DAVAO CITY - Incoming Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Judy Taguiwalo said she disagrees with the decision of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte to allow a Libingan ng mga Bayani burial for the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos.
Taguiwalo, who was endorsed by the leftist National Democratic Front (NDF) to Duterte, said she is a victim of human rights during the Martial Law period and can never agree with the burial of Marcos at the heroes’ cemetery.
However, she said this does not mean that she can’t work with Duterte, whose father was close to the late strongman.
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“I was arrested, tortured. I spent years in prison. Personal ko na experience iyan… President Duterte expressed his own experience — his father was appointed [by Marcos] so it was a different experience. I don’t think he would tolerate the human rights violations that the Marcoses did because they were friends and I think he already clarified that,” Taguiwalo told reporters.
The president-elect's father, Vicente, was Cabinet Secretary for
General Services during Marcos' first term as president.
“I’m against the burial of Marcos and I think Duterte would understand it because I’m a victim of the Marcoses. So I said I’m against it, but is his position of giving Marcos a burial in whatever cemetery enough for me to say ‘I don’t want to be part of your Cabinet?’ I don’t think so, because there are other bigger issues right now that we can work on together.”
Taguiwalo believes that Duterte can bring about changes in government and eradicate corruption, citing the new president’s proposals to do away with wasteful practices and activities.
“Nagko-call on siya na simple lang na kotse, economy class, [flights] wala ng Lakbay Aral, huwag na gamitin ang proyekto ng gobyerno para sa junkets. It is a good start,” she said.
Meanwhile, Taguiwalo said she would order a review of the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) Program, the flagship anti-poverty program of the incumbent Aquino administration wherein the country’s poorest are given money on condition that parents send their children to school and pregnant mothers receive pre- and post-natal care.
She said she would look into allegations that the program is being used for politicking and anti-insurgency.
She said one of her objectives is to make sure CCT program beneficiaries would be able to stand on their own feet eventually.
“Alam ko na may nakikinabang talaga sa 4Ps [Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program]. Pero sinasabi rin ng iba na gusto nila sa totoo lang ng trabaho, [yung] sustainable,” she said.
“Is it possible na magkaroon na ang mga beneficiaries would be able to organize themselves into cooperatives or other livelihood programs and projects so eventually they’d be able to take care of themselves. In other words hindi ko ihihinto, pag-aaralan nating mabuti para matiyak na ang pamilyang Pilipino ay hindi kailangan umasa sa allowance na makuha nila.”