Health chief goes on ‘sick leave’

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Health chief goes on ‘sick leave’
(2nd UPDATE) Health Secretary Enrique Ona has gone on leave, reportedly to attend to personal health concerns. Undersecretary Janet Garin is the acting secretary during Ona's absence

MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) – Health Secretary Enrique Ona has gone on leave, reportedly for medical reasons.

Responding to a text message from Rappler on Wednesday, October 29, Health Spokesperson Lyndon Lee Suy replied, “Yes, he is on leave.”

In a statement Thursday, October 30, the Department of Health (DOH) said Ona “has a minor health concern and plans to rest.”

Malacañang on Wednesday initially referred to Health Undersecretary Janette Garin as officer-in-charge while Ona is on leave. A day after, DOH said she is acting secretary. 

EBOLA UPDATE. Presideng Benigno Aquino III asks questions to Health Undersecretary Janet Garin (middle) at a Palace meeting on updates on the Ebola virus on October 29, 2014. Health Secretary Enrique Ona, who is on 'official leave,' was not present. Photo from Malacañang Photo Bureau

Over the past months, Ona has been at the forefront of preparations for the possible entry of Ebola cases in the country, but was not present at the Palace meeting presided by President Benigno Aquino III.

There has been no report, so far, to indicate that the President is dissatisfied with his performance.

But different sectors have expressed their plans to call for his resignation over different issues, such as stem cell therapy and the proposal to make HIV testing mandatory in the country.  – with reports from Jee Y. Geronimo/

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