Gibo Teodoro named defense chief, Ted Herbosa as health secretary

By Jennifer T. Santos

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has appointed two new Cabinet members — lawyer and former congressman Gilberto Cojuangco Teodoro Jr. as Secretary of the Department of National Defense (DND) and Dr. Teodoro J. Herbosa as Secretary of the Department of Health (DOH).

Marcos immediately administered the oath of office of Teodoro and Herbosa which enabled them to assume the posts to which they were appointed.

The appointments of Teodoro and Herbosa were announced after President Marcos met with Teodoro and DND Senior Undersecretary Carlito Galvez, and Herbosa and Health Undersecretary Ma. Rosario Vergeire in separate meetings in Malacañang.

Galvez Jr. welcomed the takeover of Teodoro Jr. as the new defense secretary.

“The Department of National Defense welcomes the appointment of Atty. Gilberto C. Teodoro, Jr. as the nTh”ew Secretary of National Defense,” Galvez said in a statement.

Galvez. at the same time, thanked Marcos for his trust as well as the entire One Defense Team, including the Armed Forces of the Philippines and civilian bureaus, for their support during his stint as officer-in-charge.

“I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the President and Commander-in-Chief, His Excellency Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., for entrusting me to lead the Department over the last few months. I also thank the entire One Defense Team, including the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and our civilian bureaus, for their support during my tenure as the officer-in-charge of the Department,” Galvez said.

Galvez was named DND officer-in-charge last Jan. 9 following the resignation of his predecessor, retired AFP chief Gen. Jose Faustino Jr. earlier that month.

Galvez is a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1985 and served as the 50th AFP chief from April 18 to December 11, 2018.

“We have achieved great strides in our priority programs on internal security, territorial defense, disaster preparedness, and the continued development of the defense organization,” Galvez said.

It was not yet known if Galvez will remain as senior defense undersecretary.

Teodoro is the second candidate who lost in the May 9, 2022 elections known to be appointed following the end of the one-year ban on appointments. The first was Katrina Enrile, daughter of Presidential Legal Counsel Juan Ponce Enrile, who lost in her congressional bid in Cagayan and was appointed as head of the Cagayan Valley Special Economic Zone, taking over from lawyer Raul Lambino.

With the end of the election ban, more losing candidates from senatorial to congressional and local posts are expected to be appointed soon to various posts.

Born in Isabela but a long-time resident of Tarlac, Teodoro, 58, has extensive experience in both the private and the public sectors. He served as a three-term Member of Congress, representing the first district of Tarlac, and as Secretary of Defense under President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s administration, where he became the youngest to hold the position at the age of 43.

Teodoro also served as Chairman of the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) during his tenure as Secretary of Defense.

Teodoro is a graduate of Bachelor’s degree in Commerce, Major in Financial Institutions from De La Salle University – Manila. He completed his law degree and graduated at the top of his class at the University of the Philippines. He was topnotcher in the 1989 Philippine Bar Examinations. He furthered his legal education by obtaining a Master’s degree in Law from Harvard University.

Throughout his career, Teodoro has received numerous accolades for his leadership and academic excellence. Notably, he was recognized as a Leadership Awardee and Seminar Academic Excellence Awardee during his time at the Air Command and Staff College, Air Education and Training Command Philippine Air Force Command and Staff Course in 2001. In 2003, he attended the Joint and Combined Staff Officers Course, Class Nr 1, JCSC in Camp Aguinaldo, where he was honored as a Leadership Awardee.

In a statement, the Department of Health welcomed back for undersecretary Herbosa as the new health chief.

The DOH committed to provide all-out support during this transition. “Maasahan po ng ating bagong kalihim, Secretary Ted, ang taos pusong suporta ng buong DOH family,” Vergeire said.

OCTA Research also welcomed Herbosa’s appointment, according to its fellow Dr. Ranjit Rye.

“OCTA is elated that an   appointment for SOH has been made. We believe Dr. Ted Herbosa is an excellent choice,” Rye said.

“We look forward to supporting the DOH, Dr. Herbosa and President Marcos in their quest to realize universal health for all Filipinos,” he added.

Herbosa, on the other hand, brings with him a wealth of experience and expertise in healthcare systems, public health, hospital administration, emergency and disaster medicine. He obtained his medical degree from the University of the Philippines Manila and holds a bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of the Philippines in Diliman. Dr. Herbosa’s educational background also includes an International Diploma Course in Emergency and Crisis Management from the University of Geneva and Postgraduate Studies in Medicine from the Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University.

He previously served as an Undersecretary at the Department of Health from 2010 to 2015 contributing to various initiatives such as the Hospital Accreditation Commission, Modernization of the Philippine Orthopedics Center, and promoting Public-Private Partnerships in Health. He also held the positions of former Undersecretary and concurrent Regional Director at the DOH-National Capital Regional Office.

From October 2017 to April 2021, Herbosa served as the Executive Vice President of the University of the Philippines System, contributing to its development and growth. He has held various key positions, including Chief Division of Trauma at the Department of Surgery, Philippine General Hospital, Chairman of the Board for Physicians for Peace Philippines, and 3rd Vice President of the UP Alumni Association.

He has served as a Professor in Emergency Department at Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and at the National University of Malaysia. He has also been involved in numerous international roles and collaborations, including serving on the Board of Directors for the World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine (WADEM), Medical Consultant/Adviser for the Australasian Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians in Melbourne, Australia, and Regional Education Coordinator for the HOPE Program (Hospital Preparedness and Emergencies) at John Hopkins University Center for International Emergencies, Disasters, and Refugee Studies (CIEDRS).

Amidst the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, Herbosa served as a Special Adviser to the National Task Force Against Covid-19, offering expert guidance and contributing to the formulation of strategies to mitigate the impact of the virus.

He also served as an international consultant in several countries, including Palau, Maldives, Malaysia, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Vietnam, Tunisia, and Thailand, making notable contributions to emergency medicine and trauma care. Dr. Herbosa’s involvement in the development of the STOP DEATH Program and his membership in the Safe Surgery Saves Lives Global Task Force, which developed the WHO safe surgery checklist, further demonstrate his dedication to improving healthcare systems.

Prior to his appointment, Herbosa held a prominent position as a Professor at the College of Medicine in the University of the Philippines Manila.