MANILA, Philippines – Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea confirmed Monday, November 19, that President Rodrigo Duterte fired 3 Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) undersecretaries to help the department’s new head appoint his own people.
“Yes. We expect the new secretary to bring his own team to provide better services to the public,” Medialdea said in a message on Monday, when asked about the issue.
DSWD Assistant Secretary Glenda Relova identified the two who were asked to step down as Undersecretary for Protective Programs Mae Fe Templa and Undersecretary for Promotive Programs Maria Lourdes Turalde Jarabe.
Undersecretary for Disaster Response Management Group Hope Hervilla also handed her resignation, which was accepted by Duterte.
According to Medialdea, the DSWD officials’ posts were vacated so that newly appointed Social Welfare Secretary Rolando Bautista could form his own team.
In response, Bautista told Rappler that the vacant positions are open for those who have “unquestionable integrity” and the desire to serve the poor “without any conditions.”
“If they satisfy these basic qualifications, then they can form part of the DSWD team,” he said.
Before joining government in 2016, the 3 DSWD undersecretaries were members of left-leaning organizations, similar to then-secretary Judy Taguiwalo.
Jarabe served as Gabriela Women’s Party secretary-general, Hervilla had been a Bayan Muna regional chairperson, and Templa was a member of the Forum of Women for Action with Rody Duterte.
Medialdea said their affiliations with the Left had nothing to do with Duterte’s decision to ask them to leave their posts.
A 4th undersecretary, former Gabriela Women’s Party representative Luzviminda Ilagan, remains in office.
Ilagan has enjoyed good ties with Duterte ever since the two served in the Davao City government. – Rappler.com