Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III briefed the League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP) on Tuesday morning to rally the governors in their vital roles in the war against COVID-19 and in establishing a “new normal” afterward.

“What is clear to us at this point is that this will require all of our commitments for long haul solutions. All of us will have to take on the role of public health leaders and managers to deliver our 5-point Strategy to defeat COVID-19 and a New Normal for the entire Philippines,” Duque said during the virtual conference attended by 44 incumbent Philippine governors.

According to the Health Chief, the 5-point strategy of the DOH is to: 1) Increase resilience, 2) Stop Transmission, 3) Reduce Contact Rate, 4) Shorten Duration of Infectiousness, and 5) Enhance Quality, Consistency, and Affordability of Care Provision.

Secretary Duque emphasized that in this 5-point strategy, LGUs must establish the enabling policies and mechanisms to guarantee the effective implementation of the public health minimum health standards at the local level. LGUs should also be proactive in modifying these interventions to best reflect their local considerations and corresponding needs. Likewise, LGUs are challenged to ramp up their testing capacities, isolation capacities, and management of all suspected, probable, and confirmed cases. 

“The DOH and other national government agencies are providing support to LGUs in responding to COVID-19. With our collective effort, we can uphold the whole-of-system, whole-of-government, and whole-of-society approach against the COVID-19 pandemic,” Duque said.

“The COVID-19 response has demonstrated that this is not just the fight of a lifetime by the health sector. COVID-19 is the collective battle of every Filipino,” Duque added.

The virtual conference was hosted by LPP, led by National President Presbitero Velasco, Jr. (Governor of Marinduque) and National Chairman Dakila Dax Cua (Governor of Quirino).

Other DOH officials present include Undersecretary Gerardo V. Bayugo (Field Implementation and Coordination), Undersecretary Abdullah B. Dumama, Jr. (Field Implementation and Coordination for Visayas-Mindanao), and Assistant Secretary Kenneth G. Ronquillo (Health Policy and Systems Development).