President Benigno S. Aquino III views the exhibits after addressing the 65th Session of the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Committee for the Western Pacific at the Reception Hall of the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City on Monday (October 13). The Philippines’ hosting of the 65th Session is historically significant considering that after a quarter of a century, another Aquino is addressing the regional committee as President of the Philippines. (MNS photo)

President Benigno S. Aquino III views the exhibits after addressing the 65th Session of the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Committee for the Western Pacific at the Reception Hall of the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City on Monday (October 13). The Philippines’ hosting of the 65th Session is historically significant considering that after a quarter of a century, another Aquino is addressing the regional committee as President of the Philippines. (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) — On-leave Health Secretary Enrique Ona admitted Tuesday that he took a leave to extensively answer President Benigno Aquino III’s questions on the Health Department’s immunization and other public health programs.

“Ipiniprepare natin yung ating mga sagot…in the process pa kasi complicated…extensive yung ating ginagawa(ng report),” Ona told reporters after attending the necrological service for former Health Secretary and Senator Juan Flavier held at the DOH office in Manila.

It was his first public appearance after the announcement that he took a leave to settle some matters.

Asked if he was forced to take the leave, Ona said he will go with what the President said.

“Yung sinabi ng President yesterday (Monday), yun na lang muna. May sinabi na siya kahapon, yung na lang, I will not add anything,” he said.

Earlier, Aquino said he asked Ona to reassess the immunization program, prompting the latter to go on a personal leave.

“May mga questions na umiiral tungkol sa immunization program ng ating kabataan na humingi sya ng oras din para maihanda ang mga paliwanag niya. Hindi nya maihahanda ang sagot sa mga katanungan kung tinatrabaho pa rin niya ang kanyang day-to-day functions as secretary of health. Kaya humingi muna ng leave para maihanda ang mga kasagutan,” the President told reporters Monday in Calamba City in Laguna.

Asked what report he is preparing, Ona said that aside from the immunization program, he will include the hospital reform program.

“Yung immunization program at a few things na nasabi niya doon sa kanyang speech. In terms of immunization, in terms of public health, saka yung ating hospital reform program. So yun ang ating i-dedevelop nang husto. Para ma-explain sa tao kasi a little bit complicated kasi yung ating hospital programs,” he said.

Ona said his relationship with the President remains good.

“Ok naman,” was Ona’s reply when asked by reporters.

The on-leave Health secretary also said that his medical condition is getting better now but he is still enduring the allergies brought by the hair dye he used.

“(I’m getting) better. Tignan nyo na lang ang buhok ko,” he said. (MNS)