Choice of lawmaker as DSWD chief lauded | Inquirer News

Choice of lawmaker as DSWD chief lauded

/ 05:46 AM February 02, 2023

Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Rex Gatchalian. STORY: Choice of lawmaker as DSWD chief lauded

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. swears in Valenzuela Rep. Rex Gatchalian as chief of the Department of Social Welfare and Development. (Photo from Gatchalian’s Facebook page)

MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives will first declare Valenzuela Rep. Rex Gatchalian’s seat vacant following his appointment as social welfare secretary and then appoint a caretaker for the city’s first district.

In an interview with reporters on Wednesday, House Speaker Martin Romualdez said that he would discuss the setup with Gatchalian and his party, the Nationalist People’s Coalition.


“Usually, when a vacancy occurs such as in this case where he was appointed and has taken his oath as secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD),… there will be a caretaker…,” Romualdez said.


Gatchalian’s appointment was announced on Tuesday by the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) which posted on social media a video of President Marcos administering the oath of office to him in Malacañang.

“Under the leadership of Gatchalian as mayor, Valenzuela was included in the Top 10 Outstanding Local Government Programs in the Galing Pook Awards in 2021. Mayor Rex also gained recognition for programs launched for social protection and disaster response,” the PCO said.

The DSWD has been headed by officer in charge Undersecretary Edu Punay since Mr. Marcos’ original appointee, Erwin Tulfo, was bypassed for the second time by the Commission on Appointments last month.

Gatchalian is the brother of Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian and incumbent Valenzuela City Mayor Wes Gatchalian.

“The loss of Congress is the gain of the DSWD… We know that you’re going to do a fantastic job. You’ve done so well in Valenzuela City, we know your public service, your dedication, your diligence. Your energy will translate to further success for the DSWD,” Romualdez said.

‘Extremely qualified’

Several lawmakers also welcomed Gatchalian’s appointment and vouched for his track record as a lawmaker and former mayor.


House Senior Deputy Minority Leader Rep. Paul Daza called him “extremely qualified” for the DSWD post, having served for three terms as Valenzuela mayor before being elected as House representative.

“He vastly improved the health and social services in his constituency. His exemplary performance as Valenzuela City’s local chief executive, especially during the pandemic, showed his understanding of the problems on the ground and his commitment to public service,” Daza said.

“I am confident that under his leadership, the DSWD will be guided by the same professionalism and compassion that have defined his successful career. A success that, I firmly believe, he can replicate in handling the country’s social and poverty alleviation programs,” he added. For House Deputy Speaker Rep. Ralph Recto, Gatchalian “comes well-prepared for one of the toughest and thankless jobs in the government.”

During the pandemic

“For one, he survived the stress test of being a big city mayor during the pandemic, a position which put him in close contact with the people and their problems. 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,” he said.

House ways and means panel chair Rep. Joey Salceda, meanwhile, expressed optimism that Gatchalian would “get things done” as he has demonstrated a commitment to “evidence-based and data-driven governance.”

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“When I was governor of Albay, Valenzuela City was one of our toughest competitors for awards for good governance. He has been one of the country’s most innovative mayors. Valenzuela City has pioneered several best practices that many of us in government look up to as examples to emulate in our own communities. These include Bahay Kalinga for elderly citizens and the Valenzuela Child Protection Center,” Salceda said.


Senators welcome Rex Gatchalian’s appointment as DSWD chief

Gatchalian’s appointment as DSWD chief welcomed by Tulfo, House reps

Marcos names Valenzuela Rep. Gatchalian as DSWD chief


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