President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has appointed Valenzuela Rep. Rex Gatchalian as the new head of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
Gatchalian, who took his oath of office at the Palace yesterday hours after Mr. Marcos graced the 72nd founding anniversary of the DSWD, succeeded former journalist Erwin Tulfo.
Tulfo was bypassed by the Commission on Appointments last year following questions on his US citizenship and his previous libel convictions. He was not reappointed by the President.
“I just took my oath as head of DSWD. Mr. President, thank you for giving me the opportunity to be able to serve the country in a much larger capacity,” Gatchalian said on Twitter as he assured his constituents in Valenzuela it will be “business as usual” and that “a caretaker will be appointed by the House of Representatives in the coming days.”
The Palace lauded Gatchalian’s achievements as a local chief executive, noting the inclusion of Valenzuela in the Top 10 Outstanding Local Governance Programs in Galing Pook in 2021.
As this developed, President Marcos urged the DSWD to continue calibrating the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) as well as developing the other government’s social protection initiatives.
“Continue calibrating the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program and strengthening the government’s social protection initiatives, especially since one of the measures we undertake to address poverty is through the grants that we provide for the health needs of every household and education of our children,” Marcos said in his speech during the DSWD’s anniversary program.
DSWD officer-in-charge Edu Punay told Manila Standard that at least 500 beneficiaries will “graduate” within the first semester to pave the way for the inclusion of new and more needy beneficiaries.
Punay said with at least 200,000 beneficiaries removed from the 4Ps list last year, a total of 700,000 slots will be opened this year.
The President also called on the DSWD to continue the enforcement of the Unconditional Cash Transfer program in order to provide cash grants to poor households and individuals as well as to enhance the Social Pension Program for Indigent Senior Citizens.
“I encourage the DSWD once again to remain steadfast in your commitment to ensuring that more Filipinos will be provided with quality service in the coming years. The work that you do is crucial, and I am assured that with your dedication and hard work, we will continue to make progress in uplifting the lives of our fellow Filipinos,” Mr. Marcos said.