Duque should ‘step up’ amid calls for resignation, says task force adviser
MANILA, Philippines — Health Secretary Francisco Duque III should “step up” following mounting fresh calls for him to resign due to supposed lapses concerning his leadership in addressing the coronavirus pandemic, a special adviser to the National Task Force on COVID-19 said on Tuesday.
In an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel, task force adviser Dr. Tony Leachon advised Duque to serve at the pleasure of Filipinos and not just at the pleasure of President Rodrigo Duterte especially in the time of health crisis.
“I think he needs to step up. He needs also to hear the voices of the people and perhaps reflect on some other plans or measures and perhaps [organize] a very brief three-day team building and come up with a business plan for the next three months,” he said.
“I’d like to advise the health agency leader to perhaps reflect, rest, and recharge,” he also said.
Leachon added that Duque should “regroup” and reflect on the programs of the DOH to improve the department’s response to the pandemic.
Aside from these suggestions, he also advised Duque to have a guiding coalition from members of the academe or the private sector, and to develop a new COVID-19 strategy for the next three months.
“This is just a positive feedback that I hope the Secretary can actually reflect on. I have nothing against the Secretary. My full respect is always for the Secretary and I always wish him well,” clarified Leachon.
The task force adviser noted that while there are unrecognized personnel of the DOH who tirelessly fight the pandemic, there were also lives that have been lost, healthcare workers who died, and others who were rendered jobless due to the pandemic.
“All of these things can be solved if you can come up with timely, real-time, and credible and trustworthy, granular data, because all of the decisions and policies of the IATF [Inter-Agency Task Force] and even the President are anchored on real-time and granular data,” he pointed out.
Nevertheless, Leachon noted that the DOH has “stepped up” because of its partnership with experts from the University of the Philippines and by inviting other guests in press conferences to further discuss information on the dreaded disease.
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