Department of Health

Ex-PNP chief says his management skill will help DOH

Bonz Magsambol
Ex-PNP chief says his management skill will help DOH

File photo of former PNP chief Camilo Cascolan

PNP screenshot

'Managing health is not just about medical knowledge,' says former PNP chief Camilo Cascolan

MANILA, Philippines – Former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief and now Health Undersecretary Camilo Cascolan defended his appointment at the Department of Health (DOH), saying that his “management and strategic planning” will help the agency.

“My expertise on emergency response and my network and experience plays a great role in bringing health closer to the people,” he said in a statement on Monday, October 24, after the DOH confirmed his appointment on Sunday night, October 23.

The former PNP chief said that he helped conceptualize the COVID-19 Task Force before handing it to former PNP chief Guillermo Eleazar for implementation.

“Managing health is not just about medical knowledge. There are many doctors in the institution, but balancing science and management and strategy is very important,” he said.

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Cascolan’s appointment comes as President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has yet to appoint his health secretary, a crucial Cabinet position which needs someone to spearhead the country’s exit out of the health crisis. He designated Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, a career official, to be the officer-in-charge.

On Sunday, the Alliance of Heath Workers (AHW) also slammed the appoinment of Cascolan, saying that it was a “huge insult to our health experts who are most qualified to administer and run the affairs of the DOH.”

“AHW believes that PBBM’s appointment of Cascolan is a clear manifestation of the President’s extreme lack of concern for the lives, health, safety and welfare of the health workers and the entire Filipino nation,” the group said.

Meanwhile, progressive group Akbayan denounced his appointment, saying that the position was “not a job for amateurs and first timers.”

But for Philippine College of Physicians past president Dr. Maricar Limpin, it’s better for the public to give Cascolan a chance.

“Mayroon ho siyang extra qualifications, like let’s say, in terms of financing, ‘yung finance management… Kasi isa po, isa ‘yan sa problema na nakita nitong mga nakaraan sa Department of Health,” Limpin said in an interview with DZMM’s TeleRadyo.

(He has extra qualifications, like let’s say in terms of financing, the financial management. Because that’s one of the problems spotted recently in the Department of Health.)

The former PNP chief spent a significant chunk of his career leading police stations in various parts of the Philippines, including Taguig City, the province of Compostela Valley which has since been renamed to Davao de Oro, and towns in Iloilo.

Cascolan is also among the generals seen as part of Duterte’s trusted circle called the “Davao boys.”

The DOH has yet to provide information about the assignment of Cascolan at the department. –

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Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol is a multimedia reporter for Rappler, covering health, education, and social welfare. He first joined Rappler as a social media producer in 2016.