Latest Stories

Aquino urged: Boss, you need a break


After being downed by the flu, President Aquino on Monday got this unsolicited advice from his health secretary: Go on a holiday as US presidents do, but minus the paper work.

Given the demands of his job, Mr. Aquino should go on a long break, say once every quarter, for his own good, according to Health Secretary Enrique Ona.

“Every so often, I mention that, ‘You need a break,’” Ona told reporters.  “If you have the flu, which I’m sure you or me or your friends do get every so often, then it’s best that you take off.”

If US presidents take summer breaks or go on holidays to bond with their families and engage in their favorite pastime, there’s no reason Mr. Aquino couldn’t do it, said Ona, a doctor who headed the National Kidney and Transplant Institute before he was named to the Cabinet.

“I’m sure you have seen how other leaders of other countries, like the United States, [take a break],” Ona said. “Every so often you read that the president goes to Camp David. President Bush goes to his home in Texas or in Massachusetts near where the Kennedys used to have their vacation.”

President Obama himself has spent his annual break with his family on Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. In 2011, he was criticized by Republicans for going on vacation while the Americans were facing an economic crisis.

Country’s concern

According to Ona, Mr. Aquino need not look far to see where he could relax—he could always drive to the family’s ancestral home in Hacienda Luisita, the sugar estate in Tarlac province.

But bringing paper work is a big no-no, he said.

“The mere fact that the President enjoys Luisita, I think he should do that more often, which I think he has been trying to,” Ona said. “You must remember that his health is the concern of the whole country and we are concerned as to when he should really get out of the so-called stressful job for a couple of days.”

It goes without saying that this should not be a “working vacation,” Ona  added.  “I think one should take a good break quarterly.”

Mr. Aquino was advised to take a two-day rest after flying home from grueling sessions of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summit in Cambodia last Tuesday night.  When he spoke at the MediaNation summmit in Tagaytay City on Friday, he had a fit of coughing, which his spokesperson attributed to the flu.

Concerns about his health were raised earlier when, a day before flying to Cambodia, he failed to receive International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde due to a flu and cold. Still, he decided to fly to Cambodia.

No holiday break

Mr. Aquino’s spokespersons said the President had the flu and allergic rhinitis, an inflammation of the mucous membrane of the nose, but that otherwise, he was healthy.

In earlier interviews, Mr. Aquino said he was always cooped up in his office even during holidays.

“Ever since I got into this job, I have not had a holiday,” he told reporters. “During Christmas holidays, what I normally get is just Dec. 31 and at least half of Jan. 1. The executive secretary and I spend the second half listing down the things that have to be done starting Jan. 2.”

Ona said he didn’t find “anything seriously wrong” with the President’s health but that he had also advised him to “get a regular checkup.”

“The point is he gets checked up regularly,” Ona said. He said he was not aware of the results of Mr. Aquino’s checkups. “That’s not my job.”

Part of relaxation

Ona said that allergic rhinitis “can be” aggravated by smoking. He also said he believed Mr. Aquino had been trying to reduce smoking.

“He looks at smoking as part of his relaxation, and as I said, I’m sure that he’s trying to do his best to eventually get out of that but we have to give him that space of doing that,” he said.

Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda last week indicated that Mr. Aquino wasn’t ready to kick the habit of smoking.

“At a certain point, he would like to quit but right now, this is what destresses him,” Lacierda said.  So, let us allow President Aquino to find a way. He knows what is important.”

Leo Olarte, vice president of the Philippine Medical Association, earlier said he had asked Mr. Aquino to quit smoking so he could be in top shape in running the affairs of state.

Olarte also advised him to keep a balanced diet and sleep at least eight hours a day.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Aquino Health , Benigno Aquino , Government , Politics

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  2. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  3. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  4. Massive infra spending set
  5. OFW brings MERS virus to Philippines
  6. DOJ to NBI: Arrest Cedric Lee, 4 others
  7. Cardinal Tagle to faithful: Join politics to clean it
  8. Estrada, Gigi Reyes denied access to evidence from other respondents
  9. Thoughts on Holy Week
  10. Lacson’s wife loses diamond earring to thieves but recovers jewelry quickly with police arrest
  1. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  2. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  3. Netizens cry: 6/55 Lotto was rigged
  4. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  5. ‘Wife of Jesus’ theory papyrus not fake – Harvard study
  6. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  7. Gay college instructor arrested for oral sex with student
  8. ‘King’ Yabut and I: Driver bares Makati dad ‘abuses’
  9. It was difficult having Japanese blood
  10. Palace: We can’t blame increase in population on Vitangcol
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Pork payoffs to newscasters Erwin Tulfo, Del Prado, others bared
  4. UP back on top as ‘average’ student aces bar
  5. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  6. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  7. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  8. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  9. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  10. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’


  • DOH asks co-passengers of OFW carrier to test for MERS-CoV
  • ‘Shouldn’t we move?’ Ferry evacuation under scrutiny
  • 5.5-magnitude quake hits Sultan Kudarat
  • Passengers denied chance to escape sinking South Korea ferry
  • Firetruck rams California eatery; 15 injured
  • Sports

  • PH youth boxers off to stumbling start in AIBA World tilt
  • Durant has 42, Thunder beat Pistons 112-111
  • Walker leads Bobcats over Bulls in OT, 91-86
  • Man City slips further out of title contention
  • Federer would skip tennis to be with wife, newborn
  • Lifestyle

  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  • Moist, extra-tender blueberry muffins
  • Entertainment

  • Will Arnett files for divorce from Amy Poehler
  • American rapper cuts own penis, jumps off building
  • Jay Z to bring Made in America music fest to LA
  • Why Lucky has not bought an engagement ring for Angel
  • Derek more private with new girlfriend
  • Business

  • Asia stocks fail to match Wall Street gains
  • Fired Yahoo exec gets $58M for 15 months of work
  • PH presses bid to keep rice import controls
  • PSEi continues to gain
  • Number of retrenched workers rose by 42% in ’13
  • Technology

  • DOF: Tagaytay, QC best at handling funds
  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Tech company: Change passwords or suffer ‘Heartbleed’
  • Filling the digital talent gap
  • SSS to shut down website for Holy Week
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Syria most dangerous country for journalists, PH 3rd—watchdog
  • Japan says visa-free entry still a plan
  • First Fil-Am elected to Sierra Madre, Calif. city council
  • UC Irvine cultural night to dramatize clash of values in immigrant family
  • Filipino sweets and info served at UC Berkeley Spring Fest
  • Marketplace