MANILA - In yet another testament to his heavy reliance and trust in the military, President Rodrigo Duterte said in a taped address aired Friday morning that he would tap soldiers for the COVID-19 immunization program once a vaccine is available.
He said this would “remove partisan, favoritism; this will remove petty corruption.”
The President has been known to appoint former military generals to critical posts in his administration, at one point defending criticism about the "militarization" of the cabinet.
"When a military man retires, he is for all intents and purposes nothing but a civilian. And second, because I can rely on them. And third is because most of them are fundamentally honest," Duterte said in comments in August last year.
In the face of an unprecedented pandemic, Duterte has named his military appointees to key roles in the country’s COVID-19 response.
Here are the former generals leading the country's response to the COVID-19 crisis:
DEFENSE SECRETARY DELFIN LORENZANA
ROLE: Chair, National Task Force Against COVID-19
Lorenzana has been with the Duterte Cabinet since the President assumed office in June 2016. He was the 2001 commander of the Philippine Army Special Operations Command.
INTERIOR SECRETARY EDUARDO AÑO
ROLE: Vice Chair, National Task Force Against COVID-19
Año has been at the helm of the Department of the Interior and Local Government since January 2018 but only formally assumed office in November of the same year. He was a chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
PEACE PROCESS ADVISER CARLITO GALVEZ JR.
ROLE: COVID-19 policy chief implementer
Galvez has been with the Duterte Cabinet since December 2018. He is also a former chief of staff of the military.
ENVIRONMENT SECRETARY ROY CIMATU
ROLE: Cebu City COVID-19 Response Overseer
Cimatu has been head of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources since May 2017. He was also a chief of staff of the military.
- with reports from Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News