PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has expressed his intentions to appoint a CNN hero, who is also a civic worker and “education on pushcart” proponent to head the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor.
In a speech during the Christmas party for Davao media Friday night, Duterte instructed his staff to find the whereabouts of 2009 CNN Hero of the Year Efren Penaflorida, who pioneered a mobile classroom that sought to teach basic education to street children.
“Give me someone who is poor but able, and I will appoint him as chairman. The first person I am considering is the guy who pushes carts, I will make him chairman,” Duterte said in an hour-long speech at the so-called “Panacañang” Presidential Guest House.
Duterte said he was also eyeing five farmers from Davao to join the commission.
He said he had been looking for a person with a simple lifestyle, one who could be productive and avoid unnecessary trips overseas.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said presidential appointments “fall under the exclusive prerogative of the President.”
“Nothing is certain at this point. Everything has to go through a process. The other party has yet to give a response.
Both parties also need to personally discuss and thresh out expectations to (sic) the job and/or position,” Roque said.
In 2009, then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo also awarded Peñaflorida with the Order of Lakandula, a high political and civic merit given to individuals who exhibited “dedication to the responsibilities of leadership, prudence, fortitude, courage, and resolve in the service of one’s people.”
Earlier this week, Duterte fired former Presidential Commission on the Urban Poor chief Terry Ridon for failing to convene the commission as a collegial body and for attending “unnecessary junkets.”
The PCUP was created through an executive order in 1986 as government’s “direct link” to the urban poor and aid in the formulation of policies to address their needs.
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