected by the 37 member-states and will serve a term of one year. He will also be presiding the entire virtual session of the regional committee– which is until Friday, October 9.
“The committee meets annually to formulate policies, provide oversight for regional programs, report on the progress of their projects, and consider, revise and endorse new initiatives. Resolutions and decisions adopted during the session will guide the work of the Regional and Country Offices for 2021,” the DOH said.
Aside from COVID-19 pandemic initiatives, the agenda of the session also includes vaccine-preventable diseases and immunization, ageing and health, safe and affordable surgical interventions, and the program budget for 2022-2023.
“The circumstances in which we meet this year are very different from last year when we came together to endorse the For the Future vision. Thank you for your continued commitment in implementing that vision in the time of COVID-19, as we work together to adjust to a “new normal” and create a new future,” said Duque at the opening session.
Duque was being criticized by several lawmakers in the Philippines for his handling of the COVID-19 situation in the country.
Last April, 14 senators asked him to resign for his “failure of leadership, negligence, lack of foresight and inefficiency” in responding to the pandemic.
Aside from this, he was also tagged in the alleged irregularities surrounding the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation.