(UPDATE) PRESIDENT Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has appointed epidemiologist Dr. Enrique Tayag as an undersecretary of the Department of Health, bringing back the so-called Dancing Doctor to the DoH’s executive committee.
The confirmation of his appointment came after Albay Second District Rep. Jose Ma. Clemente “Joey” Salceda said in a Facebook post that Tayag was appointed to the DoH, but there was an initial speculation as to whether he was appointed as Health secretary.
“Congratulations my good friend [Tayag], [an] excellent choice for DoH,” Salceda posted on his Facebook page.
Tayag later clarified to The Manila Times that he was appointed as Health undersecretary and that his official designation would be confirmed next week.
“Next week pa oath-taking ko (My oath-taking is next week).” he said.
DoH Officer in Charge Maria Rosario Vergeire confirmed Tayag’s appointment on Tuesday.
“Pinag-uusapan pa ng mga officials kung saan namin s’ya appropriate, based on his capacity, maia-assign para makatulong sa ating kagawaran (The officials are still discussing where we can put him based on his capacity, and we will assign him to a position where he can help the department),” Vergeire said.
An infectious disease specialist and epidemiologist by training, Tayag is a career health official who currently serves as the director of the DoH’s Knowledge Management and Information Technology Systems Bureau, the main unit responsible for the electronic health (e-health) program of the DoH.
He was also instrumental in the creation of the department’s teleconsultation program and also collaborated with private-sector partners for the interoperability of the electronic medical records (EMR) systems with the DoH.
He also acted as the DoH’s spokesman and was famous for his dance moves while promoting key health messages for the government, such as for “Oplan Iwas Paputok” and “Oplan Iwas Dengue” campaigns.
Tayag was previously appointed as assistant secretary in 2012 and later became head of the National Epidemiology Center and the Bureau of Local Health Development before becoming a director in 2014.
Meanwhile, Vergeire said Health Undersecretary Camilo Pancratius Cascolan will be heading the Field Implementation and Coordination team in the Visayas region, with the aim of improving the vaccination coverage and logistics management in the region.
Cascolan, a former Philippine National Police chief, began his duties last Monday, she said.
“I specifically instructed him to look at the vaccination coverage in the area, and second is logistics management, to check our inventory of commodities, especially Covid-19 vaccines,” Vergeire said.
She also instructed Cascolan to devise a more speedy inventory system for the Centers for Health Development in the Western, Central and Eastern Visayas regions that can be adapted to other regions in the country.