MANILA - Former Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon "Dinky" Soliman learned to serve the public through her grandmother who volunteered at the Philippine Red Cross.
Soliman, who strengthened the implementation of the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) or Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino (PPP) Program (4Ps) during the Benigno Aquino III administration, passed away at the age of 68 on Sunday.
She had served in non-government organizations for 30 years prior to joining government in 2001 when then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo appointed her as Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary.
"Nakakapagod din. Kaya lang, ang laki naman din ng nahuhugot kong lakas at pag-asa 'pag nakakausap ko ang mga tao mismo at nakikita ko ang pagbabago na ginagawa nila sa buhay nila dahil sa tulong na naibibigay namin," Soliman told ABS-CBN News in 2014.
(It's tiresome but I get a huge amount of strength and hope when I talk to people, whose lives I see change using help we gave.)
The PPP program is "an investment to the future of our children," Soliman told ABS-CBN's Tina Monzon-Palma.
"These are children of parents who did not finish elementary school... The president is investing in the future of these children to ensure we break the inter-generational cycle of poverty," she said, referring to Aquino, who, in late June, passed away.
"If your education and health is taken care of, your life chances of improvement increases, at least double."
Former Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, who also served under the Aquino administration, said the 4Ps that "benefited millions of Filipinos"... "should seal" Soliman's "legacy of truly caring for the poor and underprivileged."
"Dinky you left a legacy of caring – devoted wife, caring mother, untiring community worker, the epitome of a selfless, honest, competent public servant, a courageous advocate for social justice and reliable leader of civil society;an empathetic friend, and just simply an amazing person," Purisima wrote on his Facebook account.
"Dinky your time on earth was not enough compared to the amount of good you could still have done and wanted to do. Despite this, you helped, touched and gave hope to millions of people, specially those who needed society’s help the most, many of whom are mourning right now."
Soliman, though the "smallest member" of Aquino's Cabinet, had the "biggest heart", her colleague, former presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said also Sunday.
"Dinky was our indefatigable DSWD Secretary. In any calamity, she was there. She ensured the poorest were not left behind through the CCT program," he said.
"She was the smallest member of our Cabinet but the biggest heart among us. Salamat (Thank you) Dinky! Rest now in your little patch of sunflowers."