MANILA, Philippines – Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Director General Eric Domingo resigned from his post on Monday, January 3, after leading the agency for nearly two years under a pandemic.
Domingo confirmed this with Rappler on Monday afternoon, saying his resignation was effective on the same day.
“It’s time for me to move on to other things,” Domingo told reporters.
The Department of Health (DOH) said FDA Deputy Director General Dr. Oscar Gutierrez has been designated as officer-in-charge of the agency in the meantime.
Domingo had earlier been appointed as chief of the FDA on February 9, 2020, and assumed his post leading the agency on March 9 of the same year, just days before the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under his helm, the FDA ushered in a first-of-its-kind system for the Philippines to grant emergency approval for vaccines and medicines, shortening a process that takes six months to just a month. It later paved the way for at least nine coronavirus vaccines and two COVID-19 drugs to gain emergency use authorization in the country.
Alongside this, the FDA approved at least seven coronavirus vaccine trials.
Domingo’s stint was not without challenges, though, as the FDA probed the use of an unregistered COVID-19 vaccine on top officials of the Duterte government and members of President Rodrigo Duterte’s close-in security back in December 2020. To date, the investigation has revealed little of the use of smuggled vaccines.
As chief of the FDA, some of Domingo’s final moves were to approve the use of vaccines developed by Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca as boosters and endorse Pfizer’s shot for all Filipinos at least 5 years old.
“I believe I did my part to help during the pandemic. The FDA is now stronger, more efficient, and systems are in place,” he said.
Prior to leading the FDA, Domingo served as spokesperson and undersecretary at the DOH, and as medical director of the Philippine General Hospital in 2010. – Rappler.com