Privatization-promoting, red-tagging new health secretary ‘big insult’ to health workers

A group of health workers are opposing Teodoro Herbosa’s appointment as Department of Health (DOH) secretary, calling the development a “big insult” to the service.

The Alliance of Health Workers (AHW) said that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has ignored their call that his administration’s health chief must have an excellent track record on good governance, accountability, integrity and not involved in any anomalous transactions in the government.

The group added in a June 8, 2022 statement that the new health secretary must be pro-people, pro-health workers and audient and responsive to the legitimate issues and concerns of the health workers for safety, protection, rights and welfare as well as the health of the people.

“Obviously, [Marcos’] appointment of Herbosa is a clear manifestation of the President’s extreme lack of concern for the lives, health, and welfare of the health workers and the people,” the AHW said in response to Malacanang’s announcement of Herbosa’s appointment last Monday.

“Herbosa’s appointment is a big insult to health workers and indigent patients who rely on free and quality health services in public hospitals and other health facilities,” AHW added.

‘Business mad red-tagger’

Health workers have not forgotten that as DOH undersecretary from 2010-2015, Herbosa promoted the sale of the Philippine Orthopedic Center, abolition of Fabella Hospital and privatizing to some extent the operations of government hospitals, AHW said.

Herbosa previously chaired the DOH Central Office’s Bids and Awards Committee and cluster head of Metro Manila and Southern Luzon Public-Private Partnership Projects, the group revealed.

“Privatization of public hospitals and other public health services will result to higher income generation by collecting higher fees from the patients while health workers will be subjected to more inhumane working conditions,” AHW said.

At the height of COVID-19 pandemic, Herbosa was appointed as an adviser of Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) and must be among those who must be blamed for the “inefficiency, criminal negligence and failure of government’s COVID-19 response, the group added.

AHW said the government still does not have a comprehensive plan on how to eliminate the virulent disease.

AHW also complained that the new DOH chief is an “ardent red-tagger” who targeted health workers who demanded for their much-deserved COVID-19 benefits, protection and welfare especially during the surge of pandemic.

In a Tweet, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan president Renato Reyes Jr. also recalled Herbosa’s controversial October 2020 statement branding demands for justice for Baby River Nasino’s early death as “cadaver politics.”

“Appointing him will surely fatten the bellies of corrupt officials, and will further worsen the dismal condition of health workers and the people, the AHW said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

UP department urges action vs red-tagging university exec

A University of the Philippines (UP) department slammed a university executive for his red-tagging posts against the community pantries.

The Department of English and Comparative Literature (DECL) in a statement said recent remarks by UP executive vice president Teodoro Herbosa regarding the community pantries are “dangerous and malignant.”

On its official Facebook page, the DECL condemned Herbosa’s remarks as a baseless insinuation that UP alumna Ana Patricia Non co-started the Maginhawa community pantry because she is a member of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

Herbosa also referred to Non as “Ka Patreng.”

“This is clearly a form of red-tagging, a deplorable practice that our own (UP Diliman) Chancellor Fidel Nemenzo asked the University community to denounce in no uncertain terms,” the DECL said.

The department added Herbosa’s other remarks against the community pantry phenomenon such as “Fake kindness is hate disguised as good,” and “Death by ‘Community Pantry’. I told you so!” are not reflective of the public service thrust of UP.

UP executive vice president Teodoro Herbosa’s latest controversial remark before setting his Twitter account to private. (Image from Prof. Judy Taguiwalo’s Facebook post)

The last remark by Hermosa was in reference to the death of Orlando dela Cruz who collapsed while queuing for actor Angel Locsin’s community pantry in Quezon City on Friday, April 23.

The DECL said Herbosa must be held accountable for his dangerous allegations as one of UP’s highest officials.

“We would be quick to call out such ludicrous illogical leaps in any of our classes; we cannot let this pass in an even more crucial and potentially life-threatening context,” the DECL said.

“As a department, we hold steadfast to the values of the humanities. We teach our students tolerance and understanding, critical thinking and vigilance. We reiterate that ACTIVISM IS NOT TERRORISM,” it added.

The department said that Herbosa’s statement endanger Non and all other UP students, faculty, staff and alumni who participate and contribute to the nearly 400 community pantries nationwide.

“Therefore, we strongly denounce the statements made by EVP Teodoro Herbosa and urge the UP administration to take action,” the DECL said.

Herbosa earlier gained public attention in October 2020 when he described the widespread condemnation of infant River Nasino’s death as “cadaver politics”.

Former UP Faculty Regent Judy Taguiwalo described Herbosa, a medical doctor, as a zealous supporter of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Herbosa’s Twitter (@Teddybird) account had since been set to private following a whirlwind of condemnations following his controversial remarks. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)