MANILA — The appointment of "dancing doctor" and infectious disease specialist Dr. Eric Tayag as the new undersecretary of the Department of Health has earned praise from a health reform advocate.
"I think he would be an asset to the health department," Dr. Tony Leachon told ANC's "Headstart".
"It would also motivate and increase the morale of the Department of Health knowing that the new undersecretary came from their ranks."
Prior to his new appointment, Tayag was the head of the agency’s Knowledge Management and Information Technology Service.
He is also known as the "dancing doctor" for promoting the agency's campaigns through dancing.
Leachon said he had worked with Tayag during the time of former Health Secretary Enrique Ona and during the administration of late President Benigno Aquino III.
"He is an expert in infectious disease being a former president of the Philippine Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, an expert communications person, charming and engaging," he said.
Leachon, a former adviser to the government task force on COVID-19, said Tayag would be effective in promoting the government's health programs.
"Eric has a different way of communicating and engaging the public. In the era of social media, we need a lot of innovation perhaps renewed spirit and energy," he said.
"On the other hand, he would also be participative in terms of health policy knowing that we have right now a dearth or perhaps a lack of clear organizational structure knowing we have not completed the lineup for the Department of Health," he added.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has yet to appoint a health secretary. The agency is currently headed by its officer-in-charge, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.
In a press briefing Tuesday, Vergeire said Tayag has yet to take his oath.
Tayag's duties as health undersecretary are also still being discussed.
"Pinag-uusapan pa ngayon ng aming mga officials kung saan namin siya appropriately, based on his capacity, mai-assign para mas makatulong sa ating kagawaran," Vergeire has said.