Who Is Doctor Willie Ong, Isko Moreno's VP Running Mate

Ong is seeking the second-highest seat in the land.
Photo/s: Doc Willie Ong Facebook page

Manila Mayor Isko Moreno will announce his plan to run for president with cardiologist Willie Ong as his running mate in the 2022 elections, according to his office. Many know of the celebrity-turned-mayor, but just as many took to their browsers to ask who Ong is.

The doctor is online

While without celebrity status, billions in wealth, or a distinguished last name, Ong does enjoy a huge following on social media for his medical advice delivered through video with the help of photos and slides.

He has 16.4 million followers on his Doc Willie Ong Facebook page and 6.54 million subscribers on his YouTube channel where he discusses topics ranging from COVID-19 to the benefits of drinking hot water, with his wife Anna Liza Ong, also a doctor.

That's as many Facbeook followers as Vice Ganda, the country's most popular television and film comedian, and about 2 million more YouTube subscribers than actress Toni Gonzaga.

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Ong went on medical missions in his younger years and shifted to writing in Filipino to reach a wider audience. According to an interview on Esquire Philippines, his articles were copied and posted online by a high school graduate, whom he got in contact with and told him he could get a million followers.

Eventually, he started posting the articles online and transitioned to video, attracting Filipinos in search of medical tips.

Alongside his online clinic, he also served as a medical expert for ABS-CBN's 'Salamat Dok' starting 2008 until 2018, when he filed a leave to run for senator.

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Running for Senate

In 2019, Ong ran for senator under Lakas–Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD) and placed 18th. Despite failing to make it into the Magic 12, he raked in the second highest number of overseas votes, falling behind then police chief Bato Dela Rosa who placed 5th overall.

Social media was not enough to win a seat in Congress back in 2019. With pandemic restrictions limiting campaign events on-ground and ABS-CBN still off the air due to franchise woes, online presence could paint a different story for Ong this time around.


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