BBM President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. administers the oath of office to Valuenzuela 1st District Rep. Rex Gatchalian as the new secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development on Tuesday (Jan. 31, 2023). Source: Rex Gatchalian Facebook page

Gatchalian excellent choice to head DSWD

February 1, 2023 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 273 views

Romualdez: Congress’ loss is DSWD’s gain

SPEAKER Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez on Wednesday welcomed the appointment of Valenzuela City Rep. Rex Gatchalian as Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Gatchalian was sworn in as the new DSWD secretary in Malacañang on Tuesday, coinciding with the celebration of the department’s 72nd founding anniversary.

Romualdez believes Gatchalian is an excellent choice to head the DSWD, citing the latter’s outstanding track record and long experience as a public servant.

“Cong., now Secretary Rex, the loss of Congress is the gain of the DSWD. We wish you the best of luck,” Speaker Romualdez said in a media interview.

“We know that you’re going to do a fantastic job. You’ve done so well in Valenzuela, we know your public service, your dedication, your diligence, your energy, will translate to further success for the DSWD,” Speaker Romualdez added.

Cavite Rep. Elpidio “Pidi” Barzaga, Jr. said President Marcos made a great choice in appointing Gatchalian as secretary of social welfare and development because of his sterling record both as a local chief executive and a lawmaker.

Being a three-time mayor of Valenzuela City, Barzaga said his personal touch in attending to the needs of his constituents will be invaluable as he takes the helm of the DSWD.

“Rex, a graduate of the George Washington University, has been my colleague in the House of Representatives where he was elected thrice so I know his competence and capacity as a public servant and more importantly, I know that he has a heart for the poor.”

“He is a perfect fit for the role because he personally knows and has seen the problems of his poor constituents who are in need of medical assistance, livelihood and other basic services. As a mayor, one of his programs was the Barangay-Based Feeding Program (BBFP), Valenzuela City’s free supply of nutritious, ready-to-cook food for malnourished children,” Barzaga said.

“They also had the Kitchen-on-Wheels program which is the mobile
kitchen used by the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) to immediately deliver meals for typhoon victims or disaster-stricken communities. It is therefore my honest opinion that our friend and colleague will succeed as Social Welfare Secretary not only because of his credentials but because of his genuine desire to serve the poor and uplift their lives,” Barzaga added.

Before his appointment to DSWD, Gatchalian served as representative of the 1st District of Valenzuela City, which he also represented in the House under the 14th and 15th Congress.

He was likewise elected as the city’s 26th mayor.

Speaker Romualdez said that in the meantime, the House would likely appoint a caretaker because of the vacancy created by Gatchalian’s appointment to DSWD.

“Usually, when a vacancy occurs such as in the case where Cong. Rex Gatchalian has been appointed and has now taken his oath as Secretary of the DSWD there’s a vacancy so there will be a caretaker for that situation of his absence,” Speaker Romualdez explained.

However, the Speaker noted that the choice of the caretaker will be decided after consultation with Gatchalian and his political party, the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC).

Romualdez said the House would eventually have to issue a Declaration of Vacancy and a call for special elections to allow the city’s voters to choose their new representative to the chamber.

“So mabuhay po ang DSWD with the assumption of the new Secretary. And we wish Sec. Rex Gatchalian a good friend of mine, a classmate of mine in the 14th Congress all the best. And for the DSWD, please continue your excellent service to the Filipino people,” Romualdez said.