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Anong alam niya? Drilon hits Duterte’s appointment of military official to DSWD

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Senator Frank Drilon on Sunday frowned at the possibility that an “outsider” will head the Department of Social Welfare (DSWD).

The Senate minority leader is opposed to the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte to appoint a former military officer to lead the DSWD.

Duterte had announced that army chief Lt. Gen. Rolando Bautista will become his next DSWD secretary.

However, Drilon said the DSWD is a very “sensitive” and crucial social welfare agency. It has an important role in the delivery of basic government services.

“Hence, administration of the agency should be left to career officials,” the senator from Iloilo said.

He said the President “should reconsider his decision to appoint a retired military officer as DSWD secretary.”

“We should not militarize the government. We should maintain the civilian nature of our bureaucracies,” Drilon said.

While he acknowledged that it is a prerogative of the President to choose and appoint top government officials, Drilon said the DSWD plays a very important role in the government’s poverty alleviation program, citing the implementation of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) as a major program being implemented by DSWD.

“I am certain there are those from the civilian sector who are equally, if not more qualified and competent, to hold government positions, particularly the DSWD,” Drilon said.

At present, there are numerous retired miltary officers occupying key government posts, including former Armed Forces chiefs of staff Roy Cimatu as environment secretary, Eduardo Año as Interior secretary, and Ricardo Visaya as head of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA).

Other former miltary officials are also appointed to government posts such as Delfin Lorenzana as defense secretary and Danilo Lim and Alexander Balutan as chairman of Metro Manila Develoment Authority (MMDA) and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), respectively.

Drilon said there are other government posts the President can offer to qualified military officers.

He recalled the appointment of active military officers to civilian posts was a practice during martial law days but was later on prohibited because of the danger of militarizing the bureaucracy.