Gatchalian’s appointment as DSWD chief welcomed by Tulfo, House reps
MANILA, Philippines — The appointment of Valenzuela City Representative Rex Gatchalian as the new chief of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) was met with more positive responses on Wednesday, including from erstwhile secretary, Erwin Tulfo.
Several senators have already expressed their support for the new social welfare chief, expressing their confidence in his experience as a former Mayor of Valenzuela City.
“I believe the president made the right choice of putting or appointing Congressman Gatchalian as the new DSWD Secretary. I believe DSWD will be in good hands and I believe that social services will always come in time, especially during calamities because I know this guy, I’ve known him for quite some time now,” said Tulfo in an interview on ANC.
READ: Senators welcome Rex Gatchalian’s appointment as DSWD chief
Tulfo lost his post after the Commission on Appointments did not confirm his appointment due to questions about his citizenship and a libel conviction.
Members of the House of Representatives, whom Gatchalian worked with during his time as a legislator, also lauded the appointment.
“[Congressman], now [Secretary] Rex, the loss of Congress is the gain of the DSWD. We wish you the best of luck. We know that you’re going to do a fantastic job. You’ve done so well in Valenzuela, we know your public service,” said House Speaker Martin Romualdez.
Romualdez also explained that for cases where an elected representative gets appointed for an executive position, the House needs to look for a “caretaker” during Gatchalian’s absence as a legislator.
Other representatives also extended their approval of the appointment in separate statements, such as Manila 6th District Rep. Bienvenido Abante Jr. and Deputy Speaker Ralph Recto.
“As a legislator, Rex is aware of the social causes of poverty which will drive him to focus on its roots, and not just on its symptoms. And if being a DSWD head requires the handling of disasters and managing development, he’s been there and done that,” Recto said.
“Our former colleague has firsthand experience working on the ground, and is familiar with the concerns and challenges involved in implementing national social protection programs that target the poor, vulnerable, and the disadvantaged,” said Abante.
Think tank Infrawatch also welcomed the appointment due to his experience of leading a city, however, they warned Gatchalian of possible challenges.
“One of the most immediate challenges facing Sec. Gatchalian has been the scattershot implementation of cash aid benefits to various families and groups, as the public has always been seeing massive, unmanaged crowds lining up in DSWD and local government offices. His department should also be at the frontline in responding to a brewing social crisis as a result of the ongoing economic difficulties in the country,” said Infrawatch in a statement.
In August 2022, large swarms of people crowded the DSWD office to seek financial aid, prompting the Alliance of Concerned Teachers to issue a statement saying that “it also highlights the glaring need [for] aid for Filipino families.” EDV
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