MANILA, Philippines — Health Secretary Francisco Duque II was called to resign by the Confederation for Unity, Recognition, and Advancement of Government Employees (COURAGE). According to the group Duque committed “grievious betreyal of public trust” following the deficiencies on the P67.32-billion fund of the health department.
The group made the call after the Commission on Audit (COA) found deficiencies in how the DOH managed its P67.32-billion fund to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is apparent that the funds were mismanaged, the DOH has committed a grievous betrayal of public trust, and Secretary Duque should resign immediately for such capital sin amid a public health crisis.”COURAGE Secretary General Manuel Baclagon
The group likewise questioned the spending of the funds, pointing out the “lack of personal protective equipment and delayed release of their meager hazard compensation” for healthcare workers.
It also criticized the Duterte administration for allowing Duque to remain in his position despite his “numerous offenses” in responding to the pandemic.
“The consistent inaction of Duterte’s administration with the President and his trusted inept Health Secretary has led to the downtrodden and pandemic-ridden state of the nation,” Baclagon said.
COA’s annual audit report for DOH in 2020 revealed that the deficiencies are caused by non-compliance with pertinent laws and regulations, which led to missed opportunities for the department primarily tasked with managing the pandemic.
These issues, COA said, cast doubt on the regularity of transactions, while keeping much-needed funds at bay and unspent.
Duque, meanwhile, assured that all transactions of the DOH are accounted for and documented, otherwise officials and employees would go to jail.