'Baka kailangan ako ng Pilipino': Vergeire says ready to be DOH secretary

Davinci Maru, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 31 2023 03:57 PM | Updated as of Jan 31 2023 07:45 PM

ABS-CBN News/File
Department of Health Undersecretary Dr. Maria Rosario Vergeire speaks during an interview inside her office at the DOH compound in Manila on June 9, 2022. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA — Dr. Maria Rosario Vergeire is ready to be the next health secretary.

"Based from this 6 months or more, I am ready," she told ANC's "Headstart" on Tuesday. "The hesitancies are there but sa tingin ko, baka kailangan ako ng Pilipino (perhaps Filipinos need me)."

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who he took office in June, has yet to appoint a full-time health chief, a crucial Cabinet position. 

He designated Vergeire as officer-in-charge of the Department of Health in July.

Vergeire said she would discuss the matter with Marcos.

"It will go a process where I can discuss this with the President that I am now ready to be appointed if and when that would be his decision," she said in a press briefing later Tuesday. 

"For the past 6 months, I've experienced going to the ground... I've seen a lot of opportunity that I can change and lead reforms with."

Vergeire cited her tenure at the agency as among the reasons for previously hesitating to take the post. While she could serve in any administration as a career official, she could only stay for up to 5 more years as health secretary and would need to secure the Commission on Appointments' nod. 

"With all of these things happening at sa lahat ng trabaho na kailangan gawin (and all the work we need to do) for us to really improve on our healthcare system, sa tingin ko, this is the appropriate time for me to help the country," she said.

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