Marcos urged: Form council of advisers on COVID crisis

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 05 2022 10:20 AM


MANILA - A health reform advocate is urging President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to form a council of advisers that could help guide the administration in defeating the COVID-19 crisis. 

Dr. Tony Leachon, who previously served as adviser of the National task Force Against COVID-19, said the President needs an adviser similar to Chief Medical Advisor to the President Dr. Anthony Fauci in the United States. 

"If not a sole adviser, you can have a group of advisers that can give right away some opinions to the president, again without having any pressure from political or business side," he said in an ANC Headstart interview. 

He named doctors Rontgene Solante, Edsel Salvana, and the Philippine College of Physicians and the Philippine Medical Association as potential members of the proposed COVID advisory council.

Malacanang earlier convened the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to address the COVID-19 pandemic after its initial outbreak in Wuhan, China.

The task force is composed of different government departments and is headed by the Secretary of the Department of Health.

In the interview, Leachon noted that the lack of a health secretary can demoralize the medical community and the Filipino people. 

Marcos has yet to name a new health secretary. 

 

"We need a leader that can establish a roadmap, a vision," Leachon said. 

"Once you have a secretary of health, the first 100 days setting will be created. This would actually trigger a sense of urgency mindset so that the health agency and people will stay focus on that. I'm sur they're looking for the right candidate at this point in time."

The next DOH chief must be someone "with a sense of urgency, thinking about the welfare of the Filipino," Leachon said.

"May malasakit sa tao at sa bayan," he said.

The new health chief must also be someone with the "highest level of integrity," following the Pharmally controversy, Leachon added.

"Number 3 is competence level, someone who’ll understand the health and COVID situation. Four, I think is vision--short-term, medium-term, and long-term goals, " he said.

"Someone with courage…somebody that can endure the challenges of the different sectors. Pinakahuli is God-fearing. When you have God with you, I don’t think you will fail."

Government in the first 100 days should prioritize ending the pandemic and ramping up booster uptake to 70 percent from 15 percent, Leachon reiterated.

"This can actually fast track economic recovery and bring our lives back to normalcy," he said.

Aside from the pandemic, there are "numerous problems confronting" the DOH and its attached agencies such as the PhilHealth and the Food and Drug Administration, he added. 

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