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Health Sec. Duque is the hero behind PH’s ‘good’ COVID-19 response, says Duterte

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte confers with Health Secretary Francisco Duque III during a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases at the Malacañan Palace on March 9, 2020.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III is the hero of the Philippines’ COVID-19 response, according to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Monday, May 3.

In his regular address to the nation, Duterte made a comparison with the COVID-19 response of the country with others, saying that the Philippine government’s response is “good.”

“It’s not really the time to make comparisons, but we’re doing good in the fight against COVID. And Sec. Duque is the hero there,” he said.

Duterte made the remark after noting the high number of patients who had recovered from COVID-19.

This is not the first time Duterte praised and defended Duque from the backlash he has been receiving over the lapses in the Philippines’ pandemic response and his failure to curb the corruption inside the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) as a chairperson.

In December, Sen. Panfilo Lacson accused Duque of “dropping the ball” in the country’s deal of COVID-19 vaccine with the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, which was supposed to arrive by January 2021.

Lacson said the government would have secured the delivery of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine if not for Duque’s “indifference,” after he “failed to work on the necessary documentary requirement.”

However, up to this day, Duque seemed to enjoy the trust and confidence of Duterte.

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