Dr. Francisco Duque

Dr. Francisco Quimson Duque, Jr., a resident of Aguilar, Pangasinan, was born on September 24, 1916. He graduated cum laude from the University of Santo Tomas College of Medicines in 1939 and did postgraduate studies in General Surgery at the Mayo Clinic USA in 1947. He was the owner, director and surgeon of the Dagupan City Polyclinic Hospital before he became Secretary of Health in January 1962.

During his term, he encouraged full participation and support of private enterprises in the implementation of various health initiatives of the government. He promoted health research, environmental and health sanitation, and health programs emphasizing the importance of a healthy community.

He was very affectionate towards the welfare of his countrymen, especially the under-privilege sector. In 1962, the Philippine Sweepstake Magazine interviewed Dr. Duque who stated that there are two types of medical care existing in the country, one for the rich and one for the poor: "Many people die when they could be saved because of lack of money. I hate to see the poor getting less treatment", he said.

This inequity led him to conceive a plan that would extend adequate medical and health care services, especially to indigents. It included the identification offree medical care beneficiaries, a medical system for the middle income group and systematization of national aid for provincial hospitals.

The same year, with the support of the Philippine Medical Association, he laid down the groundwork for his vision of social health insurance for all Filipinos through the congressional enactment of the National Health Service of the Philippines.

This paved the way for the Philippine Medical Care Plan which became Senate Bill No. 773, and later signed by President Ferdinand E. Marcos into law as Republic Act 6111 known as the Philippine Medical Care Act of 1969.

His term of office as health secretary was challenged by an epidemic. A new strain of the cholera virus, known as El Tor, threatened to spread nationwide if not properly prevented. With his agility and prudence, he utilized the full resources of the department to combat the outbreak and was able to eliminate El Tor within a year.

It was also during his term that there was tremendous progress in the food and pharmaceutical industry. He created the Subcommittee on Food and Drugs to recommend to Congress to enact a law that would ensure the safety, purity, and quality of foods, drugs, and cosmetics being made available to the public. On 22 June 1963, Republic Act No. 3720, known as "Food, Drugs and Cosmetic Act", was passed into law. The Food and Drug Administration was eventually created to carry out provisions of the law.

He resigned in July 1963 as Secretary of Health to run for Governor of Pangasinan.

December 1961 - July 1963