Department of Health

Herbosa apologizes for controversial statements

Ryan Macasero

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Herbosa apologizes for controversial statements

HEALTH SECRETARY. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. swears in Teddy Herbosa as the new health secretary.

Bongbong Marcos Facebook page

'So I'll really have to change. I'll really have to transform [given] the way this president has called for unity,' Marcos' newly appointed health secretary says

MANILA, Philippines – Newly-appointed Department of Health Secretary Ted Herbosa apologized for previous controversial statements he made, especially during his stint as COVID-19 adviser to the Duterte administration.

“That’s my persona – I’m a Taurus, I’m passionate, I get mad immediately,” Herbosa told Karen Davila in an interview on the ABS-CBN News Channel on Thursday, June 8.

Earlier on Thursday, he tweeted, “And I apologize for things I have said before,” offering a blanket apology for all his controversial statements.

He was replying to a tweet questioning why some “kakampinks,” or what Marcos oppositionists began calling themselves during the campaign of former Vice President Leni Robredo, declared their support for Herbosa.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. appointed Herbosa as his first health secretary on Monday, June 5. His statements about healthcare workers, the community pantry, and red tagging, however, have been criticized for being insensitive, offensive, and even downright dangerous.

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LIST: DOH Secretary Ted Herbosa’s controversial statements in the past

LIST: DOH Secretary Ted Herbosa’s controversial statements in the past

As DOH secretary, Herbosa said he would be more discerning with his statements.

“So I’ll really have to change. I’ll really have to transform [given] the way this president has called for unity. I think, Karen, the best place to have unity is in healthcare. I’m calling all the kakampinks and the opposition: this is healthcare – this is the health of our fathers, mothers, grandparents, our children. Let’s work together. My call is the same call [made by] the President when he was campaigning,” Herbosa said.

Herbosa said he would open his doors to his critics and listen to their complaints and criticism about his performance.

“Let’s have universal healthcare. Universal healthcare means unity. I have no enemies. You can criticize me, that’s part of my job, you will throw sticks and stones at me, but I won’t break. I have a common goal and I’ve said that to people who have been on the other end of the opinion,” the healthcare secretary added.

‘Disaster doctor’

Also on Thursday, Herbosa led the participation of the DOH in a national simultaneous earthquake drill, highlighting the role the DOH plays in disasters.

Among his priorities, he said, was collaborating with other agencies to better respond to medical needs during emergencies.

“The nationwide earthquake drill is especially important because it raises awareness among Filipinos about proper earthquake preparedness and response,” Herbosa said.

“This provides us with the opportunity to learn how to work with each other, especially in times of natural disasters. I am a disaster doctor – where there’s chaos, there I go, and I fix it. I will be the doctor who will make the right decision,” he added. –

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Ryan Macasero

Ryan covers social welfare for Rappler. He started at Rappler as social media producer in 2013, and later took on various roles for the company: editor for the #BalikBayan section, correspondent in Cebu, and general assignments reporter in the Visayas region. He graduated from California State University, East Bay, with a degree in international studies and a minor in political science. Outside of work, Ryan performs spoken word poetry and loves attending local music gigs. Follow him on Twitter @ryanmacasero or drop him leads for stories at