Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III today was welcomed back by the Department of Health as the first returning health chief of the agency since the reappointment of Health Secretary Paulino Garcia in the 1960’s.
In a simple ceremony, OIC Secretary Herminigildo Valle led the welcome rites where Duque gave an inspirational message to the officials and employees of the DOH calling the agency a familiar home and reassuring the DOH workforce of continuing the health reform agenda of the Duterte administration to achieve universal health care for all Filipinos.
Duque first served as Secretary of Health from June 2005 to January 2010 during the administration of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo when he steered the DOH at the forefront of the national government’s good governance efforts.
Under his watch, DOH was consistently recognized and awarded as the number one government agency in terms of compliance to the requirements of the Integrity Development Action Plan by the Presidential Anti-Graft Commission (PAGC) and earned high approval and satisfaction ratings from various social surveys in terms of overall performance.
His five-year stewardship of the DOH was also marked by speedy and effective response efforts against various health emergencies and disasters such as the massive Guimaras oil spill (2005), the Leyte Guinsaugon landslide (2006), St. Andrew’s school mercury spill (2006), melamine-laced milk products (2008), Typhoon Ondoy (2009), ebola reston in pigs (2009) and the AH1N1 pandemic (2009) where the DOH was recognized by the World Health Organization for being one of only three nations with excellent risk communication strategies.
Duque’s term was also pivotal in developing the Fourmula One health sector reform agenda to address the issues of fragmentation of the health system and inequity in health care through strategies that aim to achieve a responsive health system, more equitable health financing and better health outcomes.
His administration also pushed for key legislative reforms for quality and affordable medicines through the passage of the Universally Accessible Cheaper and Quality Medicines Act of 2008 (Republic Act 9502) and the FDA Strengthening Act of 2009 (Republic Act 9711). The Maternal, Neonatal, and Child Health and Nutrition Strategy (MNCHN) was also pursued during his term to bring down the country’s high maternal, child and neonatal mortality rates.
In February 2017, Duque was appointed by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte as Chairman of the country’s largest pension fund, the Government Service Insurance System.
Prior to this, Duque also held key government positions such as the Chairman of the Civil Service Commission (CSC) from 2010 to 2015 where he led the development of the CSC Roadmap for Development/Reforms for 2010-2015, a five-year blueprint which spelled out the Commission’s priority programs all aimed at shaping the 1.4 million Filipino public servants in becoming world-class servant heroes.
Duque was also appointed as PhilHealth President and CEO from 2001-2005 during which PHIC flourished into becoming the nation’s largest social security institution of government in terms of membership with a membership base of 64 million Filipinos.