CA confirms Duque's appointment as health chief

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 7) — The Commission on Appointments confirmed Francisco Duque III's appointment as Department of Health (DOH) Secretary.

An emotional Duque faced the CA for the second time on Wednesday for his confirmation.

Lawmakers grilled Duque for issues hounding the DOH, including the controversy on Dengvaxia, the measles outbreak in Davao City, and corruption allegations within the state health insurance company PhilHealth.

"During my time, in 2005 to 2010 your honor, when our budget was like a measly ₱10, ₱11 billion, we had much better immunization coverage, we enjoyed consistent public trust and satisfaction ratings, availment and public awareness of our programs," Duque said.

Duque, who served as DOH secretary under former President Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo, teared up in the middle of answering questions.

"I said, 'What happened?' Now that we have so much budget. I think we have to recapture the glorious days of the DOH back then," he said.

After the hearing, Duque explained himself.

"The DOH is fighting too many battles in too many fronts," he said.

President Rodrigo Duterte appointed Duque in October 2017, replacing Paulyn Ubial who was rejected by the CA on October 10.

In December, when Dengvaxia maker Sanofi Pasteur announced the risks posed by the vaccine, Duque immediately canceled the dengue vaccination program.

The vaccine — which can be more risky for those who have not had prior dengue — had been administered to more than 800,000 students since April 2016.

Duque had called on Sanofi to refund more than ₱3.5 billion worth of vaccines. As of January 2018, the company has refunded ₱1.16 billion.

The Health Chief also served as chairperson of the Civil Service Commission in 2010, and former president and director of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation in 2001 and 1999.

The doctor earned his undergraduate and post-graduate degree from the University of Santo Tomas. He also took Executive Education in Health Program Management course at the Harvard University in 1992.

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