Politics

Marcos appoints new DoH usec, ARTA chief 

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HEALTH Undersecretary Enrique A. Tayag — DOH.GOV.PH

PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. has made two new appointments, one for the Department of Health (DoH) and another for the anti-red tape agency.  

Enrique A. Tayag, who has been known for popularizing health campaigns through dancing, has been appointed as DoH undersecretary, the agency’s acting chief, Maria Rosario S. Vergeire, told a news briefing.  

Ms. Vergeire said they are still discussing where Mr. Tayag would be assigned at the department “based on his capacity” so he can help the agency more.  

Mr. Marcos has yet to appoint a secretary for the Health agency.  

As a key official, Mr. Tayag is expected to join authorities and health advocates in combating threats from emerging coronavirus variants and subvariants, which Ms. Vergeire said might hamper the Philippines’ goal to reach an endemic stage.   

“Endemicity will come soon. For now, it’s quite uncertain because of this immunity that we are talking about,” Ms. Vergeire said, citing the country’s low booster uptake and threats to immunity of new subvariants.   

She said the DoH would propose to Mr. Marcos the extension of state of calamity due to COVID-19 if the public health emergency bill in Congress will not be signed by December.  

The Health officer-in-charge also said former police chief Camilo P. Cascolan, who has been appointed as DoH undersecretary, will oversee the implementation of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign in the Visayas, the country’s central islands.   

ARTAMeanwhile, the Palace said Ernest V. Perez has been named as new director of the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA), an agency under the Office of the President.  

“This appointment is really providential, as it would allow us to further continue what we have always aspired for from the very start, that is, to remove red tape and increase the ease of doing business, ultimately benefiting the economy and the people,” Mr. Perez said in a Palace statement on Tuesday night.   

Mr. Perez, a lawyer and certified public accountant, succeeds Jeremiah B. Belgica, who served from July 2019 to June 2022. 

Prior to his new post, Mr. Perez was ARTA’s deputy director general for operations since 2019 and concurrent officer-in-charge of the agency since June 2022.  

He was appointed at ARTA in December 2018, “serving as ARTA’s first ever employee,” the Palace said.   

“ARTA will continue to be committed to performing its mandate by improving the ease of doing business in the country to help attract more investors,” he said.   

Mr. Perez also served as assistant secretary at the Department of Trade and Industry from January 2017 to November 2018. During his stint at the department, he led the investigation on the biggest steel importation in the country, the Palace said.  

“He likewise served as OIC-Director of the Bureau of Philippine Standards, where he promulgated the development of 108 new standards and the revision of 151 Philippine National Standards. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza