Health Secretary Duque gets CA nod
The Commission on Appointments (CA) has confirmed the appointment of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III amid the Dengvaxia controversy hounding the agency.
The botched P3-billion dengue immunization program was repeatedly raised during the hearing on Wednesday of the CA’s health committee.
Among the other issues raised during his confirmation hearing were the DOH’s plan on the Dengvaxia fiasco, which was earlier suspended by Duque, and the reported outbreak of diseases in Mindanao despite the agency’s vaccination drives.
The alleged overstocking of medicines in some areas in the country, and issues on the Reproductive Health Law and teenage pregnancy, were also raised during the hearings.
At least three justifications to oppose the confirmation had also been filed before the committee by Dr. Nestor Dizon Jr., Anti-Trapo Movement of the Philippines chairperson Leon Peralta, and David Diwa.
Senator Gregorio Honasan II, who chairs the CA health committee, said Duque has stayed “on course” in spite of the issues being faced by the DOH.
Senators Manny Pacquiao, Miguel Zubiri, JV Ejercito, and Ralph Recto have, likewise, seconded Honasan’s motion to confirm Duque’s appointment.
“This is the hands-on manager we need at DOH today, one who can solve today’s ills while preventing future problems, one who treats the causes and not the symptoms, one who is both curative and preventive in outlook,” Recto said.
Pacquiao also thinks Duque would fulfil his job “with more teeth, if not fangs.”
During his confirmation hearing, Duque turned emotional as he recalled how his agency has been facing a “difficult” time amid the Dengvaxia controversy.
He earlier ordered the suspension of the vaccination when French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi Pasteur bared in November 2017 that Dengvaxia could worsen symptoms of the disease for people who had not previously been infected by the virus.
The anti-dengue vaccine was administered to more than 830,000 children in areas with high cases of dengue infections during the term of former Health Secretary Janette Garin. /jpv
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