Marcos Jr. picks Rex Gatchalian as new DSWD secretary

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 31 2023 07:20 PM | Updated as of Jan 31 2023 09:47 PM

Presidential Communications Office screengrab
Presidential Communications Office screengrab

MANILA (UPDATE) - President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. appointed Valenzuela City First District Rep. Rex Gatchalian as the new head of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Malacañang said Tuesday. 

A video shared by the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) showed Marcos leading Gatchalian's oath-taking in the Palace. 

"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.

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."

In a statement, the DSWD welcomed Gatchalian's appointment, saying the agency's workforce will support and work with its new secretary to perform its mandate.

"The DSWD workforce commits to work with the newly appointed Secretary in ensuring that the mandate of the Department is carried out effectively, efficiently and economically," it said.

"The DSWD community supports the President in appointing Secretary Gatchalian to lead the Department in its pursuit of compassionate public service with respect for human dignity, integrity and service excellence," it added.

Gatchalian succeeds former journalist Erwin Tulfo, who was bypassed by the Commission on Appointments last year following questions on his US citizenship and his previous libel convictions.

Until Gatchalian's appointment, the DSWD was headed by its Undersecretary for Special Projects, Eduardo "Edu" Punay. Marcos appointed the former journalist as officer-in-charge of the agency late last month.

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. 

"Nakilala rin si Mayor Rex para sa mga programang nailunsad para sa social protection at disaster response," it said. 

Gatchalian, brother of Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, returned to the House of Representatives in May last year after running unopposed in the race for Congress for the first District of Valenzuela.

He also served as a Congressman during the 14th and 15th Congress.