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DOH still supports Duque amid resign calls

July 05, 2020 - Sunday 10:07 AM by PNA

Article Banner Image President Rodrigo Roa Duterte confers with Health Secretary Francisco Duque III during a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases at the Malacañan Palace on March 9, 2020. ROBINSON NIÑAL JR./PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

MANILA – The Department of Health (DOH) staff members are still behind Health Secretary Francisco Duque III amid calls for his resignation from various groups, Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said on Thursday.

"Basta kami sa Department of Health together with the Secretary, tuloy-tuloy lang ang trabaho namin (We at the Department of Health together with the Secretary will continue with our work)," Vergerie said in a media forum.

Vergeire said she has not heard information about President Rodrigo Duterte waiting for Duque’s resignation amid criticisms on his performance as DOH chief as the country grapples with the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

"Wala pa naman kaming naririnig pa ano, although that article came out, pero wala din naman kaming information pa that there is this kind of para bang nag-aantay na lang for resignation (Although that article came out, we haven't heard such information about [Duterte] just waiting [for Duque's] resignation)," she added.

Vergeire said Duque still provides instructions and gives the staff enlightenment and guidance.

"You all know that a lot of criticisms and a lot of bashing is being thrown at DOH, kami, we still support the Secretary. And, as I've said before, there should always be a leader in a unit especially in times of this kind of emergencies, and even if they say this or that, we still support our Secretary", she said.

Earlier, the DOH welcomed the Office of the Ombudsman's investigation on the alleged irregularities and anomalies in handling the country's Covid-19 situation.

On May 26, Duterte ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to investigate the issues raised on the procurement of personal protective equipment, machines, and testing kits by the Procurement Service- Department of Budget and Management.

The DOH said it has been transparent in the Covid-19 response, including procurement transactions and the provision of benefits to healthcare workers. PNA