Duterte orders drastic revamp of Office of Cabinet Secretary

MANILA, Philippines – Through an executive order, President Rodrigo Duterte removed almost all of the powers of the Cabinet Secretary he had given to the post at the start of his presidency.

Executive Order No 67, signed on Wednesday, October 31, transfers 8 agencies that had been under the Office of the Cabinet Secretary when it was still led by Leoncio Evasco Jr to other departments.

Duterte's very first EO transferred a total of 12 agencies under Evasco. In the years that followed, subsequent EOs whittled this down  to 9.

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The latest EO means the next Cabinet Secretary will now only be in charge of establishing the Cabinet meeting agenda, facilitating Cabinet meeting discussions, and coordinating between the Cabinet Clusters.

It retains its role as head of the Cabinet Cluster secretariats and will continue to sit in Cabinet Cluster meetings and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board meetings.

These radical changes come after Evasco, a former communist rebel and trusted aide of Duterte, resigned from the post of Cabinet Secretary to run for Bohol governor. 

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo has said that Davao 1st District Representative Karlo Nograles is being considered to take over Evasco's post.

Below is the list of affected offices and where they will be transferred to:

The EO says the transfer of the above agencies is meant to "strengthen the democratic and institutional framework of the executive department," promote efficiency, and eliminate "roadblocks and impediments" to the attainment of the administration's agenda.

New name. The Office of the Cabinet Secretary will also now be known by its old name, Cabinet Secretariat. This was the office's name before Executive Order No 99, issued during the Benigno Aquino III administration.

Abolished offices. Duterte also abolished two offices that were under the OCS – the Office of Participatory Governance (OPG) and the Performance and Projects Management Office (PPMO).

The OPG had been in charge of linking grassroots organizations to government efforts to alleviate poverty and institute reforms. Its personnel had also been active in Kilusang Pagbabago, a nationwide movement in support of Duterte-promised reforms.

The PPMO, meanwhile, tracked targets set by departments and clusters.  Its functions will be performed by the Presidential Management Staff. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.