Erwin Tulfo vows to be DSWD chief ‘on the ground’
MANILA, Philippines — News anchor and incoming secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Erwin Tulfo on Tuesday committed to serve as a public servant “on the ground,” working closely with communities needing government assistance.
“I will be a secretary on the ground. I will be a secretary people can touch, people can talk to,” Tulfo said over ABS-CBN News Channel. “I think I have to be on the ground just to assure that I am here. The government is here. The government is watching. The government is helping. And we are here. All the help is here. So I have to be on the ground.”
Tulfo, who has previously berated outgoing DSWD secretary Rolando Bautista for not granting his request for a live interview, also enjoined fellow journalists and media practitioners to call him out on issues concerning the department’s efficiency once he takes the agency’s leadership position.
“I would encourage other journalists and media people to call my attention. For example, kapag hindi nakakarating ‘yong ayuda with DSWD in times of calamity,” Tulfo stressed. “Definitely, we’ll be working hand in hand with the media people kasi sila ‘yong on the ground…Sila ‘yong nakakakita eh (Because they’re the ones on the ground…They’re the ones who witness things as it happens). So, I would need their help.”
First order of business: A ‘quick reaction team’
Once he takes the helm of DSWD, Tulfo bared that his first priority is to establish a “quick reaction team” who will monitor and swiftly assist affected communities during calamities and disasters.
“Ang target namin, we should be there before the 24th hour…We will be coordinating with other agencies para matugunan kaagad ‘yong mga pangangailangan ng mga kababayan natin (to immediately address the needs of our countrymen) and [they would] not have to wait a day or two,” he explained.
Along with his promise to serve on the ground, Tulfo also vowed to take charge in thoroughly assessing the risk management measures employed in these communities.
“I will be inspecting that area, making sure that evacuation centers are ready. Iyong mga food, mga relief are ready for distribution. So kapag tumama [iyong bagyo], I am there. I can supervise,” he added.
Tulfo on Monday was confirmed to lead DSWD under the incoming administration of president-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
Among those who have likewise been named as members of the Cabinet are Liloan Mayor Christina Frasco (Department of Tourism), Information Technology expert Ivan Uy (Department of Information and Communications), Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Assistant Governor Amenah Pangandaman (Department of Budget and Management), and former Manila representative Zenaida Angping (Presidential Management Staff).
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.