Dr. Enrique T. Ona

Our Secretary of Health is recognized as one of the top surgeons of the country specializing in the field of vascular and transplant surgery. A graduate of the University of Philippines, he underwent surgical training in the United States and the United Kingdom. He is certified by both the Philippine and American Board of Surgery.

Upon his return to the country, he joined the faculty of the University of the Philippines and the Philippine General Hospital. He was a professor and Vice-Chair of the Department of Surgery when he was tapped to become the Executive Director of the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI), transforming the said institution into the first ISO-certified government hospital in the Philippines. Under his leadership, NKTI is now recognized as a world class center in kidney transplantation, currently performing the second largest transplant program as a single institution in the world. He performed the first multi-organ transplants in Southeast Asia: liver and kidney transplant and kidney and pancreas transplant at the NKTI.

He is recipient of numerous national and international awards, such as the Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) Award in Medicine in 1979, The Most Outstanding Alumnus of the College of Medicine and most distinguished alumnus of the University of the Philippines. He is also the first and only Filipino Surgeon to be awarded the Honorary Fellowship of the American College of Surgeons in 2012, a singular honor for one who is already a Fellow of the College of Surgeons.

As Secretary of Health, he has devoted relentlessly to the mission of attaining Kalusugan Pangkalahatan or Universal Health Care for Filipinos, responding to the challenge of His Excellency President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III. In his first year, 5.3 million families or about 25 million Filipinos have been enrolled in PhilHealth. Under his administration, two landmark health reforms have been passed, namely the Tobacco and Alcohol Excise Tax Reform Act of 2012 and the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012.

June 2010 - December 2014
Short Description: 

The current Philippine Secretary of Health. On June 29, 2010, President Benigno Aquino III picked him as his Secretary of Health.

Dr. Ona hails from Pagadian City, Zamboanga del Sur. He is the son of the first Provincial Health Officer of Zamboanga del Sur and a periculture nurse.

Before being appointed by Benigno Aquino III to the Health secretary post, Ona was the executive director of the National Kidney and Transplant Institute, the post he held for 11 years and has been the president of the Transplantation Society of the Philippines since 1989. He also holds a medical license in the State of Massachusetts, U.S.A.

Personal Data: 
Place of BirthSagay City, Negros Occidental
Civil StatusMarried


Educational Background: 
Pre-Medicine and Bachelor of ScienceUniversity of the Philippines, Diliman Quezon City, 1957
Doctor of Medicine   University of the Philippines Manila, 1962


Post-Graduate Education: 
Rotating Internship

University of the Philippines
Philippine General Hospital, 1961-1962

Buffalo General Hospital
Buffalo New York, U.S.A. 1962-1963

Surgical Residency

1st yr.-3rd yr.
Long Island College Hospital

Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A., 1966-1967

4th yr. (Chief Resident)
Long Island College Hospital
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A., 1966-1967



Specialty Board: 
1968Certified by the American Board of Surgery
1970Certified by the Philippine Board of Surgery


Medical Licensure: 
 Republic of the Philippines
 State of Massachusetts, U.S.A.


Professional Position: 
Current Positions
  • Secretary of Health
  • Executive Director, National Kidney & Transplant Institute (1998-2010)
  • President, Maria Corazon Torres Javier Foundation (2009-Present)
  • President, Transplantation Society of the Philippines (1989 to Present)
  • Member, Editorial Board, International Venous Digest (1998)
  • Member, American Society of Transplant Surgeons (1992)
  • Editorial Consultant, Philippine Journal of Surgical Specialties (1992)
  • Member, Editorial Board, Journal of Philippine Medical Association (1987)
  • Member, Editorial Board, Philippine Journal of Nephrology (1985)
  • Associate Member, European Society for Organ Transplantation  (1985)
  • Member, International Society for Cardiovascular Surgery (since 1983)
  • Member, National Research Council of the Philippines (1982)
  • Member, Board of Directors, Philippine Board of Surgery (1975-2001)
  • Fellow, American College of Surgeons (1973 to present)
  • Member, Board of Governors, Philippine Board of Surgery (1971-2001)


Awards Received: 
1979Ten Outstanding Young Men Awardee in Medicine (TOYM JAYCEES- Philippines)
1990Most Outstanding Alumnus, College of Medicine, University of the Philippines
1991Most Oustanding Son of Pagdian City, Zamboanga del Sur
2000Presidential Award of Recognition in Organ Transplantation Philippine Medical Association
2004Distinguished Service Award Philippine Medical Association
2007One of the Five Most Outstanding Filipino Physicians Awardee (Philippine Jaycees Club)
2010Outstanding Health Research Award by Philippine Council for Health Research and Development, DOST, and DOH (to be awarded tentatively on July 19, 2010)


Community Activities: 
  • President, Valle Verde 3 Homeowners Association (1977-1980, 1994-1997)
  • President, Valle Verde 3 Tennis Club
  • Member, Rotary Club of Pasig
  • Member, Philippine-British Society
  • Past President, Medical Staff Organization, Medical CIty Genreal Hospital
Honorary Lectureship: 
  • Commencement Speaker, UP Graduating Class of 2008
  • Chancellor Alfredo T. Ramirez, M.D., Memorial Lecture (2008)
  • Potenciano Baccay Memorial Lecture, University of the East 30th Alumni Homecoming (December 2000)
  • Enrique Garcia Professional Lecture UP-PGH (1995)