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MANILA, Philippines – Ferdinand Marcos Jr. finally chose his Department of Health (DOH) secretary almost a year into his term.
Dr. Teodoro “Ted” Herbosa is not new to the DOH and has run into some controversy when he was the adviser of the government’s COVID-19 task force.
Here are some things you should know about Herbosa and his resumé.
According to Herbosa’s LinkedIn, he graduated from the University of the Philippines with a Bachelor of Science in Biology degree in 1979 and finished studying medicine at the same university in 1983.
According to a press release from Malacañang, Herbosa also has tucked under his belt an international diploma course in emergency and crisis management from the University of Geneva. He took further postgraduate studies in medicine at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine at Tel Aviv University in Israel.
Former DOH undersecretary, UP exec
Herbosa served as a health undersecretary from 2010 to 2015, under the administration of former president Benigno Aquino III.
He also served as the executive vice president of the University of the Philippines System from 2017 to 2021.
COVID-19 task force adviser
The UP alumnus gained prominence as an adviser of Duterte’s national task force adviser providing almost daily updates on the coronavirus outbreak from 2020 to 2021.
As early as March 2021, Herbosa already said that the Philippine government had done a “fairly good job” in managing the public health crisis. He also defended former president Duterte and former health secretary Francisco Duque III, who were often criticized over their pandemic response.
In 2020, Herbosa issued a public apology and agreed to undergo gender sensitivity training after sharing a Facebook post making light of rape.
In April 2021, Herbosa drew criticism from internet users for a “death by community pantry” tweet. His remarks were in response to the death of an elderly man who waited in line at a community pantry organized by actress Angel Locsin in Quezon City.
Community pantries were set up as a response to the economic conditions brought about by the pandemic, which made access to an affordable food supply difficult for the country’s poorest residents.
Some Duterte officials took the pantry services as an insult to the administration’s ability to provide food for its citizens, going as far as linking the community-led efforts to the communist party.
Herbosa also issued a public apology following that statement, and resigned from his post at UP afterwards.
After his appointment, DOH Undersecretary Dr. Maria Rosario Singh Vergeire, who had been officer in charge for Marcos’ first year, said they would provide all-out support during the transition.
“Maasahan po ng ating bagong kalihim, Secretary Ted, ang taos-pusong suporta ng buong DOH family,” said Vergeire. (Our new Secretary, Secretary Ted, can expect all-out support from the whole DOH family.) – Rappler.com