Department of Health

Who is ‘dancing doctor’ Eric Tayag named as new DOH usec?

Bonz Magsambol
Who is ‘dancing doctor’ Eric Tayag named as new DOH usec?

Interview on Dengue with Dr. Eric Tayag at the Department of Health's Bureau of Local Health Development office in Manila on August 12, 2016

Photo by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler

(1st UPDATE) Newly appointed Health Undersecretary Eric Tayag is known as the 'dancing doctor' for promoting government health programs through dancing

MANILA, Philippines – President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. appointed infectious diseases specialist Eric Tayag, also known as the “dancing doctor,” as new undersecretary of the Department of Health (DOH), Malacañang confirmed on Tuesday, November 15.

“We are still discussing where we can assign him appropriately based on his capacity so he can help the department more,” DOH Officer-in-Charge Maria Rosario Vergeire told reporters when asked about Tayag’s assignment in the agency.

Tayag gained the byname the “dancing doctor” for promoting government health programs through dancing.

Prior to his recent appointment, Tayag served as the director of Knowledge Management and Information Technology Service of the DOH.

During the Aquino administration, he served as assistant secretary, spokesperson, and director of the DOH’s Bureau of Local Health Systems Development (BLHD).

As director of BLHD, Tayag was in charge of strengthening regional capacities to support and assist local health systems. He also advised the health secretary on matters related to local health coordination and local health systems development.

The dancing doctor was also the director the DOH’s national epidemiology center.

Controversy

In 2012, Tayag was investigated by the National Bureau of Investigation for his alleged involvement in the vaccine procurement which some groups tagged as anomalous.

Because of the probe, then Health Secretary Enrique Ona went on leave and eventually resigned, but initial reports from the NBI showed there were no irregularities in the purchase. Meanwhile, Tayag was demoted from assistant secretary to director in late 2014.

Then health secretary Janette Garin, however, denied it was a demotion. She said that Tayag just returned to his original post.

Malacañang has not released more information on Tayag’s recent appointment.

Months into his presidency, Marcos has also yet to name his secretary of health. – Rappler.com

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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.