Career official as DSWD chief pressed

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Sen. Franklin Drilon.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon yesterday opposed the appointment of Army chief Lt. Gen. Rolando Bautista as secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Drilon said he has nothing personal against Bautista but he maintained that the administration of the agency should be left to career DSWD officials who are experts in the delivery of basic government services.

“The President should reconsider his decision to appoint a retired military officer as DSWD secretary. The DSWD is a very sensitive and crucial social welfare agency,” Drilon said in radio interview.

Drilon acknowledged it is Duterte’s prerogative to appoint top government officials.

Drilon acknowledged though that it is the prerogative of the President to choose and appoint top government officials.

He averred that the DSWD plays a very important role in the government’s poverty alleviation program, including the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.

“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 and Natural Resources secretary, Eduardo Año as Interior and Local Government secretary, and Ricardo Visaya as head of the National Irrigation Administration.

Other former military 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 and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, 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.

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