Teodoro back to DND; Herbosa to lead DOH
MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has filled the yearlong leadership vacuum at the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Department of Health (DOH) by putting lawyer Gilbert Teodoro and doctor-educator Teodoro Herbosa at the helm of the defense and health agencies, respectively.
The appointments of Teodoro and Herbosa, who replaced officers in charge (OICs) Carlito Galvez Jr. and Maria Rosario Vergeire, were announced a year after the May 2023 elections and following the lapse of the appointment ban on losing candidates, which covered Teodoro who had lost the senatorial race.
The President separately met with Teodoro and Galvez, and with Herbosa and Vergeire, at Malacañang on Monday afternoon before the announcement was made, the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) said in a statement.
The DOH and the DND had been without a permanent head since the start of the Marcos administration.
Vergeire, a longtime career official at the DOH, was tapped to serve as the caretaker of the DOH since July 2022. Galvez, on the other hand, was named interim defense chief in January after the resignation of his predecessor, Jose Faustino Jr., who had also served in an OIC capacity.
The PCO described Teodoro as having “extensive experience in both the private and the public sectors” while Herbosa “brings with him a wealth of experience and expertise in health-care systems, public health, hospital administration, emergency and disaster medicine.”
Teodoro is the son of Gilberto Teodoro Sr., who served as Social Security System chief and assemblyman during the term of Mr. Marcos’ father and namesake.
Teodoro, a licensed commercial pilot, has served as both a defense secretary and lawmaker.
He finished law at the University of the Philippines (UP) and topped the 1989 bar examinations. He furthered his legal education by obtaining a master’s degree in law at Harvard University.
He was elected to three terms as representative of Tarlac from 1998 to 2007.
A stalwart ally of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, he worked as her defense secretary from 2007 to 2009, becoming the youngest official to hold the position at 43.
During that period, Teodoro was the concurrent head of the National Disaster Coordinating Council, heading relief operations after Typhoons “Ondoy” (international name: Ketsana) and “Pepeng” (Parma) devastated the country in 2009.
In 2010, Teodoro ran for president but lost to then-Sen. Benigno Aquino III, his second cousin.
He rejected two offers to be defense secretary under former President Rodrigo Duterte and remained in the private sector until he announced his run for the Senate under the People’s Reform Party.
But he lost the election despite his inclusion in the senatorial ticket of Mr. Marcos and Vice President Sara Duterte.
Herbosa, on the other hand, has held several positions in the health sector, including as medical adviser to the National Task Force Against COVID-19 during the Duterte administration when he was tapped to offer expert guidance and contribute to the formulation of strategies to mitigate the impact of the pandemic.
He also served the UP system as its executive vice president from 2017 to 2021.
At the UP-Philippine General Hospital, Herbosa was the coordinator for emergency and ambulatory services from 2016 to 2017, and chief of the Division of Trauma Department of Surgery in 2016.
Herbosa was also a DOH undersecretary from 2010 to 2015.
In 2014, Herbosa was appointed as chair of the National Capital Region’s Regional Nutrition Committee, which is part of the organizational and coordinating structure for the Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition, the country’s framework in improving the nutritional status of Filipinos.
In 2022, the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines endorsed Herbosa as the next health secretary.