Revamp task force vs. COVID-19, says ex-adviser

A former special adviser of the National Task Force Against COVID-19 said Wednesday Health Secretary Francisco Duque III may be overwhelmed by his many responsibilities, so he proposed a reorganization of the leadership within the Inter-Agency Task Force.

Tony Leachon told Dobol B sa News TV that Duque also heads the IATF and is chairman of the board of Philippine Health Insurance Corp.

“So, therefore, papaano ka makakapag-focus eh kada meeting ng IATF ang haba. Sino pa ang mag se-secretary of Health, sino pa ang mag che-chairman of the board ng PhilHealth?” Leachon said.

He suggested that the IATF be handed over to Interior Secretary Eduardo Año to help Duque focus on the Health department and PhilHealth, and especially amid the allegations of corruption within PhilHealth.

“Dapat ang IATF ay ilipat muna sa isang competent din na Cabinet member, si Secretary Año kasi siya ang vice chair tsaka siya din ang head ng LGUs, nasa kanya din ang kapulisan,” Leachon said.

“Para maka-focus si Secretary Duque sa DOH at saka sa PhilHealth na ngayon ay tinutuligsa sa mga anomaly, kailangan natin ang focus dito. I think overwhelmed masyado si Secretary Duque who is holding three important positions.”

On April 16, several senators filed a resolution demanding Duque’s immediate resignation due to his alleged “failure of leadership, negligence, lack of foresight and inefficiency” amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

But Duque refused to step down, and Malacañang said President Rodrigo Duterte wanted Duque to stay at the Health department.

In May, the subject of Duque’s resignation was revived in the Senate after Duque said the Philippines was experiencing the second wave of COVID-19.

He later said it was just the “first wave of sustained transmission.”

On July 15, Duque again found himself in the hot seat after claiming the country had succeeded in flattening the COVID-19 curve, only to change his tune later and to acknowledge that the number of cases was still rising.

Leachon said he did not find Duque incompetent.

“Hindi po, naka-work ko po ‘yan… mahuhusay po silang mga tao, pati ‘yung nandoon sa Cabinet. Ang nakikita ko lang po overdone po ‘yung leadership,” Leachon said.

“Pangalawa, hindi natin nakikita ‘yung road map na dapat sundin, na dapat natin nakikita, baka overdone in terms of execution and implementation.”

Leachon said he did not want to “stir up the organization” and only suggested a reorganization of the leadership so that officials “can focus on the job well.”

“Yun lang ang nakikita ko ho, eh. Kasi I think overwhelmed masyado ang position ng IATF. We can actually be more organized and more focused and act with urgently.”

Topics: COVID-19 , Francisco Duque III , Tony Leachon , Inter-Agency Task Force
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