Meet the team carrying out Marcos’ marching orders | Inquirer News

Meet the team carrying out Marcos’ marching orders

/ 05:04 AM July 25, 2022
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. STORY: Meet the team carrying out Marcos’ marching orders

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. held his first press conference after presiding over his first Cabinet meeting during which his economic team gave a briefing about the country’s economic outlook at the Malacanang Palace. (File photo by MARIANNE BERMUDEZ / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines — Grand visions, broad marching orders, major policy shifts — expect these and more as President Ferdinand Marcos  Jr. delivers his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) today, Monday July 25.

But after the applause has died down and the president’s pronouncements have been parsed, praised, or panned, it’s up to the select men and women in the new Cabinet to implement the promised reforms and pursue the new targets, and ultimately ensure that the people taste the benefits.


Everyone will have his or her own share of the mammoth challenges faced by the new administration — a pandemic now well past its second year, rising fuel and food prices, the ravages of climate change, the aftershocks of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the perennial gut issues concerning jobs, education, healthcare, etc.

Marcos’ selection of department secretaries, bureau chiefs and advisers has so far been dominated by familiar names in government — many of them seasoned veterans of past administrations — including one from that of his own late father. But also in the lineup are achievers crossing over from the corporate world and called to serve in the public sector for the first time.


In no particular order, here’s a rundown on the top-tier members of the Marcos team.

SARA DUTERTE-CARPIO, Vice President / Education Secretary

Vice President Sara Duterte, daughter of former President Rodrigo Duterte, was the first woman and the youngest to serve as mayor of Davao City, from 2010 to 2013, and was reelected in 2016 and 2019. She also served as the city’s vice mayor from 2007 to 2010.

During her mayoralty from 2016 to 2022, according to her office, more than 3,000 infrastructure projects were completed in Davao City, including 1,424 roads, 51 bridges, 180 school buildings, 63 office buildings, 44 barangay halls, 84 health centers, nine police stations, 748 irrigation and drainage projects, 172 water systems, 11 electrification projects, and 669 other structures.

In June, the Vice President, speaking as concurrent education secretary, said she was “targeting” the resumption of in-person classes nationwide by August. This target was later moved to Nov. 2, although the Department of Education set the opening of the new school year on Aug. 22.

Duterte obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Respiratory Therapy from San Pedro College – Davao in 1999 and her Bachelor of Laws degree from San Sebastian College – Recoletos in 2005. She is also a reserve military officer with the rank of colonel.

MARIA ROSARIO VERGEIRE, officer in charge of the Department of Health (DOH)


At the early stages of the pandemic, she became the calm and steadying voice of the government response. With over two decades of experience in public health, Vergeire became a familiar face on TV as she presided over the regular online briefings on the unprecedented health crisis, at a time when the DOH came under increasing pressure from an anxious public.

Vergeire, who is concurrently the undersecretary for public health services, joined the agency in 2007 after working for over a decade in the Marikina City health office.

She was appointed assistant secretary in 2015 and held top positions in the attached agencies and bureaus, such as the Field Regulatory Operation unit of the Food and Drug Administration, the Health Facilities and Services Regulatory Bureau, and the Health Research Division under the Health Policy Development and Planning Bureau.

Vergeire remains a member of the faculty at the Development Academy of the Philippines and at the Ateneo School of Government.

She earned her undergraduate degree in Zoology from the University of Santo Tomas (UST) and obtained her medical degree from De La Salle University College of Medicine. She has a master’s degree in Public Health from the University of the Philippines (UP) – Manila.

BENHUR ABALOS, Interior Secretary

Abalos chaired the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) before resigning in February 2022 to become national campaign manager of then presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr. He was mayor of Mandaluyong City from 1998 to 2004 and from 2007 to 2016, and its congressman from 2004 to 2007. He served as president of the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines and League of Cities of the Philippines from 2007 to 2010.

Abalos earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Political Science from De La Salle University and his Bachelor of Laws degree from Ateneo de Manila University.
He is the son of former Commission on Elections (Comelec) chair and now Mandaluyong Mayor Benjamin Abalos, who also chaired the MMDA from January 2001 to June 2002. Benhur is married to former Mandaluyong mayor and now Vice Mayor Carmelita Aguilar-Abalos.

VICTOR RODRIGUEZ, Executive Secretary

A longtime chief of staff and spokesperson for Mr. Marcos, Rodriguez served as managing lawyer of Rodriguez & Partners and was president of the Quezon City Trial Lawyers League. He is also a former deputy general counsel of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.

Rodriguez obtained his Bachelor of Laws degree from UST, and took up Executive Education under the National University of Singapore’s Negotiation and Influence Program.


Remulla, who comes from a political clan that has long dominated Cavite, served as the representative of the province’s seventh district from 2010 to 2013 and from 2019 to 2022. He was reelected to the House in the May 9 elections but accepted the position to head the Department of Justice.

He was the Cavite governor from 2016 to 2019, succeeding brother Jonvic when he became the spokesperson for former Vice President Jejomar Binay.

He served in the Presidential Management Staff during the short-lived Estrada presidency.

Remulla finished law at UP.

ARSENIO BALISACAN, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary

Balisacan was the first chair of the Philippine Competition Commission. Prior to this, he served as socioeconomic planning secretary under the Benigno Aquino III administration from 2012 to 2016. In his capacity as director general of the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda), he served as board chair of the Philippine Institute for Development Studies and as the first board chair of the Philippine Statistics Authority and the Public-Private Partnership Center of the Philippines. He is also a former undersecretary of the Department of Agriculture.

Prior to his Cabinet appointments, Balisacan reported to the World Bank in Washington, DC as an economist, and taught at the UP School of Economics, where he rose to become its dean.

Balisacan obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture from the Mariano Marcos State University; his Master of Science degree in Agricultural Economics from UP Los Baños; and his doctorate in Economics from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He was also a research fellow at East West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii.


Laguesma served as labor secretary during the Estrada administration and earlier as presidential assistant to then President Fidel Ramos from 1996 to 1998. He was appointed chair of the Social Security System’s audit committee in 2011 and a board member in 2013.

He was also a director and secretary of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines – Quezon City Chapter from 2005 to 2009 and president of the Rotary Club of Manila from 2007 to 2008.

Laguesma obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the Lyceum of the Philippines University and his law degree from Ateneo de Manila University. He also finished an administration course at the Royal Institute of Public Administration in London.

SUSAN “TOOTS” OPLE, Migrant Workers Affairs Secretary

A known advocate of migrant workers’ rights, she is the daughter of the late Sen. Blas Ople, a longtime labor minister of the late former President Ferdinand Marcos Sr.

Susan Ople was the founder and president of the nonprofit Blas Ople Policy Center and the national coordinator on women workers’ education for the International Labor Organization. She served as a labor undersecretary from 2004 to 2009, under the Arroyo administration, and was also named a trustee of the UN Trust Fund for Human Trafficking victims.

Ople took up Communication Arts at the University Santo Tomas and received a master’s degree in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

From left to right: Arsenio Balisacan, Ma. Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga, Maria Rosario Vergeire, Jaime Bautista

From left to right: Arsenio Balisacan, Ma. Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga, Maria Rosario Vergeire, Jaime Bautista

TRIXIE ANGELES, chief of the Presidential Communications Operations Office

Aside from being a vlogger with some 85,000 subscribers on her YouTube channel, lawyer and radio commentator Angeles was also a host of the Karambola program on radio station dwIZ.

She was also a former commissioner for cultural heritage at the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and a former spokesperson of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.

No stranger to the PCOO, she was its “social media strategist” from 2017 to 2018 under the Duterte presidency.

Angeles obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in Linguistics and law degree from UP.

BENJAMIN DIOKNO, Finance Secretary

Under the Duterte presidency, Diokno was appointed Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas governor in March 2019, after three years serving as budget secretary and one of the architects of the “Build, Build, Build’’ infrastructure program.

In January 2022, he was named the world’s Best Central Banker, a first for a Filipino, by the London-based The Banker, an international business, banking, and finance magazine owned by The Financial Times.

A professor emeritus at the UP School of Economics, Diokno was also the budget secretary during the Estrada administration.

Diokno obtained his bachelor’s degree in Public Administration and master’s degree in Public Administration and Economics from UP, and his Master of Arts degree in Political Economy from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. He also holds a doctorate degree in Economics from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs in Syracuse University, New York.

ALFREDO PASCUAL, Trade Secretary

Pascual is an international development banker and a finance expert. He served as president and cochair of the UP system between 2011 and 2017.

In December 2021, he was appointed president of the Management Association of the Philippines. At that time, he also served as the lead independent director at SM Investments Corp. and other publicly listed companies such as Megawide Construction and Concepcion Industrial.

His board memberships also include those in nonprofits and other organizations like the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD), Institute for Solidarity in Asia, Finex Academy, UP Foundation, Philippine Council for Foreign Relations and the US-Philippines Society. He was also ICD’s president and CEO from 2018 to 2019.

Pascual obtained his bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from UP and his master’s degree in Business Administration and Doctor of Humanities from the Partido State University. He also has a doctorate of pedagogy from the Angeles University Foundation and an honorary degree as Doctor of Sciences from the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila.

FELIPE MEDALLA, Governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas

An economist and educator, Medalla has served under four presidents. He was a member of the Monetary Board under then President Benigno Aquino III, and was appointed to a second term in 2017 by then President Rodrigo Duterte. Earlier Medalla was the socioeconomic planning secretary and director general of the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) from 1998 to 2001 during the Estrada administration. During the Ramos years, he became a member of the Presidential Task Force on Tax and Tariff Reform.

Medalla was a professor at the UP School of Economics, where he was also the dean from 1994 to 1998.

He became president of the Philippine Economic Society in 1996 and also chaired the Foundation for Economic Freedom, a nongovernmental organization engaged in public advocacy for fiscal reforms and market-friendly government policies.

Medalla obtained his Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees in Commerce (Economics-Accounting) from De La Salle University and his masters degree in Economics also from UP. He holds a doctorate in Economics from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

MANUEL BONOAN, Public Works Secretary

SMC Tollways president and chief executive officer Bonoan served as undersecretary for the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) during the Estrada and Arroyo administrations and was briefly the DPWH officer in charge in 2007. An engineer by profession, he also served as president of Skyway O&M Corp.

ANTON LAGDAMEO JR., Special Assistant to the President

Former Davao del Norte Lagdameo Jr. comes from one of the wealthiest families in Mindanao — the Floirendos. He had worked as a credit analyst for Manufacturers Hanover Trust bank in Manhattan, New York, from 1989 to1992 and later for National Westminster Bank also in New York for a year.

He became a director at Cambrick Trading Ltd. in London from 1993 to 1996. After these professional stints abroad, he returned to the Philippines and became vice president at Anflo Management & Investment Corp. in Davao, a position he held from 1996 to 2007.

Entering politics, he served as congressman of Davao del Norte’s second district from 2007 to 2016. He became a member of the House committees on agrarian reform, ecology, legislative franchises, Mindanao affairs, accounts; and of the joint congressional oversight committee on the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines.

He obtained his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Wharton School in the University of Pennsylvania and his master’s degree in Business Economics from the University of Asia and the Pacific.

MARIA ZENAIDA ANGPING, head of the Presidential Management Staff

Angping was elected as representative of Manila’s third district for nine years and served as technical assistant at the Office of the Governor of Leyte and executive assistant to Ambassador Benjamin Romualdez. She was also a member of the transition team assembled by then President-elect Marcos to help oversee the smooth transfer of power from the Duterte administration.

Angping is married to former Manila congressman and Philippine Sports Commission chair Harry Angping.

IVAN JOHN ENRILE UY, Information and Communications Secretary

Uy was the former chair of the Commission on Information and Communications Technology during the Benigno Aquino III administration. A lawyer, he also served as chief information officer and director of the Management Information Systems Office of the Supreme Court.

Uy obtained his Bachelor of Laws degree from UP, his baccalaureate degree from Ateneo de Manila University, and took up advanced studies at the University of Minnesota.

ENRIQUE MANALO, Foreign Secretary

Manalo, who comes from a family of diplomats, has built a career in the foreign service spanning more than 40 years.

Prior to his latest appointment as head of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Manalo served as the country’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations beginning July 2020. Before assuming that post in New York, he was the foreign undersecretary for policy, a position he held from 2007 to 2010, under the Aquino administration.

Manalo was designated acting secretary of the DFA in March 2017 after the Commission on Appointments rejected the nomination of Perfecto Yasay as secretary.

Before he was named undersecretary for policy in early 2016, he was the ambassador to the United Kingdom and nonresident ambassador to Ireland, Belgium, and Luxembourg.

He was also the head of mission to the European Union and permanent representative to the Philippine mission to the UN and Other International Organizations in Geneva.

Manalo is the son of the late writer-diplomat Armando Manalo and former ambassador Rosario Manalo, the first Filipino woman to pass the country’s career foreign service examinations.


Frasco won a third term as mayor of Liloan town, Cebu, in the May 9 elections. During the last campaign season, she also served as spokesperson for then vice presidential candidate Sara Duterte.

From 2019 to 2022, she held the post of vice president for the Visayas cluster of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines.

A lawyer, professor and businesswoman, she holds a Juris Doctor degree and Bachelor of Science degree in Management, Major in Legal Management, from Ateneo de Manila University.

Frasco is the daughter of Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia and the wife of the province’s fifth district representative, Vincent Franco Frasco.


Pangandaman served as BSP assistant governor and chief of staff from 2021 to 2022. From being Technical Advisor III, she rose through the BSP ranks and became managing director of the Office of the Governor and Executive Offices in 2019.

Earlier in her career, she worked in the Senate as a researcher and later headed the Policy Research Group of the office of Sen. Edgardo Angara. She later became Angara’s chief of staff in 2007.

She joined the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) under the Office of the Secretary, and was one of its assistant secretaries from 2016 to 2018. She was appointed undersecretary and concurrent director of the Budget Technical Bureau in 2018.

Pangandaman was one of the prime movers in the preparation, implementation, and monitoring of the General Appropriations Act and oversaw the implementation of the “Green, Green, Green” initiative during the Duterte presidency.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Far Eastern University and a Master of Arts degree in Development Economics from UP.

ERWIN TULFO, Social Welfare and Development Secretary

Tulfo is a well-known journalist, broadcaster, and TV and radio host. He was a broadcaster for the government media channel People’s Television Network and previously worked as a news anchor for TV5 and ABS-CBN.

He also hosted shows created by his brother, Ben, who owned Bitag Media Unlimited Inc., a company known for producing hard-hitting public service programs.

Tulfo also supported the Anti-Crime and Terrorism Community Involvement and Support Inc. (ACT-CIS), one of the front-running party list groups in the May 9 elections.

He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration (Special Degree Program) from the University of the East.

From left to right: Juan Ponce Enrile, Sara Duterte-Carpio, Erwin Tulfo, Jose Arnulfo Veloso

From left to right: Juan Ponce Enrile, Sara Duterte-Carpio, Erwin Tulfo, Jose Arnulfo Veloso

CLARITA CARLOS, National Security Adviser

Carlos is a retired UP political science professor and the recognized pioneer of political psychology in the Philippines.

Outside teaching, she has authored books and papers on political parties, elections, defense and security, and foreign policy.

Carlos was also the first female civilian president of the National Defense College of the Philippines, serving from 1998 to 2001.

She became a consultant to various government departments, including the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, and both chambers of Congress. She also concurrently served as head of the Office of Strategic and Special Concerns of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and director at the Philippine National Red Cross from 2001 to 2006.

Carlos has a doctorate in Political Science from UP, a postdoctoral degree in Political Psychology from Cornell University, and a postdoctoral degree in Comparative Foreign Policy Analysis from the University of California.

CONRADO ESTRELLA III, Agrarian Reform Secretary

Estrella was one of the House Deputy Speakers of the recently adjourned 18th Congress.

He was first elected to Congress as representative of Pangasinan’s sixth district from 1987 to 1995, and was reelected to serve successive terms from 2001 to 2010. In 2013, he returned to the House as Abono party list representative.

As a lawmaker, Estrella authored several bills that eventually led to the passage of the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010 and the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997.

Estrella also served as chief of the National Electrification Administration.

He is the grandson of Conrado Estrella Sr., the first agrarian reform secretary to serve for a decade and a half, and a brother to Robert Raymond, a former representative of Abono party list.

RICARDO DE LEON, Director General of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (Nica)

De Leon was a former Philippine National Police deputy director and former president of the Philippine Public Safety College’s board of trustees.

He was a member of the “Matatag” Class of 1971 at the Philippine Military Academy.

LILIA GUILLERMO, Internal Revenue Commissioner

Guillermo was a former budget undersecretary and former deputy commissioner of the Bureau of Internal Revenue before she was appointed chief information officer of the BSP, where she oversaw most of the steps toward the modernization of the central bank’s infotech systems under a roadmap set for completion in 2023.

She served three terms as president of the Chief Information Officers (CIO) Forum, an organization of all CIOs in government.

She was also part of the Automated Election System team for the 2010 elections and was cited for the successful implementation of the Philippines Tax Computerization Project, which upgraded the collection systems of the BIR and the Bureau of Customs.

Among the honors she has received is the 2019 Presidential Gawad Career Executive Service Award and the BSP Gawad Gantimpala Award. In 2003, she was named by Enterprise Magazine as one of the 11 “most powerful women in information technology in the Philippines.”

Guillermo earned a Bachelor of Science degree, Major in Statistics, in 1977 and a master’s degree in Industrial Engineering in 1981, both from UP.

From left to right: Clarita Carlos, Raphael Lotilla, Silvestre Bello III

From left to right: Clarita Carlos, Raphael Lotilla, Silvestre Bello III

JUAN PONCE ENRILE, Presidential Legal Counsel

One of the most enduring figures in the country’s political history, Enrile continues to be a presence in the corridors of power at age 98.

Thirty six years after turning his back on then President Ferdinand Marcos Sr. and playing a key role in his ouster in the 1986 Edsa People Power Revolution, the former martial law enforcer is serving the late strongman’s son, Ferdinand Jr.

In the post-Edsa years, he had served multiple terms as a senator, including a stint as Senate President. He represented his home province of Cagayan in the House from 1992 to 1995.

His first government appointment, in 1966, was as finance undersecretary. He later served as acting customs commissioner, chair of the Monetary Board and acting finance secretary.

But it was his role as defense minister of the first Marcos presidency that remained the most indelible and controversial in the public mind.

Enrile earned his law degree from UP in 1953 and placed 11th among the successful bar examinees a year later with a rating of 91.72 percent. He obtained his Master of Laws degree from Harvard Law School, specializing in taxation and corporate reorganization.

MENARDO GUEVARRA, Solicitor General

One of the Duterte Cabinet members given a new role by President Marcos, Guevarra first served the previous administration as senior deputy executive secretary (June 2016) and then as justice secretary (April 2018).

Under the Benigno Aquino III presidency, his last major position was commissioner of the newly formed Philippine Competition Commission.

Guevarra was a member of the Philippine legal team who in 2016 won a historic victory in the Permanent Court of Arbitration against China’s sweeping claims in the West Philippine Sea.

He also became an ex-officio member of the Judicial and Bar Council.

In the 1980s, he worked as a staff economist at Neda before his transfer to the Central Bank’s Department of Economic Research as a bank economist.

Guevarra earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Ateneo de Manila University, a master’s degree in Economics from UP, and a law degree also from Ateneo.

JOSE FAUSTINO JR., Defense Secretary

In February 2021, Faustino formally assumed his post as the 63rd commanding general of the Philippine Army.

A member of PMA “Maringal” Class of 1988, he held various key command roles throughout his 36 years in service, including a stint as commander of the Eastern Mindanao Command and Army Chief of Staff. He also served as Commandant of Cadets and Head of Tactics Group in the PMA.

Among the other units placed under his command were the 7th Scout Ranger Company, 35th Infantry Battalion and 501st Infantry Brigade. Under his leadership, the 10th Infantry Division dismantled four guerrilla fronts of the communist New People’s Army in a span of one year.

JAIME BAUTISTA, Transportation Secretary

Bautista served two terms as president of Philippine Airlines (PAL), from 2004 to 2012, and from 2014 to 2019.

He retired from the national flag carrier after 26 years, having risen to the top echelon as executive vice president (1999 to 2004), chief financial officer (1994 to 1999), and vice president for finance (1993 to 1994).

Outside PAL, Bautista sat on the UE board as vice chair from 2002 to 2019, and has been a member of its board of trustees since 1991.

Bautista is a certified public accountant who earned his bachelor’s degree in Commerce (major in Accounting) from Colegio de San Juan de Letran-Manila. In 2018, the Central Luzon State University conferred on him an honorary degree as Doctor of Humanities.

JOSE CALIDA, Commission on Audit Chief

Calida was the solicitor general during the presidency of Rodrigo Duterte from 2016 to 2022. He also served as justice undersecretary during Arroyo presidency from 2001 to 2004 and concurrently as executive director of the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) in 2004.

Calida was a consultant to the House committee on dangerous Drugs from 2005 to 2007, and earned recognition—the International Award of Honor—from the International Narcotic Enforcement Officers Association for his accomplishments in the campaign against illegal drugs.

His earlier legal practice was at J. Calida & Associates, where he specialized in litigation, antimoney laundering and dangerous drugs cases.

Calida graduated from Ateneo de Davao University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English before finishing law in 1973 at Ateneo de Manila University.

JOSE ARNULFO VELOSO, President and General Manager of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS)

In 2012, Veloso became the first Filipino chief executive officer of HongKong Shanghai Banking Corp. – Philippines, a milestone in HSBC’s 144 years of operations in the country.

He joined the bank in 1994 as the local head for interest rate trading and to top positions, including the board chairmanship of HSBC Savings Bank (Phils).

Prior to his appointment to the GSIS, Veloso was the president and CEO of Philippine National Bank (PNB), and was once adjudged “Best CEO” during the Asian Banker’s annual Leadership Achievement Awards.

With more than 30 years in the banking sector, Veloso was elected president of the influential Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP) in March and has been a director at BAP since 2015.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in commerce, major in marketing management, from De La Salle University in Manila in 1986.

From left to right: Jose Calida, Jesus Crispin Remulla, and Benhur Abalos

From left to right: Jose Calida, Jesus Crispin Remulla, and Benhur Abalos


Lotilla is back to the energy portfolio that he held during the Arroyo administration from 2005 to 2007.

Earlier, from 1996 to 2004, he was with Neda as its deputy director general.

Prior to this latest appointment from President Marcos, Lotilla was an independent director at Aboitiz Power and ENEXOR.

He earlier served as president of the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM), a government corporation tasked to manage the privatization of power generation assets and the management of financial obligations of the state-owned National Power Corp. (Napocor).

Lotilla taught law at UP and also served as the state university’s vice president for public affairs (1991) and director of the UP Law Center’s Institute of International Legal Studies (1989–1996).

He finished history, psychology and law courses at UP and later earned a Master of Laws degree from the University of Michigan.

MA. ANTONIA YULO-LOYZAGA, Environment Secretary

Yulo-Loyzaga, wife of former basketball star Chito Loyzaga, served as the executive director of the Manila Observatory from 2007 to 2016 and a trustee of Ateneo de Manila University from 2007 to 2017.

From 2016 to 2020, she chaired the observatory’s International Advisory Board, focusing on climate action and disaster resilience. She was also a technical adviser to the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation.

Yulo-Loyzaga is currently a member of the Senior Advisory Board of the Command and General Staff College of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

She graduated from Georgetown University with a master of government degree.

KARLO ALEXEI NOGRALES, chair of the Civil Service Commission

Nograles served as Cabinet secretary during the Duterte administration, which also tapped him to cochair the International Agency for the Study of Emerging Infectious Diseases to help in the pandemic response.

He had also chaired the National Irrigation Administration, the Cabinet Assistance System, and the Cabinet Cluster Secretariat.

Prior to joining the Cabinet in 2018, he had served three terms as congressman representing the first district of Davao City and once chaired the powerful House committee on appropriations.

Nograles graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Management Engineering and a Juris Doctorate from Ateneo de Manila University.

SILVESTRE BELLO III, chief of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (Meco) in Taiwan

A seasoned lawyer, businessman and human rights advocate, Bello has served the government under four consecutive administrations and in various capacities.

He was the Duterte administration’s labor secretary from 2016 to 2022 and Cabinet secretary of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo from 2004 to 2010.

During the Cory Aquino administration, he was justice undersecretary from 1986 to 1991, and later the secretary until 1992.

The Ramos administration made him solicitor general in 1996, and he would return to head the Department of Justice in 1998 at the start of the Estrada presidency.

In the 16th Congress, under the Benigno Aquino administration, Bello entered the House as representative of the 1BAP party list from 2013 to 2016.

He finished political science at Manuel L. Quezon University, before taking up law at Ateneo de Manila University.


The country’s 17th president made the unusual decision of appointing himself to a specific Cabinet position — agriculture secretary — in what may be an indication of his top priority as chief executive.

When he was still a senator from 2010 to 2016, Marcos pushed for agriculture-related measures such as Senate Bill No. 14 or the proposed National Irrigation Program, SB 112 or the draft National Seeds Production Act, SB 1863 or the proposed Anti-Rice Wastage Act, and SB 409 or the proposed Philippine Soybean Authority Act.

In the 16th Congress, he was a member of the committees on agrarian reform and on agriculture and Food, as well as the Agricultural and Fisheries Modernization and Congressional Oversight Committee on Agrarian Reform.

In 2015, he called out the scant attention given to agriculture in the SONA delivered that year by then President Benigno Aquino III, noting that the country still lacked preparation for the full implementation of the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA).

Sources: Inquirer Archives, Official Gazette of the Philippines,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, Philippine News Agency,,,,


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