Cascolan appointed as DOH undersecretary

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 23) — Camilo Cascolan, a former chief of the Philippine National Police, was appointed as undersecretary of the Department of Health, it was confirmed Sunday.

"Yes, we confirm the receipt of the appointment papers of Mr. Camilo Cascolan, Atty. Charade Mercado-Grande and several directors," the DOH said in a message.

Cascolan thanked President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. for his new post.

"First, thank you Pres. BBM for the trust. I'm not a doctor but one doesn't need to be a doctor to be assigned in DOH. Administration and management will always be a part of every department in government and I believe I will be of big help in this area. What's important is the government's program is implemented with the directive of the OIC Sec. DOH," he said in a message.

Cascolan added he might be able to contribute ideas regarding anti-COVID-19 protocols as well as other issues concerning health.

He said he also still has to receive notice from DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire.

Other new Health officers include:

Charade Mercado-Grande -- Assistant Secretary

Maria Lourdes Caballero Santiago -- Director IV

Girlie Enriquez Veloso -- Director IV

Maria Joyce Udtuhan Ducusin -- Director III

Sophia Macaranas Mancao -- Director III

No appointment for Health Secretary has been made since Marcos assumed office in June. Maria Rosario Vergeire remains as officer-in-charge.

Cascolan was appointed PNP Chief in September 2020 by former President Rodrigo Duterte, but stepped down in November of the same year upon reaching mandatory retirement age. He then became an undersecretary of the Office of the President in February 2021.

Cascolan's appointment denounced

Meanwhile, the Alliance of Health Workers (AHW) voiced its opposition against Cascolan's appointment.

"AHW believes that PBBM's appointment of Cascolan is a clear manifestation of the President's extreme lack of concern for the lives, health, safety and welfare of the health workers and the entire Filipino nation. Cascolan's appointment is a huge insult to our health experts who are most qualified to administer and run the affairs of the DOH," the group said in a separate statement.

The AHW said Cascolan authored Oplan Tokhang under the Duterte administration and said they wanted to work with an undersecretary who has "a clean track record, not a red-tagger, one whose hands are not tainted with the bloody drug war and one who truly upholds the rule of justice."

"Thus, AHW asserted that Cascolan's appointment runs counter to DOH mandate of ensuring the provision of quality health service that every Filipino people deserves and in upholding the quality of life, respect for human dignity and protect the health and safety of the health workers and the Filipino people," the group said.

AHW also called on Marcos to appoint a Health secretary "now."