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Willie Ong (born 24 October 1963) is a Filipino cardiologist and internist who served as a consultant for the Department of Health (DOH) from 2010 to 2014. He authored several medical books, including the Expanded Medicine Blue Book. He is also a columnist for The Philippine Star and Pilipino Star Ngayon. With 15 million Facebook followers, 6.61 million YouTube subscribers, and 16 thousand Twitter followers, Ong gives free health tips online to help a wider audience.
Ong is a candidate for the vice presidency in the 2022 elections. He is the running mate of presidential aspirant Isko Moreno.
Ong is married to Anna Liza Ong, a Filipino physician like him. They currently reside in Makati with their two daughters.
Early Life and Education
Ong was born on 24 October 1963 in Tondo, Manila. He was a Xavier School Exemplary Alumni Awardee in 2013. He obtained his pre-medical course, Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology, at the University of the Philippines Diliman (UP Diliman). He studied medicine at the De La Salle Medical and Health Sciences Institute.
Ong did his Internal Medicine residency at Manila Doctors Hospital where he served as chief resident. He later pursued a Cardiology fellowship at University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH), where he served as chief fellow. He also pursued a Masters in Public Health Degree at UP Manila.
During his clerkship, Ong started writing the Expanded Medicine Blue Book, which he published in 1995.
He established the Co Tec Tai Medical Museum in Pasay City, the first medical museum in the Philippines. It aimed to inspire Filipinos to become or to appreciate health workers and to preserve the country’s medical history.
Ong gained popularity through ABS-CBN’s television show Salamat Dok where he was one of the resident medical experts and volunteer doctor. He was part of the program from 2008 to 2018. Ong was also a regular columnist at The Philippine Star and Pilipino Star Ngayon.
In 2013, he started uploading health articles, videos, and tips on social media. His Facebook page, which has 15 million followers, is one of the 11 most liked pages in the country. His YouTube channel has 6.61 million subscribers.
Vice Presidential Bid
Ong tendered his resignation as member of Lakas-NUCD, the day he and his running mate Isko Moreno publicly declared their run as a tandem in the 2022 presidential polls as vice president and president, respectively.
Moreno belied claims that Ong was only a decoy candidate who would later on be replaced by Senator Grace Poe, Moreno’s alleged true running mate. Moreno said that Ong is a “perfect” vice president as the Philippines continues to battle COVID-19 as he is a doctor.
Ong, who ran in the 2019 senatorial elections, landed on the 17th spot. He was considered a neophyte who does not have a political background.
For the 2022 elections, Ong said he would not accept any campaign donations and would just rely on Moreno’s machinery to help boost his vice presidential bid. Ong previously served as the vice president for health services of the Lakas-CMD. Both Ong and Moreno used to belong to political parties that have been waiting for the formalization of alliance with the Hugpong ng Pagbabago under Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.
Position on Key Issues
Ong advocates for easier and cheaper access to medicine, treatment, and medical advice for Filipinos. He also pushes for free maintenance medicine and laboratory tests. He said that he is also open to legalizing medical marijuana.
He is also open to the reimposition of death penalty for heinous crimes and favors the lowering of the minimum age of criminal responsibility.
Awards and Recognition
- Xavier Award for Exemplary Alumni, The Xavier School Board of Trustees, 2013
- Excellence Award, Philippine Federation of Professional Associations (PFPA), 2009
- The Outstanding Filipino Physician Award (TOFP), Department of Health and JC International Senate, 2007
- Dr. Jose Rizal Award for Excellence in Medicine, Kaisa Museum (Bahay Tsinoy) and Manila Times, 2006
- Presidential Awards for 2005, Philippine College of Physicians
- Distinguished Fellow Award for 2004, Philippine College of Physicians
- Presidential Awards for 2003, Philippine College of Physicians
- Domingo, Katrina.“Doc Willie Ong files certificate of candidacy, joins 2022 VP race”. ABSCBN News. (Accessed on 11 October 2021).
- Rosario, Ben.“Isko's running mate, Willie Ong, resigns from Lakas-NUCD”. Manila Bulletin. (Accessed on 11 October 2021).
- Ranada, Pia.https://www.rappler.com/nation/elections/things-to-know-doc-willie-ong “Who is Doc Willie Ong, Isko Moreno's VP?”]. Rappler. (Accessed on 11 October 2021).
- Sarao, Zacarian.“Willie Ong files COC for vice president”. INQUIRER.net. (Accessed on 11 October 2021).