President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. has designated Health spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire as officer-in-charge of the Department of Health, Malacañang said Thursday.
Vergeire, a career official and currently an undersecretary of the health department, will assume leadership of the DOH while Marcos Jr. has yet to nominate an alter ego to head the department, Press Sec. Trixie Cruz-Angeles said.
The health department thanked the President for expressing confidence in one of its career officials.
"DOH appreciates the President’s confidence in one of its career executives, including the immense responsibility such trust brings. Each and every member of the DOH family shall work together to continue the gains instituted by previous administrations," it said in a statement.
Vergeire's tenure as DOH OIC may be extended beyond July 31 if Marcos still has yet to appoint a health secretary. Malacañang earlier issued Memorandum Circular No. 1 stating that vacancies in agency leaderships where no replacement has been named will be filled up by the next-in-rank or most senior official as OIC until the end of the month.
Marcos Jr.'s choice of a health chief has long been awaited as the COVID-19 pandemic persists.
As spokesperson of the DOH, Vergeire became the face of the health department during the pandemic, answering media queries and announcing COVID-19 directives and guidelines
Marcos Jr. also nominated former Light Rail Transit Authority administrator Mel Robles as general manager of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office. --- with report from Erwin Colcol