CEBU CITY, Philippines – Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Camilo Cascolan will oversee the implementation of the COVID-19 vaccination program in the Visayas, DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, November 15.
“As for Usec. Cascolan, he is assigned in our Visayas area for operations, regions VI, VII, and VIII (Western, Central, and Eastern Visayas). I specifically instructed him to look into the vaccination coverage of these areas,” Vergeire said.
“Second, logistics management, to inventory all our commodities, specifically, our COVID-19 vaccine,” she added.
Cascolan’s appointment to the DOH was controversial, as critics pointed out the former chief of the Philippine National Police had no medical or healthcare background.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. defended Cascolan’s appointment then, saying a health background was not needed for the work he wanted for the former top cop at the DOH.
“It’s not health issues that he has to look at that’s why he doesn’t have to be a doctor. He’s going to look at the function of the DOH,” Marcos said on October 26.
Vergeire said she instructed Cascolan to develop a system for a more efficient COVID-19 vaccination program in the Visayas.
“We want him to develop a way to make inventory of commodities, specifically the COVID-19 vaccine, in the Visayas region faster,” the health officer-in-charge said.
“Because based on his credentials, he has been experienced in procurement and logistics management in his previous work. So this is what we gave to him. And he will also look at organizing the network of hospitals from primary-level care to higher-level care in the region,” Vergeire added. (READ: Former top cop takes on health: Who is Camilo Cascolan?)
Cascolan, a native of Baguio City, spent most of his police career in Mindanao and the Visayas, including spending a significant amount of time in the provinces of Davao de Oro and Iloilo.
In Eastern Visayas, 84% of its target population – or 2.86 million individuals – have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, while 516,576 have received a booster, as of Monday, November 14.
In Central Visayas, 83.79% of its target population – or 4.78 million individuals – have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Monday, November 14. At least 1.03 million people have received a booster dose.
Meanwhile, COVID-19 vaccination data has not been posted for several months for Western Visayas. – Rappler.com