The Department of Health (DOH) on Sunday, Oct. 23, confirmed the appointment of former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Camilo Cascolan as one of its undersecretaries.
The state health agency confirmed the said appointment amid circulating reports online.
“Yes, we confirm the receipt of appointment papers of Mr. Camilo Cascolan, Atty. Charade Mercado-Grande and several directors,” the DOH said in a brief statement.
“We will make available the assignments of our Execom members to you as soon as available,” it added.
Cascolan joins the other DOH undersecretaries: Lilibeth David, Carolina Vidal-Taino, Abdullah Dumama, Kenneth Ronquillo, Nestor Santiago, and Maria Francia Laxamana.
Meanwhile, the DOH noted that Mercado-Grande was “reappointed” as health assistant secretary.
Aside from Mercado-Grande, the other DOH assistant secretaries are Beverly Ho, Maylene Beltran, and Frances Ontalan.
The Alliance of Health Workers (AHW) denounced the move of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. of appointing Cascolan as undersecretary of DOH, saying that it is a “clear manifestation of the President’s extreme lack of concern for the lives, health, safety and welfare of the health workers and the entire Filipino nation.”
“Cascolan’s appointment is a huge insult to our health experts who are most qualified to administer and run the affairs of the DOH,” the AHW said in a statement.
The country’s health workers prefer an undersecretary “who has a clean tract record, not a red-tagger, one whose hands are not tainted with the bloody drug war and one who truly upholds the rule of justice,” the AHW said.
Medical workers want to “work with a health Undersecretary who is an expert in eradicating deadly and infectious diseases, not an expert in violating human rights and extrajudicial killings,” it said.
Cascolan’s appointment “runs counter to DOH mandate of ensuring the provision of quality health service that every Filipino people deserves,” the group said.
“With the country’s deteriorating health situation wherein poverty-related, communicable and preventable diseases like tuberculosis, Covid-19 and cardiovascular problems remained top causes of mortality and morbidity, there is a need for a free, scientific and comprehensive health approach in combating diseases than a militarist approach,” the AHW said.