MANILA, Oct 9 (Mabuhay) — Malacañang on Thursday congratulated Health Secretary Francisco Duque III for being elected as chair of World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Committee for Western Pacific.
In a Palace briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duque’s accomplishment showed that the WHO recognizes his capabilities.
“Our congratulations to Secretary Duque and my classmate in the Cabinet at ito po’y nagpapatunay na nagtitiwala po ang WHO sa kakayahan ni Secretary Duque (and this is proof that the WHO believes in the abilities of Secretary Duque),” he said.
Roque said it also means that the WHO acknowledges the Philippines’ efforts in responding to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
“Siguro po kinikilala natin na sa region eh talagang ang response po natin sa Covid ay mukha naman pong epektibo at naniniwala po ang WHO na tama ang mga hakbang na ginagawa natin para labanan ang Covid-19 habang wala pang bakuna at habang wala pa pong gamot (Perhaps the region recognizes that our response against Covid is effective and the WHO believes the country is taking the right steps to fight Covid-19 while there is no vaccine or medicine),” he added.
The WHO Regional Committee for Western Pacific is composed of health ministers and senior officials from 27 Western Pacific member countries that meet annually to discuss the region’s health issues.
According to the Department of Health (DOH), Duque will lead discussions on Covid-19, vaccine-preventable diseases and immunization, aging and health, safe and affordable surgical interventions, and the program budget for 2022 to 2023.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the committee will convene every year to formulate policies, provide oversight for regional programs, report on their projects and consider, revise and endorse new initiatives.
During the opening of the 71st session of the WHO Regional Committee for Western Pacific on October 6, Duque thanked his fellow representatives for their trust and confidence in electing him as their chairperson.
“The circumstances in which we meet this year are very different from last year when we came together to endorse the For the Future vision. Thank you for your continued commitment in implementing that vision in the time of Covid-19, as we work together to adjust to a “new normal” and create a new future,” Duque said.
He will be presiding over the entire session virtually until October 9. (MNS)