The President announced the appointment of Vega at the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) meeting Thursday night at the Matina Enclave Residences here.
pna.gov.ph/SPMC
Davao City hospital chief named DOH usec
Edith Regalado (The Philippine Star) - June 7, 2020 - 12:00am

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — President Duterte has appointed Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) chief Leopoldo Vega as Department of Health (DOH) undersecretary.

The President announced the appointment of Vega at the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) meeting Thursday night at the Matina Enclave Residences here.

Sources said Vega is possibly being eyed as replacement for Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, who has been getting brickbats for his reported mishandling of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis.

At the meeting, the President was said to have profusely praised Vega’s performance and track record as SPMC head. 

The IATF is set to meet again on Tuesday. It is not clear if Vega will attend the meeting.

SPMC is considered the biggest public hospital in the country with 1,500 beds. The hospital started with only 600 beds in 2009 under Vega’s leadership.

He was also responsible for the establishment of various institutes of specialties at the SPMC, including for cancer, heart, orthopedic as well as women and newborn health. The hospital is scheduled to unveil the children’s acute care and trauma institute in September.

Vega is also the government’s top man in addressing COVID-19 in the region, with SPMC serving as the lead testing laboratory in Southern Mindanao and nearby regions.

At a press briefing yesterday, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the DOH has not yet received instructions from Malacañang regarding the new appointment, which she called a “welcome development because Dr. Vega has been serving as hospital chief for so long and he is an expert in hospital operations.”

She said DOH’s executive committee has not discussed Vega’s possible assignment.

DOH employees who had the chance to meet Vega described him as a “low-key” person and “approachable.”

“He is popular maybe because he rose from the ranks so many knew him mostly from the middle to senior-age personnel.  His crowd is now limited to medical professionals,” an employee said.

Another employee added that Vega is friendly even to non-medical staff and “retirees are also fond of him because every time they are at SPMC for their check-ups, he finds time to chat with them.” Sheila Crisostomo

LEOPOLDO VEGA PRESIDENT DUTERTE
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