Still satisfied with Ona? Aquino mum
MANILA, Philippines – Is President Benigno Aquino III still satisfied with his health secretary, Enrique Ona? It seems the President isn't sure.
On Monday, November 3, Aquino would not give a categorical answer on whether Ona still enjoys his trust and confidence, just a few days after the country's top health official started a month-long leave.
“Whether or not I am satisfied will come after the results of these answers to the questions that were propounded to him,” he said.
Aquino said he has questions for Ona specifically about the government's vaccination campaign, and the balance between preventive and curative aspects of public health.
“He cannot prepare all these answers to ongoing questions if he is still working on his day-to-day functions as Secretary of Health. So he asked for leave in order to prepare his answers to these questions,” Aquino said.
The President also suggested confusions on what the focus of the government's health policy should be under Ona's leadership.
“I always emphasize to him, 'Isn't our mission supposed to be ensuring no one will get sick so we won't need hospitals?' And for him, there's a balance but we also have a lot of hospitals that have been left behind over time,” Aquino said.
“So what should the balance be? Anyway, we have ongoing questions especially on the immunization program for children, that he's asking for time to prepare his explanations on what the assumptions are, what is being done, what the target population is, what the vaccination programs are scheduled when, and what the results of the delivery are, et cetera."
Over the past months, Ona has been at the forefront of preparations for the possible entry of Ebola cases in the country, but was not present at a recent Palace meeting presided by Aquino.
Last week, it was reported that Ona had gone on leave due to health reasons. In a statement Thursday, October 30, the Department of Health (DOH) said Ona "has a minor health concern and plans to rest."
The Palace has clarified Ona was not axed and will return after his leave.
Undersecretary Janette Garin is currently the Department's officer-in-charge. – Rappler.com