FERDINAND R. MARCOS, JR. — PHILIPPINE STAR/ KRIZ JOHN ROSALES
PHILIPPINE President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. on Wednesday defended his decision to designate a retired police official to the Department of Health (DoH), saying the new appointee will focus on administrative tasks.
“It’s not health issues that he has to look at that’s why he doesn’t have to be a doctor. He’s going to look at the function of the DoH,” Mr. Marcos said, referring to former Philippine National Police chief Camilo P. Cascolan, who is now an undersecretary of the department.
“We talked about rightsizing. We talked about structural changes. We need somebody to examine what has been going on…what works, what doesn’t work, what can be fixed,” he said. “That will be his function, special concerns.”
Mr. Marcos’ predecessor, former President Rodrigo R. Duterte, had been criticized for the supposed militarized pandemic response of his government. Mr. Duterte had appointed former military officials to key government posts.
Mr. Marcos, 65, has yet to appoint a secretary for the Health agency, even as the country faces threats from Omicron XBB subvariant and XBC variant, which is said to be a recombinant of the Delta and BA.2 variants.
The President, meanwhile, said the public may have misunderstood his decision to appoint his godson Paul D. Soriano as creative communications adviser. Mr. Soriano directed a political ad promoting Mr. Marcos during the presidential campaign.
“He’s there to find ways to promote the creative industry because that’s where he came from,” the President said. “That’s part of tourism. We brag to the world how Filipinos excel in singing, good in acting, good in making films, etcetera.”
“We have to project that to the rest of the world,” he added. “That’s the job of Paul.”
After receiving public backlash over the appointment of Mr. Soriano, the Palace issued a statement clarifying that the President’s godson, whose father and First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos are first cousins, had agreed to get one peso as his yearly salary.
Also on Wednesday, Malacañang announced that Jose Arturo M. Tugade, son of ex-Transport secretary Arthur P. Tugade, has been appointed as acting general manager and chief executive officer of the Manila International Airport Authority, which manages the Philippines’ main gateway, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza