Newly appointed Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega promised better coordination of the health department with other agencies and government task forces in combating the Covid-19 pandemic.

Vega said the Department of Health would “harmonize” better with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

On May 31, Palace spokesman Harry Roque had to contradict Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and clarified that the country was still in the first wave of pandemic.

He said of the conflicting statements: “Medyo sintunado lang po siguro ang isa pero okay naman po ang orchestra.”

Vega on Monday told reporters: “I think ang pinakaimportante dito is a very good coordination between the DOH and how it is able to respond to the needs and services of the community…, and to harmonize with what the IATF would want, and to respond for.”

“So para sa akin, ito ay isang malaking responsibility in terms of making sure that the services are given and it creates an impact to the community.”

Vega, chief of the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City, admitted that his new post would be a challenge, but said he was prepared to learn and improve on “how we administer and manage the processes within [DOH], and able to collaborate.”

DOH has been criticized by senators for Duque’s handling of the country’s Covid-19 response.

The health secretary recently blamed his subordinates for delays in the distribution of cash aid to health workers who had died of or contracted Covid-19.

Vega said the possibility of him replacing Duque was “too theoretical.”

“I’m just preparing myself for undersecretary so I cannot fathom being secretary at this time,” he said. John Ezekiel J. Hirro