Last week, I described the recent designation of veteran Cavite congressman Boying Remulla as Justice Secretary of the administration of incoming President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. (BBM) as an excellent choice.
Remulla brings with him his long experience both as a litigation lawyer and as a legislator. His appointment will work well for the effective administration of justice in the country. I am confident that the Commission on Appointments will readily give its nod to his designation.
Many citizens hope that Remulla will, among others, clean up the seemingly never-ending mess in the national penitentiary where drug lords are given special treatment, and prison guards seem to be part of a racket relating to such special treatment.
There is also the hope that under Remulla, the proliferation of fake land titles will cease, or at least, be kept to a minimum.
Syndicates are reportedly behind fake titles and the Land Registration Authority, an agency under the Department of Justice, should be tasked to put an end to this bane.
The designation of Remulla prompts me to make a suggestion regarding the leadership in the Department of Health.
This line agency is crucial to the success of the incoming administration and it should be managed only by the truly competent and knowledgeable in the field of universal health care, particularly health care in a developing country like the Philippines.
I understand from the grapevine that one of those being eyed by President-elect BBM for the post of Health Secretary is the highly esteemed Dr. Teodoro Herbosa. a veteran public health care specialist with impecable academic and government service credentials.
Dr. Herbosa is an alumnus of the University of the Philippines (Bachelor of Science in Biology cum laude in 1979, and Doctor of Medicine in 1983). He obtained his post-graduate studies and allied medical training in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland, among others.
Herbosa is remembered as a former Undersecretary of the Department of Health, a former Executive Vice President of the University of the Philippines, a trauma and related disorders specialist based at the Philippine General Hospital, a member of the faculty of the UP College of Medicine, and a consultant of the national government in its relentless war against the COVID-19 menace.
His expertise in medicine and public health care management has been repeatedly sought by the World Health Organization, the Philippine Red Cross, and the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation.
At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Herbosa was the face that assured an anxious and fearful Philippines that there is hope against the deadly and, at that time, seemingly incurable COVID-19 threat.
His daily, sober analysis of the health situation, and his continuing recommendations regarding the containment of the coronavirus, given at a time when there was extensive pessimism prevailing in Philippine society, provided the badly needed solace, consolation, encouragement, and hope Filipinos badly needed to survive the pandemic.
Herbosa’s assurances not only saved lives; they also kept many Filipinos sane when the prospects of depression and, possibly, insanity, were stalking the nation in its face.
Dr. Herbosa was also instrumental in getting public and private hospitals to expand their bed-capacities to the maximum extent to accommodate as many patients as possible during the height of the pandemic.
Thanks to Herbosa’s efforts, the seemingly unreachable light at the end of the tunnel became more apparent as the months passed, and, today, that light has become visible.
Earlier this week, the Philippine Medical Association, the nation’s private professional regulatory organization which monitors medical professionals in the country, formally urged President-elect BBM to choose Herbosa for the Department of Health portfolio.
In doing so, the PMA cited Herbosa’s academic competence and management expertise in the field of public health care.
The PMA also cited Herbosa’s impressive record in public service, particularly his previous designation as Undersecretary of the Department of Health years before the COVID-19 pandemic changed the course of the nation’s history.
Herbosa told me that if he is given a chance to be the helmsman of the Department of Health under incoming President BBM, he plans to implement the details of what he calls President BBM’s free and upgraded public health service program in the remote areas of the archipelago.
Public health care, Herbosa emphasized, is indispensable to achieving national unity and progress — a cornerstone of President BBM’s administrative agenda for the Filipino people.
During the rare occasions when he has some spare time for himself, Herbosa dotes on his family, engages in a physical fitness regimen, and supports civic and charitable causes. He was the past Vice President of the UP Alumni Association.
To my mind, there is no doubt that Herbosa will make an ideal choice for Secretary of Health under the administration of incoming President BBM.