Malacañang said President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is already in the final stages of choosing his Health Secretary, assuring the public that he was aware of the position’s importance in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
Communications Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles made this statement as sectors urge Marcos to appoint a new Department of Health (DOH) Secretary soon as the country still faces the virus’s threat.
In her first press briefing, Angeles said the public might not have to wait long as Marcos understands the crucial fight against the coronavirus.
“I understand that this is now going through the final evaluation stage, so I don’t think it will take too long,” she said Monday, July 4.
“The President is quite aware and, in fact, one of the priorities is managing the effects of this pandemic,” she added.
According to the Palace official, this was precisely why it was taking President Marcos a long time to choose the next DOH Secretary compared to the other positions in his Cabinet.
“Precisely because this are important decisions, kailangan dumaan talaga sa butas ng karayom (They really need to pass through the needle’s eye),” Angeles said.
“So you must also understand that this is so important [that] they must look very closely and carefully at the candidates,” she added.
Reports are circulating that former Health secretaries Francisco Duque III and Janet Garin were among the names President Marcos is considering for the position.
Go Negosyo founder and former Duterte Administration adviser Joey Concepcion said that either Dr. Edsel Salvaña or Dr. Ted Herbosa could be the next Health Secretary. This is to continue the anti-coronavirus efforts started by the previous administration.
Salvaña is a DOH Technical Advisory Group member and Director of the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at the National Institutes of Health at the University of the Philippines-Manila. Herbosa, for his part, is a current medical adviser of the National Task Force Against COVID-19.
According to Concepcion, Salvaña and Herbosa had provided the government of outgoing President Duterte with expert advice on containing the pandemic.