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3-day break not enough for Aquino, says health chief

By: - Reporter / @santostinaINQ
/ 03:55 AM December 27, 2013

Health Secretary Enrique Ona. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—A three-day break from his workload is not enough for President Benigno Aquino III to fully rest, according to Health Secretary Enrique Ona.

“Three days are not enough, it should be at least one week,” Ona said in an interview.

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On Ona’s recommendation, the President will not be working for the rest of the holidays starting Friday. He will interrupt his break on Dec. 30 to pay tribute to Jose Rizal on his death anniversary.

Ona, a doctor by profession, said he advised Mr. Aquino to take a week of rest, preferably on a quarterly basis, for him to be always healthy.

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But Mr. Aquino apparently found Ona’s suggestion quite difficult to adhere to.

“He said it’s hard to do. You know our President, he’s workaholic,” Ona said.

“I’m advising everybody, especially the President, to take a break every three to four months… I think he should do [take] that [vacation] more often. His health is the concern of the whole country,” he added.

But Ona was quick to add that his advice for Mr. Aquino to take a break was not due to any specific health concern.

“It’s always nice to have some break especially if, like the President, you’re faced with so much pressure, so many problems and so very difficult decisions. You need time to relax and reflect over things,” he said.

“He’s still a human being, he needs to have a break,” he said. “The last few months have been tough for him. You’ve seen what he has been going through with all the problems that we have. He’s been going around the country, trying to solve all these.”

Public concern about Aquino’s true health condition spiked after his State of the Nation Address last July 22 was interrupted by incessant coughing.

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Malacañang, however, has repeatedly assured the public that Aquino, despite his smoking habit, is in good health and that his coughing is not a sign of illness.

Aquino had also been previously been down with the flu, allergic rhinitis and a bum stomach.

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TAGS: Aquino, Christmas holidays, Christmas vacation, President Aquino, Secretary Ona
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