Marcos to name DOH chief once country's Covid-19 situation 'normalizes'

It remains uncertain when the Department of Health (DOH) will have its secretary as President Marcos wants the country's situation to "normalize" first before appointing a Health chief.

President Ferdinand 'Bongbong' Marcos Jr. (Photo by Noel Pabalate)

Marcos said in a media interview on Thursday, Oct. 20, that he would only name a new Health secretary once the country's situation amid the Covid-19 pandemic normalizes and the DOH's method of handling the pandemic is fixed.

He said the government is now "looking for ways to normalize" the country's public health situation, where the Philippines need not be placed under a state of calamity.

"Paabutin natin doon (Let us reach that point) and then we will normalize also all the reorganization of the government," Marcos said.

Marcos said the DOH's case is somehow the same with the Department of Agriculture (DA), which he heads in a concurrent capacity. The only difference is that the DOH is not facing structural changes like the DA.

"We have to get away from the emergency, the emergency stance of the DOH because we have to open up businesses. We have to make the Philippines more hospitable to travelers, both business and tourists," he said.

"And it does not help if we are still under a state of calamity, if we are the only country that still has a mask protocol. But these are mandated to us by the laws that were passed during the pandemic. So kailangan pa nating ayusin yun (we still need to fix that)," he added.

The President, however, did not mention whether the government will enforce stricter measures against the new Omicron subvariant or not. But he stressed that the present Covid-19 situation in the country is "very very different" from the risks of getting the disease in 2020 or 2021.