[1st Term: June 2005 - January 2010]
Francisco T. Duque III was born on February 13, 1957 in Dagupan City, Pangasinan to former Secretary of Health and Pangasinan Governor Francisco Duque, Jr. and Florencia Tiongson.
He completed his medical education from the Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas (UST) in 1982. In 1987, he earned a Master of Science degree from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. He subsequently excelled in the Executive Education Program of the Harvard University School of Public Health in 1992.
In 2001, he was appointed as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) where he led the Corporation in enrolling the biggest ever number of indigent families at 6.2 million equivalent to 31.2 million beneficiaries, under the Plan 5 Million Indigent Program. This was a 255% increase over the enrollment of 2003. In 2005, he later became the Health Secretary from 2005 to 2010. For his government service and stewardship of the health sector, in 2004 he was honored by UST with The Outstanding Thomasian Alumnus Leadership (TOTAL) Award, and in 2007 by the UST College of Science with the Albertus Magnus Science Award.
Pangasinan State University conferred him the degree of Doctor of Humanities and Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa) in 2006 and 2013, respectively. In November 2007, he earned from the University of Mindanao- a Doctor of Humanities degree. This recognition was anchored on breakthroughs made in health security.
In October 2009, his transparent and successful handling of public health challenges, as well as his excellent relations with the public and the media, earned him the Communication Excellence in Organizations Award (CEO EXCEL Award) by the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), an independent organization composed of media and public relations experts.
His five-year stewardship of the Department of Health was marked by breakthroughs and milestones in public health care which earned high approval and satisfaction ratings (Pulse Asia and SWS ratings, 2005-2009), and for the country, a World Health Organization citation for being one of only three nations with excellent risk communication strategies against the AH1N1 pandemic.
Appointed in 2010 as Chairman of the Civil Service Commission, he lost no time in charting a brighter, better course for the bureaucracy. He was pivotal in developing the Commission’s Roadmap for Development and Reforms for 2010-2015, a five-year blueprint which spelled out the Commission’s priority programs for the country’s 1.4 million workforce.
As a milestone, he led the CSC towards achieving the highest ever public awareness, availment and satisfaction average rating of 98% among five (5) national government frontline service agencies in a Pulse Asia Survey conducted in the 4th Quarter of 2011, 1st Quarter of 2013 and 3rd Quarter of 2014.
In the adoption of the Performance Governance System (PGS), CSC has been awarded the Governance Trailblazer seal for four (4) times while successfully completing the four (4) stage process of PGS.
In September 2014, he became the first government official to receive the People Manager of the Year in Public Sector (National Official Level) Award from the People Management Association of the Philippines (PMAP), recognizing his work as an HR and OD visionary, manager, strategic HR partner, and change champion.
He continued his advocacy for good governance in the private sector when he was elected Chairman of the Institute for Solidarity in Asia (ISA) in May 2015.
Once a Lingkod-Bayan, always a Lingkod-Bayan. Government service again beckoned when he was appointed on February 15, 2017 by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte as Chairman of the biggest public sector pension fund in the country, the Government Service Insurance System. Barely 1 year after his appointment as GSIS Chairman, Dr. Duque has been once again called to serve as Secretary of the Department of Health, the first to be appointed twice in the last 50 year history of the DOH and second in its entire existence of 124 years, now the longest serving Secretary. In this second term, Secretary Duque capped the DOH with the Gold Trailblazer Award and the Performance Governance System Institutionalization status by the Institute for Solidarity in Asia, in recognition of its outstanding efforts to institutionalize good governance mechanisms.
In 2019, he was recognized as one of the Philippine Laureates for the Sino Phil Asia International Peace Awards for his immense contributions to revolutionizing the Philippine healthcare landscape.
No. 1 Cabinet Member Leading the No. 1 Agency
Despite the challenges that confronted the Department of Health (DOH) in 2019, Secretary Francisco Duque III posted the highest “awareness and performance” rating among Cabinet members and other officials during the first week of December. Based on a survey of Pulse Asia on the Awareness and Performance Ratings of selected Cabinet members and other officials, Duque bagged the highest spots with an awareness rating of 87 percent and performance of 74 percent, respectively. The same survey also revealed that the DOH got an 83 percent trust rating.
At the height of the pandemic response, Secretary Duque led the DOH into the top spot in the approval and awareness rankings. He continued to be among Cabinet members with highest approval ratings and first among Department Secretaries in the 2020 Pulse Asia Survey.
Improving Access to Essential Medicines for Filipinos
A champion of quality and accessible medicines for all Filipinos, Secretary Duque spearheaded the lowering of drug prices of 27 molecules through the RA No. 9508 or the Universally Accessible Cheaper and Quality Medicines Act of 2008. Seven years later, in his 2nd stint as Secretary of Health, he pushed for an additional 120 medicines to be given a max drug price ceiling through EO No. 104 on the Maximum Drug Retail Price by PRRD. Said EO capped the retail prices of some 87 high-cost medicines by up to 58%.
Championing Tobacco- and Alcohol-control
Through his strong support and relentless push for health reform, several landmark health legislations have been enacted, including laws and regulations to prevent and curb the use of tobacco -- Republic Act No. 11346, Tobacco Tax Law of 2019, which increases excise tax on tobacco products; Republic Act No. 11467 which imposes higher taxes on alcohol and e-cigarettes; Executive Order No. 106 series of 2020, banning the manufacture, distribution, marketing or sale of unregistered or adulterated e-cigarettes and tobacco products.
Internationally Recognized Leadership
Representing the Philippines, Secretary Duque was elected as the Chairperson of the 71st Session of the WHO Regional Committee for the Western Pacific (RC71) held in October 2020.
In the same month, the WHO Director-General expressed appreciation for the exceptional leadership of Dr. Francisco Duque III, as the Philippine Department of Health launched the Measles-Rubella, Oral Polio Vaccine immunization activity, amidst making great efforts to protect people from COVID-19 transmission. In May 2021, he was a recipient of the WHO Director-General Special Recognition Award and World No Tobacco Day Award for his accomplishment in the area of tobacco control.