MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has decided to keep Health Secretary Francisco Duque III because he appreciates the latter’s way of handling the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) outbreak in the country, Malacañang said on Friday.
Despite mounting calls for Duque’s resignation due to his supposed failure to respond to the Covid-19 crisis, he was retained for the reason that he does not “sugarcoat” the truth, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said.
Nograles said Duque has been making “quick, decisive, and hard decisions” to contain the spread of the new coronavirus in the country.
“It helps us na nandiyan si Secretary Duque (It helps us that Secretary Duque is here) because he will tell it as it is,” he said. “That’s what the President appreciates. Because you have to tell how it is right now. No sugar-coating.”
On Thursday, 15 senators signed a resolution calling for Duque’s resignation due to his alleged “failure of leadership, negligence, lack of foresight, and inefficiency” in leading the country’s fight against Covid-19.
Those who inked Senate Resolution 362 were Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, and senators Juan Edgardo Angara, Ralph Recto, Nancy Binay, Ronald dela Rosa, Sherwin Gatchalian, Panfilo Lacson, Manuel Lapid, Maria Imelda Josefa Marcos, Emmanuel Pacquiao, Grace Poe, Ramon Revilla Jr., Francis Tolentino, and Joel Villanueva.
Nograles said Duque still has the “100 percent” trust of his fellow Cabinet members, even after some senators questioned the health chief’s ability to address the outbreak.
“When the news came out na may resolution, lahat kami sa Cabinet uttered our 100 percent support kay Secretary Duque (When the news came out that there was a resolution, all Cabinet members uttered our 100 percent support for Secretary Duque). And then shortly after, the President gave his decision that he will keep Secretary Duque,” he said.
On Thursday, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said Duque stays as head of the health department but Duterte challenged him to work harder to prove that he deserves to be its chief.
Nograles said the public should also appreciate the significant contributions of Duque who suggested the implementation of an enhanced community quarantine in Luzon to stop the further spread of Covid-19 in the country.
He said all of Duque’s recommendations were based on evidence and data.
Nograles added that the decisions made to contain Covid-19 turned out to be “right.”
“Ang gusto namin kay (What we like about) Secretary Duque (is), he will tell it as it is, no ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’. And in this crisis, what we’re facing now, we have to make hard decisions. You have to make decisions on the go – quick, decisive, hard decisions,” he said. “All of the decisions that were made came out to be the right decisions.” (PNA)