By Archie Villaflores and Gwyneth Morales

DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III (PHOTO: Rappler)

The Department of Health (DOH) deserves a 9 out of 10 score in its COVID-19 response efforts this year, the agency's chief Francisco Duque III pronounced despite criticisms on how the administration is handling the pandemic.

"Nakita ko on the ground (I saw on the ground) and with my interactions, my endless meetings with my DOH team, I would give them 9 to 10 in terms of great effort, the sincerity to contribute to the national government’s pandemic response, said Duque on Wednesday.

“Not only to contribute, but having led the COVID response in every aspect of our 5-point strategy against COVID-19,” he added.

However, Duque admitted the agency had missteps and mistakes.

“Pero yang mga pagkakamaling iyan ay nagsilbing leksyon para lamang mas maging matagumpay ang tugon sa COVID-19.,” he said during the virtual briefing.

The health secretary also pointed out that it is impossible not to make a mistake, noting that COVID-19 is novel or caused by a new virus.

Moreover, Duque thanked the efforts of all DOH personnel, especially those who risked their lives and those who died in the line of duty.

“Wala pong pagkukupas yung kanilang sipag, kanilang kagustuhan na talagang makatulong sa matagumpay na tugon sa COVID-19. Kaya saludo po ako sa lahat ng taga-Department of Health,” he said.