President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Thursday said he would only appoint a Department of Health (DOH) secretary once the country has hurdled the Covid-19 pandemic.

In an ambush interview, the president said he would wait until the pandemic is over so he could push through with his plans to reorganize the government.

“Paabutin natin doon and then we will normalize also the reorganization of government,” he said.

Marcos Jr. earlier said he had yet to appoint a secretary of health as he claimed the decision was not only about Covid-19,

He said the country was also dealing with rising dengue rates, the second-highest HIV infection rate in the world, and tuberculosis, among others.

The Marcos Jr. government, which is without DOH chief, earlier removed the country’s mandatory mask-wearing policy in outdoor areas.

Dr. Maria Rosario Vergeire serves as the DOH’s officer-in-charge. John Ezekiel J. Hirro