Concepcion floats names of Salvaña or Herbosa as DOH secretary, Fr. Austriaco as DOST head


To continue the coronavirus efforts started by the Duterte administration, Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Jose “Joey” Concepcion III has suggested that either Dr. Edsel Salvaña or Dr. Ted Herbosa be the next Health Secretary, while molecular biologist Fr. Nicanor Austriaco should head the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

Dr. Edsel Salvaña, Dr. Ted Herbosa, and molecular biologist OCTA Research fellow Father Nicanor Austriaco

Concepcion said this as President-elect Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. started to reveal the members of his Cabinet, particularly his economic team.

While he commended Marcos Jr. for forming a formidable economic team, Concepcion said that the next Health secretary will play a crucial role in ensuring that the incoming government will sustain the efforts against the Covid-19 pandemic.

"As we all try to put the Covid-19 pandemic under control, the incoming head of the Department of Health will play an important role to achieve that goal," he said.

To continue the Covid-19 campaign started by the Duterte government, Concepcion suggested that Dr. Edsel Salvaña or Dr. Ted Herbosa be appointed as the next DOH secretary.

Salvaña is a member of the DOH Technical Advisory Group and Director of the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at the National Institutes of Health at the University of the Philippines (UP)-Manila. Herbosa, for his part, is a current medical adviser of the National Task Force Against Covid-19.

The Go Negosyo founder said Salvaña and Herbosa had provided the government of outgoing President Duterte with expert advice on containing the pandemic.

"I believe that with either of them at the DOH helm will help the government keep Covid-19 under control and maintain our health in good standing, which will keep our economy running at full capacity," he said.

At the same time, Concepcion suggested that molecular biologist and OCTA Research fellow Fr. Nicanor Austriaco be given the DOST portfolio.

"I have worked with all three, and I have to say they are all qualified for the DOH and DOST positions," Concepcion said.

As a molecular biologist with vast experience in science and technology, Fr. Austriaco will complement the DOH's Covid-19 campaign with the needed know-how that would help end the pandemic, Concepcion stressed.

President Duterte himself was impressed by Austriaco and even offered him the DOH post.

Meanwhile, Concepcion said that the country could not afford to close the economy again.

"Our backs are against the wall with our debt obligations and the needed capital to continue the Build Build Build program," he said.

"Growth is a must. Failure to do so will be extremely bad for the Philippines," he added.

Concepcion has commended Marcos Jr. for appointing Alfredo "Fred" Pascual as incoming Secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

In a statement, Concepcion said Marcos Jr. made an excellent choice in appointing former UP President Alfredo Pascual as his DTI chief, saying this is a testament to his commitment to providing ample support to micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs).