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Health Secretary prescribes a week of quarterly rest for Philippine President Aquino

Aquino was already advised to gradually stop smoking

Gulf News


President Benigno Aquino must take a week of rest quarterly to be completely healed from bouts of bad stomach, cough, flu, and rhinitis, a senior official said.

“I think he should do [take] that [vacation] more often. His health is the concern of the whole country,” Health Secretary Enrique Ona told Interaksiyon, TV5’s online news.

Ona, a doctor by profession, was also quoted as saying that Aquino had already been advised to gradually stop smoking, until he can totally kick the bad habit.

In response, Budget Secretary Florencio Butch Abad said, “It’s the president’s decision [if he takes Ona’s advice or not].”

The president is getting sick because he works so hard, explained Abad.

Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos called on Aquino last Sunday to be a good example by not smoking as he pushes Congress to pass a law for higher tobacco taxes — a measure meant to encourage Filipinos to stop smoking so as not to burden the government’s health care with smoke-related diseases.

“He was [already] told by his doctor to quit smoking. Since his administration wants to reduce smoking in the country by imposing higher taxes on tobacco products, why not start with him?” the young Marcos told Interaksiyon.

“It’s hard to believe that the government really wants to curb smoking while the president continuously smokes,” said Marcos, who also advised the president that he could start quitting slowly.

Congressman Rodolfo Albano had suggested that Aquino see a doctor or undergo an executive check-up to assess his state of health.

It is not known how many packs of cigarette the president smokes a day. Up to now there have been no pictures of Aquino smoking.

Last Friday, he was coughing and sneezing when he delivered a speech at the Media Nation Summit in Tagaytay City, southern Luzon.

Aquino’s symptoms of of alleged ill-health surfaced when he went to New Zealand and Australia, during the visit of International Monetary Fund (IMF) Chairman Christine Lagarde, and at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Cambodia.