DOH: Bongbong will decide on IATF fate

The fate of the country’s pandemic task force is in the hands of the new administration, the Department of Health (DoH) said on 12 June.,In a message to Daily Tribune, Health Usec. Myrna Cabotaje said it would depend on President-elect Bongbong Marcos and his health secretary if the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) will continue leading the country’s fight against Covid-19.,“It depends on the new president and secretary of health, but it was created through an Executive Order back in the time of the Ebola virus,” Cabotaje said.,Marcos has yet to announce his choice for the next health secretary.,Cabotaje is referring to Executive Order 168, which was signed by former President Noynoy Aquino in 2014.,Aquino ordered the creation of the IATF in response to the emergence of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Avian influenza, Ebola, and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (Mers-Cov) infections that hit the country at the time.,However, the public became aware of it only in 2021, when President Rodrigo Duterte tapped the agency to deal with Covid-19.,Asked whether the IATF will release a new alert level assessment on 30 June, Cabotaje said the public “will know the directions by then.”,She noted the pandemic task force will hold its last meeting in the last week of June.,“I would like to think that the (new administration) will continue the alert level systems. If not, appropriate information should be given to the public,” she added.,At present, Metro Manila and 62 other areas in the country are under the most lenient Alert Level 1 classification until 15 June.