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Vergeire says she's ready to be DOH secretary: 'Baka kailangan ako ng Pilipino'

Department of Health (DOH) officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire on Tuesday said she is now ready if and when she will be appointed as the next secretary of the department.

Vergeire confirmed this in a press conference, saying that she has seen a lot of opportunities that she could change and lead reforms with, having been able to serve as an officer-in-charge of DOH for the past six months now and being able to work and coordinate with people on the ground.

“Nung nakita ko ‘yan, nakita ko ‘yung oportunidad (When I saw that, I saw the opportunity). Sa tingin ko, sabi ko nga, mukhang (I think) this would convince me to really take on the position,” she said.

“Sa tingin ko ngayon with all these things happening at sa lahat lahat ng trabahong kailangan gawin (I think now with all these things happening and with all the work that needs to be done) for us to really improve on our healthcare system, sa tingin ko (I think), this is the appropriate time for me to help the country,” she added.

Vergeire previously expressed reservations about being appointed DOH secretary, saying she wanted to continue serving the public even after more than a six-year term or until she retires.

She had also said that she will leave it up to President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. whether or not he will appoint her as DOH secretary.

Vergeire said that such hesitations would always be there, but her willingness to serve the country prevails.

“The hesitancies will always be. There are a lot of issues, there are a lot of considerations, but syempre mananaig pa rin kung ano talaga ‘yung gusto mong gawin. Sa tingin ko, I’ve reached that point na ito na ‘yung time para makatulong talaga ako para sa ating bansa,” she said.

(But of course it still depends on what you really want to do. I think I've reached that point that this is the time for me to really help our country.)

Marcos previously said that he would only appoint a DOH secretary if the country's situation returns to normal in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.

Malacañang announced Vergeire's appointment as DOH OIC on July 14, 2022.

The DOH secretary post has remained vacant since Marcos took his oath as President in June last year. —KBK/AOL, GMA Integrated News