“Erwin promises to be among the first to arrive at the scene of disasters, professional people of DSWD in tow, with cash, if necessary (which is often)”
Labor Secretary Benny Laguesma
Accepting the DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment) job was a “tough decision,” he says. But then, he does not want to miss a “chance of a lifetime” to once again serve in the government.
A highly regarded labor lawyer, Benny Laguesma has had stints at DOLE – first under the presidency of late Ferdinand Marcos Sr., and continuing into the administration of Presidents Fidel Ramos and Joseph Estrada.
“It’s not so easy to say no to a president-elect who is really sincere in trying to really put together all plans and programs that can benefit the entire Filipino nation,” he says. And so he is back at DOLE serving under his fourth president.
The call this time is much different. Easily 30 million Filipinos have no jobs, almost half of the 76 million Filipinos who are able bodied and 15 and above.
Where does the government get those jobs. At least 8,000 jobs must be created every day or three million jobs a year to somehow ease the massive unemployment problem.
Benny is a graduate of Ateneo de Manila College of Law, 1971-1975 and Lyceum of the Philippines, AB Political Science, 1967-1971. He was class Valedictorian of the Novaliches High School, 1967.
He has postgraduate studies as a Colombo Scholar in Administration Course at the Royal Institute of Public Administration, London, UK in 1985.
He was a graduate of the CES Development Program Session XIX at the Development Academy of the Philippines in 1984 and bestowed the highest CESO rank of CESO I. CESO graduates are top caliber and cannot be fired from their job.
Budget Secretary Amenah Pangamdaman
In 2021, Amenah “Mina” Flaminiano Pangandaman was promoted to assistant governor of the Bangko Sentral Pilipinas.
Less than a year later, in 2022, she became a Cabinet secretary. She will head the Department of the Budget and Management (DBM). She is a member of President Marcos Jr.’s economic team, headed by her boss, Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno.
As DBM chief, she prepares a budget that easily exceeds P5.2 trillion a year, for a population that is the 12th largest on earth and an economy that is 33rd largest in the world.
Yet, government is hamstrung these days. Government revenues, from taxes and fees of all kinds are not growing fast, if at all. Growing with great haste though are state debts and deficits. Solving those disparate events requires careful balancing.
Foreign credit agencies are watching – with bated breath. Creditors are watching too, with some hesitation, prudently, to lend more.
Amenah is best known for excellent work while plodding the huge bureaucracy in all the three branches of government. She began as researcher at the Senate and became chief of staff of the late Senate President Edgardo J. Angara.
In 2018, she joined the executive branch as undersecretary of the Budget with Ben Diokno as secretary.
When Diokno was named BSP governor, she joined him as an assistant and in 2021, assistant governor.
Social Welfare Secretary Erwin Tulfo
Media exposure can do wonders for the people in media and for ordinary people who seek media’s help.
The influence and power are felt most profoundly if the media person is in broadcast, radio, television or online.
Erwin Teshiba Tulfo has been a longtime radio-tv broadcaster.
He has worked with state PTV’s flagship primetime news program Ulat Bayan. He was the host of Tutok Tulfo, former co-host of T3: Kapatid Sagot Kita! together with his brothers Raffy and Ben. He was one of the news anchors of Aksyon together with News5 Chief Luchi Cruz-Valdes.
As the secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Erwin will see plenty of action – giving cash assistance to the needy, dispossessed, and to victims of all kinds of calamities and maladies.
As in his private tv stints, the drama and the color will be the same, only this time he is not spending his or other people’s money but the money of the government, taxes, yours and mine.
Erwin says he will focus on youth rehabilitation and cleaning records at the corruption-tainted 4Ps or the government’s poverty-alleviation pantawid pamilya social protection program.
Under the 4Ps, poor families received monthly cash doleouts provided they complied with some conditions—like pregnant women must seek natal care, kids must have checkups and vaccines, kids must enrol in school, and parents must receive birth control brainwashing.
In addition, Erwin promises to be among the first to arrive at the scene of disasters, professional people of DSWD in tow, with cash, if necessary (which is often).