Despite calls from several lawmakers and concerned groups, the Department of Health continues to defend their Health chief Francisco Duque III, saying the Philippines would be put in a disadvantage if he resigns from his post.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire enumerated milestones under Duque: accreditation of 98 laboratories that can run nearly 30,000 coronavirus tests daily and building of thousands of quarantine facilities for patients.
“I think it will really be to the disadvantage of our government and of course the country if we are going to change leadership in the middle of this pandemic,” Vergeire told ANC.
The agency, however, admitted there were still “a lot of gaps” in efforts to curb the coronavirus pandemic.
“The Secretary has been working so hard since the start. He has been able to guide the whole Department of Health in this response… Even though there has been a lot of gaps, we all know that it is not just the Secretary but also this not just really DOH’s fight, it is the fight of the whole country, it is the fight of the whole government,” she added.
“We should all try to move forward, we should all try to help each other, we should all try to do our responsibility in curbing this pandemic,” said Vergeire.
She reiterated the agency’s support for their health chief and said no government is actually fully-prepared for this kind of situation.
“We support the Secretary. His leadership has brought us here where we are right now. We have done a lot already for this response. No government is ever prepared for this kind of pandemic,” she added.
Several senators once again called for Duque’s resignation after COVID-19 cases surged past 100,000 this weekend and prompted the return of Metro Manila and 4 surrounding provinces under stricter lockdown measures.