By Tracy Cabrera
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire. (Photo: Politiko)
MANILA — To avoid inconsistencies and initiate continuity in the implementation of the government’s continuing response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, outgoing health secretary Francisco Duque III has decided to designate undersecretary Maria Rosario Singh-Vergeire in taking over the leadership of the National Vaccination Operations Center (NVOC).
In a statement, Duque explained that Vergeire would be the best person to succeed in health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje as incident manager of the NVOC as she has the experience to properly lead the operations center in the country’s response to the health crisis brought about by Covid-19.
“This succession is meant to avoid gaps in the implementation of the ongoing Covid-19 vaccination program, as the new administration transitions in,” the health chief pointed out.
Currently, Vergeire is the spokesperson of the Department of Health (DoH) since the start of the pandemic. She was previously deputy director-general of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under the Aquino administration.
Vergeire expressed her heartfelt gratitude to Duque, saying he would emulate Cabotaje for all the work she has done in the immunization program of the government against Covid-19.
“This is a huge feat to follow but we are committed to continuing on with the work here in the DoH, here in the NVOC,” she enthused.
Despite the designation, the incoming NVOC chief clarified that the finality of her new post will be coming from president-elect Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr., who has yet to pick the next health chief under his administration.
For her part, Cabotaje, who would be retiring after stepping down from her present position on June 30, expressed confidence in her successor, saying that Vergeire does not need any advice from her since the latter is part of the executive committee of the NVOC.
“As a spokesperson, she knows what is happening. She is also the head of the policy team for our immunization and convenes the expert’s group to discuss vaccination concerns,” she concluded. (ai/mtvn)