Physician Tricia Robredo aired her comments on some issues of the Philippines healthcare system in an “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) session on Reddit over the weekend.
The second daughter of former vice president Leni Robredo on Saturday held an “AMA” on r/Philippines, a subreddit on the discussion website for the Philippines and everything about the country.
One of the questions she encountered was the following:
“What policies do you think should be implemented in the short-term in order to bring our healthcare up to first-world standards?”
For Tricia, short-term policies and “[band-aid] interventions couldn’t significantly improve our health systems.”
Her answer has earned 349 upvotes on the community.
Tricia was also asked this query:
“Hello, doc Tricia! Ano po ang opinion niyo sa health care system sa Pilipinas?”
“LF: Secretary of Health,” she answered.
“LF” is short for “looking for,” usually used in internet speak.
Tricia’s response has earned 669 upvotes, with some commenting it is the “best” one.
It is a reference to one of the Cabinet-level offices in President Ferdinand Marcos Jr‘s administration that has yet to have a full-time secretary, nearly 100 days since he assumed office.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire is currently the officer-in-charge of the Department of Health, a post she was assigned in July.
A memorandum notes Vergeire is supposed to be the OIC until July 31 or until a health secretary is formally appointed.
Days before her designation, similar questions were asked about the Cabinet-level seat as the country dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges of monkeypox.
At that time, the country was logging an increase in COVID-19 cases. A similar scenario is happening in Metro Manila.
Last Friday, the OCTA Research Group recently said that the seven-day positivity rate of the National Capital Region has increased from 17.5% on September 21 to 18.9% on September 28.
The figure is the highest in recent months. It is also higher than the previous peak of 17.5% on August 5.
Last week, the DOH said it was seeing a rise in COVID-19 hospital admissions in the cities of Pasig, Muntinlupa, Malabon, Makati, Navotas and Caloocan.
It added that NCR and 13 of its cities are now at moderate risk for COVID-19.
In relation to the health secretary post, the gunman in the Ateneo de Manila University shooting was rumored to head the DOH before.
Last month, Marcos addressed questions about the post by saying in an interview that the DOH “is not about COVID alone.”
“It’s about public health in general, so that’s another side of it. And it’s as important as COVID is,” he added when asked why there is still no chief authority on public health.
Marcos said that “there are many other elements to the DOH” and that the government has to keep functioning “until we finalize the structure.”
“We have the dengue rates are (sic) climbing. We have the second highest HIV rate of infection in the world,” he added.
“The consultants that are helping us, putting the new structure of the DOH together, diyan manggagaling ‘yung ating bagong secretary,” Marcos continued.