With Dr. Francisco Duque taking the lead anew for the Department of Health (DOH), a group of cancer survivors in the Philippines expressed hopes for a more intensified campaign against tobacco.
New Vois Association of the Philippines (NVAP) President Emer Rojas lauded the appointment of Duque as the returning secretary of the DOH, saying the agency would be in good hands.
“NVAP lauds the appointment of Francisco Duque III as the new health secretary as we can be assured of having a surely qualified health chief. We are all aware on how strong the anti-smoking program of the Duterte administration is. And we hope this is one program that Secretary Duque will continue and, if possible, further strengthen,” Rojas said in a statement.
President Rodrigo Duterte appointed Duque to replace former health secretary Paulyn Ubial, who failed to get the nod from the powerful Commission on Appointments (CA).
Rojas added that Duque has shown “exemplary performance” as the health secretary during then-president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s time.
Duque has served as the health chief from 2005 to 2010 under Arroyo’s administration.
Rojas, also an anti-smoking advocate, called on Duque to continue and strengthen the anti-smoking campaign pushed by Duterte through former DOH secretary Paulyn Jean Ubial.
“We are all aware on how strong the anti-smoking program of the Duterte administration is. And we hope this is one program of his predecessor that Secretary Duque will continue and, if possible, further strengthen,” he said.
Rojas also said they are hoping that the returning health secretary would maximize his second time in the department to establish further improvements and developments in the health system of the country.
“He has been here before and would have the benefit of hindsight on how to institute improvements in the health sector,” the NVAP president added.