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Duterte could have swayed allies for Taguiwalo — youth party-list

/ 05:06 PM August 16, 2017

President Duterte “could have easily swayed his supermajority” to confirm Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, the Kabataan Party-list said in a statement.

For Kabataan, he allowed Taguiwalo to be rejected in what the youth group saw as “a victory for corrupt bureaucrats.”

Kabataan and other party-lists comprising the seven-member left-wing Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives denounced on Wednesday the move of the Commission on Appointments, which is dominated by Mr. Duterte’s allies.

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The Gabriela Women’s Party, in a separate statement, dared CA members to reveal their reason for rejecting Taguiwalo and not hide from the veil of the secret ballot.

The youth group said the rejection was “nothing short of expected” as the President “has turned its back on his promises of significant reforms and change to the Filipino people, long since they have turned out to be empty rhetoric.”

It said the Duterte administration, in partnership with the United States, is “bent on removing Sec Judy and pursuing progressives in the Cabinet to silence its political critics, quell the people’s resistance, and further strengthen its hegemony.”

Kabataan also raised the possibility that removing the University of the Philippines professor from the position would allow DSWD’s framework to be based more on dole-outs and programs funded by foreign aid and debt.

Gabriela noted that Taguiwalo “stood against using the DSWD for political patronage, barring pork-hungry officials from gaining full access to DSWD funds and ensuring that services and relief are delivered to those who truly need them.”

Bayan Muna Party-list Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate, in a separate statement, said the Duterte administration will not just lose a “very competent and dedicated DSWD Secretary.”

“The majority of the people catered to by the DSWD would be the ones to suffer,” Zarate said. “The poor and the citizens lose out and those who are hungry for pork barrel, the neoliberal economic managers, and the pro-US militarists will rejoice.”

Anakpawis Party-list Rep. Ariel Casilao also said Taguiwalo’s rejection is “a blatant proof that pro-reform officials will not be tolerated by institutions of traditional politics, hence, is causal of poverty and misery to the people.”

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Malacañang, meanwhile, said it was was saddened over Taguiwalo’s rejection, adding that she “had served the Duterte administration with passion, profession and integrity.”

“She made an impact in the lives of many Filipinos in her tenure as DSWD Secretary. The President is now looking and studying for a possible replacement,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said.

Although Taguiwalo’s appointment upon the nomination of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines had been hailed as a landmark move in pursuing peace with communist rebels, her hold on the position had been shaky from the start.

The longtime feminist and social activist drew the ire of congressmen after she issued in August 2016 an order seeking to end political patronage in providing social aid and doing away with endorsement letters from politicians. Lawmakers resented her description of such practices as akin to “pork barrel.”

CA members also grilled Taguiwalo for her links to the Left. Another Left nominee who needs to hurdle the CA’s confirmation is Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano. JE

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TAGS: appointment, Bayan Muna, CA, DSWD, duterte, Gabriela, Judy Taguiwalo, Kabataan, Makabayan, Party list
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