“Health workers question appointment of former PNP chief to DOH”


Health workers yesterday questioned the appointment of former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Camilo Cascolan to the Department of Health (DOH), stressing that there are many other health professionals more qualified for the position.

“We will not allow General Cascolan to occupy that post at the DOH. This is the first time that a (retired) police officer was appointed as undersecretary of the DOH.

What will he do there? He will just sow fear among the employees of the DOH,” Alliance of Health Workers president Robert Mendoza said.

“I really hope President Marcos will reconsider Cascolan’s appointment to the DOH as undersecretary.

It is better if he will be assigned again with the police and just help in the Percy Lapid case,” Mendoza added.

The group expressed belief that Marcos’ appointment of Cascolan is a clear manifestation of the President’s extreme lack of concern for the lives, health, safety and welfare of 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,” they said, in reaction to Cascolan’s appointment on Sunday.

In Congress, House Deputy Minority leader and ACT Teachers’ party-list Rep.

France Castro also expressed “disappointment and surprise” over the appointment of the retired general, calling it an “insult to health care workers who have been combatting the COVID-19 pandemic.”


Cascolan’s appointment is like a slap on the face of dedicated and qualified health care practitioners who were bypassed for the position.

What is Gen.

Cascolan’s qualification for the health portfolio anyway?” Castro said yesterday.

Castro noted what the country needs now that the COVID-19 pandemic is not yet over is a “capable and trusted” DOH secretary and “not a Tokhang general who was one of those who formulated the Oplan Double Barrel and who killed thousands of our countrymen.”

She urged Malacañang to reconsider Cascolan’s appointment and it “would be better off by appointing a full-time health secretary now.”

“Mr. Marcos is saying that we need to normalize the situation now, immediately appointing a health secretary would be a step in achieving normalization but definitely not appointing a general to the health department,” she added.

Lawmakers surprised.

At the Senate, several lawmakers also expressed surprise over the appointment.

“That is a big surprise for me,” Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel III said without giving other statements.

Like Pimentel, Sen.

Risa Hontiveros said she did not expect Cascolan’s appointment to the health portfolio.

“Like many, I did not expect Usec.

Cascolan’s appointment to the Department of Health.

Like many, we are hoping that people with qualifications, expertise and active in the public health sector to be appointed in the health department,” Hontiveros said.

“His stint at the PNP speaks for itself.

But the DOH should and always must be a public health-led agency, especially as we continue to deal with COVID-19 and other burdens of the disease,” the senator said.

Meanwhile, Sen.

Bong Go congratulated Cascolan as the new undersecretary of the DOH.

He explained that as a former PNP chief appointed at the height of the pandemic, Cascolan “is very much capable and he brings with him the experience especially in instilling discipline and enforcing health and safety measures against COVID-19.”


Ronald dela Rosa likewise defended Cascolan’s appointment, stating that “being an official of the health department means management of people, not just syringes.”

“You don’t need a doctor to manage an organization.

When it comes to management, his ability cannot be questioned.

He didn’t go there to heal patients, he went there to manage an agency.

I don’t see any problem with that.

Does the DOH have to treat you as a doctor?

Management is probably what he needs there,” Dela Rosa noted.

Former health secretary and now Iloilo 1st District Rep.

Janette Garin yesterday vouched for Cascolan, stating that while scientists and doctors play very important roles, non-medical managers are likewise needed to put order and implement programs.

“We respect the executive’s decision to appoint a non-doctor in the DOH.

Delivery of health services is not just about doctors and scientists working together,” she said.

“Quick and timely response during calamities as well as coordinated implementation of programs under a devolved health care, not to mention the gigantic task of logistics and planning, are important factors in DOH,” she added.

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