Health chief Ubial: We'll spend to the max on frontline services

MANILA, Philippines – The new secretary of the Department of Health (DOH) promised to maximize the increased budget allocated to the agency.

During her induction into office on Monday, July 4, Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Rosell Ubial said that the DOH would utilize the higher budget to achieve the mission “All for health towards health for all.”

Ubial said that from the P26 billion budget at the beginning of the Aquino administration, the DOH now has P154 billion at its disposal – more than 5 times of the 2010 budget.

Wala po tayong ititipid when it comes to frontline services,” Ubial said. (We will not scrimp when it comes to frontline services.)


Ubial said she would prioritize the completion of the Universal Health Insurance, “especially for the poor.”

Ubial also mentioned the strengthening of the DOH’s Service Delivery Network for those living in remote areas. Through this network, she said, the healthcare workers will reach out to the communities instead of the other way around.

She committed to continuing the past administration’s efforts in dealing with contagious and contaminating diseases, such as malaria, tuberculosis, and dengue, as well as degenerative diseases, such as stroke, diabetes, and cancer.

But Ubial said that the previous administration may have forgotten common injuries, such as burns, and other disorders, such as mental illnesses.

Ito ang mga hindi napagtuunan,” she said. (These were the ones that had not been given attention.)

From the ranks

Colleagues lauded Ubial in her induction for being a health secretary who “rose from the ranks.”

Before the appointment, Ubial had been assistant secretary for health regulations, handling maternal and child health and immunization programs for the department since 2008.

The 53-year-old Ubial is the 4th woman to become the country's health secretary. –

Rambo Talabong is a Rappler intern.

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.