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Plan to put Army chief in DSWD slammed

/ 05:37 AM October 08, 2018
Senator Franklin Drilon

Senator Franklin Drilon at the Senate session. INQUIRER file photo / EDWIN BACASMAS

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Sunday cautioned President Rodrigo Duterte about the risks of a militarized administration and asked him to “take a second look” at his plan to appoint the Army chief, Lt. Gen. Rolando Bautista, as the next social welfare secretary.

The opposition senator cited the need for civilian supremacy in an agency like the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

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“We admit that it is within the President’s power to appoint his Cabinet but there is a principle or guideline that you must not militarize the bureaucracy,” he said on dzBB radio.

On Thursday, the President announced a plan to name Bautista as the next head of the DSWD, triggering criticisms that the agency might be used by the administration for counterinsurgency.

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Bautista would join some 60 retired military officers in the Duterte administration.

Drilon said the DSWD might be better off in the hands of career officials.

Officials and employees of the DSWD aired concerns about the President’s plan, saying his choice of Bautista would be an “insult” to social workers.

Manny Baclagon, head of Social Welfare Employees
Association of the Philippines, said his group was protesting the President’s plan.

Although difficult in terms of day-to-day office operations, Baclagon said DSWD employees had gotten used to “reorganizations” due to changing leadership.

“This is the first time that, out of nowhere, a war veteran without any familiarity in the terrain [of social work] is being appointed,” he said in a phone interview on Sunday.

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He said union members from the DSWD central office and regional offices in Southern and Central Luzon would join a rally on Oct. 10 at the Department of Budget and Management and on Mendiola Bridge in Manila to denounce the President’s plan to appoint Bautista.

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TAGS: civilian supremacy, DSWD, Franklin Drilon, Manny Baclagon, militarization, Rodrigo Duterte, Rolando Bautista, Social Welfare Employees Association of the Philippines
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