Category Archives: Press Release


Secretary of Health Francisco T. Duque III released the following statement today (January 10, 2019) on the signing of the Philippine HIV and Aids Act by President Rodrigo Duterte:

Editorial Cartoon by NVTorrecampo

“The signing of the Philippine HIV and Aids Act is a huge step forward in responding to the growing HIV epidemic in the Philippines.

Ngayon ay mabibigyan na natin ng tamang suporta ang mga Pilipinong may HIV-AIDS. Kaya naman lubos ang aming pasasalamat kay Presidente Duterte sa pagbibigay niya ng prayoridad at aksyon laban sa HIV-AIDS.

The law provides:

  • Comprehensive education and prevention programs for PLHIV and their families.
  • It also enables minors 15 years of age to get tested for HIV.

While the new law has been enacted, our next step is to be able to properly execute the law by developing an Implementing Rules and Regulations to guide executive officials in implementing the law, as well as the public in how to comply with the law.

A stronger collaboration is key to attaining our vision of an HIV-free country. The road ahead will be long and our climb will be steep, but we will thrive and win against HIV and AIDS.”

Recent cases as of Nov. 2018

Press Release

Department of Health addresses more pressing concerns of children vaccinated with dengue vaccine

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III today emphasized that the Department of Health is focused on the more important concerns of parents, teachers and local government units emanating from the administration of the dengue vaccine to more than 830,000 children which began in April 2016.

“The DOH continues to refine our response and action plan in the Dengue Task Force to ensure the safety and best health outcomes for children who were vaccinated through heightened monitoring and surveillance, effective management of adverse events following immunization, activation of the dengue fast lanes in public hospitals and truthful and timely risk communication to the public,” Secretary Duque said.

The DOH is set to convene an independent dengue expert panel this week to review the latest evidence on Dengvaxia generated from the 5-year observation period in clinical trials as well as the data available to the DOH through the post-marketing surveillance of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the surveillance of adverse events following immunization (AEFI) at the DOH Epidemiology Bureau. DOH has also partnered with the Philippine General Hospital to conduct an independent review of medical charts of children who may have experienced serious adverse events or died following immunization to determine their probable cause or whether they are related to the vaccination.

“Based on the latest update from the WHO, the five-year follow up data provides evidence of reduced risk of severe dengue and hospitalization overall among vaccinated trial participants but also confirmed an earlier hypothesis that those vaccinated with no prior dengue infection could be at higher risk of more severe dengue and hospitalizations. This risk persisted about five years after the first dose,” explained Secretary Duque. The health chief also emphasized the commitment of the DOH to monitor the health of all the vaccinated children in the long run as well as take responsibility for medical care should there be an adverse event that could be related to the dengue vaccine. The DOH also supports the initiatives of the legislature in safeguarding the science-based decision-making and procurement process of the DOH especially for vital health programs such as the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI).

With regard to the various ongoing investigations being conducted by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and both houses of Congress on the propriety of the dengue vaccine purchase, Secretary Duque called for all concerned sectors to allow the investigating bodies to do their jobs without being subject to censure, criticism, and accusations borne largely out of unfounded speculation and suspicion.

“We leave it to the appropriate courts to conduct their own independent investigation and to determine whether all the legal requirements were satisfactorily met in the purchase of the Dengvaxia vaccine. For now, the DOH is heavily immersed in efforts to attend to public concerns on the dengue vaccine and determine the proper course of action to take in managing the over-all situation. We shall also put in place the necessary measures to ensure the observance of proper procedures in the introduction of new vaccines into our public health programs,” said Secretary Duque.

From the moment concern was raised on Dengvaxia due to the public disclosure made by Sanofi on November 29, the Department of Health has been transparent to all sanctioned investigatory bodies who were given full access to pertinent data. Secretary Duque wishes that all agencies and individuals associated with these issues would extend the same cooperation.

The DOH is slated to submit all documents requested by the National Bureau ofInvestigation (NBI) when executive offices reopen on December 27.

The DOH Secretary stressed, however, that the most important matter to address at this time is ensuring the health and well-being of the children who received doses of Dengvaxia as part of the pilot effort.
Presently, all systems are in place at DOH healthcare facilities in the regions covered by the dengue vaccination to monitor report and manage any suspected adverse event. Risk communication initiatives have also kicked off in affected communities to inform parents and caregivers of vaccinated children on what signs and symptoms to look out for and where to seek consult. “I am absolutely certain that we can all appreciate a better outcome if we all agreed to move forward and cooperated with each other in the task of ensuring the health of the populace,” Secretary Duque added.

Press Release

No more milk tea for now

For fear of poisoning (story here), my daughter who loves milk tea will refrain from drinking one for now. Cases of food and beverage poisoning caused by bacterial contamination is particularly high during the summer months. We can avoid getting sick if we are wary of the food and water we take. We may also check on the sanitation of the stores we get our favorite snacks from. Don’t get me wrong, maraming simpleng stores (‘yung tipong suki na natin) pero malinis naman ang pagkagawa ng paninda nila. Alarming lang talaga nangyari sa milk tea poisoning.

Meanwhile, the government has issued an update regarding the alleged milk tea poisoning:

The Department of Health (DOH), in coordination with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and toxicologists from the UP-Philippine General Hospital (PGH), obtained and studied the footage from the food establishment to aid in assessing the clinical manifestations and course of illness of the victims. Samples of the milk tea ingested were also submitted for examination. Preliminary results were negative for suspected toxic substances. However, we have expanded the tests to include biological samples such as blood, tissues, and gastric contents from the victims as collected during the autopsy.

The situation appears to be an isolated event, pointing to a possible case of poisoning. Let me emphasize that this is isolated. In fact, this is the third time the couple bought milk tea in the same food establishment. No untoward incident happened during the previous intake. We appeal to the public not to generalize the situation as many small and medium scale enterprises are dependent on the sale of milk tea and similar beverages.

A joint DOH-DENR Advisory concerning cyanide-containing substances has been issued in 2010. Taking into consideration the serious health impact of cyanide-containing silver jewelry cleaning solutions, the DOH calls for the immediate passage of a law making the sale and dispensing of these substances a criminal act. Meanwhile, we urge the local government units to pass ordinances banning these substances in their respective jurisdictions.

We call on the public to be aware of the initial signs and symptoms of poisoning, such as vomiting, diarrhea, muscle weakness, and impaired or loss of consciousness. Whether mild or severe, the patient should be immediately brought to the nearest hospital. Poisoning is deadly and immediate medical attention is warranted.For inquiries, the National Poison Center-PGH, which is open 24 hours and seven days a week,may be reached at the following numbers: (02) 554-8400 local 2311, (02) 524-1078, or 0922-8961541.