Health chief answers Tulfo

05:03 AM September 25, 2017

I thank Ramon Tulfo for his apparent show of concern for my feelings as expressed in his Inquirer column in which he suggests that I, as Department of Health (DOH) secretary, “better quit to avoid humiliation” (Metro, 9/21/17).

I, along with my fellow physicians and public health workers in government, find this statement perplexing and indicative of the writer’s total lack of understanding of the work, the mission, and basically what we are all about in the DOH.


The greatest humiliation a health worker can ever inflict on himself or herself would be backing out of a worthy endeavor for all the wrong reasons. I do not serve in the Duterte Cabinet for any personal reason or to receive any kind of psychological gratification, but to fulfill the mission I have set out to do for our nation’s health. Over the past year, I have been wholly satisfied and fulfilled with my work. I have a clear conscience, and continue to be totally transparent in all my acts as health secretary and in the work of our agency.

In our work as public servants, we cannot make decisions and plan programs on the basis of reckless and unfounded innuendo purportedly attributed to fictitious or imagined persons identified only as “oldtimers at the Department of Health” or even “DOH sources” as Tulfo cited in his column. I would like to believe that our nation’s legislators, as well as the national leadership, are likewise disinclined to base their work as public servants on fake news or mere tsismis (gossip).


Tulfo noted a pattern of Cabinet appointees being rejected by the Commission on Appointments, and believes that my appointment will, likewise, be rejected. If the commission decides to reject my appointment, I will not suffer embarrassment at all because such rejection will not deter me from pursuing my vision of bringing health to all Filipinos. I hold on to this vision not because I am presently the health secretary, but because I know it is the right thing for our countrymen.

Tulfo is absolutely correct in pointing out that I serve as health secretary at the pleasure of the President. In this regard, I believe that I have not given the Chief Executive any cause for dissatisfaction or disappointment with my work.

The President’s remarks expressed on the difficulty the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police experienced in procuring equipment and supplies was not unfounded, as officials from these agencies have attested to this. It is for this reason that the DOH has, for the first time, involved itself in the procurement processes of these institutions, and developed practicable solutions to these difficulties. The Department of National Defense has already cleared the DOH from these issues on delayed procurement of military and PNP hospital upgrading!

I believe President Duterte is aware of these developments, and is also very much aware that I have not been tainted by any form of corruption, preferential treatment of suppliers, or any illegal, immoral, or unethical act in the course of my
service as health secretary.

Again, I thank Tulfo for his concern for my wellbeing and for his continued interest in the work of the DOH.

DR. PAULYN JEAN B. ROSELL-UBIAL, secretary, Department of Health

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TAGS: Department of Health, Inquirer letters, Paulyn Ubial, Ramon Tulfo
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