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Meeting with congressmen was to discuss dengue epidemic — Duque

By: - Reporter / @DYGalvezINQ
/ 01:38 PM August 01, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — Health Secretary Francisco Duque III admitted on Thursday that he had a meeting with several congressmen but was quick to clarify that the meeting was just to discuss the “alarming dengue epidemics” now affecting several regions in the country.

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Earlier, Senator Panfilo Lacson alleged that Duque called for meetings with allies of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo amid the controversy on deals and government contracts allegedly bagged by Duque’s family-owned businesses.

READ: Lacson pins Duque anew amid gov’t contract controversy

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“[For your information], I was invited last Tuesday to the Office of Majority Floor Leader Martin Romualdez with the Visayas congresspersons to discuss alarming dengue epidemics in regions VI and VIII,” Duque told INQUIRER.net in a text message when about Lacson’s revelation.

He added that congressmen from regions 9 (Zamboanga Peninsula), 10 (Northern Mindanao) and 12 (SOCCSKSARGEN) were also present in the meeting “for discussions as to how the [Department of Health] can help their districts to address the epidemics and issues on their hospital bed capacities.”

In a text message, Duque clarified: “Sorry the meeting was Monday, not Tuesday.”

Senator Lacson has accused Duque of conflict of interest after revealing that the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) is renting a building owned by Duque’s family in Dagupan City.

He also bared that another Duque family-owned firm, the Doctors Pharmaceuticals Inc. (DPI), bagged two contracts with the DOH, which lasted even after he was already appointed as the agency’s chief in October 2017.

READ: Duque firm bagged DOH contracts

Duque explained that he has divested from DPI before he assumed his post as Health Secretary.  /muf

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READ: Duque distances self from family-owned firms’ DOH supply contracts

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